Now I think that would have been a better title for Part VI or maybe Part II but I am really not in a mind to be bothered about titles. Especially titles to my blogs. They are mostly irrelevant anyway. And I didn’t just mean the titles.
With the painted storks dominating the entire landscape it was often very easy to miss the other birds that dotted the landscape in no small numbers. Being no expert on birds myself I found it quite difficult to concentrate on anything other than painted storks which seemed to planted all over the horizon. I even saw a painted stork in a very weird pose- almost seeming as if the bird was squatting but I later realised that the bird had legs that were longer than I realised and it was only shielding something protectively- maybe its chick?
Some of the other birds that were not to be outdone in terms of visibility or noise were the open-billed storks (I think- I always have a deep misgiving that I am misidentifying the birds!). Although not quite as eye catching as the painted storks, there were large numbers of these as well in their colonies looking after their young ones.
Then there were the other birds- some of then huddled silently away in the trees that were not occupied by the noisy and pushy storks but yet clearly visible if you looked for them. There were also the birds that co-existed silently with the storks either in singles or pairs or smaller islands within the islands in the lake. But then there were the others who were so silently and secretly huddled that none but an ardent fan looking for them would spot them- or a completely lucky random person.
You could almost visualise the island dominated and ruled by the storks with the other birds playing ancillary parts such as the nannies, prisoners, visitors etc.,
This night heron (they were a pair) was camouflaged so beautifully within the tree that it took me ages to spot it. (And it was only sheer coincidence that there was a board right next to the place I was standing screaming Night Heron- you could almost visualise it like in the cartoons- Sukanya looks at the bird, looks at the board, looks at the bird, looks at the board and then all of a sudden- hey! wait a minute, I can’t find my car keys!- ha ha!!! No honestly I knew that I was looking at night heron only after I saw the board).
It was not that Vedanthangal had birds only on one side of the moat (not like Lost where there was an ultrasonic fence which stopped things from coming over to the other side), there were a variety of birds on the other side as well. These were however the birds that were more common, the birds that one could see everyday in the streets where there now are only crows and pigeons (and only crows if you are completely unlucky!). The tantalising kingfisher, a beautiful pair of unidentified brown and white birds (someone help please!) , a mynah and even a black drango(?)
However everytime I identified something on the wrong side of the moat and stopped to take a photo, I was instantly surrounded by a mob exclaiming “Oh look! She is shooting something on this side, there must be a bird” and making so much noise in the process that the birds left in a huff. “There are birds people, thousands of birds- on the other side, now will you please leave me alone??????” Easier wished than granted though.
A pair of pond herons also stopped by to say hello from a distance which was much appreciated by me.
The treat was when one of the employees of the sanctuary pointed out a spotted owlet to me sitting on a branch. Unfortunately for me by the time I clicked any decent photos of the bird, it had closed its eyes to shut out the sun.
By this time the tourists were pouring in through the sanctuary in such waves that we felt it prudent to leave lest there was no more space to walk on the moats.
I can’t believe I am so crap that I forgot that there had to be a Part VI to this tale. It is anyway too late now. Maybe the next time I return to Vedanthangal I will take more photos of monkeys to make a prologue and an epilogue.