Birdwatching in Laxmanpuri, Lucknow Journal 1
The pair of white breasted, rufous bottomed water hens came in the monsoons and have stayed with us since. Their home in the bamboo thicket overshadowing the rain canal is perfect. Watching their chicks strut on the bamboo cover is a privilege. I don’t see them around when the coukal cuckoo is out for a sunning session, or when bee-eaters dance in merriment catching the mosquitoes over the bamboos.
In fact, birds share time in the sun on the bamboo. Sunbirds, sparrows and bulbuls don’t seem to mind being around each other, so much. The tree pies come down to the electric wires and the bamboo only occasionally from their playground high up in the eucalyptus tree. Parrots come in dozens to the guava trees nearby and give the fruit-less bamboo as much as a breeze by flying low over it.
When I first saw the water hen on the bamboo, it was the first time I saw any water hen. I looked up picture books on birds, and found her looking out of the book ‘ Joys of Bird Watching’ published by National Book Trust. This is how I came to know the water hen. It is on foggy winter mornings that I see the family strutting over the bamboo. On sunny days, the coukal rules the roost. The coukal is quite vocal about its displeasure when other birds are in the vicinity.
When the peacock and peahens are around, other birds stay comfortable. They don’t mind sharing space. On a winter morning, it is easy to see them on the bamboo, my rooftop or the treetops, sunbathing and keeping watch.
The babblers visit can’t be missed. They are either very happy and chatty with each other or very quiet and seem to be on a secret mission as they finish off the bajra put out for them.
These birds live in Lucknow, Laxmanpuri, in the green boundary of HAL colony :)