In October 2015, Flightpathproject revisited India.
Migrants in Madhya Pradesh
Flightpathproject spent a morning birding at the 600-acre Sirpur Lake, near Indore in Madhya Pradesh. Winter migrants are late this year, waiting for the weather to cool down, but some early birds, including cotton teal, have just arrived.
Cotton teal (Nettapus coromandelianus, aka Cotton pygmy-geese) among lily pads.
Image at http://www.birds.iitk.ac.in/wiki/cotton-pygmy-goose
Still waters at Sirpur
Reed beds line the lakeshore: a filter system for water and feeding ground for birds.
More of these extraordinary images of Sirpur’s reed beds at http://www.dubeyashish.com
More information about conserving Sirpur at http://www.tnvindia.org
Words about wetlands
Flightpathproject was again tracking the movements of poet Laurence Hope. The 1895-1900 diaries of Scottish writer and painter Violet Jacob, who was in central India at the same time as and spent time with Laurence Hope, brought Flightpathproject to the lake. The lilies of Sirpur – then known as Sherepore – had the same effect now as then.
20 July 1896: I heard the other day that the great pink lotus was to be seen in flower at a place called Sherepore tank a few miles from Indore…the creek was full of lovely rose-coloured flowers standing with their heads raised above the thick masses of leaves…it was most wonderful to me who have only seen it in pictures.’
Violet Jacob Diaries and Letters from India 1895- 1900, Canongate Publishing, 1990
Flying Ant Day:
The first of the early (antipodean) summer swarms emerged recently in Denmark, Western Australia.
Image at commons.wikimedia.org
More about this annual international phenomenon at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/flying-ant-day-why-are-the-winged-insects-swarming-in-the-summer-heat-10391583.html
Watch flying swarms at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iXFwrqMNaM
Summer love in Australia:
Pouring straight up in their excited millions
Like smoke from the hot earth in narrow rings
The flying termites, blind in their own bright shower,
Whirl in a crystal tower not there at all:
For while the glimmering column holds them safe
To dance their delirious dance of summer and love
How frail and small it floats in the evening’s brilliance:
And, striking in shafts of light that burn their wings,
Infinite space pierces the crystal wall
Where thought itself floats glinting in that tower.
by Douglas Stewart, 1913-1985
Image by David de Groot at http://www.brisbanephotos.com.au/photo/flying-ant/
The Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi is on Sunday 4 October
St Francis Preaching to the Birds (San Francesco predica agli uccelli), by Giotto, 1299
Surrealist version/vision by MC Escher, 1922.
Images at http://www.wikiart.org
Saint Francis and the Birds
When Francis preached love to the birds
They listened, fluttered, throttled up
Into the blue like a flock of words
Released for fun from his holy lips.
Then wheeled back, whirred about his head,
Pirouetted on brothers’ capes.
Danced on the wing, for sheer joy played
And sang, like images took flight.
Which was the best poem Francis made,
His argument true, his tone light.
by Seamus Heaney
All creatures great and small:
The inimitable Dawn French as the Vicar of Dibley, blessing more than birds
‘Animals’, Episode 1:6, 1994. Image at http://www.bbc.co.uk