Bold and the beautiful -Small Pratincole (Glareola lactea)   Leave a comment

Small Pratincole_sRGB_compressed

There are birds that fly away at the slightest of disturbances and then there are birds that let you come very close. This braveheart – all of around 15 cm in length, stood its ground as our coracle approached. Its perch, on a rocky ledge, in the middle of Cauvery river, remained unconquered as we eventually turned back.

It was also my first ride in a coracle, which is a small circular boat made of interwoven strips of bamboo. The boatman sits on a stool, at one end, and navigates the coracle with a wooden oar. The propulsion is noise-less as it essentially uses water currents. Its a very handy vehicle for birding, as birds don’t necessarily feel threatened by its presence. However, one needs to deal with the rotation of the coracle. At times -sometimes at critical junctures, when the subject has just come in focus, you may find yourself spinning !

I even managed to coax my wife and my kids to get onto the fragile looking coracle. It was by and large smooth sailing on the gentle waters of the Cauvery, with the occasional crocodile gliding past us, once in a while.

Galibore is around 100 km from Bangalore and easily accessible, except for the last stretch of around 10 km. The final leg takes one through the Cauvery wildlife sanctuary. The road is pretty bad but, if one is lucky, one can sight jackals, owls, grizzled squirrels and grey headed fish eagles, along this stretch. This time around we saw a pair of jackals and that essentially made the trip memorable even before we reached our destination. Hoping to go there again, before the migratory season ends and the beautiful Pranticoles fly away.

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