country roads - Montreal Gazette



country roads - Montreal Gazette
s e cti o n
Th e
G a z e t t e
M o n t r e a l
S a t u r d a y
03 . 05 . 11
Short Hops goes snowmobiling. Page H2 Country
tr avel
Edi t o r : e d i e a u s t i n
514 987 2439
Rochelle Lash
visits Sainte Émélie de
l’Énergie and a rustic
inn that now offers a
Nordic-style spa and a
pool. Page H5
[email protected]
photos: Kuni Takahashi New York Times
A birdwatcher at Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur, Rajasthan. Keoladeo National Park is the former duck-hunting grounds of maharajas and now India’s best-known bird park.
India is a birder’s paradise
From the cold Himalayas to the tropical
rain forests in the south, the country
hosts a dizzying variety of birds – just like
its dizzying variety of everything else
Painted storks at Keoladeo National Park. Visitors to the park can stay in one of the many inns
nearby, or at Laxmi Vilas, a renovated 19th-century palace.
t began with parakeets, the brash, busybody rose-ringed parakeets of Delhi,
with their lipstick red beaks and their
irrepressible chatter, gossiping in the
crevices of 15th-century tombs.
Then one morning while I drank coffee,
a shimmering blue-black sunbird came to
drink nectar in my garden. At twilight one
day, I looked up to see a hornbill perched
on a neighbour’s tree. An interview with
the prime minister of India was repeatedly interrupted by the calls of a cantankerous peacock in his garden.
And so went my discovery of the birds
of India. It was an accumulation of accidental discoveries. A friend in Mumbai
recommended that I check out the flamin-
gos dancing in the stinky, mucky mud flats
of Sewri. Then one day, not far from the
Taj Mahal, a pair of sarus cranes, the tallest flying bird in the world, stood in a shallow pond. On a trip to the outsourcing hub
of Bangalore, I was urged to drive off the
highway to see pelicans roosting in banyan
trees. And trekking across the Himalayan
plateau called Ladakh one summer, I was
stopped in my tracks by the sight of a blacknecked crane flying across a still blue lake.
Most improbably of all, on a trip back
to that clattering, honking, riotous city
called Calcutta, where I was born, I woke
up one morning to songbirds.
Please see INDIA, Page H4
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