Bird Races and Birding....

January 18, 2010

I had to cancel my trip to Chennai because of some unexpected (though with Murphy’s Law I ought to expect the unexpected!) developments with regard to the finishing up of the root canal….but I’m getting really busy with preparations for departure now, I am not finding the time for even proper email, can you beat that!

Oh well, here’s something I wrote about the

Bangalore Bird Race

that I participated in yesterday….

Our total was a very respectable 111 species (we actually left out two birds we had wanted id’d!) , and we are very happy! The top total was a staggering 150 species in a day! Shows what a diversity of birds exist within a 60-km radius of this city!

A few thoughts occurred to me when two of my NTP friends requested me to take them birding to Ragihalli….

When people started asking me to take them birding, my first thought was, “Oh, no, I’m a beginner myself!” And it’s then I tried to think out what I have learnt, and realized that yes, indeed I can take the absolute beginners birding, I can identify the very common birds.

The next thought was, “But what if they immediately spot birds which I can’t id, or haven’t seen before….?” And the answer to that was something that Karthik has told us many times…If you don’t know, say so…and go home and learn about it. So, in this sense, taking others birding could be the best learning exercise for me.

So, I’ve done a few trips (and one was, indeed, with a birder from Chennai, far more knowledgeable than I am!) and it’s been quite good so far! In fact, when some of them ask me, “How on earth did you see that bird? We could hardly see it even after you showed it to us!”…it takes me back to all the times (er, it occurs fairly often, even now) when I have said it to others…and I realize that when I am used to looking at, and for, certain birds, my spotting skills do improve with practice. So I try to look suitably knowledgeable…but wind up confessing that it’s just a matter of luck and sheer practice!

Teaching someone something is the most challenging and satisfying of things! Invariably, as I point out birds, I get new perspectives and insights from the friends I go with…I only wish I was half as confident about birding as I have been about teaching music or English….!