Birding in Chopdem,Goa

Hey beautiful people, I hope you all are having a great weekend as I am having. Well I am quite excited today about sharing my experience of birding in one of my favourite places in North Goa which doesn’t have a particular name(none that I know of). It’s just a beautiful sitting area along the smoothest road dividing a big lake into two halves, decorated with eye-catching street lights. I had first visited this place last year while being deputed in one of the banks nearby. This location can be termed as Parcem or chopdem as it occurs in between parcem and pednem in North-goa. Have a look at the location to soothe your eyes.

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Isn’t a painting.

We have also recorded two videos for my husband’s you-tube channel in this particular place. Now you know how much I love the way it has been decorated and maintained by the Goa govt. in recent years. You may also watch the videos if you love music or interested in fingerstyle guitar or just for the location as I loved filming and editing them afterwards. Do come back 😀

While shooting for the last video called “Right here waiting” I spotted a few black-headed Ibis, the hovering kings’ Pied kingfishers (high level of excitement) and a few others like cormorants and egrets and that is when I decided I will be back here again soon for birding with my sigma 150-600mm contemporary OS and my poddy (Osaka vct 100 tripod). And finally on 30.05.2018, that beautiful day arrived. Packing my camera bag, we reached the area by 8am at earliest as it was a cloudy day with very low light (early monsoons in Goa you see). As soon as we reached, I spotted two Indian Cormorants with fish kill too nearby. I jumped from the vehicle and unloaded my bag to get my camera ready only to find them flew away with their breakfasts. Couldn’t get a single shot but my optimism didn’t leave my side for once. Cormorant was first to show up so I will start with him.

Indian cormorant perched on its favorite stone in the middle of lake. I have quite a lot of mood variation images in my memory card that I loved clicking .

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Another individual drying up his wings (the most famous pose for cormorants). I have quite a few pictures of this individual in different poses,may be leave them for other time 😉 Stay put for my upcoming blogs.

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Great egret.

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The very pretty Little Egret in its dense habitat. Little egrets are my favorite egrets among I came across till date. This one looked amazingly pretty showing off her breeding feathers.

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Black headed IbisI am yet to get close enough to this one to get the details of its face and neck. Their eyes are jet black and hardly noticeable to focus from a long range. Yet I adore its beauty.

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Putting up another image of black headed Ibis having a breakfast snack( some snake). I intentionally didn’t clean up the messy background which I could have clearly because I want to convey this message that ‘ This is our mother land and animals are its children just as we humans are. Kindly don’t throw your garbage in your mother’s lap as you don’t do it with your biological mother.’ PS: people in Goa drinks more than they eat. Drink as much as you want, simply throw the cans and bottles into the garbage bins.

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Greater sand plover (breeding).You cant miss the waders when you are near a wet land.

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Lesser sand plover.

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Spotted Redshanks 

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Crab plover

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You can hardly miss out on an Indian pond heron (breeding these days)

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Now some of my favorites (KINGFISHERS of Goa)

The small or Common kingfisherThanks to my bird spotter for spotting this cutie as she perched on one of the most flowing branch)

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The very fast and loud Stork billed kingfisherThey can never go unnoticed if they are calling)

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The black and white Pied Kingfisher (I call them hover kings as they come and stay in the air for quite a sometime hovering while they look for prey in water or nearby, I guess they start their engine for diving in :D)

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Kites are the nature’s proof that everything is going good and well. Brahminy kite in flight.

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A cattle egret in flight.

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When we were about to leave this insanely favorite place of ours, we spotted some Wire tailed swallows as usual playing on a wire.

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I will start with this one in my next weekend’s continuation blog on bird watching in Chopdem. Do come back for even more eye shooting images of the beautiful cattle egret and more.

My gear- Canon + sigma

Follow me on social media for updates and more clicks.

Facebook page– https://www.facebook.com/Riyasownspace/

Insta handle for more images and updates – https://www.instagram.com/riya_insideout/

More birding activities if you are new to my space.:-

Birds of Panchgani

Mighty mahabaleshwar and birding

Carambolim lake bird watching -part 2

Carambolim lake bird watching (Part 1)

Agonda backwaters- bird watching in tranquility 

I will see you all in my next post.Till then happy birding. Keep clicking. keep smiling and spreading love.

