Back from three glorious days in Nirmal, Adilabad. All birding trips are fun but this one was a right treat.
BSAP members were invited down there by Waheed saab, DFO, Nirmal division, a man I’ve written about once. Wonderful man. For this trip, we were supposed to stay at the Rest House in Nirmal with all urban comforts, and make short jaunts around for purposes of birding. But Waheed saab looked around at our expectant faces and came up with a plan: ‘Would you like to stay out in the forests for a night?’ Is the Verditer flycatcher beautiful?
So we went. Aaha, oho, what to tell you of the beauteous things that awaited… I will not start on birds here, but there was a lakeside, a tent, a fire and a thin sliver of yellow moon.
We don’t often realise it, looking up from well lit, polluted cities, but the sky is a glorious glittering, jewelled affair. To lie out on the rocks with binoculars pressed down on your spectacles, linking the stars to form impossible constellations leaves your mind rather forcibly widened.
We went walking through the forests at night. Dark it was as we scuffled over roots and leaves, avoiding forest trenches by thin beams of torchlight. The forest officers shone their powerful searchlights into the woods but there was not a neelgai or sambhar or even owl to be seen but it was enough to be able to walk in black silent forests. The pitch black was practically a new colour to us citified folk.
We came back by midnight to a fabulous meal arranged by the forest staffers: rice, yummy dal, tangy tamatar-aloo curry and chicken. We’d forgotten it was Christmas Eve but Rajeev Mathew hadn’t. He brought out this delicious plum cake that we devoured and compounded with bananas and enormous meetha paans.
During the small hours, the mist came off the lake like a beast and our tent was sodden. Morning brought the sun and a stork-billed kingfisher. Yes, life is good.