Birds, A Relocation And 'Nano'
"The Mynas in these parts are a bit different, a different subspecies perhaps. Down South, the Mynas have a bit of bright yellow around their eyes and beak - goggles-like. *These* have red goggles instead and are also a bit ashen in color"
"Hmm, the 'red goggled myna'!" Gyani muttered in his own unique manner.
Soon thereafter, I got back to Pune and a major relocation operation was mounted (*)which has left me based in hot, dusty, sprawling Ahmedabad for what looks like at least several months.
Our apartment overlooks a biggish plot in severe disuse, overgrown with dense scrub. Yesterday morning, I saw mynas with red goggles out there. And shortly therafter, I saw a 'southern' one in the same place (**)
I approached 'birdman' Salim Ali for enlightenment:
" - The 'Indian Myna' is found all over the country and has bright yellow bill and bare skin of the same color around its eyes. ...
- The 'Bank Myna' or 'Ganga Myna' is similar to Indian Myna but its coat is pale grey instead of brown and it has bare skin around the eyes which is brick red instead of yellow . And it is found all over the north and down south to *about the latitude of Bombay*".
So, the two are different species. And appropriately enough, I had first seen the Ganga Myna on the banks of the eponymous river. I was, of course, wrong to refer to the 'Indian' Myna as something 'southern'.
Almost exactly a year back, I had traveled thru Gujarat and marveled at the vast and varied avian population of the wetlands to the west of Ahmedabad. Those realms now appear to be under serious threat, from Tata's 'Nano' plant to be set up at Sanand - this unit will form the core of an industrial complex likely to engulf tens of square kilometers. Among the gems one got to see in the local newspapers (which are all in a majorly celebratory mood) is: "The state government will take care of all required infrastructure, roads, drainage,... and *will ensure that the land around the site won't be waterlogged during and after rains*, as is the case now."
(*) - We achieved the quite nontrivial feat of driving a fully loaded car (I mean the cargo, not the accessories; and we did the packing and loading as well) a distance of 675 kilometers (Pune to Ahmedabad) in 13 hours flat. Although most of the distance was along passable to very good four-laned highways, the dusty, under-construction stretch between Surat and Vadodara had to be negotiated during the hottest part of the day and towards the end, about 20 kilometers of Ahmedabad streets in rush hour.
(**) - And today, a peahen came calling at our window.