Wednesday, January 07, 2009

India Holiday - Thursday 1 January – New Years Day - Kumarakom

The in-resort noise of New Year lasted throughout the night, though this meant no bat fruit dropping incidents, so a half-way house. However the combination of beer and lack of sleep led to a later-than-planned start and we eventually decided against a backwater cruise, choosing instead another walk around the local reserve. Nothing much in the way of species to report other than I managed decent snaps of another female Asian Koel:

As well as my first picture of a Darter or ‘Snake Bird’:

Another walk around the resort on Thursday evening turned-up a pair of Loten’s Sunbirds:

And a new species, a Forest Wagtail, in an unusual coastal/lakeside location – typically this bird should only be found in the foothills or higher, but we really enjoyed seeing it preening in front of us:

As the large numbers of Cormorants headed to their roost I managed a decent flight shot, and was checking it out on the screen when a much bigger bird, with a white head and neck and all dark under-wing, abdomen, etc., flew overhead, too fast for me to capture through the gap in the trees. We subsequently identified this as a Woolly-necked Stork, hopefully it’ll be out on the water tomorrow morning.

The fruit bats, which we’d seen in large numbers at a distance in the reserve in the morning, decided to make a daylight visit to the resort, this one in particular stopping close by, as it landed and then hung in a tree on the resort. I walked underneath it and watched it twitch its nose and then alternate ears (very rapidly) which I presume was something to do with its sonar imaging:

One thing that bothers me about Water Scapes calling itself an Eco resort is how they treat the environment here. Sewage is flushed raw, the smell of the mid-day sun on the water near the restaurant can be really quite unpleasant. Also as you can see in the photo below, whilst they employ three people (or more) to collect fallen leaves from the accommodation area, the water in the sanctuary is awash with plastic bottles, plastic bags, sweet wrappers and all manner of other litter:

Perhaps if the management were more interested in the quality of the environment which is generating their employment and drawing the visitors in the first place things might improve. Also the fact that the resort is owned and operated by a state run enterprise, with the beer-only licence and the general decay being suffered across the resort, suggest it’s clearly not being invested in, with archaic systems, practices and procedures, frequent power-cuts and a general sense of ‘fray’. Having said that I would recommend a visit, though 48 hours is plenty.

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