It took us 40 minutes to reach the far end of the lake, where I will start each morning so the sun is at my back (facilitating much better views and counts of the waterbirds that are present). Relton went over the survey method which consists of splitting the ~285 hectare lake into four sections and spending approximately 30 minutes observing and recording the numbers of each species of bird in each section. There is another smaller lake that is on my way from Pullambadi to Karaivetti Wildlife Sanctuary that I will also be surveying.
After visiting these two lakes, Relton and I were both left asking; Where are all the ducks?
Today when Relton and I went to scout the area we were both surprised by the lack of ducks that were present. When I was here last January the lake was literally covered in ducks with a large number of them being diving ducks like Tufted Duck and Common Pochard. Today not only were there very few birds (~400) but there wasn’t a single diving duck present. Large numbers were present just three weeks ago when Relton was last here, so where all of these birds have disappeared to is a mystery. Perhaps they have already left headed north for their breeding grounds in Siberia and
I spent the rest of the afternoon revising the old checklist for Karaivetti with new species names and checking for holes in the list (I found three regularly occurring species from the morning that weren’t even on the list for the site yet!). Around 5PM after the mid-afternoon tea, I played some cricket with some of the boys from the school. I must say that the pitch could be in better shape, but some of these kids are really pretty good! At about 6:15PM I decided to check out some local reedbeds and small ponds that Relton told me could harbor rails and bittern. I had quite the entourage by the time I got to the rice paddy bunt. My shoes and feet stayed mud free for a whole four minutes before the inevitable just couldn’t be put off anymore. Due to the size and noise created by my group of enthusiastic young friends, I saw almost nothing during the hour walk, but I know how to get to the ponds on my own now, so it served a good purpose. I also was able to see a few things despite the noise and saw Ashy Prinia, and my first ever Jack Snipe.
Today was the first day I didn't take a nap in the afternoon in an effort to force my body into total adjustment into the time zone here. That fact coupled with the early wake-up and abudance of sun today has me currently exhausted. Tomorrow is my first day of actual surveying and driving out there on my own in the morning. I'll try to get some more action pix too...