This was primarily a scouting trip, but I left very touched by the kindness shown towards the cranes by these villagers. Most of them are living at a standard that would be considered well below the poverty line in most developed countries, and yet find it within their hearts to share their meagre food with these birds. We should all learn from it!
And it was especially heart-warming to see that pockets of wildlife can co-exist with humans without requiring excessive government protection in the form of reserves and sanctuaries. This, to me, is the way the planet was meant to be - man and wildlife coexisting together. It is always special whenever I find places like this, because it feels far more "natural" than an isolated pocket of wildlife and forest set aside as a national park.
turned out, Khichan was good not just for demoiselle cranes - in my time there, while I was focused primarily on the cranes, I did notice quite a few other species, especially around the village pond which forms one of the few sources of water around in this arid land. My species count includes: grey heron, great egret, northern pintail, northern shoveller, quite a few black winged stilts, Temmick's stint, tufted duck, spotted redshank, common redshank, common sandpiper, large flocks of rock pigeons, one flock of what were most likely chestnut-bellied sandgrouse, white throated kingfisher, an Indian pond heron, a female Indian robins and some LBJs who did not get the attention from me that they deserved. A closer look would probably also reveal some larks and various other birds of scrubland and deserts. Lastly, according to my guide, there was a large raptor to be found not too far from the pond where we were. Stuff for the next trip...