World photography day !! Blog anniversary

19th August- World Photography Day

Hi and welcome to My own space…

Well, of course this day is been celebrated all over the world by photographers, photography lovers and also who loves to get photographed. Hence being a beginner in photography this day means a lot to me as well. Also, on this very day, a year ago I started my blog with no prior knowledge of blogging at all. I thought I could write and showcase whatever I capture on my camera. And this makes this day a very special one as I celebrate my 1st Blogversary. As days went by I became more indulged into writing poetries and photographing birds. And blogging about them has become an integral part of my life since then.

Nature person
There are so many kinds of people on this planet. Out of hundreds of billions, I am one of those million people who loves to stay close to nature. Being in nature makes me feel alive and fills my heart with desires and reasons to live more each day. Getting closer to wildlife makes me realize that there is so much more to life that we actually go through and understand. The green grasses, colorful wings, cheerful chirps every morning is an alarm for me that there is so much more to do. To do yoga, to cook, to paint, to play, to write and to capture each and every moment that is worth framing. You know when you will die, you will die with the memories and not with the money you made. At least I will. Making bird photographs began with my first ever DSLR Canon 1300D which was my 27th birthday gift from my husband and the journey just began. Getting longer lenses just to be a little close to them makes me really happy from inside. Their beautiful feathers, speaking colors, those eyes, those details , beaks, tails, wings, legs, I can’t never get enough of them. Getting as much closer as possible is my only wish when I am in the wild (but ofcourse, I never get too close to disturb them). This never ending want of knowing more and more about them makes me read books and blogs. (I am not of a reader person, more of a writer person, But to be a writer, you need to learn to read first). And this leads to my 2nd love.i.e. Writing.

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My world of wings.

Click here for My page on my first love- photography ~   Through my lenses

Poet person
I won’t and will never call myself a writer unless I am ONE. But whenever I feel low, I write. Whenever I feel happy, I write. Whenever I feel love , I write. Love is a very important part in my life. I can’t live if I am not allowed to love. Falling in love again and again is my genre of interest. Love for the beautiful people in life, love for your oldest friend, love for your first crush, love for your grand parents, love for the up growing kids, love for cooking, love for writing, love for nature, love for photography, love for music, love for that faded love of yours, love for those cherished memories, love for school days and love for the days yet to come. Love is everywhere around us and we just need to find them. And whenever I fall in love again with any of these or anything new, I write. I write my heart out untill it rhymes with my beats. My poetries are my flow of heart beats in rhythm.. just like a piano tune..a soulful music. I wish to get better on it with all your love and support each and everyday..

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Click here for My poetries and more ~  Let my pen speaks

Blog person
I am so gay to realize that I started my blog on world photography day. Though it wasn’t anything I planned for, It just happened like everything else in life happens without any alarm or prior notice. Ever since I started writing posts on birding, photography, poetries and what not, I feel very light and connected to so many people at the same time. I cant get to each and everyone and let them know what am I going through but that is exactly what my blogs can. I love to talk and hence I am an avid writer of my feelings. But blogging about nature and photographing them is more of a passion inside. All my
thanks will never be enough for the one who encourages me the most in my life to do what I am made for. Obviously I was not born to be a computer geeko or a note counting machine. Right? I was born to be independent and that is what I feel here with you all. I have the freedom to speak and write and to fly high.

Riya’s own Space  ~ Well my space it is. 

Conclusion.
What will ‘Just earning money and getting your materialistic demands fulfilled’ get you in the end? What matters is what do you want to die with. I want to die with so much of knowledge and love from people and animals around. I want to work for nature conservation if I get a chance. I want to see my husband getting on that stage and perform in front of a crowd of thousands. I want this for him because he is one of those very few people who dared to dream in this world. I want to make my parents proud on me and get a pat on my shoulder for keeping their heads high. I want to love and be loved. And at the end , I just want to live till the end. Because you know, happiness is just a dilusion. So live it as much as you can.

Last, but not at all least, I wish you all a very Happy World Photography Day !

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Much love

Riya

Oriental Magpie robin (Copsychus saularis)

So this is a post on one of my favorite sections where I collect and gain knowledge about the beautiful creations surrounding us. Yes, as always I am talking about my favorite creatures on this planet. ‘BIRD’ and this is that part where I share everything possible “about the bird” from Internet ,books, friends or personal experiences. I took really long time to create a post on Oriental Magpie Robin which is happen to be the most common bird that I see on a regular basis, like everyday (well of course, besides crow :P) So why late? Just to get the best possible shot possible. But you know what, a photographer is never satisfied with his/her work, there is always something more that we want to get. The better lighting, the better perch, the glory eye focus, the magnificent flying shot, shots with prey etc etc. There is no end to it. No matter how close I get to them, its just not enough for me. I want to see them all day from a close encounter. Well, thats just not a possibly practical thing to do. We have to mind our own businesses as they do mind theirs. So here is the detailed “about the bird” post on our very own Oriental Magpie Robin.

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In the bed of bokeh.. EXIF: f/5.6  ss:1/1000  iso:1250  @313mm

ORIENTAL MAGPIE ROBIN

Oriental magpie Robin is a small passerine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family Turdidae, but now considered an Old World flycatcher.

Scientific name: Copsychus saularis

Also known as doyel (in bengali and other regionals languages in India)

Appearance:

They are distinctive black and white birds with a long tail that is held upright as they forage on the ground or perch conspicuously. They are about 17-20 centimetres (7.5 in) in length, including the long tail. The male has glossy black upperparts, head and throat apart from a white shoulder patch. The underparts and the sides of the long tail are white. Bill is black. Eyes are dark. Legs and feet are blackish.  Females are greyish black instead of glossy black  and greyish white instead of white. Young birds have scaly brown upperparts and head.

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Habitat:

The Oriental Magpie Robin is found in open woodland, cultivated areas often close to human habitations. They prefer open areas such as mangroves, gardens, cultivated areas. They are not found in the deep forest.

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Exif:  f/6.3  exposure:1/800sec  iso:1000  @562mm

Behaviour:

In the non-breeding season it is shy and quiet, skulking about in undergrowth. The Oriental Magpie Robin is a common and tame bird. It is terrestrial, hopping along the ground with cocked tail.

