Eight Years' Wanderings in Ceylon by Samuel White Baker

 -   Far away
in the dense jungles the ringing sound is heard, as the answering
females return the salute and slowly - Page 320
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Far Away In The Dense Jungles The Ringing Sound Is Heard, As The Answering Females Return The Salute And Slowly Approach The Place Of Rendezvous.

One by one their dark forms emerge from the thorny coverts and loom large upon the green but distant shores, and they increase their pace when they view the coveted water, and belly-deep enjoy their evening draught.

The graceful axis in dense herds quit the screening jungle and also seek the plain. The short, shrill barks of answering bucks sound clearly across the surface of the lake, and indistinct specks begin to appear on the edge of the more distant forests. Now black patches are clotted about the plain; now larger objects, some single and some in herds, make toward the water. The telescope distinguishes the vast herds of hogs busy in upturning the soil in search of roots, and the ungainly buffaloes, some in herds and others single bulls, all gathering at the hour of sunset toward the water. Peacocks spread their gaudy plumage to the cool evening air as they strut over the green plain; the giant crane stands statue-like among the shallows; the pelican floats like a ball of snow upon the dark water; and ducks and waterfowl of all kinds splash, and dive, and scream in a confused noise, the volume of which explains their countless numbers.

Foremost among the waterfowl for beauty is the water-pheasant. He is generally seen standing upon the broad leaf of a lotus, pecking at the ripe seeds and continually uttering his plaintive cry, like the very distant note of a hound.

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