Friday, January 6, 2012

The fearless River Tern

We saw a pair of river terns perched on a bare stone jutting out of the river. I thought them quite fearless - despite our boat pulling up really close, they did not move a wing, but continued to stare back at us. The boatman said that they laid their eggs in the crevices of the very stone block they were sitting on.
Salim Ali's "The book of Indian birds" had quite a few interesting facts about these terns. The glossy black feathers on the top of their heads apparently turn a greyish colour in winter. Fascinating isnt it? Also their tail, which wasn't quite visible at all is deeply forked, much like the swallow. And most of curious of all, for despite their name, I did not take them to be a water loving bird at all, they apparently dive into the water in search of food and can stay submerged for quite some time, resurfacing with a fish between their beaks. That would be quite the sight, wouldn't it. We did see quite a few birds 'fishing' but the river tern sat on, on dry land, and flew away when they had had its share of staring at the tourists.

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