They are often active late at dusk. They sometimes bathe in rainwater collected on the leaves of a tree.

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Pride.. Exif:  f/6.3  exposure:1/125sec  iso:200  @546mm

Distribution:

This magpie-robin is a resident breeder in tropical southern Asia from Bangladesh, interior India, Sri Lanka and eastern Pakistan east to Indonesia, Thailand, south China, Malaysia, and Singapore.[3] They have been introduced to Australia.

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Exif:  f/6.3  exposure:1/400sec  iso:320  @600mm

Breeding and nesting:

Magpie robins breed mainly from March to July in India and January to June in south-east Asia. Males sing from high perches during courtship. The display of the male involves puffing up the feathers, raising the bill, fanning the tail and strutting .

They build their nests almost anywhere from thick shrubs, in the fork of branches of small trees, palms, hollow trees and even near human habitation, under a veranda, in a hole in the wall, in an old tin can, and in stables. They line the cavity with grass. The female is involved in most of the nest building, which happens about a week before the eggs are laid. 4-5 eggs are laid at intervals of 24 hours and these are oval and usually pale blue green with brownish speckles that match the color of hay. The eggs are incubated by the female (sometimes males too) for 8 to 15 days.

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Colors in bg… Exif:  f/6.3  exposure:1/250sec  iso:640  @600mm

Diet:

The diet of magpie robins includes mainly insects and other invertebrates. Although mainly insectivorous (mainly caught insects on ground), they are known to occasionally take flower nectar, geckos, leeches, centipedes and even fish.

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Exif:  f/6.3  exposure:1/1250sec  iso:1250  @600mm

Voice: 

Oriental magpie robins are mostly known for their sweetest songs.The Oriental Magpie Robins have a delightful varied song and are said to be able to imitate the calls of other birds while singing.

Males sing from high perches during courtship. Females may sing briefly in the presence of a male.Apart from their song, they use a range of calls including territorial calls, emergence and roosting calls, threat calls, submissive calls, begging calls and distress calls. The typical mobbing calls is a harsh hissing krshhh.

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Call……Exif:  f/6.3  exposure:1/800sec  iso:800  @600mm

Interesting fact: 

  1. Oriental Magpie robin is the national bird of Bangladesh.
  2. While searching on youtube for more information and videos on the species, what I happen to see is the caged videos of magpie robin singing. Magpie robins were widely kept as cagebirds for their singing abilities and for fighting in India in the past. It makes me feel the worst to see the beautiful avians inside a tiny cage in my own country.They continue to be in the pet trade in parts of Southeast Asia.
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Exif:  f/6.3  exposure:1/125sec  iso:200  @600mm

Concern:

This species is considered as one of “little concern” globally but in some areas the species is on the decline. This species has a few avian predators too.

I will keep on updating more as I gain ore knowledge. You know, gaining knowledge is very much more important tan just collecting information. Untill next time, keep birding and loving nature. I will see you all in my next blog.

Much love

Riya.

Indian Flag ~Happy 72nd Independence day

Hello Everyone. It is a national holiday in India today and the reason is well known to everyone. Today is the most important day in Indian history. Today is the day ,71 years ago in 1947, Indians got Independence from British rule. Since then, we Indians have been celebrating this day together every year on 15th August by hoisting Tricolor . Today here, I have tried to sum-up everything about Indian Flag. Lets begin..

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Tricolor created by me with Indian food items.

Evolution of Tri-color

It has 6 steps till we reach out to Tri-color as our National flag.

  1. Indian-flag First National flag of India hoisted in the Parsee Bagan Square in Calcutta (now Kolkata) on 7th August 1906. The flag was comprised of three horizontal strips of red, yellow and green (with lotus flowers ,sun and moon symbols).
  2. images.jpg Second National flag was hoisted by Madame Bhikaji Cama and her band of exiled revolutionaries in 1907 in Paris. This flag was similar to the first one but with one exception. It had seven stars denoting Saptarishi. This flag was also exhibited as Berlin committee flag.
  3. download.jpgThird National flag was hoisted by Dr. Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak when our political struggle had taken a definite turn during Home Rule Movement in 1917. This flag had five red and four green horizontal strips with seven stars of Saptarishi, with white crescent and a Union Jack.
  4. main-qimg-899397cd1f14a0a69f15ade8d70b3e97-c.jpg Forth Flag was made by an Andhra youth and presented before Mahatma Gandhi during the session of the All India Congress Committee in 1921 at Bezwada (now Vijayawada). The flag represented two major communities i.e., Hindus and Muslims as red and green. Gandhiji suggested an addition of a white strip to represent rest of the communities of India and a spinning wheel to symbolise progress of the nation.
  5. 58b4a11778dbb-e1534336818268.jpg The year 1931 was a landmark in the history of the flag. A resolution was passed adopting a tricolor flag as our national flag.This was similar to the present tricolour with saffron, white and green stripes with Mahatma Gandhi’s spinning wheel at the centre. The flag bore no communal significance. This flag was also the battle ensign of the Indian National Army.
  6. 1200px-Flag_of_India.svg On July 22, 1947, the Constituent Assembly adopted it as Free India National Flag. After the advent of Independence, the colours and their significance remained the same. Only the Dharma Charkha of Emperor Asoka was adopted in place of the spinning wheel as the emblem on the flag. Thus, the tricolour flag of the Congress Party eventually became the tricolour flag of Independent India.

Colors of the flag:

  • The top band is of Saffron color, indicating the strength and courage of the country.
  • The white middle band indicates peace and truth with Dharma Chakra.
  • The last band is green in color shows the fertility, growth and auspiciousness of the land.
  • The chakra is of navy blue colour

The Chakra:

The Dharma Chakra depicted the “wheel of the law” in the Sarnath Lion Capital made by the 3rd-century BC Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. The chakra intends to show that there is life in movement and death in stagnation. It is known to 24 spokes in the wheel (the chakra).

Dimension of the tricolor:

  • There are nine standard sizes of the flag are specified by law. (150 *100 mm and 6300*4200 mm being the smallest and largest)
  • The Indian national flag should always be in a proportion of 2:3 (breath:length).
  • All the three bands should be of equal width.
  • The diameter of the chakra approximates to the width of the white band and it has 24 spokes.
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Musoor dal for saffron, rice for white,green chilies for green and cloves for chakra.

