At Vedanthangal, we met Murugan, the Bird Tracker. He is a local who has been trained by the forest department to be a bird tracker. His combination of local knowledge and scientific ornithology is quite fascinating, and his keen eye was able to spot the single spoonbill out of a forest of herons and storks. He is constantly retrained, the latest sessions focussing on the avian flu and how to spot it.
He told us that this year was extremely good in terms of arrivals, though the painted storks had arrived very late – only on December 21st. That was why they were still incubating, while most other juveniles were already learning to fly. He also pointed out two newly hatched painted storks – the first of the season – to us.
Murugan also took out his spotting scope – a very powerful monocular that took us right into the farthest nests. We were able to see clearly the spoonbills as well as the painted stork chicks.
Stumbling upon Murugan was a stroke of luck. Like Natarajan in Top Slip, Murugan is a wonderful person to have with you while watching wildlife.
So, if you’re in Vedanthangal, ask for Murugan – he’s sure to add a lot to your visit!