peaceful coexistence, an Indian snapshot

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Subject: peaceful coexistence, an Indian snapshot
From: Willem Jan Marinus Vader <>
Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2016 10:06:05 +0000
I am just back from a very successful Sunbird trip to Gujarat in western India. 
This state sports a completely flat landscape, mostly agricultural, with cotton 
and Ricinus the most important crops. There were, however, also many fields 
that were recently harvested and now plowed and made ready for the next crop. 
The area is very dry and almost semi-desert many places and irrigation plays an 
important role in agriculture; we were seldom out of earshot of the many pumps 
pumping up water from the  many, often somewhat saline (lots of flamingos 
everywhere) pools and lakes.  The fields were made ready for the irrigation by 
an ingenious network of shallow ditches, and it was often here that the people 
were at work, directing the stream of water.
And it was wonderful to see how many birds had taken advantage of this chance 
and kept themselves close to the workers, often within 2 meters. Yellow 
Wagtails patrolled along the ditches, Black Drongos (extremely opportunistic 
birds, also often seen on the back of cows and goats, and even on the offal at 
a slaughter house) hovered above and dived for juicy morcels, and Cattle Egrets 
stalked around and clearly also found a lot to eat. Unfortunately I was too far 
away to be able to see exactly what the birds fed on.
These fields otherwise held the ubiquitous Rock Pigeons, flocks of Greater 
Short-toed Larks and here and there Desert Wagtails on sticks or small bushes. 
But the picture of peaceful coexistence between the workers and their entourage 
of three different species of birds will stick longest in my mind.

Wim Vader, Tromsø, Norway

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