Material of the flag:

By law, the flag is to be made of khadi, a special type of hand-spun cloth or silk, made popular by Mahatma Gandhi. Khadi or hand-spun cloth is the only material allowed to be used for the flag, and flying a flag made of any other material is punishable by law with imprisonment up to three years, besides a fine. Raw materials for khadi are restricted to cotton, silk and wool.

Currently, Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha (KKGSS) based in Hubli,Karnataka is the only licensed flag production and supply unit in India. All the flags that are to be hoisted in any official Ceremony are being made by KKGSS as per the BIS( Bureau of Indian Standards). They make flags worth Rs. 1 Crore every year in all the nine dimensions.

Flag Code of India 2002::

On 26th January 2002, the Indian flag code was modified and after several years of independence, the citizens of India were finally allowed to hoist the Indian flag over their homes, offices and factories on any day and not just National days as was the case earlier. Now Indians can proudly display the national flag any where and any time, as long as the provisions of the Flag Code are strictly followed to avoid any disrespect to the tricolour.

There are some Do’s and Don’ts by the flag code 2002.

The Do’s:

  • The National Flag may be hoisted in educational institutions (schools, colleges, sports camps, scout camps, etc.) to inspire respect for the Flag. An oath of allegiance has been included in the flag hoisting in schools.
  • A member of public, a private organization or an educational institution may hoist/display the National Flag on all days and occasions, ceremonial or otherwise consistent with the dignity and honour of the National Flag.
  • Section 2 of the new code accepts the right of all private citizens to fly the flag on their premises.

The Don’ts:

  • The flag cannot be used for communal gains, drapery, or clothes. As far as possible, it should be flown from sunrise to sunset, irrespective of the weather.
  • The flag cannot be intentionally allowed to touch the ground or the floor or trail in water. It cannot be draped over the hood, top, and sides or back of vehicles, trains, boats or aircraft.
  • No other flag or bunting can be placed higher than the flag. Also, no object, including flowers or garlands or emblems can be placed on or above the flag. The tricolour cannot be used as a festoon, rosette or bunting.

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Protocols for Displaying the Indian National Flag:

The Flag Code India (2002), Prevention of Improper Use of Emblems and Names Act (1950), and the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act (1971) govern the display, representation and handling of the Indian National Flag. The Do’s and Don’ts of handling the Indian National Flag are as follows:

1. The national flag should be displayed upright with the Saffron strip facing the top in horizontal representations and left in the vertical representations. The flag should never be displayed upside down.

2. The Flag should be displayed on the right as this is the position of authority when indoor.

3. When carried in a procession the National Flag should be borne by marching right or otherwise by a lone marcher in the center.

4. The flag cannot be used as drapery or clothing.

5. The flag should be hoisted down prior to sunset and erected again after sunrise.

6. The flag pole for National Flag should be placed at the highest point of the building.

7. Private institutions may display the national flag on all days and occasions, ceremonial or otherwise, consistent with the dignity and honor of the National Flag.

8. Post amendment of the Flag Code in 2002, Individual citizens may also hoist/display the Indian National Flag in their premises

9. The flag may be flown half-mast as a sign of mourning the decision of which lies with the President of India.

10. The National Flag of India must be displayed on Republic Day (January 26), Independence Day(August 15), Gandhi Jayanti (October 2), State formation Anniversaries and National Week.

11. On the occasion of armed forces personnel funerals the National flag should be draped over the coffin, with the saffron towards the head. However, the National Flag should never be lowered into the grave or burnt in the pyre.

12. Soiled National Flag may be disposed as a whole in private preserving the dignity of the same and should not be done disrespectfully.

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Images made by me with canon 80D + canon 18-135mm lens

Significance of the National Flag

The National Flag of India represents the concept of secularism that the country was built upon. The austerity of the rectangular tricolor underlines the rich spiritual and philosophical history of India. The basis of the flag is the Swaraj Flag, adopted by the Indian National Congress during the Indian Freedom Struggle movement under Gandhi and is reminiscent of the same.

 

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY 2018

Until next time.

Much love,

Riya

 

Oriental Garden lizard (Calotes versicolor)

Hello you beautiful people, you have seen a lot of bird watching activities in my blog. Yes I am addicted to birds and their beautiful activities which are usually very very different from humans. But, for a change today, I am going to talk about one of the most common species in our gardens usually go unseen by us as they are not considered beautiful. These reptiles can be found in most gardens in Indian subcontinent, you just need to have the eye to see their beauty, as I always say.

A few weeks ago, on one of my early morning rides, I wasn’t feeling very good after not having a very good light for photographing birds in a beautiful spot. So I left the spot with my Tamron 70-300mm (non vc ) lens to return home. But As I said I was not in a mood to enter my gloomy house in the cloudy day, I stopped by this road-side to better my mood watching kids playing cricket near a beautiful temple. Casually side siting on my vehicle, my eyes caught this big lizard showing off its colourful throat at times. And this was it. I brought out my already set cam from the pouch and went into the bushes. And I will tell you how it felt afterwards. Before that, have a look at all the angles I could capture and lets gain some knowledge about the Oriental garden Lizard from India.

 Oriental Garden Lizard

Also known as changeable lizard or eastern garden lizard.

Scientific name: Calotes versicolor

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Curiosity.  EXIF: f/4.5  ss:1/2000  iso:500 @180mm

Appearance:  It measures over 10 cm (3.9 in) in length snout-to-vent. Total length including the tail is up to 37 cm (14.5 in). Skin is rough and spiny. Head is large. Adults have a crest that rises up from behind the eyes to the back. (that makes this one an adult) Small spines can be seen just above the external ear. Dark lines radiate out from the eye. They have long legs and long toes. Tail is very slender and more than twice as long as the body. Underbelly is white. Like other reptiles, they shed their skins. Like chameleons, Oriental Garden Lizards can move each of their eyes in different directions.

