On one morning we were taken on a canoe ride on the Denwa River. The canoes are made of fibre-glass, each seats two people and is manned by local fishermen who now work for the Satpura Forest Reserve. They are well versed with all the birds residing in the area. It is heartening to see so many local people employed in the reserve as they are in sync with the flora, fauna and the weather!! The pride and ownership that comes with being local, is something special.
The canoe is rowed gently along the river bank and one can get up close without disturbing the birds on the small islands that dot the river. We were able to see plenty of River Terns, Small Terns, Wood Sandpipers, Temminck’s Stints and Black-winged Stilts. There were Kentish Plovers and Little Ringed Plovers pecking along the island edges. There was a bunch of Ruddy Shelducks taking off and landing at will!
The highlight of our canoe ride was the sighting of Indian Skimmers. The bird has the most odd shaped beak with the lower mandible being longer than the upper one. This helps the bird skim the surface of the water and scoop up the fish! We saw a lovely exchange of fish-feed between two Skimmers.
Along the bank of one of the islands, we suddenly spotted a Thick-knee. It was in big hurry, quickly ran up the island and onto the other side, giving us just enough time to take a few pictures! We stopped on one of the islands to have a warm cup of tea with stuffed paranthas. On our return, the boatman pointed to a little bird moving about all by itself.….it was the Small Pratincole.