Week 1 – lockdown 21

On 23rd March, Tamil Nadu state had implemented a lockdown and restrictions across the state until 31st March as a precautionary measure to stop the spread of the Corona virus. The next day, PM Modi announced lockdown of the entire country for a duration of three weeks starting 25th March onwards. Social distancing was the weapon they hoped would contain spread of the virus.

I had just come out of social-media distancing (thanks to a friend who tagged me on a photo challenge). I thought to myself, how about posting one new image every day through the lockdown period.

A couple of coral trees were in full bloom and attracted a large number of winged wonders. I decided that would be a good place to start. Here is a small collection of images from the first week.

Day 1

Colors

A long time desire to make a satisfactory image of the colorful Plum-headed Parakeet (male) finally came true on day one.

Orange and Green

The pretty Vernal Hanging Parrot inspects the bunch of flowers before gorging on them.

Day 2

Spot of Purple

The usually busy Purple-rumped Sunbird (male) stopped moving for a few seconds while perched next to a bunch of coral tree flowers, allowing me to freeze a few frames.

A shade of Grey

An equally busy and tiny bird like the Purple-rumped Sunbird is the Cinereous Tit. This one too, took a break from constant branch-hopping and posed for the camera.

Day 3

A spot of White
Sparkling Bronze

The first image is of a White-bellied Drongo and the one below it, Bronzed Drongo. Both the drongo’s were competing with each other trying to catch flying insects, and at times, ambushing other birds who were preying on insects on the ground.

Day 4

Plum and a Pod

After flowers on a coral tree fall, pods form and offer a variety of birds, especially Parakeets, an unlimited food supply. Here, a female Plum-headed Parakeet feeds on a pod.

A long bill

Yet another variety of Sunbird. This time a Loten’s Sunbird (female). Also known as the long-billed sunbird, hence the caption!

Day 5

Handsome and Colorful

Orange flowers along with incredible colors on this handsome male Plum-headed Parakeet made for a striking image.

Day 6

Splash of paint

What would have otherwise been an ordinary image of a Red-vented Bulbul, changed due to the setting. Blurred coral flowers and green leaves in the background created a lovely paint like effect here.

Surprise visitor

Seeing a branch shaking on the adjacent tree, I was taken by surprise when I saw a Palm Squirrel feeding on a bunch of flowers. Though the squirrel didn’t stay long, I managed some images. First time, I saw a squirrel visit the coral tree.

Day 7

Color of the day
Lady Minivet

The ‘always on the move’ minivets took a break, and on separate occasions allowed me a few frames before going about business as usual. Orange is male and yellow is the female of the species.

Thats all for Week No.1 of the Lockdown. I continue my quest to make at least one image a day and present the second series in seven days.

All images made with Nikon D850 along with a 600 F4 VR lens. Few images have been made attaching a 1.4 TC II teleconverter.

Mr. Red

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Mr. Red | Forest Hills Farm and Guesthouse, Mudumalai, Tamil Nadu, India

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. 

Ghosts of the Blue Hills

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Nilgiri Langur | Avalance Road, Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India

On a cold Christmas evening, a bunch of friends and I were driving on a narrow road towards Avalanche Lake, a destination near Ooty. As we turned a corner, I caught sight of multiple black figures sitting on a tree beside the road. Nilgiri Langur!

The vehicle came to a screeching halt and I whipped out my camera. The sudden braking of the vehicle alerted the langur who were feeding on the tree. One by one, they jumped off the tree and disappeared into the woods, typical of their shy nature. All but one remained sitting on a branch, with a mouthful of food, wondering what was all the fuss about.

As the langur sat still, I made a few images. The langur realising that his companions aren’t returning, fled the scene soon after.

Unfortunately, the nilgiri langur’s conservation status is classified as vulnerable primarily¬†due to habitat destruction. I sincerely hope their numbers increase with all the conservation efforts going in.

Image shot with Canon – 300 2.8 IS II + 1D Mark 3

The scimitar never called

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.

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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.

Scimitar_2_ADI3511

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.

Shot at Forest Hills Farm and Guesthouse with a Nikon D750 and 600 f4 VR II