When a little bird, not much larger than a tennis ball, plunged into a net that Robin V. Vijayan had strung up along a jungle path, he felt what a big game hunter bagging his first trophy must feel. A dot of blood taken from this blue-black, pear-shaped bird, found exclusively in the upper reaches of the Western Ghats, would spark a series of questions that would magically turn these mountains into islands.This chain of mountains that stretches 1,600 kilometres along the length of India’s