Thought I would go practice a bit of squash today, but after I put my shoes and racket into my backpack, I also picked up the camera, thinking it was early, and I could check out the oxidation tanks next to hall 8 before heading for the court.
En route, near the RA hostels, I saw the chap on the left sitting quietly on a roadside tree:
On entering the reservoir area, I didn't notice these pond herons on the walls going down to the water. They quickly flew to a boundary wall.
After some time, they went back to business.
They were very comfortable on the steeply angled walls, staring at the water intently and occasionally picking up a morsel. In fact, if I were a fish, the intensity of that beady gaze would be enough to do me in!
Meanwhile I saw what I think may be a pied bushchat, hovering in and out at the border of the tall grass beyond the fence. This was my first sighting of this otherwise not too uncommon species.
Then there was this other bird, similar in shape and behaviour, but more soberly coloured. I realized it was probably the female bushchat.
There was also this Indian Robin hopping around on the ground
I also noticed what looked like a Lesser Whitethroat in the grass. I had seen this bird a couple of years back, and Ramit Singal had helped me ID it, so this was also a good sighting for me.
And then this beautiful white-browed wagtail flew down to the edge of the water.
A bunch of collared doves were sunning themselves on a nearby tree:
At some point, three Little Grebes came in to the western tank. They were busily dabbling for goodies, remaining underwater for minutes and emerging quite far away.
A bit later, these two beautiful Black-winged Stilts flew in from somewhere and started foraging in the central tank. They would walk tentatively on their long legs - I realized the water was only about six inches deep - occasionally dipping in their elongated beaks and fetching up what looked like a weed but may have been a tadpole...
And then a somewhat different black-and-white wagtail - the White wagtail - showed up. This is a winter visitor from Siberia or China; it's a complex species with many "races" and I can't be sure whether this one is a dukhunensis or leucopsis or what.
Finally, I ran into this flock of Red-wattled Lapwings, relaxing at the border of the pond.
Finally, to set my mood right, there was this lone lapwing, contemplating the mysteries of life amid the reflections of the morning ...
It was almost nine AM, and other tasks beckoned. I never got to the squash courts. But I did sight 22 species between 7:30 and 9 AM, including two that were new for me!
So, on the whole, a morning well wasted!