An Afternoon Surprise

When I walked out of my house onto the back deck yesterday, this sight caught my eye:

I couldn’t believe it. When were these built? The nest on the right was biggest and they descended in size for seven rafters.

I’ve had bird nests in the rafters before, but only one at a time. And why did the bird not finish any of them? I looked on the other side of the beam and saw this:

The wasp nest was very small, but it is more than likely the answer to my question. I wouldn’t want to raise babies there!

Early Morning Fun

When I was watching a play practice yesterday afternoon, I glanced outside in time to glimpse a monkey jumping onto the roof of the building where the play practice was taking place. I had heard of monkey sighting but hadn’t seen one for years.

Right after Amma built the foot bridge that goes between the mainland and the ashram, a lot of monkeys visited the ashram. It was not uncommon to turn a corner and find a monkey sitting there; an exciting but jolting experience. I knew people who had a monkey walk into their room and take something. If the person tried to intervene, the monkey would bare its teeth, which was enough to make the owner have second thoughts.  Some years back, a monkey broke into a room where chocolate candy is produced and stole chocolate. I enjoyed having the opportunity to see just a small part of a monkey yesterday.

Then this morning, I was chatting with my friend Kripa near the recycling area where we bring and sort our trash.  At one point, the man standing near me started taking photographs. I looked up to see what he was looking at and saw a small monkey sitting in the tree eating a bag of cereal. The monkey had apparently taken taken the bag out of one of the garbage bins.

What a blessed way to start my day.

To read the previous posts in this series click here.

An Evening Surprise

Yesterday was the first day since I’ve been here that I didn’t take a nap. As I walked back to my room around 9:30 p.m. I noticed something on the wall ahead of me. I had no idea what it was so walked closer to it. In that moment, it flew off, drawn by a nearby light. I realized it was a gigantic moth. It must have had a four inch wing span, or at least that was what it seemed like in the short time I had to observe it. I walked away so I could look at it from a distance. In a minute or so, the moth flew back to the wall. I walked back to take a photo of it.

While I’m curious, I hope to never meet one of these again. I suppose this is one of those situations that I should learn to accept with equanimity but I’m not there!

To read the previous posts in this series click here.

A Surprise Gift

On Friday, I spent time working in our Greenbelt restoration site. As I turned to go back home, I heard a loud sound. It took a moment for me to figure out what it was. When I looked ahead of me, I saw a woodpecker pecking at a dead tree. It was unlike any woodpecker I’ve ever seen. One of the remarkable things about it was that it looked huge.

I used the burst setting on my phone camera and was able to capture a shot of it in the action of pecking.

I wish I had thought to take a video so you could hear the loud sound it made when it was pecking.

Later, I learned that it was a Pileated woodpecker. which is similar in size to a crow. One of their most notable features is their bright red crest. The males have a red streak on their cheek, so the one I saw must have been a female.

These birds are often found around dead trees, foraging for carpenter ants. They are known for the triangle shape holes they create in trees, holes that become habitat to “swifts, owls, ducks, bats, and pine martens.”

Pileated woodpeckers  apparently have bright white underwings. I hope that someday I have the opportunity to see one in flight!



Pileated Woodpecker