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Full display.  EXIF: f/5.0  ss:1/1600    iso:500   @180mm

Habitat: Naturally found in open forest and shrub-land, but has adapted tremendously well to urban environments and can be found in agricultural areas, parks, empty lots, gardens, and even decorative shrubs in front of businesses.The native range of the species includes SE Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Western Malaysia, Maldives, Vietnam, Pulo Condore Island, South China, Indonesia, Mauritius. It has been introduced to Oman, Singapore, and United States. The lizards were introduced to Singapore from Malaysia and Thailand in the 1980s. The Oriental Garden Lizard is relatively common and found in a wide range of habitats. They appear to adapt well to humans and are thus not endangered. They are very well found in house gardens/ backyards and hence the name.

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EXIF: f/5.6  ss:1/1250  iso:640  @192mm

Diet: Garden skinks feed on larger invertebrates, including crickets, moths, slaters, earthworms, flies, grubs and caterpillars, grasshoppers, cockroaches, earwigs, slugs, dandelions, small spiders, ladybeetles, ants and many other small insects, which make them a very helpful animal around the garden. Although they have teeth, these are designed for gripping prey and not tearing it up. So prey is swallowed whole, after it is stunned by shaking it about.

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EXIF:  f/5.6  ss:1/1250  iso:400  @300mm

Breeding: During the breeding season, the male’s head and shoulders turns bright orange to crimson and his throat black. Males also turn red-headed after a successful battle with rivals.Males become highly territorial during breeding season. They discourage intruding males by brightening their red heads and doing “push-ups”. Each tries to attract a female by inflating his throat and drawing attention to his handsomely colored head.

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Showing off colored throat

During breeding season, the male Oriental Garden Lizard will approach the female while extending its “gular” (throat sac), raise the front of its body as high as possible while nodding its head, and open and close its mouth repeatedly. Males may also demonstrate this aggressive behavior when approached by people during the breeding season.

About 10—20 eggs are laid, buried in moist soil. The eggs are long, spindle-shaped and covered with a leathery skin. They hatch in about 6–7 weeks. They are able to breed at about 1 year old.

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Exif: f/5  ss:1/2000   iso:400  @180mm

Contribution to the ecosystem: Helps control insect populations. Will occasionally eat small lizards, baby rodents, or seeds. Provides food for snakes and birds.

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Close up.  EXIF: f/5.6   ss:1/1600   iso:640  @176mm

Fun fact:  1)The Oriental Garden Lizard is also known as the “Changeable Lizard”, due to its wide variation in coloration and ability to change colors significantly during the breeding season.

2) Both males and females have a crest from the head to nearly the tail, hence their other common name “Crested Tree Lizard”.

3) The Oriental Garden Lizard is referred to as the “Bloodsucker” in many areas.  Obviously, the Oriental Garden Lizard is an insect-eater and does not suck blood from anything.

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Crested tree lizard. 

All the images has been made by me using my canon 80D and Tamron 70-300 f/4-5.6 LD Di macro lens (non-vc) at macro mode. I wish to get more and better opportunities in future. Till then, keep loving wildlife and nature.

Much love,

Riya

An evening with Asian openbill

It was an average monsoon evening,I was returning from my work via Mapusa market with my husband who picked me up from the bus stand. We took the route with less crowd to get to the main road after finishing vegetable shopping. [Info: Mapusa market is the biggest vegetable and fish market in North Goa and hence always crowded]. While crossing this beautiful lane divided by paddy fields, I spotted some storks feasting in the field under an almost clear sky. I first mistook them as Wooly necked stork with naked eyes and couldn’t stop myself from taking a few clicks from my mobile which of course didn’t turn out AT-ALL beautiful and the big storks looked like munias in the landscape. I some-how convinced my husband to come back the very same evening with the camera to get some nice shots. It was already cloudy when we were about to leave with the gears from home. Well, you in Goa its like sun and clouds are having love affair, they can’t stay away from each-other for long. 😉 We took the precautions on how to protect the camera and us as we don’t own a car yet. Anyways, we reached the field in 5 minutes only to find them gone. It was the only fear I had ,else-wise I would have come early morning the next day. I looked everywhere disappointingly when Mr.husband called out ” Hey, they are there”. They flew and changed the field on the other side of the road. Well, my happy eyes went big as I got my cam ready to shoot. Apperture, Iso, metering were all set and I was looking for a place to sit and track them, as they were kind a hiding behind the grasses in search of food in the mud. I found two of them first and then two more in the same field. They were 4 of them who made my evening ,a very beautiful one.

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Smooth flight.   EXIF:   f/6.3  SS:1250   ISO:2000  @600mm

Asian open bill stork

Asian open bill or Asian open billed stork is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. 

Scientific name : Anastomus oscitans

Why openbill? The name openbill is derived from the distinctive gap formed between the recurved lower and arched upper mandible of the beak in adult birds. The gap can be easily seen with a closer look. Their upper and lower beak touches each other at just the tip. Young birds do not have this gap. The cutting edges of the mandible have a fine brush like structure that is thought to give them better grip on the shells of snails (their main diet).

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Asian open bill.    EXIF: f/6.3  SS:1/1250  ISO:2500  @600mm

Appearance: The body is greyish in non-breeding season which turns white in breeding season with glossy black wings and tail. They have short pink legs which turn reddish prior to breeding. The mantle is black and the bill is horn-grey. Juveniles are brownish grey and have brownish mantle.

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Take off.    exif:  f/6.3   SS:1/1250  ISO:2000   @600mm  .cropped image.

The Asian Openbill Stork is a broad-winged soaring bird, which relies on moving between thermals of hot air for sustained flight.

It is one of the smallest storks with their height standing at 68cm (81cm long) and wingspan of 149cm. Like all other storks, they fly with their neck outstretched. they are usually found in flocks but sometimes you may spot a single one usually in search of prey.

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About to land.   EXIF:  f/6.3   SS:1/640    ISO:1250   @403mm

Habitat: Their usual wetland would be inland wetlands. On agricultural landscapes, openbills forage in crop fields, irrigation canals, and in seasonal marshes. They may move widely in response to habitat conditions. They are named Asian as they are widespread and common in India, Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand.

