Cat series continues….

Hey people, this is Riya and welcome back to my space. I had been busy the whole last week showing around my parents who are here in a trip for 10days. As our Goa darshan is almost over for now, I am here with my new post. You all must have seen one of my earlier post on Wild catyso this is in continuation to it. It will be less on the features of cat but mainly focused on how I photographed him (Musshy).

Musshy is a cat that lives in the building where we stay. He is no one’s pet yet everyone loves feeding him and playing with him. I named him musshy out of nothing. I just love calling him that. He will respond to me someday I hope 😀

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Cute.   EXIF: f/6.3  ss:1/50  iso:100 @135mm

That’s him! Isn’t he cute? Of course he is and naughty too. It was one of those nights when he decides to sit at out doorstep (basically he does that when he is hungry). It was night time and high ISO didn’t work well,hence I used flash (camera in-built flash) to capture his insanely glory eyes, which I guess he didn’t like much. 😀 Ground is the best place to click images from eye level and this was the closest My zoom went from a distance. I love how adorable he looked in here.

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Look at that glow. Rubbing against stair railing, I didn’t  miss the shot this time.  Camera settings: aperture: f/6.3 shutter speed: 1/250 (can’t go below that with flash) ISO: 100 taken at 124mm with my Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens attatched with Canon 80D.

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Since I had to use the built in flash at this place, I tried increasing the aperture a bit (which is usually the least that I prefer for my bird photography) here since background is not an issue here at all. This was the result. Colorful eyes with a bit more details. Aperture used here was f/8.0.

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EXIF: f/6.3 ss:1/250sec  ISO:100  @110mm

As he barked and gets ready to take a step closer. He seemed really hungry and won’t settle anything less than milk. He surely isn’t lactose intolerant.

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This is an unedited jpeg image straight from the camera. I wanted to click the way he is, like a real cat (tiger). I was sitting inside the door and he was waiting outside waiting for the opportunity to come in.. Settings – f/8 ,shutter  speed:1/250sec with ISO at 100.

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Exif: f/6.3  ss:1/200  ISO:125

Okay! so being rubbed himself in my dad’s legs way too much. We finally let him in. I was lying down to get this shot with my zoom when he decided to move towards me.With my eyes inside the viewfinder, I found it way too closer ,I shouted and jumped. Everybody laughed 😦 But I still love being on the floor rather than sitting. The focal length was 96mm. See, he was close 😀

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Exif:  f/6.3  ss:1/250   iso:125   @100mm

A quick close-up and a perfect cat portrait.

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EXIF: f/9.0 ss:1/50  ISO:100 @35mm  in built flash fired

While he posed for me here and there, I got this great idea of floor reflection. He was sitting where the led light sprayed directly making the floor and reflection more on the white side. So I waited for him to move around and I get the one I wanted. The below image is the result of my wait and I am satisfied with it this time.

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perfect reflection. EXIF: f/5.6  Speed:1/10sec  ISO:1000 @103mm

Also I did not fire flash for this image,instead decreased the shutter speed and turned the ISO wheel above. I made this one completely lying on the floor while he sat in front of the blue wooden door giving me a perfect view.. This made my evening. He was full by now and ready to leave. Happy he, happy us.

To know your cats better. Click here

I will see you all in my next post. Till then keep smiling and sharing love.

Much love

Riya

Oriental Garden lizard (Calotes versicolor)

Hello you beautiful people, you have seen a lot of bird watching activities in my blog. Yes I am addicted to birds and their beautiful activities which are usually very very different from humans. But, for a change today, I am going to talk about one of the most common species in our gardens usually go unseen by us as they are not considered beautiful. These reptiles can be found in most gardens in Indian subcontinent, you just need to have the eye to see their beauty, as I always say.

A few weeks ago, on one of my early morning rides, I wasn’t feeling very good after not having a very good light for photographing birds in a beautiful spot. So I left the spot with my Tamron 70-300mm (non vc ) lens to return home. But As I said I was not in a mood to enter my gloomy house in the cloudy day, I stopped by this road-side to better my mood watching kids playing cricket near a beautiful temple. Casually side siting on my vehicle, my eyes caught this big lizard showing off its colourful throat at times. And this was it. I brought out my already set cam from the pouch and went into the bushes. And I will tell you how it felt afterwards. Before that, have a look at all the angles I could capture and lets gain some knowledge about the Oriental garden Lizard from India.

 Oriental Garden Lizard

Also known as changeable lizard or eastern garden lizard.

