(Shaheens are pretty common in the High Ranges where I encountered them frequently,But there is one encounter that remains etched in my mind's screen.after a quarter of a century.)
We were on our way to the top of Ramakkal mettu,a point on the Western Ghats where the mountain falls off steeply to the Tamil Nadu plains. Sitting there we could have a stupendous view of the endless plains fading away into the horizon,as far as the eye could see. After night fall,the cities of Tamil Nadu appear like clusters of glittering lights lost in the inky blackness,an unforgettable sight.
We had brought snacks and drinks and intended to make the occasion merrier still by singing old nostalgic songs.
It was late evening as we (all six of us) labored up the mountain,
''Hey,there is a crow up there behaving crazy'',said one of my companions.
''It is rolling on the ground,seems injured and unable to fly'',another joined in.
I ran ahead to see what was on,
There in the golden twilight,was a magnificent Shaheen Falcon,dust bathing.The majestic bird threw a casual glance at me and continued his dust bath,until we were within 20 feet of him, Then he stood up,with a most indifferent air, shook himself vigorously,releasing a cloud of fine dust which drifted away in the cool mountain breeze. Then he observed us casually ,his black facial mask contrasting sharply with his rufus and white breast and face.,,and rose into the skies with a casual wing flap,to glide away imperiously,a silhoutte against the golden sky, We watched him till he vanished,a mere speck against the red orb of the setting sun...