Why was I away!

Not always in life, that you are super motivated or charged up and that ‘not always’ gets longer when you don’t find a reason to rejuvenate your mind or your thought process to be precise. I hate myself for being lazy and pretending to be busy , just so that I can get away from what I used to make time for, earlier. To be honest, I was trying to ignore what I like to do the most and kind of accepted the failure. And why or how is that? I will tell you. There is a thing called “approval”. Getting approved or accepted by the society and the world around you is a very keen need people seek for, and so did I. Call me immature but we all go through it someday. But does it all that matters? Does getting recognized for what you do is everything for you? Cant you just do anything for your own-self and not for the sake of how the world will take it, or if the world will ever absorb it? If you like it, you would do it. Not for the acceptance from people you don’t know , but for it satisfies your soul, for it gives you peace of mind and for it gives you a better sleep at night.

There was a time in my life not too long ago, when I believed in doing it all. May be it was a very small span of time in this long life of mine, but it was there. I would cook, do house chores besides a full time job along with weekend birding, blogging about them, recording husband’s guitar videos and spending hours in editing them. I thought this is the best version of me and this is the best my life can offer so I pour it all, I pour it all ,just except the soul.

” Don’t gain the world & lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold”. -Bob Marley

When you don’t feel it from inside, that will to push your limits, when you start getting thoughts like ‘its not worth it’ or ‘I cant do it anymore’, that’s exactly when you start to getting ‘depressed’ without realizing it. I am not going to bore you on ‘in and out about depression’ now, (or should I? OKAY! may be some other time) not today. When your brain stops pulling the positive strings and starts working on the weak ones, you surely know that its not the best of your time. But if you have HOPE, you will make it. You will definitely get out of it, just like how you get over after loosing a very old friend of yours, who used to share every little secret over lunch break, but now won’t even aid in your life’s hardest time. Yes, you will get over it, if you are willing to praise yourself. If you think, you are capable of more. Yes, you will get to the bright side, if you have the strength of letting go, if you believe in ..

‘ There is a sunrise after every darkness’.

I did what I thought I need to do then but somewhere deep inside , I knew I am doing it all just for the sake of doing it,for getting that one praise or for the welfare of getting all the credit. Not getting the credit that I thought I deserve would make me sad.Just like any other human being not getting praises for baking a beautiful chocolate cake that he/she put so much effort in. I would get sad, I would get annoyed and I would get furious at times. It was just beginning of the worst for the impatient person that I was. It could be anything, but definitely not the best of I.

I was not low on my will power that is what I realize now. It took time, it definitely did but what is more important is that it happened. Giving up on something ‘you may be good at’ can never be a solution of your frustrations. Time lets you realize a lot of things. And CHANGE is one big thing that helps in CHANGing you, positively. When the forwarding time fails to claim, sometime in your own company does the job.

Now that I don’t seek for the fake praise or the unrealistic credit for everything, now that I don’t look up to the numbers but the value of the precious,I have decided to come back here, to write my heart out, to create a space for each and every bit of emotion that I or you have. Because now is the best we have known,

‘Time and tide waits for none. And if you keep waiting for it, believe me , its never gonna come.’

You take charge on life before it does. You be the warrior of your own fights. You be the light to your own darkness. And you be the HOPE to your own sadness. Lets have a great time here sharing some optimism with lots and lots of love and laughter.

Cheers, Riya ❤

Beautiful frames to make in OMH

Bird photography at Old magazine house forest resort

In two of my earlier blogs, I have talked a lot about this birder’s den that belongs to karnataka forest department situated in the beautiful location near to Dandeli, i.e Ganeshgudi. If you haven’t go through them, here are the links to them.

Old Magazine House, Ganeshgudi

Ganeshgudi~ A birder’s paradise

In today’s blog, I will be more talking about the beautiful photographs that you can make in their birder’s hide organised by the OMH team just for watching and taking snaps of the birds that come to take a dip in the fresh water and perch on the little branches above them. So lets get into the frames that I created and decide whether they are worth the word ” beautiful” or not.

