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Ladakh - Planning The Trip

Over 2000 Km by road, in around 10 days. Stunning landscapes, wonderful people. That sums up our Ladakh trip. But how did it actually work? How did we make it happen? Read on to find out!  Leh, the capital of Ladakh , is accessible by air and road. Flying into Leh is the easiest, and time-saving option, while the road is the time consuming one, but with the added advantage of driving past some of the most beautiful landscapes in our country. Each option has much to recommend it, and we chose the road for just one reason – altitude sickness. Altitude sickness was one of my biggest concerns, since I suffer from motion-sickness. Yes, I do travel a lot, but that is despite my condition, and, over the years, have learnt how to handle it. I struggled with it when we visited Nathu-La in Sikkim, and wondered if I would be able to manage a week at the even higher altitudes that we would encounter in Ladakh. This was the reason we stuck to a basic plan, of only 9 days in Ladakh, though we

Egyptian Vulture

"Amma, that is a vulture!!" Excited shouts like these are common with Samhith when we are on the road.... The only thing is, he has an hyperactive imagination, which turns crows into eagles and kites into vultures! However, we have an arrangement. If he sees anything interesting, I am to stop and pay attention, and if I tell him I want to show him something, he does the same. And so we stopped by the roadside to take a closer look at a bird perched on a boulder.





This was somewhere near Mysore, and having seen so many birds along the way, excitement was high, and only increased when we realized that yes, indeed it was a vulture!!!



The Egyptian Vulture is found across Southwestern Europe and Northern Africa to India. At one time, it must have been a common sight, but today, the numbers have greatly reduced, and are further dwindling by the day.



My knowledge of birds in general and vultures in particular is rather sketchy, but a quick read on Wikipedia brought forth a bit of interesting information. Such as, the fact that the bird was considered sacred in Egyptian mythology, and was thus protected, and common on the streets of Egypt during the period  of the Pharaohs, giving it the name 'Pharoah's Chicken!" 



This seems to be an opportunistic bird, feeding mostly on carrion, like other vultures, but also preying on small mammals, birds and reptiles when the opportunity beckons! They also apparently feed on eggs of other birds, ingeniously breaking the larger ones by tossing pebbles on them to break the shell!

Even while we stopped and enjoyed our first sighting of the vulture, the only thing that I could think of, was the Diclofenac poisoning that had endangered these birds. I don't think anything brings out the poignancy of the situation faced by these birds better than this cartoon by Rohan Chakravarty of Green Humour. I have been reading and enjoying Rohan's blog and his cartoons and caricatures for a long time now, and I  think some of you might enjoy it too! 

Comments

  1. Great photos :) and thanks for the link to Green Humour

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    1. Thank you Amrita! and glad to have introduced you to Green Humour

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  2. Egyptian vultures are majestic birds, I first clicked them in Tal Chapar...Fortunately with the complete ban on diclofenac they are slowly coming back. But it will be another 50 years before vultures reach even 30% of the original population....

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    Replies
    1. so true, Prasad. its certainly good that they are increasing in numbers once again,but the process is a slow one and we can only hope that nothing else affects it!

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  3. Yes, as you said vultures in general are near extinction. Special programs have been launched at different place. Sighting of an Egyptian vulture is definitely rare and I congratulate you. Nice pictures from different angles.

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  4. It is indeed exciting to spot a vulture! I am totally with Samhith on this one :) You should have seen me when I spotted a Shikra on the tree outside my window. But of course it flew away by the time I fished out my camera :(

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    1. I can imagine, Usha.. and did u know that the bird interest in the bldg is growing? shekar takes pics of birds too....

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  5. http://tinyurl.com/workid/?id=Aayu

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