I have always been fascinated by birds. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of ethereal paradise flycatchers in my garden, and bejewelled kingfishers in the marshes and reed beds that were part of my grandmothers orchards on the shores of the Dal Lake – now sadly filled-in to build concrete monstrosities in the name of development.
While doing postgraduation in Jammu, I would often notice hummingbirds feeding on the Bougainvilleas in my garden. Since hummingbirds are not supposed to exist in the Old World, I dug out my old bird books once I was home but could not find any references to hummingbirds. Very little Kashmir-specific information was available elsewhere so I decided to create the Birds of Kashmir website. A few years have elapsed since, but the hummingbird mystery remained unsolved.
While surfing the net, I came across a picture* of the Macroglossum stellatarum, otherwise known as the 'Hummingbird Hawkmoth'. My mystery hummingbirds were probably a species of large hovering, nectar-sucking moths active in the daytime.
Now, if only someone could confirm white peacocks on the President of India's lawns 🙂
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Over the years since the original post I have often observed these beauties in my garden in Kashmir.
*Image copyright Wikipedia Commons