The mug of coffee sits beside me untouched as I reflect upon the year that passed by. While travel for photography was restricted mainly to Bandipur, Kabini and of course birding at home i.e. Forest Hills, few new places were explored purely for leisure.
Here’s to more travel, photography and exploration.
Soft light shone through the canopy of bamboo as one visitor after another came, made their presence felt, posed for photographs and went about their business (foraging).
Once the coast was clear, Mr. Red decided it was his turn to show off. The usually intimidated spurfowl walked in cautiously but soon settled himself after scanning the area to make sure no other dominating birds were around. As he posed in the lovely golden light, it allowed me to make a few frames as the red turned to gold.
A regular visitor to the photography hide, the red spurfowls rarely leave us disappointed. Stay tuned for more.
Living in the jungle comes with its own perks. One wakes up to the chirping birds, different ones in different seasons while some days one goes to sleep hearing the tiger roar somewhere. Some afternoons langurs go ballistic with their alarm calls and deer sipping water at the water hole break into a run. Amongst all these wildlife moving in and out of the property, there is a consistent visitor almost every evening and at times during the day. That’s the gentle giant! Whether in a group or solo, elephants come in and go as they please.
Despite the three long decades of residing here, every time an elephant comes by, it leaves the onlookers in total awe. The graceful walk, the patient grazing, the gentle eyes and the stoic appearance… they never cease to amaze me each and every time I see them.
Yesterday was celebrated as World Elephant Day. At home, we celebrate elephants whenever they wish to be celebrated. All they do is walk in and start the party!!
A beautiful green coat, a striking red beak and an exotic blue patch on the throat sums up this little birdie.
Preparing myself for the parrot’s visit to the fruiting Singapore cherry tree, I got myself in position and waited. Sure enough a parrot landed on the tree and got to business right away. Hanging like a bat, the parrot proceeded to feast on ripe cherries.
It is indeed a beautiful sight to see these parrots negotiate branches carefully, hang upside down and feeding. The Vernal Hanging Parrot is one of my favorite birds!
Images shot with: Canon 40D + Sigma 500 f4.5, Feature image with 40D and 300 2.8 + 2x TC
Mosquitos were feasting on me as I waited in the birding hide for the brown-cheeked fulvetta. A number of these skittish birds were occasional visitors. The drying river bed few metres away from the hide worked in my favour. Evening sessions which were usually non-productive started attracting birds due to water availability at the bird bath.
Few fulvettas appeared cautiously, took a dip in the bath and left. A white-rumped shama would disappear somewhere behind, only to perch on a stump few minutes later and dry itself. An old bird bath that was removed and left behind the perches had collected water and was hosting birds! Must bring that bird bath to the front, I made a mental note.
And then in a flash, a bird appeared…yellow beak like a curving sword and the unmistakable colors! One of the shyest birds, and a skulker; Indian Scimitar Babbler had made a quiet entry. The presence of this babbler is known by the continuous calls but always stays hidden behind thick foliage.
Hopping down from the tallest stump, it disappeared into the old bird bath. All I could see was splashes of water and I hoped for it to sit out in the open to dry itself. A painful wait ended with the babbler sitting on every perch at the hide and finally settling for a branch on a tree nearby.
Ignoring the sound of the shutter, the scimitar babbler calmly dried itself while I made some images. Once done, the babbler made a quick exit, leaving me with a wide smile. A quick review of the images left me smiling wider. I finally had pictures of the skulker.
It has now passed two years since I set up of the bird photography hide in Forest Hills Farm and Guesthouse with the assistance of friends. Without doubt, it is the Red Spurfowl that attracts most attention and is by far the most popular visitor.
One morning while waiting expectantly for birds to turn up at the hide, the red spurfowl (male) walks in and inspects the surrounding, seconds later the female walks in with three chicks! With the excitement levels already high seeing the spurfowls, it was joyful to see the chicks along with them.
A chick poses for a few seconds while the mother, father and other siblings forage for food.
As if the spurfowls with their young were not enough, in walks a Grey Junglefowl (female) with a young one by her side. It was tough deciding which family to shoot!
The young junglefowl chick strikes a pose before getting down to foraging business.
With the activity of the young ones only started, stay tuned for more posts and pictures.
Equipment used: Nikon 600 f4 VR + D750 mounted on Benro GH2 Gimbal head + Manfrotto tripod.
Finally! Earlier in November I decided to shift my primary shooting gear from Canon to Nikon. I was on the lookout for a Nikon 500mm lens to replace the Canon one.
Earlier in January, a friend insisted I see a 600mm lens on sale. I thought ‘why not? No harm in seeing the lens!’. After testing the lens, I started considering this as an option especially for bird photography.
After debating and consulting friends, I decided that the 600mm telephoto was too tempting to let go. Super excited about this lens and looking forward to more birding.
About a year and a half ago, I had set up a bird photography hide on my property. Of the multiple species that visited the perch, the yellow-browed bulbul was one species I had been praying for.
Many months later, sitting at the hide on one of the lazy mornings, I heard a familiar call. Moments later a pair of Yellow-browed Bulbul landed on a perch. A few fickle minutes of exploring the perches, feeding, a quick dip in the bird bath and off they went.
Immense joy and satisfaction fills me for having the much awaited species as a visitor at my hide 🙂
One evening when I stepped out for my usual rounds of the property (Forest Hills Farm and Guesthouse), I could hear something rustling within the fallen bamboo leaves towards one corner. As the combating duo made their way inwards, I followed them for an hour and a half witnessing this ritual from far and close quarters. One of the most difficult shoots too. There were very few moments when these two would actually stay still. This one picture was worth the wait.