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Close up.    EXIF:  f/6.3   SS:1/320   ISO:1000   @600mm

Breeding and nesting: They breed near inland wetlands and build stick nest in trees, typically laying 2-6 eggs. They nest in colonies, with numerous nests in the same tree, up to 40 and more. Long courtship displays occur at the beginning of breeding season.

Incubation lasts about 27 to 30 days, and young fledge at 35 to 36 days after hatching.
Young birds stand and wait for adults. Parents approach the nest cautiously, and regurgitate the food.

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Habitat.    EXIF:   f/6.3  SS:1/1250  ISO:2500  @600mm

Fun fact: Adults shade their young in the nest, to protect them from sun. One of the parents stands in the nest with semi-open wings above the chicks.

Voice: Asian Open bills are very noisy while flying in flocks. Call is a mournful “hoo-hoo”.

Diet: Asian Openbill feeds mainly on molluscs, and particularly freshwater snails living in rice-fields and swamps. Prey is located by touch and sight. The gap in the bill allows good grasp of the snail’s shell. Asian Openbill walks slowly in shallow water, searching for prey. It extracts snail from the shell, with pointed lower mandible. They also consume frogs, crabs and large insects, and other small aquatic animals.

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Prey.    EXIF:  f/6.3  SS:1/1250  ISO:2000  @403mm

Flight: As said earlier they use warm air streams for rising in the air, and flies high in the sky. Then, it glides to destination. Landing is spectacular. Asian Openbill drops from the air with dangling legs, and lands just as a parachute.

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In th flight.    EXIF: f/6.3  SS:1/1250   ISO:2000 @600mm

Asian open bills are one of the social birds and hence not so hard to get photographs. They fly too often and lands into the same wetland as mentioned above, giving beautiful opportunities to click.

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The flight.     EXIF:  f/6.3    SS:1/1250  ISO:2000  @600mm

I had an amazing time spent with these beautiful large wings and in the process gained some knowledge. I hope you have liked my article on Asian Open bill Stork.

My other blogs from About the bird series :

Indian Pond Heron (Ardeola grayii)

Red Whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus)

White throated kingfisher (Halcyon pileata)

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Take off.    EXIF: f/6.3  SS:1/1250  ISO:2000   @600mm handheld

Untill next time, Keep birding and keep spreading love 🙂

Much love,

Riya

 

 

Parra – A birding hour

Parra, as the name must be known to most of the Indians by now who watch bollywood movies as this beautiful location has been shown in the movie Dear Zindagi featuring Shahrukh Khan and Alia Bhatt. And also the movie poster featured beautiful parra. Parra is indeed a beautiful location to shoot and make videos. I have visited this parra panchayat area quite a few times in my 2 years stay in Goa but it only became my favorite when I saw the mesmerising sunrise there one lovely morning. Scooty ride is a must in that road while in a Goa stay. I don’t know why but I feel attached to this place. And now that I know its a wonderful place for birding as well, I have made it a special space in my heart. I couldn’t make it to the place at dawn again but whenever I visit, it reminds me of the glowing sun peaking out from the bushes while I sat on my scooty, my back facing the beautiful tiny, smooth road with long palm trees on both the sides [worth reason for its popularity]. It looks amazing on the screen but you have to be there to feel the essence of nature so close to you.

Talking of videos, we recently shot a video in this particular location for Ankit’s new original tune called “LIFE” which is now live on youtube. This music takes me to some unheard realizations of life,that Life is a mere journey in circles. You walk around in search of answers which are never found anywhere. But what you gotta do is keep moving. Moving on, moving up or moving away  but just keep moving. That is all LIFE is about. Isn’t it? I have tried to show it in the end of the video. Watch it in full HD and tell me what you liked more, the music or the location. Do come back in 3 minutes (plus buffering time :P) Here it is

Now enough about Life, lets get back to what I have come here for. Bird photographing. Well after shooting the video there, we went twice to have some getaway time with birds twice in this monsoon. We literally have to be mentally prepared for running away any moment as rain showers in Goa are so unpredictable. I leave this duty to my husband all the time (he is a good weather forecast for me), I simply listens to him when he says ‘time for pack-up’. So here I will show all the birds that I have spotted at anytime in Parra in my two wonderful short visits.

Birds are usually scattered here and there. You can see more than usual numbers of White throated kingfishers and bee-eaters on wires and branches.  But I always go somewhere to see something unusual, something that I haven’t seen before. New wings,new habits. Nature is very creative with its creations. The best examples are the birds. We cant imagine how many different varieties and colorful birds are there in this whole planet. lets see, what all I got to see in Parra till now.

I will start with the majestic beauty. Indian national bird. Indian peafoul

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A habitat shot of national beauty. Exif:: f/6.3 SS: 1/1000  ISO:400  @600mm

They were three of them that we chased that day until they vanished in the big bushes.Its always a pleasure to watch the national bird in its own habitat. Often heard a saying that they along with some other large birds destroy a lot of crops in Goa, and are hated by most of the farmers. But whatever it is, it just makes my mood whenever I watch them in the green grasslands, that is too often in rainy days 🙂 Yet to capture their rain dance though.

A landing egret. [I chose here one of the many images of each species that I clicked there, else wise it would have been a very long post with too many pictures of each species. For more images of a particular bird, I will give a link to my detailed post about that bird whenever and wherever available. I will keep on posting blogs about my new bird shots]

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About to land. Exif :: f/8.0    SS-1/1000   Iso-360   handheld  @ 360mm

Post on Egret: Egret

Oriental magpie Robin -juvenile

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Close-up.   Exif :: f/6.3   SS:1/1250    ISO:1250   @600m

I selected the closeup shot here as I liked the details on the young bird’s body against the natural green  background. I will use the bokeh background shots in my upcoming blogs. so stay updated with me.

Detailed post of Oriental Magpie robin: Oriental Magpie robin (Copsychus saularis)

A commoner White throated kingfisher

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Close up. EXIF:: f/6.3  SS:1/1250  ISO:800 @600mm

This is a close up image of white throated kingfisher I made,that took a perch on a high cemented post against a very dull sky. Check out full detailed post of White throated kingfisher here.

My favorite image from Parra session ,1st day, is of a very common water bird. Indian pond heron.

