Lifescapes Gallery

13 / Jan / 2016
The Phantom Flautist of Coorg
Indian Golden Oriole, Coorg Photograph: Dr. Bishan Monnappa Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

The Phantom Flautist of Coorg

Imagine you’re out on a leisurely walk in Coorg and suddenly you hear the melodious strain of a flute wafting out of the woods. You wonder if it is some local minstrel, wandering, like a wood sprite, in the trees, or a modern day Krishna invisibly serenading his Gopikas… or if there is some precocious musical talent lurking in the forest, waiting to become the next Galway or Chaurasia. Just as the idea grows deliciously in your mind, the music fades away, and you’re suddenly assailed by a loud, screechy voice that’s akin to the harsh call of reality intruding upon your very own symphonic eternity. With some irritation you wonder who this tuneless terrorist is that just pricked your blissful bubble. Your vexation may well change to bewilderment if we were to tell you that the culprit with the nasal screech and the artiste with the divine flute were one and the same. Chances are that you may look around for confirmation, and failing to spot him, think it a figment of our imagination. And, that’s how the Golden Indian Oriole is often perceived. He’s rarely seen, only heard. For, despite being a handsome dude with his golden coloured head and body accessorised with black shades and feathers, he’s a rather shy fellow and prefers to hide behind his mellifluous voice. One way to attract his attention, however, is to threaten the nest that he guards with his mate. And then the shy songster becomes an avenging angel who’ll attack you without a thought. Of course, being both the musician and the bouncer at the show isn’t easy, so he often outsources the security detail to the hyper-aggressive Black Drongo, by building his nest in the Drongo’s backyard. This allows him the mind-space to compose his next tune. And confound the next visitor to Coorg as the Phantom of the Opera, who can carry off any tune, without being seen.

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 13th, 2016 at 10:42 am and is filed under Birds . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. rajesh says:

    so well and warmly written. i was transported to the very spot reading the picturesque description. thank you for that spot of happiness.

  2. G. Rafi says:

    Coorg people are lucky to come across and see such birds of immense beauty, Pray God Almighty to increase the population of such birds,

  3. Indira says:

    Soul stirring and enriching to bring us closer to the flair a bad fauna….. Keep the flow

  4. Manavi Jalan says:

    Very well described. I love the part that he subcontracts the security to drongo so that he can prepare his new tune. Would love to get more of these

    • Rajesh Ramaswamy says:

      Thanks Manavi
      Hopefully we’ll get other characters as interesting. Actually I know we will. So your wish will come true:-)

  5. Joe Cleetus says:

    Thanks, Ramaswamy for your imaginative story on the golden oriole of Coorg. Made good reading from beginning to end. Terrific photo by Dr Monnappa!

    • Rajesh Ramaswamy says:

      Thanks Joe. You should come over soon. Maybe in the summer when we get to see the big cats at the waterholes in Kabini?
      – Editor

  6. Dr.U.Ravi Rao says:

    Beautiful photograph with a very descriptive write up about the Golden Indian Oriole.
    My compliments to Dr.Monappa and Rajesh Ramaswamy.

    • Rajesh Ramaswamy says:

      Thanks so much Dr Rao. It’s our pleasure, and we hope to keep you interested for a long, long time to come 🙂

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