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Old magazine House bird hide

When in the wild, its quite difficult to first spot the bird, then wait for it to come and take an open perch and then take the perfect shot with correct exposure. But, when you are birding from a hide out, the difficulty level goes down a bit and chances of getting more perfect shots increases quite a bit. So I was quite excited about the idea when i booked my room in OMH. And nevertheless to say I had an amazing first time experience. So lets jump in to the shots that I have selected here to just show you the kind of frames that one can imagine getting here.

PS: Here in this blog, you wont see all the bird species or all the frames that I have made, but a very few of my favorites I recently processed. Others are there in my other posts,the links to which are above 🙂 

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White Rumped Shama

White Rumped Shama was one of the birds that was on my mind when I planned for OMH in the first place.Its probably because of its beautiful pictures that I have seen in my instagram feed. Hence I waited for it to find its way to the bird bath for the two days I have booked room for. But it only arrived an hour before I was about to leave on the third day early morning. My happiness had no boundaries and I clicked the individual in all possible manners. Here it is when it sat on the bird bath for a quick fresh dip. The sun was beautifully lighting up his eyes. I loved capturing it.

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White rumped shama

This was my very first glimpse of the beauty. Stunning ..Isnt it?

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White rumped shama taking bath

And this was the kind of shot I thought of taking. Splashes of water everywhere. What a marvelous bird it is to photograph. Its delighted to see it bath .

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Orange headed thrush

One of the most common birds you will see foraging on the ground around this place or any other wildlife sanctuaries in Goa/karnataka is an orange headed thrush. Still this was one of the positions that I loved taking shots. Eye level shots when you don’t need to lie down on ground on your tummy. The beautiful close up with my 150-600mm creating a lovely bokeish background, nietherless to say about my happiness.

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Dark fronted babbler

Hey, have you seen my tail? Asking the dark fronted babbler 😀 When babblers take bath in low light, you get frames like these. A very low key image making an almost dark background.

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Dark fronted babblers

Discussing about global warming here 😀 They are adorable to watch and even more adorable with their cunning stare. Light was okayish on them as I shoot.

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Oriental white eyes

Talking of adorable birds, there has to be place for oriental white eyes. The spectacled birds come in bunch to play in water and gives you ample opportunities to make frames. I saw them each time I was at the hide.

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Oriental white eyes

This was the number of white eyes that perched on this beautiful branch for me. Isn’t it making an adorable frame? Though it was taken at really low light and edited henceforth to make it bright and more eye catching.

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Black naped monarch

You cannot miss clicking a black naped monarch when in old magazine house. They may seem common there but don’t get misguided by ignoring them. They never disappoint you, so click them each time they show up. Look at the background I have got here. Different and very pretty.

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Oriental white eye & Black naped monarch

Another amazing thing to do in here is to make frames of different birds on a single perch. I have photographed bulbuls, white eyes, monarchs, yellow tits, like this. Sometime, some where they do show up together. Hence an mesmerizing opportunity you should definitely grab.Always look for up the perches and not the bath tubs. My personal preference is to watch them while bathing and click them while drying up.

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White bellied blue flycatcher -male

Here is a close up of this beautiful flycatcher just after the shower. I have had more beautiful pictures of these beauties in here : Ganeshgudi~ A birder’s paradise

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White bellied blue flycatcher-female

Another definition of cuteness is the female counterpart of the white bellied blue flycatcher. Such a poser it is. Look at the cleanness it provides . Just beautiful to capture and calm to eyes.

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Spiderhunter

Another close up shot of the stunning spider hunter who did not plan to give us much time to click him on any perch.Takes a quick dip and leave. I missed photographing it on natural perch, you may not.

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Another old world babbler giving a striking pose in between the branch bend.

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Blyth’s reed wabbler

Frames like this are so satisfying to make with winter migratory birds like this blyth’s reed wabbler here who loves to spend winter in India, sri lanka and bangladesh.

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Indian Paradise flycatcher

Who doesn’t love a paradise flycatcher.. everyone does. I saw all sort of paradise flycatchers here but unfortunately shareable images I could only make of this female one. I saw white and Rufus morphed males quite a few times. Using a tripod helps you getting this bokeh.

