‘Look, Daddy, there are two birds walking’

With temperatures hitting 38 º C the last thing we needed was a power outage this afternoon. We don’t use air-con   but we do need fans. There was a loud pop outside followed by all appliances coming to an abrupt halt so we reckoned the problem wasn’t going to get fixed in a hurry.  We decided to pile into the truck and headed to the reservoir. A good move as there was a strong breeze there taking the edge off the heat.

I wasn’t expecting anything today, especially with two lively youngsters in the truck and an initial scan in the usual place drew a blank. I was happy to sit in the truck and wait and feel the breeze. Then Benny piped up:”Look Daddy there are two birds walking” And sure enough about twenty feet from the truck two Barred Buttonquail were slowly making their way across the road totally oblivious to us. What a brilliant spot for a five-year old! The quail put on a good show and we all got views of them with the black on their throats prominent and rufous bellies and rumps  So now Benny has another bird species name to add to his list. A brief spin around the area yielded four Small Pratincoles and an Indochinese Bushlark and in keeping with the quail theme I made out the call of at least two Rain Quail.

We took a drive to the water edge and I doubt I have ever seen so many Pheasant-tailedJacanas as there were here today. The males were starting to sport breeding plumes but only yellow napes were visible, with the exotic tail feathers mere smidgeons today. But loads. The reservoir must be an important breeding site for this species. Heaps of Little Cormorants strangely clustered on two mounds. For good measure a pair of female Pied Harriers were quartering the flats making a wonderful spectacle and a distant Osprey was also visible against the hills.

As we drove out of the area the ‘wood’ was being watered with two people present so I didn’t really expect to see anything but this in part explains the presence of the rubythroats and other birds in this spot. Further down the lane I stopped to look at a woodpecker in the gloom. It flew before I could get on it with the scope so I couldn’t say for sure what it was. I assume it was Fulvous-breasted but it seemed quite small. So some food for thought and something to come back for. We were able to d rive over the road which has been submerged for the last couple of years and crosses the middle of the reservoir. On the ‘other’ side we picked out some Oriental Skylarks always a nice bird to look at.

But what a memorable moment with Benny starting to emulate his mother in finding great birds. He already knows the names of quite a number of species. He can even call ‘Openbills’ and knows that ‘egrets’ are white;  he was confused however by the cattle egret’s rufous head and neck. But I am very encouraged by Benny taking an interest in birds and getting his eye in.

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