My Birding Diary – 3

A Further Journey

This is the third part of my Birding Blog. As part of this blog I am just trying to document all the different species of birds that I have managed to photograph in these years. The photography gear that I currently own is a Canon Digital Rebel XSI (450D) DLSR with 50mm, 18-55mm and 55-250mm lenses. Also I have a Sony DSC WX-200 digital camera.

In this part I am listing the birds that I managed to photograph in various parks located in Chandigarh and nearby areas.

This blog in in continuation to my earlier Birding Diary blogs (Part-1 & Part-2).

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa Glareola)

Location : Bakarpur Pond, Mohali, Punjab (India)

This was my first visit to the Bakarpur Pond. It is quite popular with Bird lovers as a lot of migratory birds arrive at this small pond every year. The first of the birds listed in this blog is the Wood Sandpiper, a small bird with a long beak. It is generally found in wetlands feeding insects on the wet mud.

Wood Sandpiper - Birding Diary - 3
Wood Sandpiper (5th April 2016)

Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus Rufulus)

Location : Bakarpur Pond, Mohali, Punjab (India)

When I first saw this bird I thought it to be a house sparrow as the markings on the back were quite similar. But on close observation this bird was a little large in size and was quite fast on the ground. Also sits on the ground with the ‘head held high…..’

Paddyfield Pipit - Birding Diary - 3
Paddyfield Pipit (5th April 2016)

Common Pochard (Aythya Ferina)

Location : Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh (India)

The Common Pochard is among many birds that migrates to Sukhna Lake every year for nesting & breeding.

Common Pochard - Birding Diary - 3
Common Pochard (5th February 2012)

Spot Billed Duck (Anas Poecilorhyncha)

Location : Chatt Village, Mohali, Punjab (India)

A beautiful duck with a prominent yellow tip on the beak. This pair was found floating in the natural lake inside Chattbir Zoo.

Spot Billed Duck - Birding Diary - 3
Spot Billed Duck (18th January 2015)

Oriental White Eye (Zosterops Palpebrosus)

Location : Dyarag Village, Solan, Himachal Pradesh (India)

I saw the photograph of this bird in many Facebook posts but never managed to see this myself. In April 2016 I visited a small village near Solan for some family function and fortunately saw a small green bird with a prominent white eye ring feeding nectar of flowers on a citrus-fruit tree. The bird is very fast and I barely managed to click a few photographs before it flew away.

Oriental White Eye - Birding Diary - 3
Oriental White Eye (23rd April 2016)
Oriental White Eye - Birding Diary - 3
Oriental White Eye sucking Nectar (23rd April 2016)

Little Owl (Athene Noctua)

Location : Butterfly Park, Chandigarh (India)

A bird that relaxes in the day. This one was caught napping in the Butterfly Park in the afternoon of 23rd December 2012…..:-)

Little Owl - Birding Diary - 3
Little Owl (23rd December 2012)

Lesser Golden Backed Woodpecker (Dinopium Benghalense)

Location : Butterfly Park, Chandigarh (India)

A small colorful bird often found knocking tree barks for food……

Golden Backed Woodpecker - Birding Diary - 3
Golden Backed Woodpecker (23rd December 2012)

Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis)

Location : Butterfly Park, Chandigarh (India)

Yellow Bittern - Birding Diary - 3
Yellow Bittern (23rd December 2012)

Indian Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros Birostris)

Location : Mohali, Punjab (India)

The state bird of Chandigarh, The Indian Grey Hornbill can be easily spotted in the parks & outskirts of the city. The bird is easily recognized by the black horn over the beak. This photograph was taken in Nature Park, Mohali.

Indian Grey Hornbill - Birding Diary - 3
Indian Grey Hornbill (13th March 2014)

Common Moorhen (Gallinula Chloropus)

Location : Bakarpur Pond, Mohali, Punjab (India)

This bird is also known as the “Swamp Chicken” and is often found in small marshes & wetlands.

Common Moorhen - Birding Diary - 3
Common Moorhen (23rd April 2016)

With this I end the third part of my birding blog. Will be back with some more interesting birds in the next part.

NOTE ::

  1. All the common names and scientific names of birds have been referenced from the book “The Book of Indian Birds” by Salim Ali, Thirteenth Edition 2012.
  2. I am not an expert in Birds, just a beginner in bird watching so the above names / description may not be accurate. These have been written as per my best understanding and have not been verified by any expert in the field.

My Birding Diary – 2                                                      to be continued…..

The Canon Photo Walk

Chattbir Zoo (2015)

Canon India conducted its first ever Photo Walk in Chandigarh on 18th January 2015. The Canon Photo Walk was mentored by Shivang Mehta who is an official trainer with Canon and is also the Canon India Brand Ambassador. The theme for the Photo Walk was “Wildlife Photography” and the place chosen for the walk was “Chattbir Zoo”.

