Category Archives: Waterholes

Waterholes and Bird Watching

Waterholes and Bird Watching

This is a reproduction and with climate change taking considerable impact within  five (5) years it is worth reproducing, lest I miss the connections.
The waterhole is no more filled up with soil by developers of new kind and a vehicle that parked on the filled up earth got stuck this Saturday and they could not move it out.
I did come home by stroke of luck bit earlier (it was getting dark anyway) and with the help of two three wheeler drivers and more importantly a crowbar we manged to pull it up.
The vehicle was a brand new automatic (not a 4 wheeler by the way, and driver was a granddad who did not any idea what he was doing).
Yes, I sometimes become a good Samaritan.
The granddad was asking me to push which I did not till I got the problem pictured out and with a likely solution to go with it.
My wife who tried to help ended up with a mild asthmatic attack.
The lesson to learn is “do not help a guy/girl” who in the first instance made a wrong judgment in parking on a private piece of land without asking permission from the owner.
Waterholes and bird watching do not go hand in hand. I believe people frequent waterholes when they are fed with watching birds. But, the connection I have made with waterholes and bird watching is of a different kind.
There was unduly high activity of birds and bees (really there were no bees) in the neighbourhood, for me to venture into investigating this simple phenomenon was spontaneous. The reason of this high activity was the perennial (but infrequent) rain we experienced over the past year or so. There was no scarcity of water except at times when the Water Board decides to divert our water to Kandy Municipality and forgets to turn our pipeline on (to cater to the commercial needs disregarding our needs who live outside the municipality).
The birds that visited our neighbourhood included were Greater Coucal, Common Coucal (Crow Pheasant) and the Red-vented Bul Bul and the increase in number of crows (from two to four to be precise in two seasons).
The reason and the only reason the abundance of rain and water. The birds want survive without the unusually high insect activity and snail population (especially the Common Coucal) which was well supported by the rain. The butterflies and their numbers increased proportionately in the dry periods in between the rainy spells.
Why is this unusual congregation of wild life in our neighbourhood?
To my mind there are two reasons.
We happen to live on their migratory pathway is one reason.
The other was the little waterhole and the water purification unit that stand in front of our house. Birds frequent this place because of the abundance of water certainly, not for food.  I of course do not believe in feeding them because the constant threat for birds from domestic cats. It was on the other night we managed to rescue a King Fisher from a domestic cat. He had one piercing wound on the head and another through the wings and there was bleeding. I did not know how to manage an injured bird. Got my daughter to read something on first aid and advise me until I attended to TLC (tender loving care). Luckily we had a visitor who was a bird watcher and we decided to keep him till morning expecting its demise. Come morning he was still living and quickly handed over the bird to the Veterinary Hospital for necessary care. Quickly had a chat with the Professor (who unlike medical doctors visit the hospital even on Sundays and Poya days) and she assured me that the bird would be released in a few days.
An unusual happening on Saturday was worth a little film (discovery). I was amazed to see a crow chasing an eagle three times as big as itself. The cunning eagle was using the air current to float and the crow behind vigorously chasing behind the eagle was a fascinating site worth a documentary. The eagle floated himself above the clouds and the crow gave up probably with exhaustion and lack of oxygen in the higher stratum.
In a minute about six to ten crows gathered around the sky and signaled the impending danger to the mother bird and the event ended up peacefully.
The young Coucal
Perhaps he may have to wait for the next season for a mate. Crow population has not matured enough to support two young ones.
25th of July 2006