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Tickells blue flycatcher

Tickells blue is another common flycatcher of western ghats, but perches like this aren’t just everywhere to be found. Look out for them as well. I love this shot 🙂

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Rusty tailed flycatcher

Such a beautiful frame for this cutie. If you are lucky , you can see a lots of migratory flycatchers in winter and obviously make amazing frames.

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Rusty tailed flycatcher

The same bird showing its back asking me to stop for today now 😛

These are just a few example from my recent collection of favorite frames from this particular bird hide. Other beautiful birds that I shot at this particular hide were : Emerald dove ( 4 of them at once), taiga flycatcher, yellow browed bulbul, flame throated bulbul ( giving enormous poses and frames to create), brown fulvettas, jerdon’s leafbird, indian black bird, indian yellow tit, and many more. watch out at this section of my website for more 🙂

Many more to come… See ya there.

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at OMH hide out

Olds:

Ganeshgudi~ A birder’s paradise

Detailed information about the resort :

Old Magazine House, Ganeshgudi

Other bird photographing activities:

Zuari river ride ~ Birding in Goa

Migratory Bird Area, North Goa

Birding in Pilerne lake, North Goa

Any question or suggestion are most welcome in the comments. Would love to response  all of them 🙂

Connect to me on instagram @riya_wingstofly

Until next time,

Keep clicking, keep sharing love and awareness.  Know birds, Know life ❤

Much love,

Riya

 

 

 

 

 

Zuari river ride ~ Birding in Goa

A warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrate animal distinguished by the possession of feathers, wings, a beak and typically by being able to fly“- that is how a ‘bird’ has been defined in dictionary. And when you want to photograph these splendiferous creatures, you have to be a part of the silence. You have to be voiceless and blend in with the nature’s quietness. Whenever I am out there in nature, I automatically hush myself no matter how much I
want to shout with excitement when I get to see a lifer or a very beautiful perch or some behavioral enactment by the birds.

Kamat crocodile station

And if you want to experience silence with fresh earthy feeling and chirps falling on your eardrums, a river cannot be the last place you think off . One such tranquilizing experience one can get at this beautiful river boat ride. This
experience is exlusively provided by ‘Kamat Crocodile Station’ below the zuari river bridge in south Goa,India by Dr. Varsha Kamat, A very heart warming lady who has two very talented boat riders and bird guides Frankie and Royson working with her helping out tourists and photographers (mainly bird enthusiasts) taking beautiful photographs of the rare birds that can hardly be seen with normal people with their naked eyes. Both of them are gifted with bird spotting eyes with amazing skills to get close to the birds without disturbing them at all.

Zuari river

Starting our journey from north Goa, we had plans to reach Agonda beach which was our stay for two days to cover Netravali Wildlife sanctuary , Cotigao WLS and few very less visited and less crowded beaches of south Goa in the first week of February 2019. I thought of giving zuari river boat ride (of which I heard a lot about) a try which was on the way to Agonda on this beautiful Saturday morning. I already had a talk with Mrs.Kamat the previous day and she provided me with all the details and when we reached there at around 7am , we found out that we get the 10-12 seater boat all by ourselves as there were no more participants that morning.. yee lottery 😀

As we sat on the boat, I got my gear ready to shoot with probable useful settings. I usually don’t carry tripod on-the-go trips for more flexibility and less hastle. Mr. husband was taking out his binoculars (that’s what he is best at ) while I was a bit conscious/witty and talking to Royson about getting the birds that were on the top of my list for that day. And those were 2-3 types kingfishers (that I havn’t seen yet then), peregrine falcon, sea eagle and other raptors.
And our journey on the Zuari river started..

We were not much far that we spotted a western reef heron. Got pretty good pictures when the heron was waiting on the bottom of one of the pillars of the huge bridge.

Western Reef Heron

We moved a bit and Royson spotted the bird I was waiting for, the peregrine falcon from a good distance. I never knew the fastest bird in the whole wide world is that small for a raptor. We went as close as possible and took some shots but was not amazingly satisfied as it didn’t decide to move from the nut-bolts of the bridge. Wish to get this awing raptor in its wild habitat sometimes.

Peregrine falcon

A big size for a wader was our next sighting. A very pretty Eurasian curlew with a long beak.

Eurasian curlew

The western reef heron was again spotted fishing along with a grey heron , a sandpiper ,a few more water birds and some egrets of course.

Western reef heron

A bold and beautiful brahminy kite roosting here.

Brahminy KIte

 

Time for kingfishers 😀 . A common kingfisher decided to be alone and sat on the wooden stick in the middle of nowhere, all by itself.

Common kingfisher

Next was the time for the very eye catching bright blue colored bird waiting for us from a very far distance. The Black capped kingfisher was spotted and we get nearer to it safely as it changed its perch quite a few times. Finally it was closer sitting idle on the fishing net for a few seconds for me to make images before it flew away in the dense marshlands along with a white throated kingfisher.

black capped kingfisher

A black crowned night heron was spotted from a close distance as our boat moved close to the mangroves. So I took the opportunity to click some closeups of the large beauty.

Black crowned night heron

It was again time for the some kingfishers and this time it was one of my best sighting of any bird in its own personal habitat for a good long time. Can say about 10 mins, that a very very bold and majestically beautiful Collared kingfisher showed off its white collar to us changing just 2-3 perches before it vanished in the marshes. More than just taking shots, I thoroughly enjoyed watching it calling for its mate not annoyed with us being around. That is where you actually listen to the silence.

Collared kingfisher

After spending the good time that we could with the white collared gentleman ,we moved on to see a beautiful couple absolutely blending in with the environment.Unfortunately, I couldn’t capture the female one . So here is a very pretty Orange breasted green pigeon beautifully camouflaging with the tree leaves.

Orange breasted green pigeon

A flock of rosy starlings caught my attention while the bird eyers were looking for some unusual birds.

Rosy starlings

Talking of unusual , here comes the first one. Obviously my lifer and a hard to photograph bird with astonishing features. The blue faced malkoha. I had a hard time while getting to see it only. So only this shot was possible
from the position on the boat. I was happy to at least see the beauty which was not in my expectations list.

Blue faced malkoha

After we struggled with taking pictures of the malkoha was waiting for us the the bird of the day,which absolutely took my heart. A bird of prey- OSPREY. It was visible in the open on the river from quite a long distance. I just hoped it stays put till we reach closer. And it did. It absolutely did and I would thank Frankie for the beautiful 180 degree view of the bird that I am in awe with still, before it took off gracefully right infront of us.

Osprey

Osprey taking off

But with osprey , my hopes for seeing a sea eagle on perch and other eagles flew away too as we couldn’t spot a single one. So we turned our boat to return back to the riverside. As the name of the ride organizers suggest “The Kamat crocodile station”, the tour couldn’t complete without a crocodile right? So here is the one I forgot to talk about all this while.. The Indian mugger or marsh crocodile

Marsh crocodile

I enjoyed watching a lot of herons and egrets along the sides while our boat reached from where we started.

Indian cormorant

After this beautiful memorable river ride ,we took off for our next destination towards South Goa. Lets keep it until next time.

At kamat crocodile station, Zuari

Thanks for reading.

Other bird watching activities :

Ganeshgudi~ A birder’s paradise

Migratory Bird Area, North Goa

Birding in Pilerne lake, North Goa

An evening with Asian openbill

Stay happy , stay beautiful , keep birding. 🙂

Until next time

Much love,

Riya ❤

Birding in Pilerne lake, North Goa

With a hope of not having a too hot day, I pulled up my camo pants , hung up my gear bag on shoulders, started my Activa and followed the lady on google maps towards Pilerne lake in Penha de Franca , Alto Porvorim which is hardly 9km from my place in Mapusa but sadly, I had never been there before. But as its said, its never too late. Pilerne lake was my kickoff start to birding this very season after a gap of months. And I am determined this time to not get loose on it. So it was beautiful Sunday morning when I reached this lake at around 7.15am. It has a ‘Bird watching Point board’ showing a few bird images with a small sitting area with 2 benches making it a quite place to sit and relax overlooking the big,beautiful pilerne lake. I parked my Caty ( that’s what I call my Activa 😉 ) beside a bench and stood for a minute. As soon as my eyes struck to a waterhen besides the white flowers I quickly unzip my bag to bring out already set camera and went down the stairs only to never find that waterhen again throughout the morning. Waterhen didn’t show up, no issues, I had my other lifers for the day.

