It all began with a message post.
‘Soak in the historical atmosphere in the crisp morning air. The walk will begin at 6 am which will take you through the lush groves and magnificent buildings sporting the colonial architecture’.
I was hooked.
I reached the meeting point huffing and puffing and after the hellos was informed that the Heritage Walk had been hijacked by the Nature Walk Group. We were instead in for a bird watching treat .
More than two hours later , I raced home with new respect for the ornithologists and a list of things that I learned that day .
So here it goes :
1. The bird watching guide books are detailed, thick and heavy. Don’t grab it in enthusiasm. You will have to carry it for the next two hours and you may not refer to it at all .
You will instead be definitely standing on tip toes, craning to see the nondescript grey bird which looked very similar to the other six grey birds on the same page .
2. The handy dandy binoculars around your neck does not naturally zoom on to the target. Mother Nature knows her camouflage business well, which in this case can be a pain.
“Look! It’s right in front of you.”
“It has moved to 2 ‘o’clock position.”
“Count the third branch, above the second hollow, it’s a big yellow beak. You can see just the beak.”
“No! It’s the wing.”
Believe me that day ,the morning air was a buzz with helpful cries accompanied by vigorous pointing.
3. Time stands still while you are out with serious bird watchers . They are patient and will not be rushed in their quest. So the only option is to shuffle along behind them, straining to hear the bird calls.
4. Have the hearing of a bat to identify the bird calls so that you can face the right direction to spot them.
It doesn’t work if you are part of the excited bunch discussing how the heritage walk morphed into this birding walk and why Group Two was moving ahead faster than your group.
5. Brown feathers ? Check !
Long tail ? Check !
Eyes ? Same as the last !
The bottom ? This one is red !
Different bird altogether.
Attention to details and a common bird transforms into one with an exotic middle name. Also at close quarters, our ordinary feathered friends look magnificent.
Two hours later,I was neither a birding expert nor an enthusiast but I came way as a keen watcher . It’s indeed refreshing to discover our trees and rooftops are not empty, at least not yet .