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Spreading the wings. EXIF:: f/6.3 SS:1/1600  ISO:640  @600mm

I loved how it showed its big wings with white underparts. Detailed post on Indian pond heron here.

A very fluffy green bee eater/ or may be Indian version of little bee eater.

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Look at me.  Exif:: f/6.3  SS: 1/800 ISO:1000 @600MM

Bee eaters usually perch on high wires and have been found hungry catching bees most of the time. This one for a change was having its own time alone with no intention to hunt. Have a look at a juvenile below.

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Juvenile green bee eater. EXIF::  f/6.3   SS:1/1250   ISO:800  @600MM

Here is one Red wattled lapwing image for you all.

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Red wattled lapwing. EXIF:: f/6.3   SS:1/1250   ISO:500 @600mm

A habitat shot of Red wattled lapwing. Rule of thirds works so well in habitat shots when your subject is in tact focus.

Lapwings are ground birds that cannot perch on a tree or wire, hence always a ground level image unless its flying which makes a beautiful composition because of its color against the lush green grasslands.


Now lets have a look at the small passerine birds that often went unseen by most of the people. But birders go hunt for their one sight. The little munias, weavers and finches are delight to watch. They are almost always together in quite a few number creating a chui-chui-chui sounds 🙂

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House sparrow with nesting material. EXIF:: f/6.3  SS:1/1250  ISO:400 @600MM

House sparrows were too common when I was a child and was the only bird that was seen everyday in a big numbers except crows. North Indian people often consider sparrows when they use the word ‘chidiya‘ (hindi word for BIRD actually). So much known bird, but only decreasing in number day by day due to lack of habitat. They are hardly now seen in urban areas and hence a delight for  photographer to take some good shots before they go risk in the extinction meter. (Wishfully they don’t).

Scaly beasted munia

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Scaly breasted munias feasting.

A large number of scaly breasted munias can be seen in Parra feasting at the ground with a few white rumped munias and baya weavers. I wish I could go ground level to get their better shot. But I had to do my job from the road while they enjoyed on the muddy field.

White rumped munia. Chose the close up one for better details.

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White rumped munia. EXIF::  f/6.3  SS: 1/1000  ISO:800  600MM

A bunch of them visited my house one rainy day. wait for my upcoming balcony birding posts.

One of my favorite weavers, BAYA WEAVER.

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Ms. Baya weaver .EXIF: f/6.3   SS:1/800sec   ISO:400 , spot metering  , no flash, hand held @600mm

I absolutely love how this close up image turned out and I thank the individual for perching close enough for a few seconds. Sadly I haven’t came across any baya weaver nest by now and I am eagerly waiting for that, and once I get that I won’t wait for a second to share with you all as they are known as the most intelligent birds with architectural qualities for their immensely brilliant nests they make.

An ashy prinia.

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Ashy prinia. EXIF::  f6.3  SS:1/1250sec  ISO=250  handheld @600mm

Again used rule of thirds to create this image of Ashy prinia which I often see these days from my balcony as well as they seem comfortable with me now. Knowing about new birds is always so fascinating but knowing new facts about the birds that were always around you is even more fascinating.

Learning and gaining knowledge has no end. So for me,its everyday that I learn something new. I am ending up my parra birding session with this beautiful shot of a common butterfly.

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Beautiful butterfly . EXIF::  f/6.3  SS:1/1250   ISO:640  @267mm  😛

Hope you all have enjoyed as I always do while creating up my post. And if you have any queries or you visit this place, don’t forget to leave a comment for me 🙂

Some more images in my next post.:)

Until next time,

Much love,

Riya

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lets talk Tuesday ~ Anger turned pain

A minute of thought is greater than an hour of talk.”

                                                                                                                   – John C. Maxwell

Absolutely true! hence I think , think , think and think a lot.  Not just a minute but a lot more than that. A lot more than I would ever think I could. A lot more than the memories I have or going to create in coming future. A lot more than the present I have. A lot more than my mind can tolerate, a way more than my brain’s ability. But why? Why do we think this much? Why do we think at all? Yes, I said ‘We’ because I am not alone in this. There are not less than a thousand people (if not more) who are exactly like me. Not in a  sense of behavior or looks , but who thinks alike. Who thinks like me. I am sure there are people with whom I can share my thoughts without having saying anything. The thoughts would be mutual. But my point is why do we think? Why people like me exist who keeps on pushing the limit of brain far too much. Well! there’s no answer. At least not one I was looking for. I think , think and think and I don’t get the answer for my WHYs. I guess no one does. But I hope someday some one does get the answer for his Why.


What forms a writer is the ability to give shape and form to their thoughts to let people understand what they are going through. To be a writer you don’t have to be an author of a book, but a writer is the one, whom people understand. So I try to write down what I feel. Sometimes they take form of a rhyme ,become a poem or mostly just a paragraph or two. Because why not! Writing down my opinions to my audience is the best thing I can do to myself as it will work as a reminder for me a few years later of “how I used to be or how my mind worked then”. Hence I am starting this blog series to talk it all to you guys. Lets blog off the boredom or clear off the mind  to make space for some new ones with “Lets talk tuesday“. I will mostly post on a tuesday on whatever topic I feel like (sometimes about me as well ;)).

Anger turned pain

Todays topic is about this picture I clicked a  few days ago of a hanuman langur while waiting for birds to get into my frame. Mostly, my weekends or holidays spend running after birds or waiting for them to come in sight from my balcony , well of course, after finishing off my house chores or simply letting them be for a day or two. So it was this saturday, I was in my balcony with my cam when my husband spotted these langurs jumping from our wall to another in search of god knows what. Thank God, our balcony is not an open one and we could get their clicks without getting harmed. Though I admire them more than I can really have good shots. When I zoomed into one of their faces, I got confused.. worried.. Next day I posted a picture on facebook to get reviews of what people think about it. Is the monkey really sad/ crying or just angry at us?

