Birds on the run…

Crested lark

Birds … busy bees… forever restive yet surprisingly gallant at times… singing to beckon or wailing out alarms… never a dull moment in the avifaunal kingdom… thus one tries to kill the tediousness of doing lap after lap around this wide-open field lying amidst a slew of real estate projects in various stages of completion… it has been more than 4 years of pounding this terra firma, now an indispensable part of my daily running route… the only patch of a somewhat long unkempt trail that I can find to escape from the punishment meted out by all the concrete and camber of the road… the mile and a quarter that is this loop is a life saver, especially on longer runs of 18-20 miles, but with the physical reprieve comes the mental monotony… a visual fatigue that one feels and ignores knowing that it’ll slip into the subconscious after a while…

The birds fit in somewhere between the random trains of thought and a sonic awareness that moves from the sounds of vehicles of those of nature… and many a time they are the ones driving these trains of thought… one can only run long here during winters and monsoons for otherwise the sun is too harsh, and while the former is kind of maligned by the dreaded smog, the rains are a delight… the dusty brown field becomes a tapestry of green and almost a wetland as one pieces together a dry course… Prosopis juliflora goes about rampantly as usual although younger plants are now being manually uprooted and dried to control the invasion… cattle graze here in the afternoon but mornings I usually have the place to myself, the ground too soggy for folks who come to play cricket…  

Moving on to the birds then, red-wattled lapwings are dime a dozen and loud, mostly because they nest here, rather lamely one must say with little or no camouflage… they do become irritating at times, and I often mumble ‘I bloody well didn’t’ to their ‘Did he do it?’… frustrated at their indignation despite taking care not to venture near any potential nesting site… but ‘tis good to see a yellow-wattled lapwing once in a while, much quieter and reserved… then there’s crested larks whom I usually send about currying out of bushes, unintentional but unavoidable too… to the heartbeat of the lark or the lark in my heartbeat… Josh Ritter’s cosy little tune starts playing in my head as soon as I see them… ashy-crowned sparrow larks are not amused either, digging the ground furiously to vent out the anger of being chased around uselessly…

The pipit, running around in its usual busy demeanour, seems to mock me, jogging along for a while and then taking off only to land a few meters away, a taunting catch-me-if-you-can, disappointed to realize after a while that I’m only interested in catching up on the mileage… the plain prinia is too small and too swift, only making a brief impression while flying across or taking up a momentary perch…

Red-naped ibis is the largest bird to forage these fields, and reminds me of the connections these birds have with dinosaurs, hearing their shrill, rather unmelodious calls, reinforces the thought even further… they’re kind of demure though, and a little game I play is to gauge the minimum distance I can keep from them so that they don’t fly off… the hoopoe is also quite reticent despite the striking plumage, no egos there, one makes a mental note…  brown rock chats flit about gesticulating with their tails, exploring thorny bushes and trees…

One is too tired to look around the trees while racking up the miles but there’s a lot more on offers, bee-eaters and silverbills, drongoes and koels… the sprinters that are the francolins, sparking a mutual spook as they scurry out of the bushes… provided the weather is congenial, I spend anywhere between ninety minutes to a couple of hours exhausting myself here… back on to the road, content with the fact that the long ordeal of the long run is almost over, one plans to come back in the evening with a camera and set off on another kind of a chase…

Birds of India - Yellow-wattled lapwing
 Yellow-wattled lapwing


Crested lark
Crested lark


Birds of India - Ashy-crowned sparrow lark
Ashy-crowned sparrow lark


Birds of India - Paddyfield pipit
Paddyfield pipit


Birds of India - Plain prinia
Plain prinia


Birds of India - Red-naped ibis
Red-naped ibis


Common hoopoe
Common hoopoe


Birds on India - Brown rock chat
Brown rock chat

Musing on the ponder over birds while running, Noida, Uttar Pradesh

Author: Parth Joshi

Mountain lover ⛰️ | Hiker 🥾| Runner 🏃‍♂️ | Cyclist 🚴 | Photographer 📷... allured by the outdoors, the author is a quintessential lost soul craving nature while suffering in a desk job...

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