Mostly Indian Birds - some of my favourites

Here is a sneak peek of some of the bird pictures from different regions of India. Usually these are shot during my vacations and occasiona...

Birds and mammals of Kanha



It was 3 O clock in the morning and after an exhausting year at work I was super excited to get up and catch my flight to Nagpur.

There were a few reasons to be super excited about. I was visiting a forest after a long time, couldn't wait to catch the fresh air and switch off from what was a very hectic year.  My elder daughter was accompanying me for the program organized by Sudhir to learn photography and kindling her interest in wildlife and I was visiting Kanha after 25 years. I was there as a college kid for couple of days with no luck of tiger sighting but had fond remembrance of the forest.



Picture of a few Dholes and the morning mist from 25 years back.





The trip from Nagpur to Mukki gate was long (close to 6 hours) but very picturesque especially after you cross Bhandara. After a good lunch we did some birding around the Chitvaan Lodge.



with an oriental magpie Robin



a greenish warbler (one of the most fidgety birds to capture)

The next day, in the morning safari we tried to capture the beauty of Kanha against the rising sun.




A barasingha couple (which is endemic to Kanha) greeted us and an Indian scops owl was yet to wake up



and spotted deer were around us as you would expect.





Barasingha or swamp deer is unique in the sense it is twelve tined. (could be 10-20 tines) It used to be spread across India, Pakistan and Bangladesh but is now only northern and central India only. To impress females they put grass in their tines.





Afternoon safari was mostly trying different techniques. A starling pecking a spotted deer



a drongo



a  common green bee-eater



and an Indian rolller



a few reflections...literally...but where was the elusive tiger !!






a serpent eagle taking off



a barking deer ( my daughter called it Miss Eyebrows )



The interdependence or symbiotic relationship that the langur has with chital is unique. Langur watches out for Tiger movement and feeds the deer with fresh leaves from the top. Chital or spotted deer is known for its ability to hear the slightest noise and alerts the langur of any predators.




a few experiments with rim light photography and the day ended. Where was the elusive tigress?



Early morning next day an Indian grey Jackal tending its young one...


and then there was news that a tigress has been spotted somewhere near....


and lo behold it was just behind us







It was busy marking its territory while we were snapping.

Later in the evening a chance sighting of the Pin tailed snipe.




and a nose- digger Indian Bison.





Kanha leaves you with a lot of memories and even after 25 years I was so energized by the forest its habitat and the surroundings. No doubt Rudyard Kipling wrote Junglebook based on these forest range.











Birds of Alibaug, Maharshtra

It was the 20th year reunion of our B- school classmates and we got together at Alibaug. Amidst all the fun and frolic, managed to motivate a few of my classmates to come with me for birding. These are from Khim beach in Alibaug.

The day was overcast and we got a very inquisitive lesser Sand plover walking very close







At a distance there was common redshanks



and another one was getting ready to sleep...amazing balance !!

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On our way back from Alibaug you see huge flocks of black headed seagulls chasing the boat. A few shots from there.





They were so close that I could take them from my mobile phone (Pixel 3) 😉



The only thing I did not like was passengers feeding food to sea gulls 😞





Birds of Hyderabad (2018 roundup)


The year started with a trip to ICRISAT at the outskirts of Hyderabad.  It is a popular place for migratory birds











and it was great to see spotted pelicans




and ruddy shelducks

In March a trip to Ameenpur lake showed birdlife is vibrant but lot of human intervention especially with fishing.

















In Sep we went to Narsapur and was happy to see that the illegal sand mining has stopped. But a factory has come up in the neighbourhood of our favorite birding spot. However the lake was quiet and beautiful



A pheasant tailed Jacana greeted us from far

Ashy sparrow larks showing their mating dance





a solitary ashy wood swallow ( I haven't seen many in Hyderabad)





A lapwing warning everyone of our presence



The forested area had Baya weavers and Red avadavat






However the best part of 2018 was not a bird not a plane ... it was the blood moon !!





Birds of Sri Lanka

We were on a family vacation  In Jan 2018 to Bentota and Nuwara Eliya. I managed to squeeze in some birding. The best highlight of the trip was a visit to the Horton plains. Horton plains have preserved the original flora and fauna of Sri Lanka. Here are a few shots from Horton Plains



A Sri Lanka White-eye



Sambar Deer



The endemic purple faced monkey which is only available at the plains



Bar winged flycatcher shrike




The Sri-Lankan jungle fowl, the national bird of Sri Lanka



A yellow eared bulbul an endemic of Sri Lanka



An emerald dove on way to Nuwara Eliya.



A white throated kingfisher shot at Bentota.

Birds of Goa

Extending my winter vacation in early Jan this year, I was with Sudhir Shivaram's bird photography tour in Goa. The arrangement was at Nature's nest and while the accommodation was basic the birding was fabulous. Pankaj is a very passionate nature enthusiast and his guidance was invaluable.

Day 1 we spent shooting the Blue-eared kingfisher near the Tambdi Surla temple. Needless to say it was a lifer for me.



While shooting the kingfisher there were some distractions nearby...



... and we had a quick glance of the historic temple





Next day we were birding near the Bondla forest and this chestnut -tailed starling was having it's breakfast.



The Malabar region is known for the Malabar Grey hornbill. Here is an extreme closeup and I never knew Hornbills had eyelashes !!


this one  trying to hold on to a dropping fruit.



The purple sunbird was common


and so was the Black-Hooded Oriole.



A Brown Headed barbet


a Pompadour green pigeon which looked well fed and barely moved




We then moved on to another area and did spot a Trogon from far. There was a white bellied blue flycatcher



White-rumped Shama


and a Brown-breasted flycatcher


In the second half we saw the Srilankan Frogmouth


Day 3 we started shooting in the campus of Nature's nest. It is usually a feast time in the morning with a Purple sunbird immersed in nectar and pollen !!


a little spider hunter


and a vernal hanging parrot


Later we went towards the Tambdi Surla temple and got this rare Dark-Fronted Babbler


In the second half we went for a boat ride in Zuari river





and saw the Osprey


a distant ( and not clean) shot of the collared kingfisher


Lots of Brahminy kites


and an Eurasian curlew




On the final day ( Day 4) we were scheduled to catch flights in the afternoon.We started with a few shots of the Thick billed flowerpecker


and the Nilgiri flowerpecker



But we were desperate to catch a glimpse of Malabar Trogon. We could hear their calls but it continued to be elusive. In the meanwhile I got to the see the Brown-breasted Flycatcher



and the Yellow-browed Bulbul

and as luck would have it I heard some frantic summons saying that the trogon has been spotted. The Trogon is a bird that hardly makes a sound and also is very steady. It is difficult to spot because of lack of movement and sound. The Malabar Trogon (female) was right in front of me.




After a few mins we spotted the male..


and ended with spotting a juvenile as well.


What a day to end spotting an entire family of Malabar trogons. With hearftul of content and gratitude we left for our flights from Goa :)



More photos here