Wild caty

Hello people, you must be thinking the reason behind the title. I am sure, like cat is fine but why caty? So let me tell you this small story. Since childhood, I have always been a cat person rather than a dog person though have never pet any of them ever but made some street friends quite a few times. So this name came up to my mind while choosing alias for our characters in Counter Strike computer game in college.( A very very famous game among computer students in India). Within no time, I presented  myself as “CATY” and voila, I have been known as caty since then among all my college friends. I guess some of them  has forgotten my real name by now. 😀 Anyways jokes apart lets continue with this post.

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So I am staying in this building which has a big open parking area giving enough space for animals like cats to roam around and play. A few days ago, I officially met this one who is born to be wild but could do a little friendly if you go approach him. Had spend an amazing saturday morning clicking his snaps.

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Even though, these guys are wild but as you know, humans are the most dangerous creatures on this planet, they get scared by us like most of the other animals and birds. They pretend to hide in the shade or bushes at first while they judge the intention of the human coming closer. If they smell something not okay, they will ran away, really fast.As a fact cats can run as fast as 3mph (i.e. faster than Asian bolt :O)

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They want to be loved by you, the more you love them, the more they will love you back. Well, of course it takes time to grow the trust as in humans too. I believe any animal is easier to understand at least than we people. A person is the most complicated animal creator has ever created with messed up over smart brains to earn money and hurt sentiments. Well, thats true. Digest it!

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Cats are the sleepy heads. They love to sleep, like a lot of it (around 12-16hrs a day). I have heard somewhere that if a cat is around 9 years of age, it has been proven that he has been sleeping for 6 years or more and only been awake for 3 years in total. We can totally call them our very own “kumbhakarna” (A bad character in Indian hindu mythology who is famous for his sleep. He used to sleep for 6 months and then awake for another half year.)

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Another weird fact about cats is that their taste buds don’t give the pleasure of tasting sweetness. They simply cant taste sugar or anything sweet and that is why may be the reason he left the muesly and drank just the milk. Else who will leave the sweet raisins along with the nuts. Yum 😛 though may not be yum for them. Apart from milk, fish is their favorite food which is known to the whole universe since forever. [ Though some cats are lactose intolerant and shouldn’t be fed milk]

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While studying about cats in details, I came to know that neutering (removal of reproductory organ) of your cat may be quite helpful to you as well. It not only decreases the risk of testicular cancer, but it also makes your cat less aggressive and more affectionate towards you (In case of pets, only domestic animals). Plus it adds a few years to their age as well.

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To know more about cats, one should know that their nose patterns are as unique as our finger prints. It may be helpful for the actual counting of the individuals else-wise they don’t need to give nose impression on cheques right?

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Some other facts about our cute cats:

  • Scientific name    :  Felis catus
  • Life span               :  2 to 16 years
  • Gestation period :  58-67 days
  • Height                   :  23-25cm
  • Length                   :  46cm + 30cm (tail) {approx}
  • They have more than 20 muscles in body that controls ears.
  • Female cats are typically right-pawed while male cats are typically left-pawed.
  • A cat’s brain is 90% equal to humans
  • Cat’s have longer memory than dogs but lacks in social IQ.
  • A cat can jump upto 6 times its height.
  • Also they can survive a fall from a taller height.
  • Cats sweat only though their foot pads.
  • Pet cats imitate human child and often changes their meaw to communicate with humans.

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Only 11.5% of people consider them Cat-person, and I might be one of them. So now you know my love for cats that has always been. And now that I know more about them I obviously feel good about it.

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The photographs in this post are of a wild cat who roams in and around my house building and not a pet to anyone. I call him my buddy though he scared the hell out of me a few days ago when I was climbing the stairs wit earphones on and Mr. cat decided to show up like a super hero , apparently from no where and ran away to no where after he was satisfied with my panic call.

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So this is it for today’s lesson.:P I learned a lot about cats while making this blog up. Hope you had a nice time reading them too. I will see you all in my next post.

Until next time

Much love

Riya

 

 

Chopdem birding continues…

Hey you peeps, having a cozy saturday? Cool! Don’t even have to get up from the couch. Its raining cats and dogs here and staying in is the best thing to do on a holiday. No raincoats,umbrellas and wet legs for a single makes me enjoy the rain even more. Its not that I complain on other days as I love monsoon. Everything is so green and fresh. Earth seems much more beautiful and lively.