The time fixed for the walk was 9:00 AM. There is a huge fog cover in Chandigarh in January and 18th of January was no exception. The fog was so dense in the morning that I skipped the initial entrance of the zoo as the road was not visible  and had to take an alternate longer route to reach the same. Anyways on reaching I was joined by other participants and our mentor Shivang. On entering the zoo we had a small introduction session and then Shivang explained the initials of Wildlife Photography and some specific tips for photographing wild animals in the zoo environment.

Shivang has a lot of experience in photographing tigers in the wild, so we first headed to the tiger enclosure where we luckily found 2-3 white tigers in a playful mood. Though the visibility was not good due to fog but we did manage to shoot some interesting photographs of these tigers.

Tiger Portraits

Tiger Portrait - Canon Photo Walk

Tiger Portrait - Canon Photo Walk

Tiger Portrait - Canon Photo Walk

Tiger Portrait - Canon Photo Walk

Tigers In Action

Tigers in Action - Canon Photo Walk

Tigers in Action - Canon Photo Walk

Tigers in Action - Canon Photo Walk

After photographing the tigers we moved to a small natural lake that is part of the zoo and is home to many migratory and local birds.

Spot Billed Duck - Canon Photo Walk

The Tiger Dentist - Canon Photo Walk

Spot Billed Duck - Canon Photo Walk

Along the way we had many interesting discussions on the Camera models, lenses to use for wildlife and many other photography topics which helped us gain a thorough understanding of this area of photography.

In the end we spent some time in the ducks enclosure and managed to click some beautiful photographs as the lighting had improved by this time and the fog cover had reduced.

The Perfect Landing - Canon Photo Walk

Ducks in the Lake - Canon Photo Walk

Ducks in the Lake - Canon Photo Walk

The Perfect Landing - Canon Photo Walk

We ended the walk with a group photo, distribution of participation certificates and discussion on the way ahead for Wildlife Photography.

The Photowalk Group - Canon Photo Walk
The Photowalk Group

The fog did play a major spoilsport but I managed to learn many important aspects of photographing in the wild. I clicked around 200+ photographs but only managed to get around 20-25 good photographs as major of these were not up to the mark due to poor lighting. I had earlier visited Chattbir Zoo around 3-4 times but never managed to get good photographs.

In the end a special thanks to Shivang Mehta for sharing his wide photography experience with us. Attending this Photo Walk by Canon was a huge learning experience for me and will help me in my future encounters with wildlife…..:-)

The Indian Moon Moth

On 23rd April 2016 I traveled to the newly opened Sherpa Eco Resort at Village Dyarag near Solan (Himachal Pradesh) to attend a family function. The resort is located in the middle of dense Oak & Deodar forest which turns out to be a great habitat for beautiful insects, birds & animals.

After spending around 2 hours at the resort we suddenly noticed a large moth sitting near one of the doors. The moth had a wingspan of around 5-6 inches and had beautiful green and pink colors. There were two green leaf-like beautiful antennas in the front. I immediately clicked a few photographs of the moth. As it was day time so the moth was just resting and was not concerned with the happenings around. I had never seen such a beautiful creature earlier. After 4-5 hours I had to leave the venue to return back to Chandigarh.  The moth was still in the same place resting.

The Indian Moon Moth
The Indian Moon Moth

The next day I processed the photographs and uploaded one of the photographs of the moth to the “Natural Biodiversity” Facebook group. This photograph received many likes & comments as it was not seen earlier by many of the members. It was identified as the “Indian Moon Moth“. I read a few articles on the net and also checked out some more pictures of this moth taken around the world.

Close Up of the Leaf Like Antenna - The Indian Moon Moth
Close Up of the Leaf Like Antenna

One week later on 4th May 2016 I received a mail with the subject “REQUEST FROM THE ‘HINDUSTAN TIMES’ CHANDIGARH“. I immediately opened the mail and was thrilled to see that Mr. Vikram Jit Singh, Wildlife correspondent with Hindustan Times and the author of the weekly ‘Wildbuzz’ column wanted to publish my photograph of the moth in the next edition. As required I shared the additional details like the place, date and time of the photograph. And now the only wait was for the coming Sunday, to grab the copy of Hindustan Times and check the article on the moon moth.

Finally after a long wait 🙂 it was Sunday 8th May 2016. I checked the Wildbuzz section and there it was, my photograph of the “Indian Moon Moth” and a very nicely written article by Mr. Vikram Jit Singh under the title “Wings of Paradise“.

Hindustan Times Clipping - The Indian Moon Moth
Hindustan Times Clipping (8th May 2016)

Quoting from the article,

“If one is lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a moon moth fluttering into the night, it would be akin to being visited by an apparition or a mermaid surfing the air waves.”

