On top of the list, was the majestic black necked crane. In India, this bird is found only in Ladakh around marshy wetlands, although there have been some sightings in Arunachal Pradesh. Sadly, only a handful of them remain now. Some say in Ladakh, the population is less than 50 around this time of the year, mainly because loss and degradation of habitat, feral dogs and the fact that they only have one egg or two has seriously affected the population. A sighting in Pangong Tso was most probable, Ahaan told us. He had stayed up, looking out of the window throughout the journey. He wanted us to hire a bird watching camp and get up at 4 am to try and track them by the lake. We couldn’t find a bird watching camp for hire and 4 am in the morning was dark, dangerous and so cold that we couldn’t bear to step out of the camp. As we drove towards Leh, without seeing one, he seemed entirely dejected. Perhaps in our next trip, we consoled, but chances are the bird will get even more rare then, he told us quietly as his nose touched the floor of the car. We couldn’t argue with that.
To be continued…
about the authors
Some of our friends and family call us a clan of restless, wandering souls. We are always either making travel plans or living them. Sometimes we fight about the choice of destination – as each one of us has a list (including the little one), and we are all vociferously arguing our case. Rarely does all our choice coincide, but we are still a buzzing happy clan when we are out on the road, all feverish and impatient to see the unseen.