I just got back from India, still a bit jet-lagged, but I wanted to start writing about some of my experiences. Bird info to start off.
On the way to the airport:
As we were starting out on our drive from Iowa City to the Des Moines airport (about a 2 hour drive), just before we get on the interstate, I thought to myself how nice it would be see one cool bird, and how that would be a good sign about the trip. Well, we ended up seeing 25 hawks–almost all sitting in trees looking out along the highway, an owl (this is mid morning, also sitting in a tree, but looking away from the road), and 5 bald eagles–two were sitting in trees, but then as we got close to the airport we saw 3 flying (a pair of juveniles and 1 flying off in the distance). I have never seen so many birds so close-up in such a short period of time–needless to say, I was very excited, and took it as a good sign!
After we got done doing our flying (at least 20 hours of interminable night on the way there) we road in a bus to Nikora (very small town on the Narmada river). All along the way we saw many, many white cranes, which are just beautiful, very pristine in contrast to the dusty, organic scenery.
When we got to Nikora the cranes disappeared and instead there were many crows and magpies. One magpie flew so close to my head that I could feel it–they definitely weren’t shy. And, last but not least…swallows! Where there is water, bugs, a cliff and heat there will be swallows. With the huge river (bigger than the Mississippi at its low point) and a global warming winter–80’s and 90’s–they were plentiful. I actually thought I was seeing the male and female of one type of swallow, but I later found out that there were actually two types of swallows, a nice long forked tail and a more standard shorter tail. (I do have some pictures of the swallows, which will find themselves up on the blog in a week or so, when my new computer comes to town and I can upload pics again. Very much looking forward to that!)
With the birds alone I was pretty much in heaven–and that was just the tip of the iceberg.