Lifescapes Gallery

9 / Mar / 2011
The Siberian Airways Frequent Flyer Program
Northern Pintail, Kabini Photograph: Kiran Poonacha Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

The Siberian Airways Frequent Flyer Program

If you thought you were a globe-trotter, and that life was what happened between connecting flights, do consider the competition. What you see in the picture is a serene duck contemplating timelessness on the placid waters of the Kabini. What you don’t see is the sheer distance he’s travelled to get here. The Northern Pintail is one of the great wanderers of the avian world, and this trip has probably commenced from the icy wastes of Siberia, a not inconsiderable distance of almost 5000 miles, as the duck flies. This nomad of the skies prefers to travel in tight-knit groups of 15 to 20, clocking an incredible number of air miles every year. Fast and graceful fliers, Pintails are equipped with long wings, small heads, and long necks that seem built for streamlined aerodynamics. But what gives them their name are the two long, pointed black tail feathers, which, in flight, resemble a single pin. The only sound these normally silent birds make is with their rapid wing movements which can be heard well before one sights them. Silence, however, is not golden when it comes to matters of the heart. While we would be slapped if we dared whistle at a girl, it’s accepted behaviour in Pintail land, and the drake merrily whistles during the mating ritual. In fact, as if exercising his bragging rights, he raises his head and whistles after mating as well. All this whistling is tiring business, and the Pintail hits the water most evenings to feed on his favourite plants, by upending on the water and reaching down with his long neck, often exposing only his long tail above water. While the sight of a flock of Pintails doing this together is comical, one doesn’t laugh, for one knows that they’re just stocking up…before the long flight back to Siberia.

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 9th, 2011 at 9:44 am and is filed under Birds . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. Ved Prakash T Nagpal says:

    Excellent picture

  2. Ayesha Goswamy says:

    Beautiful Pictures,I will definitely recommend Orange County to my friends.

  3. Premila Nair says:

    Dear Orange County,
    Thank you for remembering your one-time customers with the beauty of Landscapes. My stay in Orange County continues to be one of my most endearing holiday memories…

  4. Devanand says:

    “The Siberian Airways Frequent Flyer Program”…ha ha ha…love the headline! Sir R Rajesh delivers yet another racy, breezy, fun article! The pic is awesome too.

  5. murthy says:

    Amazing photograph.Thank you.

  6. Gavin Maslen says:

    I loved every bit of this. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  7. metilda says:

    I’ve been getting updates from the Lifescapes Gallery for a couple of months now & really like them. The information, the pictures & the wit combine to charm, educate & thrill all at once. I’m looking forward to more. Thank you & keep up the wonderful work.

  8. Diwakaran Nair says:

    Serenity in the image, and Vibrance in the narration…what a perfect marriage of words and visuals…keep it going Orange County:-)

  9. Vincent Sunder says:

    Ranganathittu is another place they frequent.

  10. Kannan .K.V. says:

    The photography never ceases to amaze me. Such a lovely bird captured brilliantly by Kiran Poonacha!!!
    These articles are tempting me a lot to make a trip to Orange County, Kabini.

  11. says:

    Dear Lifescapes Team,
    A great & commendable initiative on TOURISM, and of course, the Sharing of wild-life knowledge- not forgetting the the beautifully written articles, -bravo !,

  12. Ashwini says:

    Dear Lifescapers,
    I must say I am glad I have the opportunity to receive these mails you keep sending every fortnight. Please keep up the great work, I support you from my heart and soul. Being a nature lover from birth & a travel passionate human, your Lifescapes inspire me a lot. I wish to follow your league someday. . If life permits I would live to be part of this initiative for the sake of Mother Earth.

    Sincere Personal Regards,
    Ashwini Patil

  13. Rama says:

    Dear Orange County Team,
    As always I just loved reading this piece of a delight too. Each time, after a glance at the picture, I am in a hurry to read what’s written about the animal or bird. It would be so nice if the writer’s name also appears every time you post these lovely pictures and beautiful words that go with it. Thank you so much for sharing such wonderful pieces with me and my family.

  14. Sujit says:

    Over the months, I have started to look forward to these “nuggets” as Alka puts it. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day all of this becomes a part of a timeless Coffee Table Book!

    Kudos to you all for such a fantastic job. I wish I could write and photograph so well!!!

  15. Alka Sharma says:

    Thank you Rajesh for yet another nugget – brilliant and witty and humorous as always. My compliments also to Kiran, the ace photographer for such an amazing photograph. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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