A good many types of birds regularly frequent in the fields of our village. Many of them are permanent residents of this place. Some are short distance migratory birds. And in many other cases they come here migrating from a large distances.
Myna, Pied Starling, Dove, Babbler are those that come in the group of the permanent residents. Yellow wattled Lapwing, Blue tailed Bee-eater, Jacobin Cuckoo and some such other birds migrates from a short distances. There are some fascinating names among the large distance migratory birds; such as, Sandpiper, Wagtail, Redstart, Flycatcher etc.
Among these the Yellow wattled Lapwings use to arrive by the end of April. And they stay here till the end of November. This I am telling from my past three years’ of observations. They generally stay in groups of 8 to 10 in number. Earlier I noticed two to three sub adults in each group in the end of April. But I have been surprised to see a number of sub-adults in their groups during the mid July. This means that they are now feeling free to breed in the fields of our village.
I have heard of their mating a number of times; but never saw that with my own eyes. They lay their eggs in the ground only. And, as such, they do not build any nest. They lay eggs somewhere in some low depressions in the ground itself. It camoflages so intricately with blades of grasses and lumps of clays that one can hardly notice it from outside.
Previously I had a strong intention to document the nesting ecology of the ground dwellers like them with pictures. But I discovered that whenever I tried to do that, the nest becomes marked by the other local people. Many cultivators go on moving here and there in the fields here all the time. Some of them steal the eggs and eat them. They enjoy this opportunity of coming across eggs of wild birds. Don’t know whether they do this out of poverty or of something else. That is why I have grown a strong feeling of disinterest mixed with apprehension for photographing those nests.
I watch the sub adults for a long period of time during my weekend-birding. They are precious to all of us. The innocent faces of the chicks reminds me of the hurdles that they would face in their lives to survive. I muse on their tough risks to endure the hardships of their lives and on their course of quickly adapting to the harsh environment of the tough outside world; I forget to click my shutter. They stroll here and there, look for morsels of food with their heads towards the ground and sometimes sit with their knees folded and take rest peacefully. And I watch them hour after hours.
In the meantime I noticed that a sub adult suddenly stopped for a moment while walking.