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Home >> Birding Banter >> Red-wattled Lapwing
 

Red-wattled Lapwing

Apr 19, 2006 at 01:38 AM
 
Red-wattled Lapwing - Peter Jackson
 
I recall red-wattled lapwings nesting on the roof of the British High Commissioner's residence - appropriately the home then of keen birder Malcolm Macdonald. But the flag hoisted for the Queen's birthday disturbed the birds and they moved to the roof of a defence ministry block not far away. Malcolm got permission from Krishna Menon for me to photograph them. I would go in the early morning and climb a bamboo ladder to get to the Lapwings' nest in the middle of the flat roof. It was composed of dozens of pieces of concrete chips. I set up a hide near the nest. It was May and the roof become so hot that I couldn't keep my feet on it. Nevertheless, the lapwings sat tight, returning to the eggs with wetted belly feathers. Some times a strong burst of wind would blow them off the nest.
One morning I arrived to find a crowd of workers at the building. I climbed the ladder, and peeped over the balustrade to see that the roof was being repaired in preparation for the monsoon rains. But the lapwings were at the nest, and just a few metres away two women in saris were sitting in front of my hide. But as soon as my head was raised over the balustrade, the lapwings took off. My wife suggested that I should put on a sari, and it was amusing to think what a great story it would have been if a foreign journalist with lavish photo equipment were found in a sari on top of the Defence Ministry.
 
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