I think I was lucky to be at the right place at the right time.

Mr. Vikram Jit Singh took the guidance of Dr. Roger Kendrick, who is based in Hong Kong and is an authority on Asian Moths. According to Dr. Kendrick the name of the moth is Actias Selene (family Saturniidae), i.e. Indian Moon Moth.

As per Dr. Kendrick,

“The individual in the photo appears to be a male: the body (abdominal part) is not ‘fat’ with eggs, and the antennae (the green leaf-like structures) appear plumose. Adult Saturniidae (all members of the ‘Emperor Moth’ family) have no functional haustellum (tongue or proboscis), so they can’t feed in the adult stage of the life cycle. Consequently, the adult phase is brief, limited by the amount of fat reserves accumulated by the larva. So maybe a week for the adult, though often less. Please note that for moth species in other families, life expectancy for the adult phase of the life cycle may well be longer (adults of some species of Erebidae moths will over-winter in the adult phase, so could live for five to six months as an adult). “

This was a big achievement for me as it was the first time my clicked photograph was published in a leading newspaper. I would like to thank Mr. Vikram Jit Singh for giving me this recognition.

Scan of Wildbuzz Print Version - The Indian Moon Moth
Scan of Wildbuzz Print Version (8th May 2016)

The Scott Kelby Photowalk

The Scott Kelby Photowalk was held on October 3rd 2015 in Chandigarh. This is a worldwide event where group leaders organize a photo walk in all major cities. The 2015 walk in Chandigarh was led by Sabin Prodan who belongs to Romania and was in Chandigarh for one of his professional assignments. I found the event interesting and registered for the walk. The meeting place was fixed as Sector 22 market. I had read a lot about street photography, but this would be my first hands on experience with the same.

On the day of the walk I was the first one to reach the venue. Sabin was already there and was waiting for the participants. After some waiting we were joined by some other participants. We had a small introduction and then we proceeded to the inner Sector 22 market for start of the walk. I decided to use my 50mm canon lens for the walk as it is the best lens used for Street Photography.

Sabin is a very nice person and we had some interesting conversations along the walk while clicking different subjects. We spent around two to two and a half hours in the market clicking photographs of vendors, hawkers, rickshaw pullers and other happenings in and around the market. We then proceeded to Sector 17 and spent another 2 hours clicking the photographs. We were to end the walk at Sukhna Lake but as all the participants (excluding Sabin as he is a marathon runner and never gets exhausted …..:-)) were exhausted so we decided to end the walk at Sector-17.

Sabin clicks all his photographs in black & white so inspired from him I also tried my hands on B&W photography  for the first time.

The first photograph that I am posting here is of Sabin our walk leader. This was clicked by me at Sector-17 fountain.

Sabin Prodan - Scott Kelby Photowalk
Sabin – The Walk Leader

Following are the best photos taken by me during the Scott Kelby PhotoWalk.

Bulb Holder - Scott Kelby Photowalk
The Bulb Holder
Thirst Quencher - Scott Kelby Photowalk
Thirst Quencher
Untitled - Scott Kelby Photowalk
Untitled
The Shy Lady - Scott Kelby Photowalk
The Shy Lady
Balloon Seller - Scott Kelby Photowalk
Balloon Seller
Rickshaw Puller - Scott Kelby Photowalk
Rickshaw Puller #1
Autorickshaw - Scott Kelby Photowalk
The Autorickshaw
Rickshaw Puller - Scott Kelby Photowalk
Rickshaw Puller #2
Rickshaw Puller - Scott Kelby Photowalk
Rickshaw Puller #3
Rickshaw Puller - Scott Kelby Photowalk
Rickshaw Puller #4
Rickshaw Puller - Scott Kelby Photowalk
Rickshaw Puller #5
The Street - Scott Kelby Photowalk
The Street
Kids - Scott Kelby Photowalk
Kids in the Auto
Naughty Kid - Scott Kelby Photowalk
The Naughty Kid
Innocent Kid - Scott Kelby Photowalk
The Innocent Kid
The Shy Kid - Scott Kelby Photowalk
The Shy Kid

My photograph of “The Salesman” was selected as the “Best Photo of the Walk” by the walk leader and this photograph was entered into the worldwide Scott Kelby PhotoWalk Contest.

The Salesman - Scott Kelby Photowalk
The Salesman

And this photograph managed to receive a rating of 2.2/5 in the final contest.

Final Ranking - Scott Kelby Photowalk

This photo walk was a great learning experience for me. I tried Street Photography for the first time, I used my Canon 50 mm for the first time and I tried Black ‘n’ White for the first time.

In the end a very special thanks to Sabin Prodan for this walk, a good friend and a very nice person. I really enjoyed the time spent at the walk………