Sometime back our friend R had asked me to organize a talk on bird watching for the kids at Headstart, the Montessori school that he runs in Koramangala. I posted on bngbirds for a volunteer and got a few responses. Finally, last week, Jayanth Sharma, who is a fantastic wildlife photographer (download his amazing multimedia presentation on Ladakh), went to Headstart for an interactive session with the kids, which went off really well. The next morning, he took them to Lalbagh for a birdwatching walk, and I joined in to help out as assistant birder.
When I arrived at 6:30 AM, the kids were already lined up and raring to go. We pointed out the ubiquitous mynahs and black kites to them while their teachers lined them up and split them into two manageable sized groups. Jayanth had already impressed them enough with his knowledge and his gadgets, and I could see that they were desperate to be picked into his group! One little girl asked me if I had a walkie-talkie, and when I replied in the negative, declared that it was absolutely essential to have one for birdwatching!
Regardless, we had a nice time on the walk. My lone pair of binoculars were woefully inadequate and I found myself wishing I had borrowed some extra pairs from friends. We spotted a number of birds around the lake including white breasted water hen, purple heron and a spot-billed pelican that came extremely close to the shore. We saw little cormorants drying their wings, and the children immediately asked why they should do that, considering that they were going to dive right back into the water anyway! One boy was relating stories of puffins that he saw in Alaska! Another claimed he had seen eagles in B.R.Hills. These children sure were incredibly self-assured and full of ideas and energy.
We got back to the glass house in due course, and met the other group which was already back. Jayanth was furiously signing autographs for the kids in his group, was nice to see that they’d found a cool role model! Some of the girls wanted my autograph and phone number, and one cute little girl hung on to my arm through the photo session. I soon took my leave as I had to rush to the office, but it was a lovely morning well spent. You can read about what Jayanth thought of the session here. Yesterday the kids sent us some lovely hand painted thank you cards, which really made my day!