We went on a one day drive to the Ranganathittu bird sanctuary. And I was overwhelmed by its beauty, to say the least.
I penned down my experience in a poem. After all, what is better than nature and poetry?
So here you go.
As we entered the sanctuary, painted storks glided above us in the clouded sky,
and with our heads tilted towards the heavens,
we walked by the side of the muddy Kaveri,
to see flocks and flocks of white and grey birds just perched onto the canopies of the Arjuna and the Acacia on the islets.
The crisp air buzzed with their songs and shrieks,
though I couldn’t identify even one of those notes.
We gazed at the distant foliage to recognize the winged-ones,
but our eyes instead discovered three crocodiles who rested on the rocks with their powerful jaws wide open,
as if they were waiting for a fish to dive into their mouth.
Their stillness made us wonder if they were real or fake,
and then we saw one of them gracefully gliding into the coolness of the water,
alluring us to go behind him.
We hopped onto a boat,
to go closer to the wilderness,
and as our boat cruised the shallow waters of the Kaveri,
the grey cormorants and the white and big egrets flew around,
while the cattle egrets sat proudly,
flaunting their breasts and their golden heads.
Openbill storks huddled together on trees
that stood like umbrellas in the peaceful water.
Luckily we saw the pelicans from far,
for their throat was big enough to hold a human,
and the grey and pond herons and white ibises watched us from above,
along with a dark-grey cloud,
who also had a tiny one at its tail,
one moment they seemed still and the other they seemed to be moving fast,
as if the papa was teaching the infant to float
We rowed on and on and on,
passing by the chain of tiny islets,
sailing by hoards of trees stuffed with birds.
I wasn’t sure where to look,
as they all looked same,
peeking at us from their nests,
which had one or two or three grown-up birdies inside,
or spying from their seats on the branches.
But who said that they were all rule-abiding,
while some flew with leaves and twigs in their beaks,
others were months ahead in parenthood.
As I thought about their social rules,
we spotted a giant crocodile,
just resting on the edge of the islet,
and as our boat moved ahead in the water,
he descended into its muddiness.
Our boatman rowed,
and along swam the crocodile.
Crickets and cicadas buzzed in the foliage around,
a light breeze floated smoothly on the surface of the water
and set it into ripples,
ripples whose curves shimmered with daylight,
the wind bent the bamboos and in return, they shrieked,
and their leaves rustled as if a man somewhere played with his lover’s glass bangles.
This bubble of nature,
the gliding painted storks,
the accompanying cormorants,
the dull-pink storks’ babies waiting on the stone islands,
the pied kingfishers winging their zebra wings,
the koels cuckooing in the distance,
the swaying coconuts,
the peaceful pelicans and the white egrets in their big groups,
all tranced me into a fathomless world,
the world I had only dreamt about,
and then the clouds danced,
and their drizzle curtained us from all around.
The cool zephyr splashed the water into our faces,
and the hypotenuse-like rain soaked us.
Along with the rain, came a slanting painted stork,
who slowed down above her children,
then she fluttered her wings,
while her feet just hung from her body,
and then she wrapped her wings around her
and landed on her feet,
to be next to her little ones.
It was all in slow motion.
In that moment,
the raindrops caressed my cheeks,
and I closed my eyes
and felt one with the world.
I also perched on a bench under a bamboo grove, next to the Kaveri,
to pen down about the day,
the bamboos cracked as if they could have hit me any moment,
and the big red ants crawled on me,
as if asking me to go away from their abode,
or maybe welcoming me with love.
I was not sure
if the sun was set or not,
but the birds knew better,
for they chattered as they do before roosting.
The only chatter that I found worth listening to.
Close by, a group of college friends made tribal noises,
and I daydreamed about Africa or maybe Amazon,
while the Kaveri thrived with life in front.
The birds settled down on the old branches,
which must have felt like home.
I wondered if they returned to the same tree or to a different one every day,
or if they changed branches.
I hoped to figure out with time.
For then I had to return home,
I would go again to watch and listen,
to the baby storks who would be pink by the time,
and maybe I would be able to recognize a sound or two.
Until then, let those birds glide,
and paint the sky with their flight.
The photographs don’t do justice to the place as I didn’t have a big lens. I clicked all these photos by phone. I promise to get a better camera to give you a finer glimpse into my world.
We drove down to the sanctuary. The journey was about four hours long. The sanctuary had many restaurants, so food wouldn’t be a problem. Take a good camera and maybe a pair of binoculars, if you have one. The season to visit is from December to June. Migratory birds come in December and nesting begins from February. The sanctuary is around Kaveri and its islets. Amongst the many boat ride options, we opted for the special boat ride which was 40 minutes long, takes in about seven people, and goes further than the normal boat ride. We asked another family to join us so that we could share the price of the special boat (Rs 1500). Also, walk through the garden in the sanctuary and you would see beautiful flowers and fruit trees and smaller birds just perched on them.
Do you like watching birds? Let me know your favorite bird in comments.