“Cranes” whispered Samhith, his voice filled with awe! “They are not cranes. They are Open Billed Storks” replied our boatman-cum-guide. “When we go closer, you can see how their bills have a slight gap and seem to be open. That’s where they get their name from” he elaborated.
|Open Billed Stork (Asian Openbill)|
We were at the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary near Srirangapatna, and for once, my son didn’t need to be reminded to keep his voice down. His awe far exceeded his excitement, and he was spellbound!
|Asian Openbill with young ones in nest|
The sight that stretched ahead did deserve that kind of awe. We were on the Kaveri, in a boat, no other humans around but us and the boatman, and, on the trees around, on the islands, were perched, literally birds of all feathers!
There were Spot Billed Pelicans…
|Spot Billed Pelicans - adults and juveniles|
|Spot Billed Pelicans|
And Painted Storks…
|Painted Stork (adult)|
The juveniles created a racket, as the adults simply looked on, making me wonder if the young ones were throwing a tantrum, as young ones are wont to do!
|Painted Storks - Adult (right) and juvenile (left)|
We have seen Kingfishers before, but never tire of seeing them!
|White Throated Kingfisher|
We managed to sight a lone Black Crowned Night Heron, but it was the only bird which seemed to be shy! It didn’t stay long enough for me to get a better shot!
|Black Crowned Night Heron|
The Egrets, in their breeding plumage, were a beautiful sight…
|Egret in breeding plumage|
|Egret in nest|
And a few Pond Heron made their appearance too.
A pair of Stone Plovers sat impassively on a rock, in the middle of the river…
And Black headed Ibises perched right atop the trees.
|Black Headed Ibis|
|Black Headed Ibis|
A number of crocodiles swam around, probably trying to catch their breakfast, staring at us balefully as we disturbed their habitat…
|Crocodile- up close!|
Under another rocky outcrop in the middle of the river were these…
|Nests of Indian Cliff Swallows|
…nests of the Indian Cliff Swallows, and the birds rushed about their morning work, apparently oblivious to our presence.
|Indian Cliff Swallows|
A few bats hung upside down amidst all this activity, peacefully sleeping off their exertions of the night…
And a bird of prey waited and watched, but unfortunately, I could not identify it. Can any of you help please?
|Serpent Eagle? Shikra?|
Our boat ride inside the sanctuary lasted almost an hour, and it was an hour filled with nothing but the sounds of birds, and whispered exclamations. It was only when we got out, and back into our auto, that the suppressed excitement found an outlet, Samhith eagerly scribbling down the bird names before he forgot them!
Incidentally, our birdwatching jaunt had another interesting result - our auto driver was so surprised that even a kid knew so many birds, that he frequently stopped along the road, asking us the names of other birds we saw!