I was travelling by the MRTS in Chennai from Beach to Velachery. After Tiruvanmiyur the crowd in the train became sparse and I went to the door. Holding the centre bar, I stood at the entrance and feeling the wind blow against the face is a fabulous feeling. Just then as soon as I crossed Taramani Station, I saw this huge waterbody. Well, that’s nothing unusual. What’s unusual is the fauna, not the flora.
I saw these huge birds happily floating even in the day time heat of Chennai summer. This water body extended till the next station – Perungudi. Unfortunately there was no way I could jump out of the running train. But I had made up my mind, I had to be there sooner or later just to watch the birds that floated by.
That day came pretty sooner. Me, my cam and my bike – we were off to this lake. I enquired in the way about the whereabouts of Perungudi Station. I reached there a bit later than 10:00 and I was so doubtful whether I would be able to spot some birds, though I did spot them in broad daylight the other day. In Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, the birds just wouldn’t come out in heated up atmosphere. The birds there had to be spotted only at dawn and dusk. But here I was so taken aback to look at the huge birds so comfortably at 10:15 sunlight.
Yes, the locals did look at me like they would look at a reporter or journalist, but I’ve become so used to it these days.
The birds I spotted here were Pelicans, Darters, Small Egrets, and Little Cormorants.
Pelicans were huge in numbers. There were so too many of them. They are bigger when compared to ducks, but have similar webbed feet. Their bills are huge as well and they have a baggy elastic pouch below their bills. I looked at how awesome they caught their fishes. As they flew, they descended down in full speed and caught the fishes along with the water, which they carried in the elastic pouch below their bills. It somehow reminded me of one of the last few scenes of Finding Nemo, when Nemo was rescued by Nigel. Yeah, that’s the right way I related to it. Nigel was indeed a Pelican. It was a relish to the eyes, to see the fish through the transparent pouch!!! I was amazed, beyond description by words!!!!!
It was so astonishing for me to see them fly with such an ease, keeping in mind their size. Lemme tell you a secret about them. Pelicans have amazingly light weighted bones, which makes this feat possible.
Their wings were large and to see them in flight was definitely a visual treat. I caught a few shots as they were floating by, but I wanted to take a few shots of the birds in flight. Some patience and some reflexes and yeah, I was lucky enough to get a few shots like that.
Darters on the other hand are pretty small birds, black in color, with an unusually long and slender neck. Unlike the other water birds, Darters keep their body partially or sometimes completely under water. So only the snake head is seen above. In Tamizh, this bird is called Paambu Thaara, which literally means Snake Bird.
Little Cormorants are nothing but a relative of our own crows. A bit bigger in size than our house crows, these are essentially water birds.
Little Egrets are a bit different from the common egrets / cattle egrets that we usually spot in villages. Unlike the cattle egrets, the Little egrets are white (cattle egrets are a bit yellowish), and only their feet is yellow and rest of the legs are black (cattle egrets have black limbs).
I was more than lucky to get this shot of an egret with a fish in its beak!!!
I was more than happy to spot so many birds at the same time after so so so long. I think Vedanthangal was the only place earlier where I saw so many birds together. But here in an absolute city atmosphere surrounded by MRTS, IT Highway, et all, I was more than glad at the gift and took my ride back home!!!
TO REACH THERE:
In Chennai, Tamil Nadu
By Rail: Located between the MRTS Stations Perungudi and Taramani
By Road: The small lane opp. to TCS in the Taramani 100ft road (Velachery-Taramani Road) leads to the Perungudi Station. Locals would be more than happy to help you identify which small lane is to be taken. The nearest bus stop is Taramani.
Best time for Bird Watching: Nov-Feb esp. Dawn & Dusk