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Good Night

Much love

Riya

Mighty mahabaleshwar and birding

So in my last blog, you have seen the birds that I have spotted in peaceful Panchgani. Yes I call it peaceful ,because peace means to find yourself, to explore your soul. And as per me, oceans and mountains have the capability to do that. You can listen to yourself along with the waves in silent nights and let the wings of your soul fly in the mighty mountains with the dawn. I found peace in Panchgani in the voice of birds. Nothing is more peaceful to me other than the chirping of the feathered creatures. Today I am going to explore the location more with beautiful landscapes,some portraits which looked automatically amazing in the environment and of course some more birds from our short trip to Mahabaleshwar.

If you missed my last post on “Birds of panchgani”, the link is here- Birds of Panchgani

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So when you travel to some new place, what all things rush to your mind? Expectations about the beauty of nature, some leisure time, gateway from routine life and to have some family time. Isn’t it? For me,this trip was different. Some fresh air to breathe and no one else was my need,of course other than my other half. Where would I leave him anyways :D. I wanted to listen to my mind that needed a definite break from continuous process of regularity, learning and performing in life. Sometimes you should, you know. There is no one else on this planet who can listen to you better than yourself. I do that usually by spending some time alone in early morning or near a beach listening to the waves. Mountains ,though cant be any worse.

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Those high peaks far away, what does they say to you? They ask you to keep your head high and keep moving ahead until there is no more stairs to climb. Exactly like birds, they keep on trying reaching the top till the last. I have seen birds trying hard to cross the barrier of heavy wind and fly across. Many a times, they loose but then they wont stop trying. I feel like I have wings sometimes, when I ride my scooty alone in the deserted roads and in the locations with views like this. Let me tell you, the best feeling of freedom ever is to fly.

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Panchgani has peace and soul searching power where as Mahabaleshwar has enthusiasm and ecstasy, the spirit of living in the moment. Live it and love it. No reasons will ever justify your tears anyways.

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Pratapgarh Fort

I particularly find all the hills to be similar,then again I don’t stop travelling. You never know what is waiting for you. Keep exploring until you find the best version of you.

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I love  creating sunstars.

Now lets see some birds again from my 18-135mm usm lens.

#birdingwith135mm

Lets start with the cutest pair of my favorite lifer from the trip. Oriental white eyes. When you expect for least,this happens.

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Loved watching these cuties through my lens. Moving on to the next lifer. Brown cheeked fulvetta , couldn’t manage a better picture though 😦

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Spending a whole evening in a park leaves you with some beautiful images and memories of experiences. Indian black lored tit with grasshoper kill. Watched this beauty taking its own time to finish the lunch on a very high perch.

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The very silent and beautifully perched Oriental turtle dove gave me enough time to capture him from different angles.

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And yes I never miss a chance to click our very own Red whiskered bulbul no matter how common they are.

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Also clicked a few eye catching flora from the gardens of maharashtra.

 

 

Let me take your bid and leave you with the most soothing view that everyone loves. The sunset from sunset/bombay point.

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I will see you all in my next blog. Till then happy birding , keep smiling and spreading love.

Much love

Riya

Birds of Panchgani

So, in the last weekend of April, we went to one of the nearby hill stations from Goa to celebrate one of our anniversaries. Luckily, it falls on the international labor day and we get a holiday every year. Taking one day-leave on monday making it a long weekend we opted for Mahabaleshwar in South Maharashtra which is around 360 km from north-Goa. It was about to be a leisure trip and being very excited about clicking a lot of landscapes and portraits, I took along my favorite Canon 18-135mm lens only. Unaware of bio-diversity of the area, we had planned one-day stay in panchgani on the way to mahabaleshwar to explore the most of it in least time. Only didn’t we know that that its going to be the best decision of the whole trip. After completing our journey from mapusa by bus and then cab, we landed in panchgani early morning (5am). As soon as we deboarded the cab to step towards our hotel, I already fell in love with this place. Only thing that could fall on my ears was the bird chirp. Staring at the not-so-high trees and birds calling loud on them, we reached our hotel which has a beautiful valley view. I could say one of the bests in panchgani or even in mahabaleshwar if you want to feel the nature close-by.

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It was the best possible time and I couldn’t keep my feet inside anymore. Taking my cam and lens which could max go upto 135mm,I went down the valleys near our room. So this post is going to be the birds I spotted and clicked with my landscape/video lens in panchgani and to be continued till my next blog about mahabaleshwar.

#birdingwith135mm

Some pigeons were nesting on the top of the balcony, but I hardly click them. All my attention were grabbed by bulbuls and their loud chirps. I have enough encounters with red-whishkered bulbuls at my place, but they were the red-vented ones that caught me. Turn you face any where and there is one.

