My Travel with Birds of a feather

It was Day 2 of our ride through East-West Godavari. We were in fact headed for a dear friend’s wedding in the West. That as reason enough to head out on our loyal motorcycles from our hometown Visakhapatnam.

We had a simple itinerary and had plans to visit Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary, as it was en-route. We were expecting a very minimal turnout of birds here, as we were disappointed with our visit to Kolleru just few weeks before. The number of birds, and also the variety of species has greatly dwindled there, probably due to the illegal fish ponds and encroachments. However, at Coringa, we were in for one surprise after another, and we spotted nearly 10 new species of birds, we had never recorded earlier. It was by all means an extremely satisfying visit. Coringa is a must visit for bird lovers. The only disadvantage is that the sanctuary opens only after 9:00 AM, so the best time to visit it is after 3:00 PM.

Anyways, after that extremely satisfying trip, we set out next day from Yanam towards Amalapuram, Narsapur towards our friend’s village near Pallakollu. By the time we were near the our friend’s village, it was nearly 5 pm. And just when we zipped past a tiny rice mill go-down, Vivek, pillion riding, jumped up and screamed as if I had just hit someone. I hastily stopped and was about to shout back at him, when he screamed “50 parrots sitting in one place”. We turned back and headed back to the spot, when we got to see this amazing picture of not 50 but nearly 100 or more parrots, perched up on rice bags, and feeding. It was a sight to behold. From afar, it appeared as if the rice bags were covered with leaves. The nearer we got, the louder the cackling got. They were having a field time. There were mill workers nearby, but none of them shoo’ed away the birds. That was even more heart warming to watch. It also shows that there are compassionate people and maybe people who still revere parrots (Hindu mythology states parrots as auspicious and holy).

I could barely sustain myself. I was jumping around and ran off with the camera to get as close as I could to the birds. I had a tough time, because there were too many birds doing too many things. Alexandarine Parakeets, Rose ringed parakeets, pigeons, were present in plenty. Each one different from the other, in plumage and appearance. Some of them, busy pecking at the bags, while some were cozying up on the nearby coconut trees. Some of them hanging upside down on the coconut leaves, while some having an evening chat perched on the nearby power cables. Someone or something disturbed them and then all of the parrots took flight. It was a sight to behold.

In the background were lush green paddy fields and the foreground now was hundreds of parrots in flight. The sun was behind us and the colors we saw are indescribable in words. After about 45 minutes, we were reminded of time, by the constant calls from one of our co-travelers, who was left stranded a little ahead. We had to bid adieu to the lovely sight, one which we never grew tired of, for it is rarely we find such scenes of hundreds of birds in a flock. In the days of the restless and fast, it reminded me that it’s great to take a break now and then, sit back and enjoy nature at its work. Such sights are going to be a rarity if we do not take actions towards protecting them, and consequently us, humans.

Let the birds of freedom, fly free, in the winds, non-contaminated with the selfishness of humans.

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