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Pilerne lake, North Goa

To start the day, I had this close encounter with the little blue kingfisher or the common kingfisher which is actually not very common anywhere in Goa. It perched for me on tree branch ,then on the stair railing and then on this beautiful stone with background full of flowers.

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Common kingfisher or river kingfisher

 

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Common kingfisher in pilerne lake

Pond herons are everywhere near any kind of water stream in the konkan state. I quickly made a few frames as nothing is more natural and beautiful than the combination of flower,water and wader.

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Indian Pond Heron

Then I turned my camera towards a non-water tree branch where two red whiskered bulbuls came to have breakfast. It is one of the most common birds in the area but I still don’t miss a chance to capture them feeding. They appear very pretty with the crown.

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Red whiskered bulbul

And there comes my first lifer of the day. White browed bulbul. Supposedly it replaced the red whiskered bulbuls and took the perch. It quite gave me a few moments to capture him satisfying myself. Aah, it is a pretty bulbul.

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White browed bulbul

There were this couple on a scooter that disturbed me while clicking this beauty to
show me a bird taking a high perch across the lake. I quickly told them, its a white throated kingfisher and way too far and turned to found out the bulbul was gone. I was quite okay as I had already made my shots.

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White browed bulbul

Talking of WTKF ( white throated kingfisher), there has to be atleast one WTKF for me everywhere I go. My kingo never leaves my back :D. Here I got this individual on natural perch with a fresh seafood for breakfast.

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White throated kingfisher with fish kill

Again I made a few more captures on this one. As close I go to them, I feel delighted with their details.. Sparkling feathers I say..

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white breasted kingfisher

My next target was to capture the snake birds (Oriental darter) that were flying in a circular manner over the lake for some time. It was my bad day for flight shots and I got a good shot only in water.

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Oriental darter

I waited for them to feed but they weren’t hungry I guess.
Made a few take off shots I wanted to share with you people.

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Oriental darter taking off

While the beautiful butterflies surrounded me as I sat on the lowest stair to get the water level shots of the darter, my eyes got glued to a very pretty duck who seemed alone on the whole water body. I zoomed in to 600mm, make my mind to have a reflection shot as it came a little closer. It was a stunning “Little Grebe”. My first of its kind. I was greatly pleased from inside to have captured my another very beautiful lifer of the day.

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Little grebe , pilerne lake

Also happen to spot a group of lesser whistling ducks moving away from my side of the lake. One leading the others way. Love to watch their landings all together.

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Lesser whistling ducks

There was this constant bird call that I couldn’t recognize coming from within the marshlands that made me try to look and overhear. But alas I had to satisfy myself with a female Asian koel playing hide and seek with the sun-rays.

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female asian koel

As it was more than 2 hours then, the couple on the scooty had come back to find me in the same state and get amazed 😀 Aah, it was a beautiful morning to start the day off. An absolutely stunning place for a morning birding session.

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Butterflies in pilerne lake

The only thing that bite me a little is that, this lake being a bird watching location also served as Ganesha idol visarjan ( immersion) place, that is in process of making the beautiful lake dirty in coming days. If people in the area can understand the importance of the place in our eco-system and stop throwing puja garbage,plastic bags and immersion of idols by making eco-friendly idols in festivals, then the nature can be remained as it is for coming lots and lots of years.

Well, it was my time to go back home and make some sunday breakfast, I again spotted the WTKF with a kill that made me unbag my gear again and take a shot. 😀

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White throated kingfisher

Pilerne lake is a strong recommendation to bird watchers and photo fanatics like me.

Gears I use :

Canon 80D with Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary OS lens.

Tell me which image is your favorite among these and I will be happy to share the Camera settings (EXIF) details.

Also find me on Instagram as @riya_wingstofly for regular updates.

Until next time

Much love,

Riya