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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Agonda backwaters- bird watching in tranquility 

AGONDA – what would I say about this place. For most of the visitors and other normal people/tourists ( yes, I don’t mind calling myself abnormal being living in a society where most people looks at Goa as fun. Fun as in Beaches, Bikinis, Beer, and Blast), agonda is one of those boring beaches where crowd is less and water is blue with zero water sports. No disco light shacks where they play party songs all night. In short its poles apart from the beaches in North (mostly, as in baga calangute, vagator, etc.). And exactly that’s what it catched our attention when we visited this soul catching place last year. This year we wanted to make it happen again. Feel the water and soil. Listen to waves all day. That’s how we wanted to celebrate our 2nd anniversary. And ofcourse eat a lot. Like a lot. 😁

Yum Swiss breakfast 💛

We booked beach huts for 2 days in Agonda in the first long weekend of 2018. On the second day after lunch, we were strolling on the beach when this interesting boat captain met us. Like all the other boat riders, he tried to convince my husband for a happening boat ride to the beautiful butterfly beach OR to the serene backwaters where there is only one thing persists. PEACE. As soon as he uttered the word “bird watching”. This was it. I ran to my hut to bring my camera and we were on the boat the very next moment.

I had a great chat with Captain Nitesh who had avid knowledge about local birds and their habitats. I was so excited to meet a guy who was as excited to encounter a bird and name it as I always am 😊 He lived all his life in Agonda and read about the birds, their calls, their habitats. So now let’s begin birding.

Avidly seen bird of Goa.

Mr. White throated kingfisher. They mostly do fishing alone. It’s very rare to catch them in Pairs. You are lucky if you did 🙂

Common kingfisher with a fish kill

They are not that common in any area. I was excited to catch one with a catch.

Southern Coucal taking a beautiful perch.

Juvenile Brahminy kite resting. You can always see them flying over your head. But I always get mesmerized when I see them sitting.

Even more beautiful matured Brahminy kites. Their beauty can easily austruck you. Most beautiful kites with their decent colour.

I have had quite a lot encounters with Indian pond heron. But this was only the second with striated heron with blue and grey stripes.

Hence another shot.

My first encounter with Crimson backed sunbird after tons of purple rumped visitors to my home and office :D. Well! they are all the same. NAUGHTY

A bunch of common Myna’s jumping from one branch to another.

“If you want to photograph birds, you have to be a part of the silence.” And that’s what we experienced there. Extreme silence and bird calls. Beautiful it was!

It was almost the sunset when a couple of Parakeets flew from one leaf to another and got indulge in their job. 😂

No, we didn’t give them any privacy. Parrots are my husband’s favorite. And he snatches my cam when he sees one. He is so cute. Isn’t he? Hence this pic credit goes to him.

And we head back to the beach from tranquility as it was about to get dark. [UPSIDE DOWN PICTURE]

Bidding a beautiful good night with a ever more beautiful Black drongo.

(Double exposure)

There were tons of other bird species too that I was happy to encounter for the very first time and sad at the same time not being able to get a clear shot due to unavoidable circumstances that we were on a boat and they have the liberty to fly and sit anywhere they want.

Other species includes

  • Golden backed woodpecker (always busy pecking no matter how hard you try to get closer)
  • Indian paradise flycatcher( likes to perch in dark I guess. She wasn’t ready to come out at all)
  • Stock billed kingfisher ( flies really fast.. Like really)
  • Brown headed oriole
  • Red vented bulbul
  • Oriental Magpie Robin

And some common Goan birds like green bee eaters. I really missed the flycatcher and woodpecker this time. But next time, I would make sure I won’t…

That’s us with captain Nitesh 😎

Untill next time. Happy birding

You may also see Birding in Assonora, Goa

Or Birding from Home

Much love

Riya💚

I wish I had wings ~ Poetry

I wish I had wings
I wouldn’t have to hold on my feelings
I could fly away
Far far away
Away from all the facility
Away from the word called ‘society’

I wish I had wings
I wouldn’t have to answer every phone rings
I could reach the peak of a mountain
I could scream and burst the lava of anger in my fountain

I wish I had wings
I wouldn’t have to follow the proceedings
I could vanish from the world I live in
To make my own space in the submarine

I wish I had wings
So to not let anyone know my doings
I would be on my own
Fighting through the trees and clouds
At least would be better than the fake smiles and humanly moulds

I wish I had wings
I wouldn’t have to live inside buildings
I wouldn’t be anyone’s burden
I could make a living in a simple den

