24 August, 2013

Curry Plant Chronicles - Part II. Red-handed, Red Whiskered.

So we have this curryleaf plant in our balcony with several ripening berries on it that will hopefully translate into seeds and subsequently many new curryleaf plants.

A bit like counting eggs before they hatch. You know, that sort of thing.

While we wait for the fruit to mature, we don’t realize that we are in august company.

One of the fruit stems seems to have mysteriously broken and we wonder how that could have happened.

There are still the ones on the other branch which are, in any case, ripening sooner, though they strangely seem to be fewer than before.

The puzzle is solved when we suddenly spot a visitor – two, in fact, – a pair of Red Whiskered Bulbuls coming to the curryleaf plant. 

It was their noisy conversation that gave them away. Apparently this is a social occasion for these birds. 

One of them swiftly darts to the curry plant and neatly picks a ripe berry for breakfast (or is it lunch?) with its beak, before flitting away to an electrical wire outside and then off, after a quick, noisy statement or two. 

Perhaps it was protesting at my manners (or lack therof).

Their visits are brief, but with unfailing regularity, they appear everyday at almost the same time (around 9am). 

They are fascinating to observe. 

They are also very shy.

Even from a good twelve feet or so inside the room, I'm regarded with great suspicion through the open door of the balcony.

Getting too close is a sure-fire way to scare them off. So I never get a good picture, but enough to submit as evidence.

It's a delight to have them visit! They are beautiful, indeed.

At some point we realise that if we are to save any seeds at all, we need to act fast.

So we pluck a couple of berries and leave the remaining for our beautiful guests.

Well worth it.


  1. What a fascinating story of these posts were of how even just one plant can encourage many other creatures. And I think you did get some wonderful shots, especially the one of the bulbul in the background head on to the camera- he has such a cute expression!

    1. Thanks Sarojini! :) You are so right;I never imagined that simple little curry leaf plant would make things so very interesting in the balcony. Heh heh - yes, that shot is my favorite despite the lack of quality; in fact, I noticed the rogue-ish expression only in the picture, later! :D

  2. It must be so much fun to watch the visitors at the same time I was having the question in my mind how are u going to save those berries!
    I have put in so much effort to rescue my plant but it could not withstand shiftings and sudden climate change.
    Curry leaves are such a priced commodity here that people having plants in their home are treated with great respect:))

    1. Thank you Meena! :) It was so much fun - I'm tempted to now actively scout for plants that encourage such visits! The berries were used in the best way I think - just a couple for trying to grow are more than enough, I say.
      I do hope you've found enough other plants that can take the weather there, to keep you happily occupied! Nature is so diverse, and never boring anywhere! :)

  3. Nice story and beautiful pictures Ila. Perfect pictures I think for the story, I too noticed the rougish look in the bubuls eyes.
    I've never seen such berries on a curry leaf plant.

    1. Thank you Maya! :) I believe those berries are supposed to be poisonous. (Not to bulbuls, obviously!) :D

  4. Very interesting! Lovely photos to catch the action and good title too. So the bulbuls coming to the balcony were checking out the curry plant!

    We've Sunbirds visiting our balcony now. Probably it is the Hamelia patens that's attracting them. A year ago we had Great Tits as visitors too. Looks like our neighbourhood has interesting feathered visitors.

    1. Thank you rb stumped! I do hope we get more birds visiting our balcony! For a while, our aloe vera had an inflorescence and that was attracting some sunbirds!

  5. lovely pics. I always found the innumerable seedlings annoying in my tiny garden. so this year i plucked the green berries to prevent them. Never again. If the berries are edible by bulbulis then they are welcome to have them. I will pull out the saplings. couple of months back my gondhoraj lime bush was used by a bulbuli family to teach their young one to fly. It was a fulfilling experience to watch it flutter its tiny wings from afar. unfortunately I could not take any pics.

    1. Thanks, Aparna. :) How lovely, you have a gondhoraj lime bush, it's been on my wishlist for the longest time (only constraint being space!) - and what a bonanza to watch a baby bird learning to fly - another one on my wishlist! :D



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