A blue-throated barbet and rufous sibia perched on Semul flowers. (PHOTOS: SANJEEV IDDALGI)
A blue-throated barbet and rufous sibia perched on Semul flowers. (PHOTOS: SANJEEV IDDALGI)

Wildbuzz: Sweet, Semul spring

An astonishing array of birds flock to the Semul to sip its nectar; a bird photographer is moved by the sight of a monkey with her young one
By Vikram Jit Singh
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 11:05 PM IST

Tricity denizens are bitterly complaining about a prickly-warm February but birds, bees, deer and bats are relishing the early blooming of the queen of the jungle – the Semul (silk cotton) tree.

The Semul stands out like a warm and welcoming lantern in a hard jungle where nectar and sweet flowers devoid of protective thorns are an exception. An astonishing array of birds flock to the Semul to sip nectar while bees and insects can’t seem to get enough of the sweetness of a Semul spring.

On a brooding night, fruit bats clamber aboard Semul blooms like phantoms to nibble at its sugary, succulent petals and relish its nectar. Fallen Semul flowers are gobbled up by wandering deer and antelopes with childlike joy, as if free gulab jamuns were being distributed under a populist scheme!

Sanjeev Iddalgi, general manager (manufacturing) with the Dabur factory at Baddi, went the extra mile to procure exquisite pictures of birds on Semul flowers. In his pictures taken at Bhoj Nagar, the largeness of the Valentine flower emulates the tree’s big and giving heart. The blooms dwarf the winged lovers of Semul perched over its beckoning bowls, which are cast in tints of waning vermilion. “I reached early morning as most birds feed then and the light is soft for a great photograph. The birds were so engrossed in Semul flowers that they were hardly disturbed by the photographers’ clicking. They seemed drunk on nectar; the tree was a tavern of nature’s intoxicating offers,” Iddalgi told this writer.

One is tempted here to gently pollinate Khalil Gibran’s lines and create a variant theme: For the bird, the Semul is a fountain of life. And to the Semul, a bird is a messenger of love. And to both, the giving and receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.

A monkey feeds her young one at Sukhna Lake. (PHOTO: LALIT MOHAN BANSAL)
A monkey feeds her young one at Sukhna Lake. (PHOTO: LALIT MOHAN BANSAL)

Tenderness in love

For a wandering soul, a wondering eye and a wonderful open heart Sukhna Lake presents so much more than just migratory birds. A very touching and moving picture of a mother monkey with her young one at the regulator end was captured by a roving bird photographer, whose sensitivity to his subjects, be birds or anything else constrains him from venturing too close and causing disturbance. Lalit Mohan Bansal, a subdivisional engineer (SDE) with the Chandigarh engineering department, who is tasked with catering to the irrigation and drinking water needs of peripheral villages, was indulging in his hobby of photographing birds when this moment of maternal bliss tugged at his heart strings.

Arguably, the most unconditional and purest love, Bansal titled his photograph with the words: “Motherhood — all love begins and ends there.” Bansal’s perspective was a refreshing, deeply empathetic one, and a departure from how humans tend to perceive monkeys as a source of fear because they can attack or vandalise our homes. But monkeys are creatures of intelligence and brimming emotions.

Meri duniya hai maa tera aanchal...the baby was feeling totally secure in his/her mother’s tender embrace. The baby did not feel there was any threat in the environment around him/her. However, the mother was very much aware that humans or dogs could endanger her baby. So, she blended her loving absorption with a roving, darting eye, much like security personnel guarding VVIPs,” Bansal told this writer.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP