Nature, Urban

The fag end of monsoons…

One can feel it… the humidity slowly but surely receding, the dry heat back for one more spell, sparring with what once used to be autumn before winter sets in… what the monsoons have contributed to the coffers of biodiversity will start waning out shortly, and those feasting upon it for the past few months flit around in urgency… not that they’d starve, but these are seasonal delicacies that will get one dreams of during the leaner times…

Unlike Delhi or Gurgaon, Noida doesn’t have any trails suitable for long runs, I don’t mean those manicured parks and their clogged pathways, but rather islands of wilderness, offering a respite from the despondency of urban environs… running on roads is faster no doubt, but trails are much more refreshing I find, and more immersive two, for there’s always that little obstruction to trip you the second you start drifting away…

Hence ‘twas some respite when I found this patch of ground tucked in between half a dozen skyscrapers under construction… a poorer cousin of a golf course with which it shares a boundary, it provides fuelwood for many labourers bringing realty to life… accessible by a surreptitious gap in the boundary wall from one end and a garbage dump from the other, and peppered with mischievous thorny shrubs and free-ranging dogs that can only be quelled by the animal in you…

A Saturday morning long run consisting of half a dozen loops of this ground, about a mile and a half each, found me sharing company with bee-eaters, drongos, doves, munias, and even a pair of black storks briefly that seemed like a hallucination at first… add to that dragonflies escorting one through the thorny scrubs and the lapwings with their trademark ‘did he do it’ cackle, it was well worth sacrificing the shade of the roadside trees for, and the zillions of thorns that one had to painstakingly remove from the shoes afterwards…

Having not picked up the camera for almost seven months, I went there again in the evening, this time saturated with the bovine and the cattle egrets that strutted alongside them… the centre parts provide for 3-4 cricket pitches, and it is in the boundaries that the biodiversity flourishes… I went chasing some hoopoes and bee-eaters to begin, but then got sucked into the prey base, stalking wasps and flies, butterflies and dragonflies… as the day drew to a close, one couldn’t help admire how even the smallest patches of wild amidst the concrete jungle can support so much life…

Biodiversity of Noida, Uttar Pradesh
Green bee-eater

 

Biodiversity of Noida, Uttar Pradesh
Common hoopoe

 

Biodiversity of Noida, Uttar Pradesh
Yellow paper wasp

 

Biodiversity of Noida, Uttar Pradesh
Orange-winged dropwing (female)

 

Biodiversity of Noida, Uttar Pradesh
Critters and their contrasts

 

Biodiversity of Noida, Uttar Pradesh
Those drunk flies

 

Biodiversity of Noida, Uttar Pradesh
Blister beetle

 

Robber fly

 

Oriental grass jewel

Musings on urban biodiversity, Noida, Uttar Pradesh…

Author: Parth Joshi

Allured by the outdoors, the author is made up in parts of that quintessential lost soul wreathing under the pangs of biophilia in a desk job, a wannabe elegist mostly ending up in dungeons of poetasters and an optimist waiting for the senility of the modern world to fade away while sampling shoots and leaves. In saner times, he has a keen interest in areas pertaining to tourism, history, agriculture and climate change, especially with respect to historical interpretations, emerging technologies and future livelihoods. An avid trekker, runner, cyclist, birder and photographer, he is more often than not found gloating over anything hinterland, on foot or over computer monitors, and fantasizing solutions that can foster inclusive growth and sustainable livelihoods for communities at the grassroots.

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