Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Kerala Tales, Part Four

Birds of a feather, they flock in India.

Towards the end of our trip we took a rickshaw to the river about 20 km away and paid a lovely man about a fiver to punt us around the backwaters there. We felt stupidly touristy sitting on our plastic garden chairs like they were some sort of thrones, but our punting guide spoke brilliant English and talked us through every bird in every tree.

And there were a lot of trees...

This is a brown tern by the river bank.

And here's the ubiquitous Indian kingfisher - everywhere we went we saw flashes of blue as these small birds flashed through the palms.

Terns come in many shapes and sizes, apparently. This one is unusual though - a giant tern.

A cormorant drying its wings:

Another tern - this one's white flavoured...

And here's a sea eagle, a magnificent bird. At rest in a palm...

And in flight...

But the best wildlife spotting we did all holiday was one lazy afternoon by the hotel pool. The sky had become slightly overcast and it was getting late. R was in the pool talking to me, when suddenly his jaw dropped as he caught sight of something behind me.

What is that? It looks like some sort of teradactyl!

I turned and saw the back of large black and brown creature disappear into a papaya tree. At full extent, its wingspan stretched about four feet. It was a large fruit bat.

As it settled itself upside down among the unripe fruit, I pulled out my camera and tried to get a shot. The light was really tricky in the shadow of the tree, so I was on manual focus and exposure, fiddling with the settings, when the damn thing decided it was time to take to the skies once again.

I panned round and fired the shutter a few times, cursing the fact I was on manual focus, my fingers playing with the focus ring but knowing there was little chance of getting it right under these conditions.

But later, checking the display, I realised one shot was pretty near perfect. How's this for jammy?

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