Scientific name: Calotes versicolor

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Curiosity.  EXIF: f/4.5  ss:1/2000  iso:500 @180mm

Appearance:  It measures over 10 cm (3.9 in) in length snout-to-vent. Total length including the tail is up to 37 cm (14.5 in). Skin is rough and spiny. Head is large. Adults have a crest that rises up from behind the eyes to the back. (that makes this one an adult) Small spines can be seen just above the external ear. Dark lines radiate out from the eye. They have long legs and long toes. Tail is very slender and more than twice as long as the body. Underbelly is white. Like other reptiles, they shed their skins. Like chameleons, Oriental Garden Lizards can move each of their eyes in different directions.

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Full display.  EXIF: f/5.0  ss:1/1600    iso:500   @180mm

Habitat: Naturally found in open forest and shrub-land, but has adapted tremendously well to urban environments and can be found in agricultural areas, parks, empty lots, gardens, and even decorative shrubs in front of businesses.The native range of the species includes SE Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Western Malaysia, Maldives, Vietnam, Pulo Condore Island, South China, Indonesia, Mauritius. It has been introduced to Oman, Singapore, and United States. The lizards were introduced to Singapore from Malaysia and Thailand in the 1980s. The Oriental Garden Lizard is relatively common and found in a wide range of habitats. They appear to adapt well to humans and are thus not endangered. They are very well found in house gardens/ backyards and hence the name.

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EXIF: f/5.6  ss:1/1250  iso:640  @192mm

Diet: Garden skinks feed on larger invertebrates, including crickets, moths, slaters, earthworms, flies, grubs and caterpillars, grasshoppers, cockroaches, earwigs, slugs, dandelions, small spiders, ladybeetles, ants and many other small insects, which make them a very helpful animal around the garden. Although they have teeth, these are designed for gripping prey and not tearing it up. So prey is swallowed whole, after it is stunned by shaking it about.

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EXIF:  f/5.6  ss:1/1250  iso:400  @300mm

Breeding: During the breeding season, the male’s head and shoulders turns bright orange to crimson and his throat black. Males also turn red-headed after a successful battle with rivals.Males become highly territorial during breeding season. They discourage intruding males by brightening their red heads and doing “push-ups”. Each tries to attract a female by inflating his throat and drawing attention to his handsomely colored head.

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Showing off colored throat

During breeding season, the male Oriental Garden Lizard will approach the female while extending its “gular” (throat sac), raise the front of its body as high as possible while nodding its head, and open and close its mouth repeatedly. Males may also demonstrate this aggressive behavior when approached by people during the breeding season.

About 10—20 eggs are laid, buried in moist soil. The eggs are long, spindle-shaped and covered with a leathery skin. They hatch in about 6–7 weeks. They are able to breed at about 1 year old.

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Exif: f/5  ss:1/2000   iso:400  @180mm

Contribution to the ecosystem: Helps control insect populations. Will occasionally eat small lizards, baby rodents, or seeds. Provides food for snakes and birds.

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Close up.  EXIF: f/5.6   ss:1/1600   iso:640  @176mm

Fun fact:  1)The Oriental Garden Lizard is also known as the “Changeable Lizard”, due to its wide variation in coloration and ability to change colors significantly during the breeding season.

2) Both males and females have a crest from the head to nearly the tail, hence their other common name “Crested Tree Lizard”.

3) The Oriental Garden Lizard is referred to as the “Bloodsucker” in many areas.  Obviously, the Oriental Garden Lizard is an insect-eater and does not suck blood from anything.

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Crested tree lizard. 

All the images has been made by me using my canon 80D and Tamron 70-300 f/4-5.6 LD Di macro lens (non-vc) at macro mode. I wish to get more and better opportunities in future. Till then, keep loving wildlife and nature.

Much love,

Riya

An evening with Asian openbill

It was an average monsoon evening,I was returning from my work via Mapusa market with my husband who picked me up from the bus stand. We took the route with less crowd to get to the main road after finishing vegetable shopping. [Info: Mapusa market is the biggest vegetable and fish market in North Goa and hence always crowded]. While crossing this beautiful lane divided by paddy fields, I spotted some storks feasting in the field under an almost clear sky. I first mistook them as Wooly necked stork with naked eyes and couldn’t stop myself from taking a few clicks from my mobile which of course didn’t turn out AT-ALL beautiful and the big storks looked like munias in the landscape. I some-how convinced my husband to come back the very same evening with the camera to get some nice shots. It was already cloudy when we were about to leave with the gears from home. Well, you in Goa its like sun and clouds are having love affair, they can’t stay away from each-other for long. 😉 We took the precautions on how to protect the camera and us as we don’t own a car yet. Anyways, we reached the field in 5 minutes only to find them gone. It was the only fear I had ,else-wise I would have come early morning the next day. I looked everywhere disappointingly when Mr.husband called out ” Hey, they are there”. They flew and changed the field on the other side of the road. Well, my happy eyes went big as I got my cam ready to shoot. Apperture, Iso, metering were all set and I was looking for a place to sit and track them, as they were kind a hiding behind the grasses in search of food in the mud. I found two of them first and then two more in the same field. They were 4 of them who made my evening ,a very beautiful one.