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Pain

I got a few responses like, he is just angry, he is sad, he is hungry, they are naturally like that, they don’t like getting photographed etc etc. Nothing caught my attention really. What caught my attention was the tears in his eyes. I don’t even know whether I am right or wrong as I have never studied langurs but all I know is that they are our ancestors and whatever we are today, we were them at some point of time. So, if I take into consideration of feelings he must be having, as human behavior, it is easy to understand.If not easy, then at least an understandable trial. I saw pain in his eyes. A pain of separation may be, or the pain of not being able to feed his children or just the pain of being an animal. We humans have voices we laid out loud about our problems, unfavorable circumstances to the whole world, at least we can. But what about them? They don’t have four walls to live or raise their children. They aren’t civilized like we are but often we forget that they are not a piece of entertainment or anxiety for us, they are lives with exact same heart beats as we have. You know what I mean right!

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Anger urned pain

The pain is getting bigger day by day. (In human context). The pain of not getting the desirable results, not being able to fulfill own dreams, pain of loosing our loved ones, pain of being a loser, the pain is getting larger day by day taking a form of anger. Pain turned anger. Angry of the life we have got, angry about unfulfilled desires, angry about the situations, angry for the generation, angry at the society , angry at own self, angry at the creator, God. But then, what next? Do we get an answer for our whys? Do they get answer for their pain they have to go through every day? NO they don’t, we don’t.

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Pain turned anger

Here, we are shouting for our rights, for our liberation, for our independence. Our shout never ends as their is nothing called satisfaction in our dictionary. And there will never be one. Our pain will turn us angry and our anger will destroy us. We will be sad again. We will get back the courage some how , set new goals , get them and again get sad for some other reason. This process of getting hurt- angry – hurt has no end to it. The acceptance of pain has always been in our blood. We love to get hurt. Accept it, its the truth! or else this world would be a happy place to live in.

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Pain again

This fellow in few minutes taught me a lesson that humans failed to in years.  ”Satisfaction is a myth’‘ .

 

See you in weekend

Much love

Riya

Wild caty

Hello people, you must be thinking the reason behind the title. I am sure, like cat is fine but why caty? So let me tell you this small story. Since childhood, I have always been a cat person rather than a dog person though have never pet any of them ever but made some street friends quite a few times. So this name came up to my mind while choosing alias for our characters in Counter Strike computer game in college.( A very very famous game among computer students in India). Within no time, I presented  myself as “CATY” and voila, I have been known as caty since then among all my college friends. I guess some of them  has forgotten my real name by now. 😀 Anyways jokes apart lets continue with this post.

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So I am staying in this building which has a big open parking area giving enough space for animals like cats to roam around and play. A few days ago, I officially met this one who is born to be wild but could do a little friendly if you go approach him. Had spend an amazing saturday morning clicking his snaps.

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Even though, these guys are wild but as you know, humans are the most dangerous creatures on this planet, they get scared by us like most of the other animals and birds. They pretend to hide in the shade or bushes at first while they judge the intention of the human coming closer. If they smell something not okay, they will ran away, really fast.As a fact cats can run as fast as 3mph (i.e. faster than Asian bolt :O)

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They want to be loved by you, the more you love them, the more they will love you back. Well, of course it takes time to grow the trust as in humans too. I believe any animal is easier to understand at least than we people. A person is the most complicated animal creator has ever created with messed up over smart brains to earn money and hurt sentiments. Well, thats true. Digest it!

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Cats are the sleepy heads. They love to sleep, like a lot of it (around 12-16hrs a day). I have heard somewhere that if a cat is around 9 years of age, it has been proven that he has been sleeping for 6 years or more and only been awake for 3 years in total. We can totally call them our very own “kumbhakarna” (A bad character in Indian hindu mythology who is famous for his sleep. He used to sleep for 6 months and then awake for another half year.)

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Another weird fact about cats is that their taste buds don’t give the pleasure of tasting sweetness. They simply cant taste sugar or anything sweet and that is why may be the reason he left the muesly and drank just the milk. Else who will leave the sweet raisins along with the nuts. Yum 😛 though may not be yum for them. Apart from milk, fish is their favorite food which is known to the whole universe since forever. [ Though some cats are lactose intolerant and shouldn’t be fed milk]

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While studying about cats in details, I came to know that neutering (removal of reproductory organ) of your cat may be quite helpful to you as well. It not only decreases the risk of testicular cancer, but it also makes your cat less aggressive and more affectionate towards you (In case of pets, only domestic animals). Plus it adds a few years to their age as well.

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To know more about cats, one should know that their nose patterns are as unique as our finger prints. It may be helpful for the actual counting of the individuals else-wise they don’t need to give nose impression on cheques right?

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Some other facts about our cute cats:

  • Scientific name    :  Felis catus
  • Life span               :  2 to 16 years
  • Gestation period :  58-67 days
  • Height                   :  23-25cm
  • Length                   :  46cm + 30cm (tail) {approx}
  • They have more than 20 muscles in body that controls ears.
  • Female cats are typically right-pawed while male cats are typically left-pawed.
  • A cat’s brain is 90% equal to humans
  • Cat’s have longer memory than dogs but lacks in social IQ.
  • A cat can jump upto 6 times its height.
  • Also they can survive a fall from a taller height.
  • Cats sweat only though their foot pads.
  • Pet cats imitate human child and often changes their meaw to communicate with humans.

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Only 11.5% of people consider them Cat-person, and I might be one of them. So now you know my love for cats that has always been. And now that I know more about them I obviously feel good about it.

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The photographs in this post are of a wild cat who roams in and around my house building and not a pet to anyone. I call him my buddy though he scared the hell out of me a few days ago when I was climbing the stairs wit earphones on and Mr. cat decided to show up like a super hero , apparently from no where and ran away to no where after he was satisfied with my panic call.

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So this is it for today’s lesson.:P I learned a lot about cats while making this blog up. Hope you had a nice time reading them too. I will see you all in my next post.

Until next time

Much love

Riya

 

 

Chopdem birding continues…

Hey you peeps, having a cozy saturday? Cool! Don’t even have to get up from the couch. Its raining cats and dogs here and staying in is the best thing to do on a holiday. No raincoats,umbrellas and wet legs for a single makes me enjoy the rain even more. Its not that I complain on other days as I love monsoon. Everything is so green and fresh. Earth seems much more beautiful and lively.

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A tree full of black headed Ibis

Beautiful. Isnt it? Let the monsoon come everywhere. Plant trees and stop cutting trees in the name of development. What will the world do with the development if there will be no air to breathe and no water to drink? Spread the word!