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Then these oriental magpie robins who looked stunning perching on wires against the beautiful mountains.

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Clicking quite a few , I went down a little in hope of getting some nice and close shots. A few house-sparrows on a tree.

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The most I could see and not hear were the jungle babblers. The hopping bird I call them.

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They were every where, on the roads, on the trees, roofs , hopping around every here and there carrying breakfast.

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Being wandering around the place, I couldn’t miss this view of the house-pigeons and the mountains.

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When I returned room, I had a home visitor. Red whiskered bulbul (who I guess ,missed me being away a little while ;))

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After having breakfast , we finally left for the tour which basically started and ended in the Table-land which was huge and showcases many view points from a single land. One could easily take a horse ride but we preferred walking as we wanted to explore on our own and take a lot of pictures, ofcourse :P. While walking on the table land I got my first lifer there, Oriental Skylark.

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The lark family member took the best possible perch and posed for us. But I loved him more in its habitat.

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Moving on, we came across another very small bird that almost camouflaged with the dirt and soil. Oriental Pipit 

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There are always some beautiful wings to watch in the air. Brahminy kite.

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There were a few more around our hotel area that were unreachable for me. I wished for a moment, I had my zoom lens but then again there is some positivity in everything around you. Its just been 2 months , I have been using 150-600mm lens and yet not capable of holding it for a long time. So for a trip (not birding trip at least)I would prefer to carry lighter lens with me and enjoy the freshness of nature more.

Indian black bird.

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The unreachable starling.

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I am going to continue birding and photographing untill my next blog about the mighty mountains of Mahabaleshwar. I don’t know how much I am capable of writing about the nature’s majestic beauty, but then I am a human being and I can only try.

My other birding activities-

Carambolim lake bird watching (Part 1)

Carambolim lake bird watching -part 2

Agonda backwaters- bird watching in tranquility 

Birding in Assonora, Goa

Birding from home

There is no end to one’s imagination and creativity, similarly there is no end to one’s passion and activities. I will see you all in my next blog. Untill then have a beautiful time.

Much love

Riya

SHE ~ poetry

She
who is she?

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She is the cloud covering the mountains,
She is the unreachable tip of the hill
She is the elevation.

She is the sparkles of the fire,
She is the dew on the leaves you can only admire
She is the feel.

She is the silhouette of the setting sun,
She is the closeness of moonlight companion
She is the silence.

She is the cherry on your ice-cream, that looks perfect un-eaten
She is the soap bubbles you cant catch,
She is the dream.

She is the twinkle of the stars,
She is the cold breeze you feel from far,
She is the bloom.

She is the unforgettable bite,
She is the warmth of blanket in cold night,
She is comfort.

She is the unread chapter of your story,
She is the hidden glory,
She is the mystery.

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She is the bird that never returned home,
She is the long awaited wish,
She is the prayer.

She is the wing you want to fly with,
She is the vision you see beauty,
She is the first touch.

She is the salt in your food,
She is the drug on your wound,
She is the need.

She is the hug you live for,
She is the kiss you long for.
She is love.

She is the mist in the foggy night,
She is the arms you want to hold tight,
She is togetherness.

She is your cake, your tea
She is the basic,
She is luxury.

She is the sound of the waves,
She is the chirp you crave,
She is happiness.

She is the sweetest voice,
She is the kindest heart,
She is the longing.

She is the mermaid of your fantasy,
She is the star in your dreams,
She is Her.

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Somewhere in the clouds
in the foggy mountains
in the salty oceans
you will find her.

Still the conclusion awaits.
Who is she?

~Riya

Carambolim lake bird watching -part 2

Hello and welcome to the second part of the Carambolim lake bird watching. You have already seen the picturesque location in my last blog. If you haven’t read it yet ,its here for you, read it and come back 🙂 -> Carambolim lake bird watching (Part 1)

So now that you have already seen the variety of birds that can be found in this amazing place, I am gonna share with you few more exquisite images of the birds that I have captured on the same day i.e. 31st of March 2018. Carambolim is one of those bird hubs in Goa that any amateur or professional wildlife enthusiast from Goa or nearby states should visit at least once or may be every year in winter. Most of the migratory birds can be seen in winters mainly november to february. But you may also visit in till April or may. And obviously the best time for birding would be sunrise till 8am and evening before sunset. The lake spreads so wide with numerous waders and water birds flying here and there is such a beautiful scenery to watch. Even if you are not an avid birder or photographer, just carry a pair of binoculars to have an amazing time with nature’s own creation.

