We rose before the sun to meet Senthil already waiting for us. We picked up Gokul and Shakti and were off for a second day’s birdwatching. With the horizon about to dip towards the sun, there was enough light to finally see the road we had already taken twice the previous night. The road ran next to the sea, and a series of small bays cut into the shoreward side. The place looked misty and overcast. Birds clearly rise before cows, as you can see in the photo here. The mynahs were chirpy and active while the cows still behaved as if they were waiting for their morning cup of coffee.
At this time of the day one could see a lot of water birds near the shore. After the brief sunny spell at sunrise, clouds had started to gather. The tall trees that you see in this photo were full of birds, but in the gloomy light they were difficult to photograph. Among the common birds of the Andaman is a lovely red-collared dove. With its red sandstone coloured body, it looks exactly like the doves one sees in the forts and palaces of north India. But when it turns a profile to you, the bright red band of feathers circling its neck can be seen easily. There were flocks of them fluttering about in the landward bushes. This was our first view of these lovely birds.
Ethnic Bengalis and Tamils predominate on the islands, and everyone seems to speak Hindi as a matter of course. In the middle of a small collection of buildings we stopped to look at kingfishers. A single-roomed building seemed to serve as a school. There was a bustle of children who came out to look at us; probably their teacher had not arrived in class yet. After I took the photo above, the porch boiled over with children waving at us. It was close to the new year, but the sign you can see is a little out of date. Later we saw much larger schools on the islands. I’m not sure whether this is a government school or private. Unfortunately we never came back along the road to see whether the sign was updated.