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A tree full of black headed Ibis

Beautiful. Isnt it? Let the monsoon come everywhere. Plant trees and stop cutting trees in the name of development. What will the world do with the development if there will be no air to breathe and no water to drink? Spread the word!

In  my last birding post (Birding in Chopdem,Goa) I was in this beautiful spot clicking birds on a beautiful morning. Today’s post can be concluded as its continuation as I went on to this nearby spot to click some beautiful cattle egrets in full plumage colour. I see them often these days from vehicle’s window while traveling but hardly get to click them. So I wanted to give some special time to shoot them in complete silence. So it was the day.

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Plumage colours on an egret’s feathers

In my last post, I promised I would start with Swallows , So this is it. While leaving Chopdem birding area, we ran into some swallows on a wire.I got so carried away clicking them , I was about to lean on a 2000 Volt electric poll. [ Thank god, I was accompanied by a responsible person to alert me soon enough, phew]. Keep exploring and clicking but with an active mind. Keeping yourself safe is the basic necessity. Isn’t?

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Wire tailed swallows
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Close up of a wire tailed swallow

As soon as we reached the farming space almost full of egrets and pond herons, I spotted a huge black crowned night heron.

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Black crowned night heron.

He was huge and calm, giving me time to get closer and get a few shots of him. I already knew I was going to have a great time there though Mr. Sun came up on us really fast making it hot and uncomfortable. Oh wait! Uncomfortable for whom? Not me when I am birding 😀

While my husband was setting up the tripod on a steady flat space near this crucifix, I was already into the mud and almost sat on the ground to be away as well as close (through my lens) to these feathered creatures. So here are few of the images that I got of the very pretty Cattle egret in breeding plumage.

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This is one of my favorite shots and had been my mobile wallpaper for all this time.

 

Different moods, different shots. First one with a little prey.

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In my opinion, this made a nice frame with wings half open and the egret being walking away with pride.

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Portrait, Cattle  egret.

And the mesmerizing portrait of this lovely egret.

while I was busy clicking the colours, my husband spotted a non breeding one in another mood variable.

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Though I wasn’t satisfied with clicking them, I went on and on.

 

Lets introduce their acompanies.

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face to face: Cattle egret and Pond heron

Stupid me, I couldn’t focus on both their eyes at the same time 😦 as the heron was a little behind. Anyways, lets have a look at some Indian Pond Heron clicks with extended flexible necks.

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Indian pond heron

I found it very enchanting to click these really tall and thin ones as I usually come across the bulky and short pond herons who usually don’t stretch their necks a lot. But to my surprise these ones here did and looked really pretty I must say.

 

Different moods, different shots. Second one with little prey.

And finally a portrait with extended long neck.

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Portrait: cattle egret

All these shots were taken handheld with my Sigma 150-600mm contemporary OS lens and hardly been edited or post processed as they were naturally very pretty and full of colours. I really enjoyed watching their behaviors and activities in the morning time with some searching for breakfast, some flying here and there. So I got clicked myself at the end 😀

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Happy me 🙂

A long ago, I had posted a blog on Egret (great egrets mainly), have a look if you want. ~ Egret

That was a beautiful sunday and so tomorrow should be. Make everyday beautiful by doing at least one thing that makes you happy. Every day is a special day as we got to live that one. On this note I will take your bid to see you soon again on my new post.

My other birding activities.

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Crab plovers taking off.

Until next time, Keep birding, keep smiling, spreading love 🙂

Much love,

Riya

Birding in Chopdem,Goa

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

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Isn’t a painting.

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

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

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

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

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Great egret.

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

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

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

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

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Lesser sand plover.

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Spotted Redshanks 

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Crab plover

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

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Now some of my favorites (KINGFISHERS of Goa)

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

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

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

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

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A cattle egret in flight.

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

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

My gear- Canon + sigma

Follow me on social media for updates and more clicks.

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

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

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

Birds of Panchgani

Mighty mahabaleshwar and birding

Carambolim lake bird watching -part 2

Carambolim lake bird watching (Part 1)

Agonda backwaters- bird watching in tranquility 

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

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Good Night

Much love

Riya

Birds of Panchgani

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

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

#birdingwith135mm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indian black bird.

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The unreachable starling.

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

My other birding activities-

Carambolim lake bird watching (Part 1)

Carambolim lake bird watching -part 2

Agonda backwaters- bird watching in tranquility 

Birding in Assonora, Goa

Birding from home

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

Much love

Riya

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

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.