Balkavi Thombre, the famous Marathi poet describes Shraavana as the season of eternal bliss; a season in which at one moment earth receives a flurry of rain, and at another moment sun sends its bright rays to illuminate the natural green carpet. This, indeed, is such an apt description of the season.
True that during Shraavana nature displays her all colours. Look above, and you get to see the vast expanse of bright and clear blue sky dotted with pure white clouds which can soon turn into fierce grey overcast. Flowers blossom to their maximum beauty and the air is redolent with their sweet fragrances. The arrival of the season delights birds which now grow excellent plumages. Nature by reaching the peak of her beauty creates a splendid mosaic which becomes a feast for the eyes.
The month of Shraavana has a cultural and religious significance in India. However, apart from being important for humans, the salubrious conditions that the season offers, makes it equally important for wildlife too. In a way, wildlife enjoys its arrival more than humans.
Each wild animal has its own breeding schedule, and Shraavana helps many species follow that schedule. Right from tiny photogenic strawberry finches to mighty tigers, wild beings gear up to enter a new phase. Birds become busy in nest-building activities, and animals move interiors to find places of seclusion.
It is always exciting to see how dusty brown grounds are turned into lush green fields. Larks take vertical flights and fill the air with their melodious songs. Then suddenly, from somewhere, you get to hear the whistling notes of Jacobin Cuckoo, the crested migrant which had, just before few days, heralded monsoon. The Indian peafowl emits its iconic calls, and exhibits the most spectacular courtship displays of all birds. The peacock fans its plumage into a tantalizing gauze and woos the peahen. However, amongst all the bird activities, the most enthralling view is that of baya weavers building elegant nests, which awestrucks the watcher. And, there’s no dearth of exhilarating experiences that you can have!
Who is not fascinated by colourful butterflies which excite us with their quick flitting movements? Nature is in her prime, and you get to sight a myriad of butterflies. There’s a common lime which excellently camouflages itself amidst fresh leaves. The common tiger zigzags fast, and leaves behind a virtual contrasting orange pattern against the green backdrop. Then there’s the common egg-fly, the design of which makes us feel as if it is staring into our eyes. The common Mormon settles down with its wings wide open and forms an eye-catching portrait.
By this time of the monsoon, forests have themselves rejuvenated, and vegetation gets a new lease of life. Arroyos in the jungles get activated, and burbling fresh streams entice us to go near them. Lakes are flooded and turned into excellent ecosystems, and shoal of fish can be easily spotted in fresh waters. The ground skimmer, the crimson glider, the crepuscular darter, the slender skimmer, and other dragonflies and damselflies swarm along these water bodies. Meanwhile, there’s a bee-eater which glides through the air, catches one amongst these winged-insects in its flight, and perches back. The activities only hold a nature-lover spellbound.
Some secrets of reptile life are now revealed. For instance, otherwise elusive snakes can now be found pairing; especially, big rat snakes which coil around each other and make a bold display of the act in the open fields, much to the thrill of onlookers.
Altogether, there’s so much nature offers to us and it is interesting how natural elements govern the mood, emotions, and psychology of living organisms.
But then the danger of climate change looms over nature. If we cannot change things overnight, then at least we can start respecting nature and its components. We need to overcome our selfish motives, and remind ourselves of nature’s separate existence. By only doing so, shall we be able to keep Balkavi’s Shraavana intact.