Passing one other horse cart loaded with plastic barrels of drinkable water… Effectively trotted filth street winds by the open savanna with low thorny acacias and dry, flattened grass within the district of Kutch, Gujarat (India). The blueness of the January sky is being damaged by quite a few and noisy flocks of wintering Frequent Cranes.
In entrance of us is an countless mud bar with a Western Reef Egret and a Frequent Greenshank. The street now follows the dyke with a Crested Lark on it. One other water loaded cart, this one being pulled by two zebu oxen. I go away acacias behind and enter the village, at first raised on low concrete platforms, barely half a meter above the tidal mud flat.
And the village consists of tents, a whole lot of tents product of jute, behind the horizontal stick fences. The entire village smells of fish – its raison d’etre. One goat is feeding on fish hanging to dry alongside the sticks. There’s not a single tree in your entire village. The street winds among the many homesteads enveloped in a thick and salty scent of sun-drying fish, by kids playfully chasing one another subsequent to muddy puddles and long-drop loos within the form of separate tents… One other cart, this time an ass cart loaded with an enormous fishing web and – the tip.
The top of the street. The top of the village. The top of the World. In entrance of us is an unlimited mudflat and, on the far horizon, the ocean.
The Arabian Sea. Between the ocean and the village, on now dry tidal flats, gulls and egrets are wandering among the many fishing boats mendacity on their sides and ready for the tide. India being one of many facilities of the ship breaking business, chopping the hulls aside for scrap recycling, these boats have unusual names and even stranger ports of registration. The one in entrance of me is registered in Panama. All of them are former life boats, tailored into fishing boats and now ready for the tide.
Surrounded by a bunch of shy, laughing, curious and, I need to add, nicely behaved kids, I scan the flats. What is that this unusual foreigner doing of their jute village?
Certainly, what am I in search of? A Crab-plover. An uncommon white-and-black lapwing sized wader that’s purported to be pushed nearer to the village with the method of a excessive tide. Evidently I used to be misinformed in regards to the excessive tide time, anticipating it at 1 pm. I come right here two hours forward, searched the flats with out success, than visited a close-by Bhadreswar Jain Temple, giving the tide some extra time, however as soon as again within the village, the Arabian Sea was not any nearer than earlier than.
Looking the lengthy seaside, far-away boats and amongst them, some white spots: Heuglin’s Gulls, Gull-billed Terns… Not a hint of a Crab-plover, which is understood to be cautious and vulnerable to take flight at a distance. Strolling alongside the seaside, scanning sometimes: tents, gulls, fish, canines, asses, fishermen and so forth. No Crab-plovers.
I’ve by no means seen this plover and it’s already an outdated fascination, courting from the time after I used to reside on the fringe of the Kalahari Desert. The closest seas had been 1000 kilometers to the east and 1500 to the west, after I noticed a Crab-plover on the entrance of the Africa Birds & Birding journal, photographed on some seaside in Mozambique. And I advised my information, Chirag Solanki, that I’ve wished to see it ever since! He nodded the Indian fashion and bravely mentioned: “It’s attainable.”
And right here we’re, on a seaside and not using a sea, inhaling the sturdy scent of a salted fish and scanning a minimum of a kilometer extensive mud flat. Chiku raises a fist and smiles victoriously. I come nearer; he’s displaying some very far-away white spots. “Are you positive,” I ask suspiciously. “Not solely, however I feel they’re.” I’m observing the white spots, pondering how I can’t inform them aside. What to put in writing in my pocket book? “White spots at a distance?”
After which the white spots began shifting, strolling… one prolong its lengthy neck and turns right into a Nice Egret. The opposite lowers its black head and neck, changing into a Black-headed (Oriental) Ibis. Not even near a Crab-plover (was Chiku making an attempt to cheer me up?). This manner or that means, I haven’t discovered my plover.
However, as I as soon as loosely quoted Ulrich Gregor and Enno Patalas’s ebook “Geschichte des Movies” (Historical past of Movies), it isn’t in regards to the success of the try, however the try hides a deeper that means in itself. Maybe the that means is hidden within the village on the finish of the World, between the land and the ocean? Or my subsequent vacation spot needs to be that seaside in Mozambique (tourism officers of Mozambique, I positive hope you do learn my weblog)?
Probably the most charming lodging within the space is out there on the tented Seaside Camp, contained in the 450-acre backyard at Vijay Vilas Palace close to Mandvi. Regardless of not being well known as a birding space, the seaside (gulls and waders), the Camp and the Palace Gardens (songbirds) and the encircling space provide some good birds (if you happen to don’t thoughts listening the cranes honking at night time from a snug mattress in your spacious tent).
Pictures copyright © Dusanka Stokovic Simic & Dragan Simic
Discover the later phases of the identical tour right here:
Naliya – the Great Indian Bustard
Nakhatrana – the Grey Hypocolius