Monday, December 5, 2011

I Went Birdwatching!

 Photo: Jan Peters
I went bird watching a month ago. That was because my flat mate, Jan , presented me a pair of fabulous binoculars. He is avid birder who wants to explore the birds of Indian subcontinent. Now I had an incentive too. I had to do a field trial of my new binoculars. What better place to do it than in the seraphic green wilderness?
I woke up in wee hours of a Sunday morning and drove some 50 kilometers to reach Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary. This was a bold move considering my knowledge of birds is that of an average non-birder.

It was a visual delight. The birds seemed to be sitting in front of my nose, dense green foliage in the backdrop, an errant branch waving with the breeze in the foreground. I saw birds do things that I never would have observed otherwise, so closely and minutely, saw their eyes move, their restless ease, tilting of head, fluttering of wings, wagging of tail in a greater clarity than the reality. Binoculars are a fantastic optical instrument.
I was bewildered by the sheer varieties and number of birds present in the pond. Scores of painted stork were sitting on the trees at the far end of the pond, was a sight of delight. A pied kingfisher made several nose dives to fish, albeit with no success. It did not give up. Last seen, was still hovering close to the surface of the water.  The greater spotted eagle was perched on top of the highest branch of the tallest tree to the birders’ delight. Their conversation, though, was claptrap for me. They have a language of their own which I don’t understand. 

I left the group for some solitary interaction with the surroundings. The fresh air, the mist of the early morning, the earthen smell, seeping of sunlight down from the dense foliage, it was a complete picture of serenity. 

Binoculars redefined everything I saw through it. The clarity of sight brought clarity in thought. I sent a message confessing something to someone that I had already made obvious. Saying is confirming, felt good. 

My cousin Anshuman would be happy to know about my tryst with birding. He tried to initiate me to it some ten years ago. My lack of knowledge of birds (that fly) is a big hindrance and must confess (birds make me confess, now I know), I am still not motivated enough to enhance my knowledge. I need few more trips to the wilderness where birds love to flock, with my wonder instrument—binoculars-- till such a visit becomes a periodic need.    

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