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Carambolim lake.

Now that we have known about the place and location lets get into what we call ‘bird watching’. I am again starting with Grey headed swamphen here as this place is known for these wetland birds with a board of their pictures saying “Carambolim lake-Important bird area”.

 Into the wetland:

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Greyheaded swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus)

As you move more through the narrow pathway you will be bombarded with opportunities to click a lot but don’t forget to carry your patience.

Black tailed Godwit

 

 

I was lucky to found some in their breeding plumage. They look amazingly pretty.

 

 

Common greenshank

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The common greenshank (Tringa nebularia)

Indian pond heron

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Indian pond heron (Ardeola grayii)

Little Egret

 

 

Paddyfield pipit or oriental pipit

 

 

Glossy Ibis (in breeding plumage)

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The glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)

Moving forward towards some wild birds sitting on a very high wire with prey. Blue tailed bee-eaters

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Blue tailed bee eaters

Admiring the beauties of the lake we moved a little further in search of one of the migratory birds “Pied Avocet” (the only individual left in Goa by april) . Though it was really far away under the raising sun , I managed to get an okay shot just for the identification along with a lot of stilts and godwits.

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The pied avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

It was farthest we could reach, after that we returned to have a look around the carambolim  where some famous ‘lesser whistling ducks’ were residing who decided to flew away together as soon as we reached. So no lesser whistling ducks this time. :(. We stopped at this beside lake with pillars area to watch a few Ibis and swamphens.

Indian pond heron

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The Indian pond heron  (Ardeola grayii)

Moving forward to the left side of the road, there were a bunch of swamphens residing. Spent a few moments there to admire the Ibis’s.

Glossy Ibis

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The glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)

Black headed Ibis or Oriental white ibis 

 

 

I had a great time in and around carambolim lake and anytime ready to spend some more hours there. Will definitely visit again in winter to spot some more migratory birds. I take your bid this time till my next blog. Have a great time you all. happy birding.

Much love,

Riya.

Carambolim lake bird watching (Part 1)

Carambolim lake is one of the most hyped bird watching stations in Goa. Just a few kilometers to the south-east of the old Goa, this lake exist in Tiswadi taluka in the surrounding of country side Carmali. It is a man made irrigation plot of rice fields which turned into an exclusive habitat for the migratory waders and waterfowl.

True to the facts, this picturesque place is very rich in biodiversity. Being heard about this place ,I traveled once with my partner while in Old Goa fest one fine afternoon. It was a very hot day and couldn’t spend much time to spot as many birds this lake offers. Hence I wanted to visit again. I made an on-line friend through bird watching groups in facebook and luckily she resides in the carambolim lake area. No one could stop me this time. On 31st march 2018, I along with my all time partner packed my gear backpack and left for the bird watching site. It took around 40 mins to reach and she was already there to show me places which I missed last time. I was carrying my gears along with my Osaka VCT 880 tripod which I love from the core of my heart to not miss any perfect shot.

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This is just a part of the carmbolim lake

There are 2-3 sites/locations in the carambolim lake area which one can explore for bird watching. Started from the watch tower, we were accompanied by another bird enthusiast who is very good with bird names and their breeding plumages (happy to have meet him).

I still did not count the number of species that I spotted there because it was many. Hence I am dividing my blog into 2 parts to cover all the beautiful wings and lifers (Some are residents so one can see them anytime of the year). This is the part 1.
From the bird watching tower:

The most common resident of carambolim lake is the Grey headed Swamphen or purple swamphen. As soon as you reach the tower, you will see a few of them

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Grey headed swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus)

Along with them there were some bronze winged jacanas enjoying their wetland habitat.

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Bronze winged jacana (Metopidius indicus)

Taking their few shots, I climbed up to the tower to spot some wild birds. Except of Cormorants and darters in a distant dense tree(which is their home), I could find nothing on the trees nearby irrespective of the various bird calls.

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Great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Oriental darter

As soon as we were about to leave the tower area to go to the widespread wetland ,our birder accompany spotted a Indian Grey Hornbill.


Into the wetlands:

I semi packed my lens and hopped onto my partner’s scooty to discover the very rural roads that led us to the beautiful ,huge open-land, a little paradise for bird lovers. A narrow walk-worthy pathway scattering the wetlands in two halves. Move your eyeballs anywhere and you will see water birds everywhere- Stilts,pipits,stints,godwits, swamphens,egrets etc. in big bunches. I picked up some of my favorite shots.

