Still waters

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 pygmy

Cotton teal (Nettapus coromandelianus, aka Cotton pygmy-geese) among lily pads.

Image at

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

More information about conserving Sirpur at

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

violet jacob



Love on wings

Flying Ant Day:

The first of the early (antipodean) summer swarms emerged recently in Denmark, Western Australia.


ants wikimediaImage at

More about this annual international phenomenon at

Antic action:

Watch flying swarms at

Summer love in Australia:

Flying Ants

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




Words for birds

Bird blessings:

The Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi is on Sunday 4 October

st-francis-preaching-to-the-birds-1299.jpg!BlogSt Francis Preaching to the Birds (San Francesco predica agli uccelli), by Giotto, 1299

st-francis-preaching-to-the-birds.jpg!BlogSurrealist version/vision by MC Escher, 1922.

Images at

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

dawn french

‘Animals’, Episode 1:6, 1994. Image at