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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Birding from home

Hello everyone, I am here to keep my promise I made in my last post about posting some bird pictures I clicked. So I am starting a series here of bird photography. But first of all, I should let you know that I am not any expert and far far from being professional in any kind of photography. Just to take my hobby a step ahead, I started this blog to keep me and you all motivated.

For birding, the basic amenities we require is a minimum 500mm lens and a better pair of tripod which is quite heavy on my budget. Hence I am using Tamron 70-300mm telephoto lens with CANON 1300D. Though I have simpex 333 tripod, I usually do bird photography handheld because of course, they have wings and I can’t move my tripod with their speed 😂

So let’s start with today’s post, Birding from my home (balcony-2nd floor, terrace or downstairs). I live in Goa and my house is located in quite a Hilly place and I am just lucky enough to have a big bunch of trees just at my backyard, not reachable but visible from my bedroom balcony 😍

” Birds wake me up every morning with their chirping”

So let’s start with the very first bird I clicked after shifting here.

Greater coucal. This image is very special for me as I started my journey with this. I haven’t seen a bird that beautiful before sitting at home. So few more from the same species.

Lesser coucal

Southern coucal.

This was yesterday. He was playing hide and seek with me 😉

Finally got what he had come for.

Moving on to the next one.

Purple rumped sunbird – male

Purple rumped sunbird – female

A black drongo visited me for the first time yesterday. Happy me. 🙂

White throated kingfisher is the most vividly seen in Goa due to their distinctive colours. I simply adore this bird.

Oriental magpie Robin.

Sorry for the bad quality image. 😦

Red whiskered bulbul

I am singing my lungs out, can you hear me?

Some unexpected catches from home👇

Chestnut tailed startling.

I was so happy to see this bird with a bunch of other species jumping from one branch to another.

I simply loved the frame to crop off a little..

Indian Pond heron.

After I see this bird for the first time that closely on my building boundary, I happen to see it everywhere where there is a water body.

Thanks for the surprise visit and giving me time to capture your poses.

Why not crow?

House crow.

Crows are boring to shoot as they are most common in any Indian region, so I pair them with sunset 🙂

And sunrise.

Morning time coupling:)

Talking about birding from home, I hereby want to add two more birds which I clicked while from home in Bareilly, UP when I was at my In-laws house this October 🙂

Eurasian collared dove.

Mostly confused with house pegion, being very common in that area..

Portrait of the same

Rufous Treepie

No they are not sparrows. 🙂

So that’s it for today people. I will continue my ‘series on bird photography’ every now and then. Till then, let me know if you liked my clicks or not. Your comments are really appreciated.

Much love,

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