Nature has endowed humankind with myriads of species of birds. I believe that one life is perhaps not enough to know about all of them. Their sounds and whistles and the pleasure that one receives in identifying the different sounds made by different birds is ineffable. For the aficionados, even the flutter of a bird’s wings is a way to identify the kind of species. Not every bird but a few such as Green Pigeon, Painted Stork etc. can be identified through the unique sound of their wings. For me their twittering and chirping is a true source of joy and certainly for all those who love birds.
I recently went for an interesting bird walk during my stay at Pench Tree Lodge situated in Pench – the Land of Mowgli, Central India. Although I do not have much experience in birding but I am a curious bird observer and love to know and read about them. I stayed in the lodge for an entire day and was spellbound on seeing its beauty. The lodge has six tree houses that absolutely blend with the environment and every single second you would feel as if you have settled into the lap of nature. Before our lunch, I was generally talking to the naturalist regarding my interest in birds. Seeing this eagerness, he asked me if I would be interested to go for a bird walk the next morning. I was ecstatic when I heard this and was more than willing to go. Our walk started early on one of the winter mornings in February. Though the weather there was pleasant but mornings were cold and beautiful.
I was accompanied by my colleague Kanushree and by our naturalist Mr. Rakesh Solanki. Like all other naturalists he too loves wildlife ardently. He is an experienced wildlifer and an ornithologist. He carried two binoculars for us. I and Kanushree were ready with our cameras. I carried a notepad as well to record all the observations. If you wish to indulge into serious birding and want to inculcate this hobby, it’s a good idea to carry a notepad and a book comprising information on birds.
The very first birds that we spotted were Plum-headed Parakeets (Psittacula cyanocephala). These are quite common birds but this was the first time I was enlightened with the difference between males and females. Although I had read about the differences but practically, I had never observed the differences in the natural environment. Our naturalist helped us identifying these differences. In Plum-headed Parakeets while males have plum-red head, and white-tipped blue-green tail, females have grayish head, are smaller-bodied and have white tip to tail. Followed by Plum-headed the other parakeets that we spotted were Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) and Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria).
Ostensibly the weather looked perfect for birding but somehow the lighting conditions were not favourable for photography. I am a passionate photographer and I utterly love to click wildlife. Anyhow, I was enjoying each moment and a constant sound was echoing in my ears. I was quite certain that I had heard the sound earlier also near my house in Delhi. Inquisitively I asked our naturalist about the sound and he told us that this sound was being made by Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala). We followed the sound and finally we found out our sound maker sitting on a tree. Meanwhile we also enhanced our knowledge of the flora surrounding us. Scarlet Glory, Lantana, Palash, Mahua, Camel-toe Leaves, Marigolds were some of the beautiful flora which I was lucky to photograph.