Rohan was sprinting while I and Saish found it hard to keep up with Rohan. Aniket was busy looking out for birds that showed up early mornings in the lush green fields which ran parallel to the roads through an Olympus binocular. I struggled hard to get some enough light to capture some early morning photographs while walking but the images came blurred. Sacorda is associated with mining activity and hence, every other house here owned a truck. Some of them even had two. The trucks rested outside the houses making the small road even narrower and comfortable for walking only. Slowly, we left the village and followed a narrow trail which further led us to open grassland. Aniket, being a resident of Sacorda, told us every bit of information that he had gathered about the places which we met on our trail. A White Throated Thrush was sighted on the way followed by Plum Headed Parakeet and a Chest-nut headed bee eater.
The open grassland was slowly shrinking into a forest now. We could see some traces of bison which they had left behind on the dew wet land. We halted near a small water body to decide which side to go as it had left us with three options to choose. Finally it was decided to go further by crossing the water body first, and than trek the remaining two.
“We’ll have to cross a mud field to reach the other side” said Aniket as we saw a small piece of green field ahead on our way. We had experienced walking into the mud once back at Carambolim lake when our group escorted B.Ed trainees for bird watching. We took our slippers into our hands and stepped into the mud. I was finding it difficult to balance my body and the camera which hung from my neck. We reached the other side where we saw a small lake where we washed our legs. The forest was getting thick enough to frighten me. We halted near a huge tree on Aniket’s signal for us to stop. He fingered the stem of the tree which was scratched by a bear. I raised my head to see right upto the tree top in fruitless search of sighting a bear, but it was not there. Aniket gave me a shock by declaring that he didn’t know the further road. Saish and Rohan decided to still walk forward with which I was not comfortable with, but in democracy, majority wins. I quietly started walking behind them. Somehow I could sense something run past by me from my back, but it was the fear which made me to feel so.
You can’t predict where an aimless wandering would take you with it. The trail which we were walking started broadening and we could clearly see now a small hill with dried yellow grass contrasting with hard black rocks. We climbed it up and settled ourselves on top of it. The view was magnificent. The mountains still hid themselves under the veils of fog revealing only the top portion of it.
They appeared to be floating in the mid of the skies. We held out the binoculars and glued them to our eyes in search of a flight, disturbed stillness of the leaves or a pair of wings flying across the blue skies. Our search fetched us fruits within no time when we saw a Racket Tailed Drongo flying across the nearby mountains with its long tail dancing to the rhythm of his wings. It’s my favorite black colored bird because of the bluish tinge he possesses over his black body. In the meantime, a Tree Pie sat on a leafless tree right in front of us, but it was too far to be captured on our 12x optical zoom lens and had to opt for the digital zoom. None of us was ready to walk further leaving this hill which revealed us the beauty of Waghure with a top view. Saish, as usual, started hunting for snakes around the hill while I enjoyed observing a pair of Grey Hornbill.
"Massive Python” Saish yelled coming out from a cave with a narrow opening. We thought he was playing a prank, as he always did. But his face revealed excitation similar to that of a small child who was happy after finding his lost toy. While Saish was dancing with joy, Rohan put his head in the narrow opening of the cave and he too, came out overjoyed. There had to be something! Me & Aniket did the formality of conforming the presence of a 3 meter long Indian Rock Python who was resting in the cave after enjoying a meal, may be a rabbit or so. His body was puffed and it rested like a noble guy. We clicked its photographs, but offering him this Page 3 status did not affect his solitude and nobility. Satisfied with the trip, we descended down the hill for our return journey. We halted on the same water body where we had stopped while entering the forest to drink some water. A pair of Ruby Throated Bulbul showed up while we were busy drinking water. While I adjusted the camera, the yellow wings vanished into the greenery. It was an end to another worth blogging trip. The satisfaction of Python sighting was overflowing from our face. We clapped for Aniket for the whole arrangement. We reached his house and ran near the fresh water spring in his plantations for a bath. After two hours of bath and aqua-fun, we returned for lunch and headed towards the bus stop to catch the return bus
Note:- A Marathi version of this post was published in Daily Gomantak’s supplement named “Muktapeeth” on 28th April 2008.