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.

Birding in Assonora, Goa

I just realized it’s been two weeks that I have updated about my birding activities. Please check out my last post on birding from home if you haven’t already 😊. In the last post, I posted about the birds that I saw or regularly see around my house area. Now this is the time for office area. 😂 It might sound funny, but I live in Goa, and there is a birding opportunity in every 500m. So here are few of my clicks that I could manage to take within 1 hour before the sun sets and get ready for another new day ☺️

First of all, I would like to tell you about the location a bit. This place is a par i.e. the flowing journey of backwaters from a dam. I cross this little bridge over the water everyday to reach my office. Here’s the soothing view.

I must tell you this is as refreshing as it seems in the picture.

Now let’s start birding. I spotted and captured 3 major birds in this area with few uncapturable others like common kingfisher etc.

Cattle Egret – Bubulcus ibis

Cattle egrets are quite a lot common in Goa. You can spot them near any water body and sometimes on road sides too.

A portrait is must while playing with one of them.

In search for kill.

Yay, I got one 😀

The landing

Great Cormorant –Phalacrocorax carbo

I hadn’t seen this black beauty before and hence was getting confused with black heron, may be from quite a distant view. I couldn’t wait and took the risk of going the closest possible to the pillars where they were resting.

One

Another one

One + one = Two ❤️

the eye contact”

Little egrets- Egretta garzetta

Hearing the name might be confusing for anyone to imagine these egrets to be little and small, but trust me, they aren’t AT ALL.

Little ones are the most beautiful and awestruck egrets I have ever seen. They stand tall like any queen of the forest.

Majestic beauty taking the leap

The attitude walk.

Finally “The final Closure”.

And they took the click of the day award 😀

The fly and the water

While I using busy chasing egrets, the sky was full of kites.

I won’t say one can spend hours and hours in this particular location because they can’t. But still it’s a spectacular point for a bird watcher/lover.

Overview: All together

It was going to be dark, hence I quickly snapped a few macros and took off for the day.

Oops I forgot, I was near flowing water body, how could I miss the chance of experimenting with shutter speed 😀 a little waterfall 👇

Don’t worry, just one shot now, let the remaining be in another detailed post.

Camera: Canon 1300D

Lens: Tamron 70-300mm handheld

That’s all for today’s birding. Stay connected till my next one.

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