The receding waters at Kabini expose a fair bit of islands across the river bed. These islands with their rich succulent grass strips are ideal breeding and nesting grounds for Terns, Pratincoles and other little birds like Wagtails. Cut off from mainland, these islands are out of reach of most predators and colonies of these birds roost on these strips, build nests, lay their eggs and raise their hatch lings.
However, there is one animal, which is not just an excellent long distance swimmer but a lover of fresh green grass. The massive elephants swim out to these islands to feast on the grass. While they are no direct threat to the birds, these huge herds inadvertently trample on hidden nests or eggs, often wiping out families of these little avians.
However, the avian s have learnt not to take this lying down. They gang up to drive out the invaders and we were privy to some awesome battles that played out last evening during the boat safari. A small herd of elephants, swimming out to one such island were feeding on the fresh grass, when a squadron of Terns, accompanied by Pratincoles began dive bombing on the elephants. Their attack was systematic. A tern wood swoop down, nibbling at the ear or the head of the elephant, and fly away, another one would be seconds behind repeating the same sequence. The consistent bombardment was just too much for the elephants to handle and they beat a hasty retreat back to land.
The Air Force had beaten back the Army's battle tanks fair and square. We were lucky to be at the right place at the right time.