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Smooth flight.   EXIF:   f/6.3  SS:1250   ISO:2000  @600mm

Asian open bill stork

Asian open bill or Asian open billed stork is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. 

Scientific name : Anastomus oscitans

Why openbill? The name openbill is derived from the distinctive gap formed between the recurved lower and arched upper mandible of the beak in adult birds. The gap can be easily seen with a closer look. Their upper and lower beak touches each other at just the tip. Young birds do not have this gap. The cutting edges of the mandible have a fine brush like structure that is thought to give them better grip on the shells of snails (their main diet).

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Asian open bill.    EXIF: f/6.3  SS:1/1250  ISO:2500  @600mm

Appearance: The body is greyish in non-breeding season which turns white in breeding season with glossy black wings and tail. They have short pink legs which turn reddish prior to breeding. The mantle is black and the bill is horn-grey. Juveniles are brownish grey and have brownish mantle.

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Take off.    exif:  f/6.3   SS:1/1250  ISO:2000   @600mm  .cropped image.

The Asian Openbill Stork is a broad-winged soaring bird, which relies on moving between thermals of hot air for sustained flight.

It is one of the smallest storks with their height standing at 68cm (81cm long) and wingspan of 149cm. Like all other storks, they fly with their neck outstretched. they are usually found in flocks but sometimes you may spot a single one usually in search of prey.

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About to land.   EXIF:  f/6.3   SS:1/640    ISO:1250   @403mm

Habitat: Their usual wetland would be inland wetlands. On agricultural landscapes, openbills forage in crop fields, irrigation canals, and in seasonal marshes. They may move widely in response to habitat conditions. They are named Asian as they are widespread and common in India, Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand.

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Close up.    EXIF:  f/6.3   SS:1/320   ISO:1000   @600mm

Breeding and nesting: They breed near inland wetlands and build stick nest in trees, typically laying 2-6 eggs. They nest in colonies, with numerous nests in the same tree, up to 40 and more. Long courtship displays occur at the beginning of breeding season.

Incubation lasts about 27 to 30 days, and young fledge at 35 to 36 days after hatching.
Young birds stand and wait for adults. Parents approach the nest cautiously, and regurgitate the food.

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Habitat.    EXIF:   f/6.3  SS:1/1250  ISO:2500  @600mm

Fun fact: Adults shade their young in the nest, to protect them from sun. One of the parents stands in the nest with semi-open wings above the chicks.

Voice: Asian Open bills are very noisy while flying in flocks. Call is a mournful “hoo-hoo”.

Diet: Asian Openbill feeds mainly on molluscs, and particularly freshwater snails living in rice-fields and swamps. Prey is located by touch and sight. The gap in the bill allows good grasp of the snail’s shell. Asian Openbill walks slowly in shallow water, searching for prey. It extracts snail from the shell, with pointed lower mandible. They also consume frogs, crabs and large insects, and other small aquatic animals.

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Prey.    EXIF:  f/6.3  SS:1/1250  ISO:2000  @403mm

Flight: As said earlier they use warm air streams for rising in the air, and flies high in the sky. Then, it glides to destination. Landing is spectacular. Asian Openbill drops from the air with dangling legs, and lands just as a parachute.

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In th flight.    EXIF: f/6.3  SS:1/1250   ISO:2000 @600mm

Asian open bills are one of the social birds and hence not so hard to get photographs. They fly too often and lands into the same wetland as mentioned above, giving beautiful opportunities to click.

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The flight.     EXIF:  f/6.3    SS:1/1250  ISO:2000  @600mm

I had an amazing time spent with these beautiful large wings and in the process gained some knowledge. I hope you have liked my article on Asian Open bill Stork.

My other blogs from About the bird series :

Indian Pond Heron (Ardeola grayii)

Red Whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus)

White throated kingfisher (Halcyon pileata)

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Take off.    EXIF: f/6.3  SS:1/1250  ISO:2000   @600mm handheld

Untill next time, Keep birding and keep 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

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.