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Today I am walking around with a grin on my face. The reason? I spotted a couple of sunbirds during my morning walk.

This chancing upon sunbirds is indeed quite grin-worthy event as far as I am concerned. To think when I left the previous home behind, the one with trees and bushes surrounding it, to live in an apartment, I had given up hope of ever seeing – or photographing – the winged thingamabobs! Oh, how wrong I was.

First there were the black kites, then the parakeets and magpie robins, all of whom I realised were neighbours of mine. And then there were the munias who came to check out our balcony to build a nest and had to return baffled because of the mosquito-proofing. I was really sorry to see them go.

I also saw the red-vented bulbul with its pointed black crest one day. Then there were the barn swallows, I am not sure which kind they were because all I saw was a pair of them going around in circles, a favorite activity of their kind.

The southern coucal comes around regularly to pick off insects from the ground of the children’s park. The white-breasted kingfisher stays put on a distant tree, refusing to come any closer. As for the koel and the white-cheeked barbet, they stay hidden in the foliage of trees, letting their cry do the talking.

This is about it, I had concluded. These are all of the birds I would come across here, apart from the crows of course, and the ‘urban pests’ aka pigeons. But this morning, I saw something clinging to delicate stalk of the firecracker plant (Russell’s equisetiformis), also called the fountain bush and coral fountain. Sunbird! I stopped mid stride and slowly fished out my mobile, and slowly, ever so slowly, brought it up to take a couple of pictures.

There were two of them, but the other one, more fidgety of the two, had already hopped on to the hibiscus growing nearby. Perhaps it had wisened up to my presence quicker than the one I could capture. It looked as if they were two juveniles out for a jaunt of a morning. Perhaps the parents were nearby keeping an eye on them. Next time I hope to get them with the Nikon.

©Shail Mohan 2022

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