Dr. Suvrashis Sarkar's painting tribute

My introduction to birds happened when I was a kiddo and my mother used to show them to me from our window while teaching me poems. The knowledge grew further when I started sketching and painting them in my school drawing books, in school drawing competitions, etc. I remember my first colour drawing of birds were the Common Kingfisher and the Golden Oriole -as mother had taught me then. My methodical study of birds began only in 1995 when I read an article written in Readers’ Digest by J. C. Daniel sir, about the Old Man of Indian Birds – Dr. Salim Ali. That lead me to join BNHS in 1996 as a life-member and then I gradually got engulfed in the subject matter of Ornithology. With my years of career progression, I never became a ‘biologist’ by academic qualification though, but continued to read and explore the wild to learn from nature herself.

While studying birds on field, I had developed the habit of sketching them in my field book to record what I had seen. My recording of birds evolved further to photo document them with a camera since 2007. My close friends who have observed me doing so, know this.

Today is 12 Nov 2020, a special day -the day to celebrate the very reason how watching birds, reading about birds and systematically studying birds, that could develop as a science in India. Today is the birth day of Dr. Salim Ali.

While I still cherish the days when I used to sketch and paint birds, I am happy to present one of my old paintings of the very beautiful pair of 𝗔𝘀𝗶𝗮𝗻 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗱𝗶𝘀𝗲 𝗙𝗹𝘆𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗿𝘀 (𝘛𝘦𝘳𝘱𝘴𝘪𝘱𝘩𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘪). This painting was made in 1999 and I found it among a few from one closet at home while cleaning the house during the recent lock-down. This used to be my mother’s one of the loved paintings made by me and used to hang on her bedroom wall in our previous home.

I have never shared any sketch or painting of mine till now on any digital/social media, but to commemorate the special day today, I just felt it could be a negligible but worthy tribute to Dr. Salim Ali and his greatness, due to whom I could know so much about birds.

What you see here is a picture taken on my iphone of the painting frame.

Flamingos in Mumbai rains

South-west monsoon ushers in as the harbinger of relief for Mumbai from its sultry summers. Mumbai’s monsoon is like no other in India with its own share of romance, good times as well as the annual water logging and tough days. Flamingos in Mumbai over the last couple of decades have become a definite attraction for environmentalists, birdwatchers or the casual tourist and likewise have become equally important subject matter of study for marine biodiversity conservation.

𝗟𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗲𝗿 𝗙𝗹𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴𝗼𝘀 (𝘗𝘩𝘰𝘦𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘪𝘢𝘴 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘰𝘳) a near-threatened species, visits Mumbai’s coastline, creeks and mud-flats each year in growing numbers. The reason for their growing numbers in Mumbai has been studied and understood as due to increased biological growth of blue-green algae resulting from untreated release of human and industrial waste in the mud-flats, mangroves, and creeks which are also the perfect Flamingo habitat. These beautiful birds thrive on these algae and bless us each year in growing numbers with their magnificence.

This picture was taken few years back at Navi Mumbai in 2015, while I was exploring one such Flamingo habitat with two of my very talented younger photographer friends. I was not prepared for the monsoon shower that day but could not resist the temptation either to freeze this wonderful spectacle of Lesser Flamingos getting drenched in the thundering Mumbai’s monsoon. For me, being soddened in monsoon never felt like a pleasure before then.