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Grey headed swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus)

Little stint

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The little stint (Calidris minuta) (or Erolia minuta) ~ This picture got recognized in top 25 birds in national geographic blog by wild bird trust published on 13.04.2018

It is a really cute little wader I loved watching. You have to see it through your eyes to believe how little they are. Few more captures of one of my favorite waders.


Marsh sandpiper

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The marsh sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis)

Black winged stilt

There are few more birds that I spotted and captured that day like egrets,godwits,avocet,herons,bee eaters,ibis,etc. that I will continue in my next blog “Carambolim lake part 2” next week. Untill then happy birding.

My gear- Canon + Sigma

Location- Carabolim lake, Goa ( highly recommended- early morning will be pleasurable)

Much love

Riya

Indian Pond Heron (Ardeola grayii)

Hey all the beautiful bird lovers, today is the 3rd episode of the series I have started naming “About the bird“. Though I am two days late to my weekly schedule of the series blog post due to some sudden official tour we had to make. So I am in one of those small and unknown places of our country where google also cant finds you out. 😀 So the best thing I can do here is to pack myself inside the hotel room and spend some time alone with my wordpress family. Its 38 degrees scorching heat outside and no point in going anywhere in search of wings because I am gonna get nothing here.Being staying here for already two days made me realize that what I have there in Goa,in our rented appartment, my balcony,beautiful mornings and silent nights. I miss waking up to bird chirps (especially my kingo’s alarm call and bubbly bulbul songs -I guess I have gained a beautiful habit in here).

PS- I call white throated kingfisher as my Kingo  (named actually by my bird enthusiast friend Leena, I stole it from her). I love calling him that. 😀

So lets get into today’s session .

[ HIGH BRIGHTNESS RECOMMENDED FOR BETTER IMAGE RESULTS ]

Indian Pond Heron (Ardeola grayii)

Indian Pond herons , commonly known as paddybird due to its occurrence in almost all the paddy fields and wetlands in India and east Asia. Scientifically called as Ardeola grayii, Pond herons are considered to be small in heron family. Sized almost medium and can be seen near water areas and also in urban areas now a days.

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Taking a usual perch and stays for sometime on the   same perch.                                                                      Exif:  f/6.3 |exposure: 1/100 sec |ISO:800 |   @500mm

One of the most widespread herons in India, they are known to be co-existing with humans as they choose to make their habitats(nests) along with urbanization (in cities and towns) though their wide variety of habitats includes rivers, lakes, marshes, mangroves, streams and paddy fields. I have seen quite a few of them here and there everywhere like construction buildings,damp houses , nearby busy roads besides natural habitats.They prefer to live in low lands but may also be found in higher altitudes like nilgiri hills which lie more than 2000m above sea level.

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Talking of urban civilization.     Exif:  f/6.3 |exposure: 1/640 sec |ISO:200 |

They weigh around 230 grams and sized around 40-45cm when  adult and large beautiful white wide span ranges around 70-90cm. Unlike their usual grey stripes, their wings looks bright white when they fly. They have short neck, short thick bill and greyish-brown back/feathers with greenish large legs and yellow eyes.

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Beautiful feather.  Exif:  f/6.3 |exposure: 1/60 sec |ISO:800 |

Usually Pond herons are silent in nature but they have a harsh croak when they call.

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Astonished! Exif:  f/6.3 |exposure: 1/160 sec |ISO:100 |   @600mm

Indian pond herons feed on small fish, frogs, crabs, aquatic insects, grasshoppers, crickets, ants, bees, fly, baby turtles, leeches and other crustaceans. They are very skilled killer. They silently stalks its prey by walking very slowly and waits for quite a while before they gets the chance to ambush. I like to call them “shatir dimag” in hindi (skilled and trained brain). Their usual feeding habitat is near the marshy wetlands. They usually feed on the edges of the pond/water body but they may sometimes swim to fish or catch fishes diving in while on a flight.

 

This guys are experts in camouflage when they are tracking a prey. They are so silent, one will easily miss one of  these being a real close. One moment you see nothing, the other moment, you see one fly away with a prey in a splash.