I wish I had wings
I could follow my emotional feelings
And listen to my heart
I could keep trying to reach the top
Doesn’t matter how many times I flop

I wish I had wings
I wouldn’t have any bindings
I could sit on any humps or horns
I wouldn’t had to face any real game of thrones

I wish I had wings
I wouldn’t have to fake my choice of lovings.
I could choose not to wear leathers
And proudly show off my colorful feathers

I wish I had wings
No One had to listen to the songs my heart sings
I could decide what for me is best
And could make my very own cozy nest

I wish I had wings
I would have no permanent bondings
I could feel free, fly free
And my attitude towards life could be care-free

But.

I am not a flying beauty
I Have no wings
Anyone bothers or not
I have to burden my personal belongings

I wish I had wings
I wouldn’t have to hold on my feelings…

~Riya

Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary

Hello everyone, Today i.e. 12th November 2017 is the 121st birth Anniversary of the person who is famously called the ‘Birdman of India’. Only due to his dedication and systematic bird surveys across India, Ornithology has its place today’s India.

Being a padma bhushan and padma vibhushan awardee, sir Sálim Moizuddin Abdul Ali is a hero for many Indian birders /bird watchers.

Today, my post is dedicated to him.

This post is about the Salim Ali bird Sanctuary in Goa and few of the birds that I captured in my lenses around my neighbourhood.

Lets start with the place which told me about this legend for the very first time. Yes I didn’t know about him, as I was never that of a bird watcher (always loved the wings though in the open sky). But only when I came to Goa and started waking up to bird chirps, I have grown this keen interest in them. I cant say, how much I love watching their activities and trust me I can do that all day 🙂

Lets start with Dr Salim Ali bird Sanctuary, that is situated on the Chorao Island in North Goa district along the mandovi river.

As soon as you deboard the rivander-chorao ferry, you will find this sanctuary just to your left.

This is the entrance path.

As soon as you enter this place, serenity will attack you from everywhere.

Walking paths has been beautifully carved helping birders and tourists to make their way.

These beautiful yet strong stone pallets will take you closer to what-we-call Peace.

Not sure what these are. Could be find everywhere in the mud. I took this capture as they formed animal figures to me 🙂

I also see myself as I grow up – says the tree

Beautiful stretch of rich flora and fauna can be seen here along with the various kinds of bird calls. I wish I had a better lense when I went to this place last time. Unfortunately couldn’t spot any of those eye catching wings.

No wonder I want to visit this place again and again. Next time I am here, you bloggers will be with me 🙂 I am such a jungle person.

You can see the happiness index 😀

I am sun’s alarm clock~says the bird

Serenity and calmness is what your mind finds in such places. Find some time for your soul and visit these nature bound places, not just to find birds but to find yourself 🙂

These are my best frames that could describe the peaceful attitude of this location.

A far away click of the Brahmini kite 🙂

Stay with me till my next post which will include my bird spotting activities in Goa. *Promise*

Till then,keep smiling and keep birding:)

Much love,

Riya

Egret

Hello everyone, I am a bird girl and a big fan of birds. Though not yet a birder but always keen to capture and know about each and every bird I come across. Today’s chapter is on Great Egrets that I found in Goa.

An egret is any of several herons, most of which are white and several of which develop milky white fine plumes during the breeding. The breeding season of these egrets varies with local conditions. One brood is raised in a year. The nest is a wide platform with a shallow for eggs and hatchlings. Both the egret parents incubate the eggs and feed the hatchlings.

Their super milkeish body is a refreshment to the eyes. They have black or red legs with long necks (one and half times as long as their own body).

They hunt and live in both saltwater and freshwater marshes . Hence can be found near any of their favorite water bodies.

The Egrets feed on fish, frogs, small reptiles, small birds, rodents, insects and muluscs (basically whatever available near water bodies)

I found some of these while visiting Aldona village in North Goa. I loved how charmful they are. The way they takes off just took my breath for a while.

I didn’t waste a second, and quickly captured some of these beauties act in my Tamron 300 mm lense.

Have a look at these beauties and do leave a comment if you like them.

A beautiful great egret showing off her beauty.

Just flew off as we land. They are mostly seen in small groups for feeding.

And this one’s my favorite. Always pleasure to see them in pair.

Egrets are largely found in Indian subcontinent and other parts of Asia and Australia.

Do cherish their beauty for a minute if you happen to see them.

Thank you

Riya