Posts tagged with “Jayan Thomas”

Participant Profile: Dr. Jayan Thomas

Tuesday, 20 November, 2012

Where do you live?
I live in the coastal city of Cannanore (Kannur) in Kerala.

When did you start watching birds?
As a lad I was interested in birds, but mostly as targets for my Diana .22 air gun! Then I joined medicine and became an eye specialist and forgot all about it. However, my curiosity about birds and their behaviour was sparked again in the year 2004 when at the beach I witnessed a Blue-tailed Bee-eater catch a bee, smash it against a wire and swallow it. From then on I began birdwatching more seriously.

Who would you consider your birding mentor?
My mentor is Mr. P.C. Rajeevan who is arguably one of the greatest birders in Kerala. His motto is “ birding all day”. I learned my birding basics from him. I was also inspired by birdwatchers like Mr. Sashikumar and Praveen J. and received support from Suhel Quader and Aasheesh Pittie.

Please describe a memorable birding experience.
Sighting of the Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Cannanore by Rajeevan and myself was the greatest birding moment of my life. This is a North American bird which had never before been reported from South Asia! I was giddy with excitement at this sighting. Moreover, I received a certificate from the Limca Book of Records for becoming the first Indian to ever take the photo of the Buff-breasted Sandpiper in South Asia.

What are your favourite migrants?
Since I live by the sea, my favourite migrants are, of course, the waders. Waders are the most engaging  birds whose identification may be challenging too. Just watching them gives me great joy.

What is your favourite place to watch migrants?
My favourite birding playground is Madayipara, which is a laterite hillock on the coast, 23 km from Cannanore. Madayipara is the place for passage migrants in Kerala. Some of the migrants seen here are the Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Oriental Pratincole, Tawny Pipit and Isaballine Wheatear.

Do you have any advice for beginning birdwatchers and naturalists?
Birdwatching is great fun, but one has to be honest with their data and sightings. Not seeing a new bird is nothing to be ashamed of, but faking sightings certainly does make one a bad birdwatcher. Naturalists should be pragmatic to their approach on all issues concerning nature.

Why do you think people should care about birds and nature?
The world is for everyone both big and small. Homo sapiens and birds are like the sides of the same coin. We can’t live separately. We either live together or perish together.

Any other information that you’d like to share with MigrantWatchers?
MigrantWatchers are doing a wonderful job tracking birds across India. The eye does not see what the mind does not know. Hence, riffling through one’s favourite bird book once in a while and learning about various migrants is an excellent way to get familiar with them and identifying them in field.

You can see Dr. Jayan Thomas’s MigrantWatch contributions here, and his photos here.