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Camouflage in marsh water .Exif:  f/7.1 |exposure: 1/640 sec |ISO:250 |

Their breeding season starts with the onset of monsoon mainly from may to september but they are also found to be breeding before may in southern India and sri lanka. They usually breed in small groups of same species ,sometimes with other herons too. They look admirable when breeding with white -grey plumage. Their feet changes its colour to yellow then red in some individuals.

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Indian Pond heron showing plumage colours.                       Exif:  f/6.3 |exposure: 1/800 sec |ISO:800 |   @600mm

Most nests are built at a height of about 9 to 10 m in large dense trees. The nest material is collected by the male while the female builds the nest like most other bird species.. Three to five eggs are laid that takes around 18 to 24 days to hatch. Both parents feed the young and take part in upbringing. They sometimes reuse old nests that were left untouched since last years.

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Close up of an Indian Pond heron. Exif: f/6.3  exposure: 1/640  ISO:200 @500mm

Recently talking about Indian pond heron with few of the locals I know in Goa, I came to know that few of the villagers in India used to make heron dishes like they have been used as fishes and boiler chickens to feed on. I was disheartened hearing that but was relaxed after knowing that Indian forest department is taking action against those who were hunting pond herons and other water birds.

Location: Goa, India

Gears used: Canon + Sigma

So this is it for today’s bird session people. I will see you all in my next blog. Till then happy birding. Stay blessed and share love.

Much love

Riya

 

Red Whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus)

Hello lovelies,

First of all, a very happy and warm new year wishes to all my bengali and punjabi friends( I belong to both the communities :D) May your life gets better each year. And for me,may this year brings more and more opportunities for photographing the most beautiful creations of God i.e. birds.

In my last week’s post, I have started a series on “About the bird” with my very first post on White throated kingfisher. If you haven’t read it yet, HERE’s the LINK.

So today’s post is on yet another one of the most beautiful yet common bird in India and outside.

Before we start, I want to share a little, very little, happiness of mine. There is a non profit organization called “Wild bird Trust” who runs a blog on behalf of National Geographic and shares “Top 25 birds of the week” ever week depending on the theme of that particular week. So last week’s theme was “The birds that were saved by MBTA (Migratory birds Treaty Act-1918)” and one of my images was selected in this week’s Top 25 birds. The selected image is of ‘Little Stint‘ that I clicked in Carambolim lake in Goa on 31st of march 2018. Have a look.

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Little Stint . Exif:  f/7.1  exposure-1/320 sec   ISO-100  @484mm

Feel free to have a look at the Top 25 birds by National Geographic for the 2nd week of April 2018. -> https://blog.nationalgeographic.org/2018/04/13/top-25-mbta/

By now, you all must be knowing that I use my nick name ‘Riya Roy Pahuja’ as an alias for my photographs.

NOW, lets get back to business 😉 Today’s lesson.

Red Whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus)

Red Whiskered bulbul or crested bulbul  (Scientific name – Pycnonotus jocosus) is a passerine bird found in Asia and one of the most common in bulbul (Pycnonotidae) family in western ghats (where I live). I can say this because I meet them every morning 🙂

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The beautiful perch.  Exif:  f/6.3     exposure-1/800sec   ISO-100  @600mm

Bulbul family has around 150 species ,out of which a very few are residents of India. Red whiskered bulbul sized around 20cm in length and considered as a medium sized bird. Not easily recognized from a very far distance but quite easily distinguishable from a little closer.

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 Exif:  f/6.3     exposure-1/640sec   ISO-320  @435mm

Unlike Yellow throated bulbul, which is the state bird of Goa, Red whiskered bulbuls have a beautiful black crown on their head and red face patch makes the beautiful cherry cheeks with white patch on lower ear-coverts bordered below by black moustachial stripe.

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 Exif:  f/6.3     exposure-1/500sec   ISO-500  @600mm

The upper body parts are almost brown with white under parts with a dark patch running onto the breast at shoulder level. They have not-so-curvy beaks, long tails (with terminal feather tips )and sharp feet that rolls around the tree branches making it easier for them to perch on almost everywhere and anywhere.

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The portrait.  Exif:  f/6.3     exposure-1/800sec   ISO-100  @600mm

They live for around 11 years. But they make sure they are heard till they die. Their very distinctive 3-4 note call “kink-a-joo” can be heard almost all the time when there is a red whiskered bulbul nearby. Their call has been described as “nice to meet you” at some places and their song is called the scolding chatter.

