Monday, April 18, 2011

Kingfishers and Hoopoes

Dateline: Saturday, April 16th--post delayed by technical difficulties.

This morning I was visiting an apartment on the west bank. Directly across the river from the city of Luxor, that is.

As we sat drinking tea, on the balcony overlooking a banana plantation, I saw a large-ish bird fly into a small tree—perhaps a fruit tree. It was a brownish-looking bird and its wingspan had striking dark stripes. At first I thought it might be a small bird of prey. But then I saw its mate walking on the path nearby. I was watching a pair of hoopoes—although the first bird was now invisible among the leaves of the tree.

This is part of the reason why I want to live on the west bank. To be close to nature, and especially to see and hear the birds.

On our way back to the ferry, we were driving alongside a small canal. Wires were strung across the canal at intervals. Once, and again, and again. On each set of wires—well, on only one wire in each instance, to be precise--sat a kingfisher, surveying its domain or keeping an eye out for dinner or both.
The kingfishers here are like nothing you’ve seen, I’m guessing. They’re pied kingfishers. Entirely black and white, in a stunning configuration. To see them in flight is remarkable. The zebras of the bird kingdom, I guess.
I was wishing I could see the kingfishers in flight again, as I did when I was visiting Egypt last spring.

And now, this evening, I have in my mind an image. The beginning of a chapter. An “oh, by the way” chapter. (More about “oh, by the way” chapters later, perhaps.)
A kingfisher dives towards the river, catching a meal. A crocodile leaps out of the river and catches the kingfisher for dinner.
This is all you need to know about the new chapter for now. Especially because I haven’t written it yet. You see, this evening I faced a dilemma. Should I start the chapter first? Or should I start the blog entry first? As you see, the blog won.

Oh, and here's your free bonus for reading this post. For those of you who believe crocodiles can't jump--and for the amazement everyone else as well--we present this video.

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