This was just plain luck. The Rajasthan road trip that we went in Oct 2012 was supposed to be royal – restricted to forts and palaces only. After sight-seeing in Bikaner, we were on our way to Jaisalmer. I just asked our driver if the sambar lake or any other lake was on the way, ’cause I wanted to see flamingos. He told me that there was a village, very close to the highway, were we could see kurjas. I had no clue as to what they were. So we took a left near Phalodi. Just couldn’t believe my eyes that I could see hundreds of them flying in the v shape, some of them still eating the grains offered by the villagers. This was around 10.30 am in the morning. Wonder what it would have been in the early morning; yet, what a beautiful sight it was! I was travelling light and so had only 18-200mm lens on me. Here are a couple of shots –
Admire the way that the villagers take care of these birds which have flown away all the way from Siberia to escape the cold. They feed them with grains twice a day. Maybe that is why the flock size has increased over the years. One of the villagers that was talking to us, told that he had to fight a court case – the electricity department had charged him 4 lakhs for moving the support pole!
The area around Bikaner gets minimal rain and for them to share their grains with these birds certainly needs a big heart! Fortunately, this year, they had some good showers!
Next time if you are in and around Bikaner, please make it a point to stop by. I was told very few from Bangalore visit them. Couldn’t wait and watch the cranes since we were pressed for time.
Next encounter with them was in the Bishnoi village. Here are a couple of pictures taken at the Bishnoi village (wish I had carried my 100-400mm lens)
I am not a birder at all and I will admit that I can identify only a few Indian birds. Nevertheless, as a lover of nature, I can say that both the encounters were such an unexpected treat!