Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Kingfisher Tales

Two weeks ago we drove up to Native Place early in the morning. We got there in good time and as usual I ran into the garden to see how it was getting along.   There had been a few drizzles and everything was green ad growing vigorously in the humid weather. The gardeners Anil and Eknath were quietly working on the slope above the veggie patch and I made my way towards them.  As I walked towards them I was greeted by an incessant scolding sound that seemed to be coming from high up in the trees. I spotted the familiar flash of blue immediately. ‘Now what’s her problem’? I thought. 

Then last week Anil showed me these tunnels bored into an unsightly bank of land that had been the result of overenthusiastic leveling of the slope to plant veggies last year. Big blunder it was and I cringed each time I laid my eyes on it praying for inspiration to help me disguise it.  Anil told me he had seen a kingfisher entering the tunnel and  beckoned me closer to listen to the sounds the chicks were making – I could see the scat at the entrance of the tunnel and as I leant forward. Once more on cue the kingfisher began to scold me for daring to go to close to the tunnel and I retreated not wanting to cause the poor mama any undue worry.

Kingfisher nest - Dont miss the white scat!

And then the penny dropped. Ah yes had read about this somewhere a while ago. Kingfishers make tunnels high on the mud banks of the river. They dig out the soft mud and lay their eggs there. Now this was by no means the lake or river bank but it did serve the kingfisher’s purpose.  Clever birds!!! They had found a suitable nesting place not even a hundred meters from the lake.  We were all delighted – to host the family of kingfishers but as far as mama bird was concerned she was not at all happy to have us lurking around. Hopefully she will get used to having us around – after all we do have vegetable plants to take care of. Until then we will have to tread lightly and put up with her rude calls. 

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