In  my last birding post (Birding in Chopdem,Goa) I was in this beautiful spot clicking birds on a beautiful morning. Today’s post can be concluded as its continuation as I went on to this nearby spot to click some beautiful cattle egrets in full plumage colour. I see them often these days from vehicle’s window while traveling but hardly get to click them. So I wanted to give some special time to shoot them in complete silence. So it was the day.

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Plumage colours on an egret’s feathers

In my last post, I promised I would start with Swallows , So this is it. While leaving Chopdem birding area, we ran into some swallows on a wire.I got so carried away clicking them , I was about to lean on a 2000 Volt electric poll. [ Thank god, I was accompanied by a responsible person to alert me soon enough, phew]. Keep exploring and clicking but with an active mind. Keeping yourself safe is the basic necessity. Isn’t?

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Wire tailed swallows
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Close up of a wire tailed swallow

As soon as we reached the farming space almost full of egrets and pond herons, I spotted a huge black crowned night heron.

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Black crowned night heron.

He was huge and calm, giving me time to get closer and get a few shots of him. I already knew I was going to have a great time there though Mr. Sun came up on us really fast making it hot and uncomfortable. Oh wait! Uncomfortable for whom? Not me when I am birding 😀

While my husband was setting up the tripod on a steady flat space near this crucifix, I was already into the mud and almost sat on the ground to be away as well as close (through my lens) to these feathered creatures. So here are few of the images that I got of the very pretty Cattle egret in breeding plumage.

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This is one of my favorite shots and had been my mobile wallpaper for all this time.

 

Different moods, different shots. First one with a little prey.

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In my opinion, this made a nice frame with wings half open and the egret being walking away with pride.

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Portrait, Cattle  egret.

And the mesmerizing portrait of this lovely egret.

while I was busy clicking the colours, my husband spotted a non breeding one in another mood variable.

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Though I wasn’t satisfied with clicking them, I went on and on.

 

Lets introduce their acompanies.

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face to face: Cattle egret and Pond heron

Stupid me, I couldn’t focus on both their eyes at the same time 😦 as the heron was a little behind. Anyways, lets have a look at some Indian Pond Heron clicks with extended flexible necks.

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Indian pond heron

I found it very enchanting to click these really tall and thin ones as I usually come across the bulky and short pond herons who usually don’t stretch their necks a lot. But to my surprise these ones here did and looked really pretty I must say.

 

Different moods, different shots. Second one with little prey.

And finally a portrait with extended long neck.

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Portrait: cattle egret

All these shots were taken handheld with my Sigma 150-600mm contemporary OS lens and hardly been edited or post processed as they were naturally very pretty and full of colours. I really enjoyed watching their behaviors and activities in the morning time with some searching for breakfast, some flying here and there. So I got clicked myself at the end 😀

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Happy me 🙂

A long ago, I had posted a blog on Egret (great egrets mainly), have a look if you want. ~ Egret

That was a beautiful sunday and so tomorrow should be. Make everyday beautiful by doing at least one thing that makes you happy. Every day is a special day as we got to live that one. On this note I will take your bid to see you soon again on my new post.

My other birding activities.

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Crab plovers taking off.

Until next time, Keep birding, keep smiling, spreading love 🙂

Much love,

Riya

Smile-laugh-repeat

We have heard since forever ‘smile, because its free’. I say smile,obviously smile not because its free, but because it purifies your heart every time you do it from your heart. That beautiful curve on your face is directly connected to your heart beat. Trust me on this, Each time you stretch your lips in U shape, Mr. heart normalizes its speed and tells you ‘ everything is good buddy, keep going’. At least that is what keeps me going. So I try to smile as much as possible with as many people as possible.

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We all have so many things going on in our minds simultaneously. Don’t lie to yourself on this and listen to your mind’s craziness for once. I know, I know its difficult to even to listen to yourself sometimes as our lives are so damn puzzled up,confusing,motionless at times, but all you need to do my friend is to cry. Yes I m not joking, crying helps lighten up the burden. And once its not heavy anymore, smiling would be easy, very easy. And nothing is better than a easy smile. Have you seen a child smiling ___  heart out?  Of course you did, we all did and it is so soothing to eyes to see them smiling or listening to their laughter which is usually loud. Similarly, its far better to laugh your heart out than bursting out in emotions.

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Have you heard the quote ‘ fight back with smile’ .You might not but now you did. I say fight back your emotions with a lovely smile. Once your happiness empowers the sadness, life will be easy. If not easy,then easy to handle. None’s life is as easy and perfect as it looks on the social media. We show people what we want to show and hide the rest inside us. We are in such time of yuga, people don’t even show their real sides to their close ones. And why would we? We are so very good in pretension. I say, stop pretending for a day and be happy from within.

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We all are very sure about the fact that we don’t/wont look good while making a cringy face or crying. And hence we pose, we smile for photographs to look pretty in the pictures. But does it all that matters? To look pretty and happy to the outside world? What about the world inside? Doesn’t it needs a bit of relaxation, freshness and get rid of the tiredness? The tiredness of over thinking, controlling the emotions, molding the feelings from one to another, suppressing the child who wants to be free and smile carefree. Doesn’t your inside world needs a make-over too? Yes it does! It badly does! So for once, throw up your make-up, wear the real smile on your face and feel the difference.

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Smile for yourself, smile for you have a family, smile for people loves you (at least a few really do), smile for you got a human life, smile for you get to eat, smile for you are breathing. Smile for your strength, smile for your hidden weakness, smile for your achievements, smile for the lost battles. Keep smiling and stay smiling forever. It not only nourishes your mind but also the one’s you are smiling at. Make yours and other’s days beautiful with a priceless smile every morning.

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Someone said to me, my smile has a healing touch. I believe every smile ever has the power to heal.Smile is the best therapy for all the disease and sadness in the world. So, forget anything and everything. But don’t forget to smile and laugh. Lets make a routine to keep our hearts healthy. Smile-listen to yourself- laugh it out- repeat.

Most importantly smiling doesn’t harm .So keep smiling and spreading laughter.

Much love

RIYA