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Exif:  f/6.3     exposure-1/800sec   ISO-250  @600mm

They are mostly seen in groups of 2-4 and love to sit on the top of tree branches and call loud in the mornings(sometimes with other bulbul species too). They love to fly and change perch frequently but seems like never wanting to break the bond.

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The pair .   Exif:  f/6.3     exposure-1/800sec   ISO-800  @484mm

Red whiskered bulbuls feed on fruits, flower nectars and insects.

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Breakfast. Exif:  f/6.3     exposure-1/500sec   ISO-500  @600mm

This active species resides in lightly wooded areas, open forest, gardens, orchards, bushes around villages and cultivation. This particular bulbul is known to be a famous cage bird ( 😥 ) in south east Asia, once in India too ,but thankfully not any more.

[ My personal view : I don’t support caging of birds as they belong to wild and had been created by nature in such a way that they can adjust with the wildness of their habitat. Human interference only disturbs them. ]

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Exif:  f/6.3     exposure-1/800sec   ISO-320  @361mm

They breed once or twice in a year. Season includes december to may in southern India and march to october in northern India. Males usually bow their head, spread the tail and droop their wings as courtship display.

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Exif:  f/6.3     exposure-1/200sec   ISO-100  @600mm

I often get chance to photograph these little beauties and I call them my friends/sisters as I see them having their breakfast and singing. My husband has started calling me ‘bulbul ‘ so you may understand the relationship between bulbuls and I 😀

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Exif:  f/6.3     exposure-1/500sec   ISO-500  @600mm

While they fly, they display their white under parts and shades of brown and white through their wings. Currently they are my alarm clock. I love to wake up with their songs 🙂

 

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Exif:  f/6.3     exposure-1/320sec   ISO-500  @600mm

My gear- CANON + SIGMA

Location-Goa,India

So this is it for today’s birding session nature loving people. I hope you have gained some knowledge as I did while documenting all about Red Whiskered bulbul. I will see you all on next birding session. Till then happy birding. Be blessed.

Much Love,

Riya

 

White throated kingfisher (Halcyon pileata)

Hello everyone. First of all a very beautiful sunday to all the nature lovers out there. Its been a while I had posted anything in my “Through my lenses” page. That is because I had indulge myself in learning all the important aspects of photography. The process of learning never ends. It just enhances your ability to learn more and more. And I pray that my passion for learning and gaining knowledge never dies.

Recently, I have been very glad to own a new set of telephoto lens for wildlife photography which is my genre, and hence made myself busy in trying my hands on the new combo. I cant express my excitement in words I had, when I first click a bird that close which almost filled the frame. And there they says, “Finish what you have started” so to finish, I have to first begin and here my friend, is a new beginning for me. I don’t know where I will reach in near or far future or will I even reach my destination ever! But this is my journey and I absolutely love it.

My very second post in my blog was on a bird species “Egret” (Link to the post – Egret ) which I am going to continue now. I have had blogs on my birding activities :

Feel free to have a look .Now I am starting a new series on About the bird”. This series will have a detailed post on ONE bird at a time with beautiful explanatory pictures. All the pictures are obviously clicked by me and the knowledge that I have gained about them by observing them,reading about them,shared by seniors/friends will be discussed here. So lets get to the very first post in my “About the bird” series.

WHITE THROATED KINGFISHER (Halcyon smyrnensis)

One of the most common in Kingfisher family (Alcedinidae), this small to medium sized birds has large heads and short legs. They size around 27-28cm (10.6-11 inch).

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This was shot in Agonda backwater while on boat in Automatic mode.

Their other features include chocolate-brown head, shoulders, flanks and lower belly, white throat/breast, large red bill and beautiful turquoise-blue feathers and tail.

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The prominent look showing off beautiful white breast.
Exif: f/6.3 exposure-1/320sec ISO-800 @435mm

They are most easily spotted for their distinctive blue color that can be easily identified in any green or plain land. The details of the feathers are just so breathtaking. They look stunning when they fly (mostly alone).

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My personal favorite perch.
Exif: f/6.3 exposure-1/400sec ISO-125 @562mm

A very widespread resident throughout India and very common in western ghats, they choose their high perches and usually comes back to the same perch every day.

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One fine morning. EXIF : f/6.3 exposure:1/500sec ISO-800 @435mm

Their call is loud,rattling laugh and sings their musical whistle when in search of prey. They will sit on their favorite perch (an exposed tree branch or wire) , sings out loud and looks downwards in search of prey exquisitely and continuously.

