We prefer the owls, which are both more visible and a name we recognize, and the bigger and more colorful birds, even if they're as common as dirt. But still, eventually we do settle in and rather enjoy being trucked along at a gentle pace among the birds. The rickshaw is so slow-paced that sometimes we get out and walk, and we are still going faster than it is. We see large mammals also (but alas, no excellent photos as proof), and we all especially love seeing the spotted deer with big antlers leap across the pathways.
My personal favorite of the birds is at the end, at a marshy lake. The lake is spotted with tiny islands which are in turn spotted with Siberian Cranes. I'm clearly not a National Geographic wildlife photographer, but still you can see the many, many, many crane nests up in the trees.
After we leave Barhadpur, we stop along the way to Jaipur at a tiny little village. Actually, collection of a few dirty shacks would be closer to the truth. And here we see a cow (one of a million, and counting...), and the cow patties that are carefully gathered, formed, dried, and then used as fuel. And we have a picture of P & G trying to walk a goat. It ends up walking them, instead.
As we approach Jaipur, P becomes our group's crack peacock hunter. Of course, it's not so hard to spot them when there are literally dozens all around. But still, she spots them first. They are the national bird of India, which seems quite fitting when you see the women in their emerald and turquoise saris.
But the animal that make the biggest impression is the monkey. Make that monkeys. A troop of monkeys. A barrel of monkeys. A cartloads of monkeys. (All official terms: look it up!) We stop at Gultaji temple, just at the edge of Jaipur. We are there in the evening, and standing at the top of the temple complex, we suddenly hear this thundrous screeching. I am standing with my dad, and we turn to see the source of the noise, and see something like 100 monkeys descending on us from above. I don't even have a chance to get my camera out for a picture of the flood pouring down on us, but I do regain my composure in time to snap about 10 pictures of my mom, girls, and Dinesh (our lovely, lovely driver/guide). In each of the 10 pictures, there are about a dozen monkeys, yet they're not the same ones! I think the only reason my mother survives this is because her instinct to protect her grandchildren against the onslaught of monkeys is just slightly higher than her instinct to jump off the nearest ledge to avoid them. They race down the steps and swarm over the temple complex and surrounding cliffs.
At the end, we witness a small altercation between monkeys (one pushes the other into the water in order to steal his peanut) and one large altercation (when a loud, screeching struggle over some food leaves one monkey with a tail stripped of fur and bloodied). G, of course, comes to tears over this. "Why can't the monkeys just work it out nicely?!"
But the question of the hour is asked by P, marveling at all the primates: "But how did monkeys dissolve into humans?"