A water lily that thought it could dance

I am pretending that summer isn’t in a fierce mood. I am ignoring the sweat dripping down my forehead. The constant buzzing of air-conditioners. The humidity in the air. But I am painfully aware that birding season is over. Many of the migratory birds are gone. The endemic ones are vacating regular nesting grounds in search of water. Last summer, I felt really bad about it. I couldn’t bear the thought of having to wait until November for the next season.

This year, things are looking up. I know this because a birdie told me so. And not just any birdie. But one with tail-feathers so curvy that it can be mistaken for a dance recital that came to life.

A few days, I was fortunate enough to spot a pair of Pheasant-tailed Jacanas. I saw them towards the end of a dry birding trail in the villages surrounding Ponneri town. They were foraging through water lilies, with herons and plastic cans for pond-mates. It came as a big surprise to me. I had seen them just once before.

These jacanas can be found in tropical areas in parts of India, Indonesia, and Taiwan. And it has been reported that they are a vagrant species in Australia too. They belong to the group of waders that are easily identifiable by their huge claws and unmistakably long tail-feathers.

Also, they look like anthropomorphic teacups all dressed up for some dance performance.

I stood on the edge of a temple pond and watched them hunt for insects. I was in awe of the finesse with which they scooted from one lily to another. And the way they cocked their heads, assuredly, back and forth – as if to tell me that things are going to be alright.

It‘s always special to connect with birds that I don’t get to see often. But these jacanas helped me in reaching two important conclusions. One is that if I ever make a list of heroes who inspire me – it will start and end with ‘The Little Engine That Could‘. The other is that I will get through the summer, sedated and uncooked .

Thank you, dear Pheasant-Tailed Jacana, for making life easier for me.

She’s the queen of lilies,
a milky-white damsel,
with cappuccino stains on her neck.

She’s a dream sequence in short supply,
with salty lullabies on her breath.

(Photographs: Ponneri – Chennai)

14 thoughts on “A water lily that thought it could dance

Add yours

  1. Even birds have to rest their feathers and gather their strength for the coming migration. So must you. Gave my family a slide show of this beautiful Jacana dancing on lily pads. Thanks for the show!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bet you had a great time witnessing the performance …. Beautifully worded esp. loved these “anthropomorphic teacups all dressed up for some dance performance” … “mistaken for a dance recital that came to life”!

    Pics does speak a lot – beauty & elegance perfectly carved in the shape of a bird … whose every movement is a sight to watch ….no wonder that’s a beautiful verse at the end!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww Mridhula, thank you so much (beaming smile). Look at this cutie pie of a water bird, how can words even begin to contain their gorgeousness. I am glad that you enjoy my meandering efforts to paint the right portraits ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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