Bird watching in Hampi

Who goes to watch birds in Hampi, you might ask. I might cough in embarrassment, me, The Family, a handful of others. Whatever for, you might persist. Then I would have to tell you that spotted sandgrouse (Pterocles senegallus) have been spotted there, and if one is lucky, this might be the easiest place to spot them. And if you persist in asking whether we did, the true answer is that we didn’t. But we saw more. Like the bird in the featured photo.

No that can’t be right. Sorry, that was just a kite that someone was flying in China. No, I meant the wire-tailed swallow (Hirundo smithii) that you see in the photo above. I’ve only seen them flitting about in the air before, and learnt to tell them by their unmistakable wire-tailed profile. I hadn’t ever had such a good view of a sitting bird. The light showed the rust on its head very well. The blue upper feathers are in shadow and look nearly black, so there is scope for a better photo in future. If you have seen clusters of mud bulbs hanging below bridges over clean rivers, they are usually the nests of these swallows. I used the word clean very deliberately, because the presence of these nests has been proposed as bio-markers for non-polluted water.

Is that all? No, we did get to see a few more birds. More about them later.