Monday, January 24, 2011

Of Birds, chimps and a lion

Like most 8 year olds my son Arnaav is also very enthusiastic and intrigued by the wildlife. Loves to watch the Animal Planet especially when the grandmother is eating food and lion on the screen tearing flesh. And when the grand mum  screams “please let me eat my dinner, change the channel” he gets vicarious pleasure in telling her “But Nani even the lion is eating his dinner…let him.” This friendly banter goes on…Anyway this is not what this is about. It is about a promise given and kept, the deal is that once during winter months we have to go to the Zoo and say hello to our animal friends.
This time this trip was with a twist, the twist being that India Habitat Center was organizing a walk with the Birder Shelia Chhabra at the Delhi Zoo. DSC01501 The husband had a thought-provoking question “why is the zoo called Chiriyaghar when it houses animals too and not just the birds?” Hmmm well the board at the entrance should rest his doubts it is also called Prani Udyog
We jumped at the idea and registered with the IHC. The slight hitch was getting up early in the morning on a Sunday and the major hitch the question by Arnaav “mumma but will we ONLY see the birds and NO Lion?” i had to convince him a bit and he decided to go with the flow; the walk i mean.
So the enthusiasts in us got up early, grabbed a sandwich and reached on time. Sheila is not only bird friendly she is also really children friendly. the kids took to her instantly; the parents were instructed to walk in a group behind and the kids with Sheila. DSC01503 Lining Up
Our first stop was a board which delineated the life cycle of different animals in captivity and in the wild, their gestation period, the weights of the males and females of the pack. DSC01520
After this interesting bit of info we took a different route that the eco friendly Tram at the zoo usually takes and landed at the place swarming with painted storks. Painted Storks These are the resident birds we were told and lord did they create a ruckus, the entire area was full of their sound and chatter but even that mayhem against the backdrop of a gorgeous blue sunny winter morning sounded good. Sheila was walking with a telescope that she set up at this area for the kids to see the nest of the storks with their little bundles of white fluffy babies in them. It was an amazing sight that the little downy chicks presented. The pelicansPelicans with their large pouched bills made for another interesting stop over.

From here we moved along to see other birds of varied feathers. Some other birds that we spotted were the jungle babblers, wagtails, spoon billed ducks, and the usual suspects parrots, pigeons and peacocks.DSC01546

The stop over at the Black Bear’s cave was really interesting too with a little one chipping in that “wow if they eat white ants/termite they are sooo useful to humans” another popular question by the kids was “Mam is this animal dangerous?” and this question was asked at almost all the stops. The Useful Bear

Bengal tiger, lion as the white tiger elicited the most excited response. The big feline family was looked at by most reverence and awe. One little one pestered his poor dad by asking him time and again “but papa why is the lion not roaring.” Royal Bengal Tiger
Lessons on conservation and captivity were nicely sugar coated by Sheila and imparted to the inquisitive minds. Arnaav heaved a sigh of relief that finally they did see the big cats.The White Tiger
At Giraffe’s area the keeper had just arrived and was readying the feed for an over hungry giraffe who nudged the keeper and was duly shunned by him.Mr. Giraffe Finally the food got laid and the long neck bent to munch the goodies. Some smart ones knew that giraffe had as much as neck bones as the humans did 7 in number and the ones that didn’t were suitably enlightened.
langurs provided maximum entertainment by jumping over ropes and hanging and swinging by the trees. Langur Couple The male and the female walked and strutted their stuff and the kids kept calling and whistling at them.
After this enchanting stop over and clicking of many pictures the battery of both my camera and my son ran out. The camera stopped clicking and the son started the tongue clicks that normally come before a tantrum. And before push came to shove we decided to say our Byes and Thank Yous.

1 comment:

  1. WONDERFUL!!! I could visualize myself part of the walk...without actually waking up soooo early in the morning;) ....very well written Anubha....looking forward to MORE:)))