The White-spectacled warbler and the Rhododendron

The White-spectacled warbler and the Rhododendron.

A Painting
Acrylic on canvas 13″ x 14″

We were camped in the midst of an untouched primary forest deep inside the Neora Valley National Park in a remote dilapidated trekkers hut on the banks of the Neora river.

One afternoon I decided to explore a faint path that disappeared into the forest just behind the hut. The track went through a thick bamboo forest and then entered the primary forest. Even in the afternoon it was quite dark, with almost no sunlight reaching the forest floor. The jungle was eerily quite and there was no bird movement. Finally, after walking for about a kilometre, I saw some movement in the middle story of the jungle. Two small birds were flitting about, chasing each other while calling constantly. I tried to observe them through my binoculars but without much success as the light was too poor and the birds were too fast. I then decided to go closer to the birds and started walking carefully through the jungle towards them. After a few steps I realised that the birds were slowly coming towards me. I moved close to a large tree trunk and stood still. The birds slowly danced their way towards me. They were engrossed in their courtship ritual and they took no notice of me. Soon they were flitting about within 10 feet. I could identify the birds now, they were a pair of White-spectacled Warblers (Seicercus affinis), a rarely seen species as it usually inhabits the middle story of untouched forests. The warblers flitted and danced amongst the blossoms of a rare jungle Rhododendron (Rhododendron griffithianum) while I stood still and watched mesmerised.
This painting is an attempt to capture and share that unforgettable experience.


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