 

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Looking for prey.      EXIF- f/6.3       exposure-1/50sec ISO-200 @600mm

Not caring about water bodies, they feed on insects, fishes, small reptiles, amphibians, crabs, small rodents and even birds and choose to live in forest edges,gardens, coastal wetlands and even in urban society.

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With lizard kill. EXIF- f/6.3 exposure-1/200sec      ISO-640 435mm

The white-throated kingfisher begins breeding at the onset of the monsoons. Males perch on prominent high posts in their territory and call in the early morning.

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High perch call in the early morning.
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The wallpaper. Exif: f/6.3 exposure-1/60sec ISO-800 @600mm

The details of the bill which is duller in juveniles.

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The beak. Exif- f/6.3 exposure-1/250sec ISO-500mm @600mm

It is one of the first birds that caught my attention towards birding and always been by my side since then. One of the male is a regular visitor to my backyard birding sessions.

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I love photographing this beauty whenever I get a chance.

My gears = Canon + Sigma

Location- Goa, India

This is it for todays lesson. Hope you like my work and if you did, come back regularly for similar updates. I will see you all next time. Happy birding. Stay blessed. Keep sharing love.

Much love

Riya.

Cabo De Rama Fortress, India 

“Everyone has their own perspective of seeing things. This is mine. “

Hello everyone, hope you are going through a mid-week crunch at work. Hence I am here to share something peaceful with you all.



You must have seen my last post regarding birding in Agonda backwaters in the south Goa. If you haven’t, here is the link ~

bird watching in Agonda backwaters 

Now that you know that I have had a weekend gateway in the serenity of South Goa in republic-weekend, I want to share another such spot in South Goa that you must visit with some time in your hand if you like peace, quiteness and tranquility. And that place would be Cabo-de-rama Fortress situated 16km away from Agonda Beach.

Disclaimer : This fort is one of my husband’s favorite. And we visited here  twice in 1 year being staying in proper north Goa. Hence, my this blog post is dedicated to him 😄

Now let’s get back to business. 

Cabo-de-rama Fort is the largest and one of the oldest forts in India with an outstanding coverage area of 180,000 square meters. It is believed that this fortress served as home to God Rama and his wife Sita during their 14-years of vanvas (exile) from Ayodhya.


This massive fortress was built by Hindu rulers but according to history, it has been passed on to Muslims to Portuguese hand to hand succeeding one another in battles over possessing this massive architectural beauty. This fortress has served many battles in the history of India. 

In 1763, Portuguese claimed the Fort with 21 canons, military barracks, commandant’s room and a chapel. Portuguese left the fort to be abandoned later. This fortress served as government prison from 1935 till 1955 but soon after it was abandoned again. 

Today, this fortress is one of the major tourist attractions of South Goa with a chapel of St. Antonio located on the territory of the fortress. 

From the top of the fortress, you have a glimpse of the magnificent Arabian Sea and Goan coast line all along. Trust me,its a beautiful pleasure to your eyes. 

This fort is just the ruins today of what our ancestors had in past. But yet it possess a charming personality that anyone with the eye can not ignore. 

Yes, it might be very tiring if you visit in one very warm day with raising sun above but only then you get clicks like this. (of course if you love your lens  😜) 

Walking by the ruins of this majestic beauty you will get the fresh air in intervals directly from the Arabian sea. 

Every one has their own perspective of seeing things. As I said earlier I have mine. I don’t know what is not attractive about this area. The small crusifics(holy crosses)  all over in the not so dense forest always catches my attention. 

While talking of perspection, I would like to add the way I look at the sea. Living in one of the biggest coastline of India and yet being in love with the ocean has obviously some story to tell. 

Change the way you look at things and life will be beautiful. Mark my words.. 

One more promise Goa serves you is that it never disappoints you. It has its own charm of seduction. 

Have a look at the most peaceful panaromic view before we let ourselves out of Cabo-de-rama fortress. 


If you are in Cabo-de-rama, and you do not visit the Cabo-de-rama Beach, that’s normal. But if you do not visit and eat at The Cape Goa it seems abnormal to me. 

This hotel cum restaurant serves the most amazing view of the Cabo-de-rama beach from its restaurant. Don’t believe me, look for yourself. 

The crystal water and the sweet air flow along with your favorite sea-food brunch. What else is needed anyways. 

Trust me and visit this place once while in goa but ofcourse with your own creative perspection. You will never be disappointed. 

This is my way of biding thank you to the mother nature. 

Thank you for reading. Have a great day. 

Much love

Riya