The Squirrel Hunt - a delicious morsel of birding

Morning tea session on my terrace balcony. I notice the unusual silhouette of a bird sitting along the grills making up the balcony terrace of a 2nd floor flat diagonally opposite mine. Is it a shikra? It hasn't gone unnoticed and there are a couple of house crows watching it as closely as I am. I am excited, this is unusual. The shikra (now the id is more or less confirmed) is also watching something, a squirrel!! The shikra does a gentle dive misses the squirrel, which  twitches its tail a few times scampers away a bit accompanied by its alarm screeches. But surprisingly it does not go very far and stops. The shikra swoops again, misses. It seems rather constricted by all the grills. The crows are now an increasing tribe. I don't hear any major cawing as they normally do when they mob other birds. However soon there are close to 10  House and Jungle crows in the vicinity keeping watch on the shikra. Another squirrel enters the shikras vision, another swoop, another miss. Most surprisingly in all this the squirells that otherwise screech the peace out of the mornings, flicking their tail sounding warnings to all seem barely aware of the attacking shikra. Now a couple of crows have got into the act, as the shikra swoops for the squirrel, the crows thrust themselves at the shikra. The shikra doesn't seem the most comfortable with this crowed attention. All this time I've been thinking of whether I should rush in and get my binoculars out, but am worried I'll miss the action.

The action almost seems to have shifted from the shikra attacking the squirrels to the crows harassing the shikra. Though the crows evidently have too much respect for the shikra to get too boisterous. The shikra takes another unsuccessful swipe and finally takes flight, a couple of crows are in pursuit. It flies straight towards me and then overhead, twists, turns dives attacking the crows in flight, reversing the tables.

Just as quickly they are out of sight. A delicious morsel of morning birding


peeyush sekhsaria said...

Most enjoyable vignette, Peeyush, beautifully written. I loved the pun, "The shikra doesn't seem the most comfortable with this crowed attention." :)

Thanks for a pleasant five minutes, Deepa

Anonymous said...

Was loaded with excitement, I am sure. First of all, sighting of the shikra in the city, and added to that all this excitement! Enjoyed reading it.


deepseabugz said...

I also liked the pun. Nice read. :)— D