Sunday, May 10, 2009
Re-'Tern'ing to the backyard!
It had been almost 2 years since I had seen Black Bellied Tern in what is as the backyard for many of us - T G Halli. Since then on my several visits I had not seen them in that place. Of course terns migrate locally (local movement) and you will not find them there in the early winters or during the monsoons but in the mid and late summer they are likely to arrive at many of the water bodies around Bangalore.
On the first weekend of May when I along with couple of my friends (incidentally both were Prashanths! :)) went to visit T G Halli I was expecting some River Terns to be present along with some sub adults for which they were feeding from past couple of weeks which was beautifully photographed by Ganesh, Pramod and Shiv. I was thinking that those Terns might have been returned (Re-Terned?? :)) and I was crossing my fingers as to what is the surprise that is there this time!
The place dint fail this time as well! When myself and another of my friends Sriharsha Ganjam were looking for some opportunities, I spotted some Terns. They were looking like River Terns and were very far. Contended that they are around and we continued looking for some macro and other opportunities. As we slowly moved on, I noticed that there were a good number of Terns around and some exhibited a smaller size....and wait...some had Black Belly! 'oh! They are back' I thought! Claimed that they are Black Bellied Terns! Then the fun started. Self and Harsha, after unloading our bags started crawling on all fours. We took almost 30min to cover a distance of nearly 50mtrs! When I noticed, the birds were having brick red or maroonish colored bill and I was remembering Orangish bill for the Black Bellied terns. I went into doubt then. As I normally dont keep the field guide in my camera bag (which is already more than 10kg!) I had decided to check for it at home.
We both were quite close to them and enjoyed making some images. They also seem to have accepted our presence and kept on doing there part of work. It was a pleasure to watch them that day! Their plunging into the water for fishing was something which we will not forget easily.
As I put my bag on the rack at my room, I referred to the field guide and it announced that they are 'Whiskered Terns' which winter around almost whole of India. Their breeding grounds are in Kashmir and Northern parts of India and breed in the time of June - Sept.
Went to the same place on that Sunday as well and found them again in the tank.
Made some images of the Little Ringed Plover and for my another surprise saw a lone Stone Plover (Great Thick knee) as well!
But the highlight of the visit were the Whiskered Terns again...I think they will be around for some more days before they begin their long journey back to their backyards, where they breed!
It was a pleasure watching them!