Upon reaching the observation tower where I officially start my counts, I wasn’t overly enamored to see the same local who speaks zero English come up and expect me to let him look through the scope and my binocs (I’ve not been allowing anyone to look through my bins as accident avoidance…I don’t want to have to use my backup bins that I brought!). It is becoming a little bit annoying to have the same people, everyday, come up and emphatically say things in Tamil that I have zero comprehension of, and expect me to make some progress on the language. Call me the stereotypical ugly American if you want, but I really don’t have much use for Tamil and after I leave here in 3.5 weeks I will probably never meet another person who speaks it! Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about cultural expression and I need to work on my foreign languages, but for me that is Spanish, a language that I can use throughout 90% of central and south america not to mention Spain… Anyways, after I attempted the ignore him tact for about 10 minutes as I scanned the duck flocks (composed of species like these Spot-billed Ducks), I decided that I should just let him look through the scope (again) and hopefully he’d move on after that. I also hate to be rude to the local people who I’m seeing regularly who may end up helping me out if something happens… But yeah, I’d love to go one full morning out there without having to lower my scope for someone and wait the ten minutes it takes them to tire of it…
I waited longer than usual at this stop in an attempt to see and photograph the Greylag Goose again. The Bar-headed Goose flock arrived to roost later in the morning today (9:05AM) and they surprised me (again). I was scanning the distant acacias for raptors when I heard a honk and the geese were already half way across my field of view. I scanned the flock and relocated the Greylag and had better looks at it today, but by the time I got on the bird it was too distant for me to photograph.
The rest of the survey went well, and I’m enjoying playing with the zoom lens on this camera. Here’s a Blue-tailed Bee-eater that posed nicely for me this morning (on the left). Oddly enough, today was the first day since the start of the count that I didn’t record any of the migratory wagtails though (the resident White-browed were it).
I was the guest speaker this afternoon for grades 8-10 at the school. I threw together a little powerpoint with some pix of me and my family and gave them my background as they tried to absorb my accent. It went fairly well, many of the questions they had for me were a bit difficult to decipher though (Ex. How do you pick India? Or What Indian cultures you like?). I honestly just took the theme of most of the questions and did my own thing because getting the students to ask questions of the tall scary american man who talks funny was like pulling teeth!
Also, I had the not so fun experience of taking a dime-sized beetle up my left nostril this morning during my drive in to the sanctuary. Yes it barely fit, I’m just glad it wasn’t smaller or it wouldn’t have been stopped by my nose! Also had a near miss with a Blue-faced Malkoha (close relative of the old world cuckoos) this am…most have missed my face by an inch… The endemic bird is freaking awesome looking (best photo I’ve got on right), but I don’t think I would have enjoyed seeing one that close!