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 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………

My Birding Diary – 2

The Journey Continues

This is the second 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 continuation to Part-1 of this blog I am listing some additional birds that I have managed to photograph in and around Chandigarh in the last 2-3 years. I have not visited any special places for photographing these birds. I found these birds in certain places that I visited as part of my other routines and managed to click as and when I had my camera along. Some of the photos displayed here are not up-to the mark as they were taken without proper camera equipment and were generally taken on the go.

During my stay in Chandigarh from last two years some of the birds mentioned here are seen on regular basis but some of these I have just seen once or twice.

Wire Tailed Swallow (Hirundo Smithii)

Location : Zirakpur, Punjab (India)

One morning when I woke up and went outside I saw a beautiful bird with a long tail flying near my balcony. And then it sat on the cable wire. I immediately grabbed my digicam and clicked the following photograph. I could click only 1 photograph and then it flew away. I have never seen this bird again near my house.

Swallow - Birding Diary - 2
Swallow (7th May 2015)

Black Kite (Milvus Migrans)

Location : Chatt Village, Zirakpur, Punjab (India)

The Black Kite or Cheel as it is commonly known is generally seen flying high in the sky and found sitting on electric poles, mobile towers etc. It makes a very typical whistling sound. This photograph was clicked at Chatt Village near the Chattbir Zoo.

Kite - Birding Diary - 2
Kite (23rd December 2015)

White Necked Stork (Ciconia Episcopus)

Location : Zirakpur, Punjab (India)

The place where I stay is close to the open fields where farmers sow wheat and rice every year. Last year in June when the fields were watered for sowing of rice I noticed a pair of two black ‘n’ white birds with long legs in the fields. I had only seen similar birds in the zoo earlier.

They were very far off so I could only click the following photos with my 55-250mm lens. They stayed there for around 2-3 hours and then flew away. The rice sowing season is coming again and I am expecting to see them again this year…:-)

Stork - Birding Diary - 2
Stork (1st June 2015)
Stork - Birding Diary - 2
Stork (1st June 2015)

White Breasted Kingfisher (Halcyon Smyrnensis)

Location : Patiala, Punjab (India)

The Kingfisher is often found sitting on tree branches. It is a very brightly colored bird and is easily recognizable.

Kingfisher - Birding Diary - 2
Kingfisher (18th August 2015)

Greater Coucal (Centropus Sinensis)

Location : Chatt Village, Zirakpur, Punjab (India)

A crow like bird but with brown wings and scary red eyes. It is often found in thick vegetation and makes very loud sounds.

Coucal - Birding Diary - 2
Coucal (6th June 2015)

Location : Patiala, Punjab (India)

Coucal - Birding Diary - 2
Coucal (18th August 2013)

Red Wattled Lapwing (Vanellus Indicus)

Location : Cactus Garden, Panchkula, Haryana (India)

I saw this bird for the first time on my visit to Cactus Garden Panchkula in 2012. They were huge in number and were seen sitting on one leg in between the displayed cactus.

Once I shifted to Zirakpur, now this bird has a permanent nesting in the open marshy land behind the building. This bird makes a very loud call and is generally seen scaring away dogs & other predator birds if they manage to come near there nesting area.

Lapwing - Birding Diary - 2
Lapwing (23rd December 2012)

Rose Ringed Parakeet (Psittacula Krameri)

Location : Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh, Punjab (India)

Another bird from the parrot family generally found flying in groups or sitting on tree branches.

Parakeet - Birding Diary - 2
Parakeet (13th July 2014)

Location : Jalandhar, Punjab (India)

Parakeet - Birding Diary - 2
Parakeet (9th August 2013)

Shikra (Accipiter Badius)

Location : Patiala, Punjab (India)

Shikra - Birding Diary - 2
Shikra (17th August 2013)

Spotted Munia (Lonchura Punctulata)

Location : Zirakpur, Punjab (India)

I found a group of 5-7 small rust colored birds on the railing of my neighbor’s house in mid of 2014. I had never seen this bird earlier. I took my digicam and took a few shots of this bird. They were regular visitors to this place for quite some time and were searching for a suitable nesting place.

Munia - Birding Diary - 2
Munia (24th July 2014)

After approximate two months they managed to successfully built their nest behind the AC exhaust.

Munia's Nest - Birding Diary - 2
Munia’s Nest (22nd September 2014)

Indian Treepie (Dendrocitta Vagabunda)

Location : Zirakpur, Punjab (India)

Ending this part of the blog with the Indian/Rufous Treepie. A beautiful bird with a long tail. Also known as “Tiger’s Dentist” as the bird is known to pick meat stuck in the tiger’s teeth. The following photograph is the Treepie sitting on the wall of my balcony in Zirakpur.

Treepie - Birding Diary - 2
Treepie (12th August 2014)

With this I am ending part 2 of my Birding Diary. Will be back soon with 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 – 1                                                   My Birding Diary – 3

 

My Birding Diary – 1

Initial Attempts

This is the first 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 of the blog I am listing the common birds that are found in and around our houses. I belong to Solan, Himachal Pradesh (India) and currently residing in Chandigarh, Punjab (India)  so most of the birds listed here are of these regions. Some of the photographs may not be up to the mark as these were clicked when I was new to photography and was still getting used to the camera.

House Sparrow (Passer Domesticus)

Location : Solan, Himachal Pradesh (India)

This is the most common bird that is found in our houses and were a part of our childhood days. Our mothers and grand mothers used to regularly feed these birds and their nests resided in the corners of our verandah roofs. These days due to change in design of our housing patterns these birds are no longer found in large cities. If you move to city outskirts and smaller cities you can still find these birds.

Sparrow - Birding Diary - 1
Sparrow (25th April 2010)

Himalayan Bulbul (Pycnonotus Leucogenys)

Location : Solan, Himachal Pradesh (India)

Another common bird that is found near my house in Solan is the Bulbul. This bird makes a nest in the corner of the roof every year. A sweet bird with a prominent white patch near the eye and a prominent yellow patch at the bottom of the tail.

Bulbul - Birding Diary - 1
Bulbul (24th April 2010)

Red Vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus Cafer)

Location : Jalandhar, Punjab (India)

The Punjab counterpart of the White Eared Bulbul 🙂

Bulbul - Birding Diary - 1
Bulbul (9th August 2013)

Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia Decaocto)

Location : Jalandhar, Punjab (India)

The “Bird of Peace” often found in groups. It has a prominent black patch on the neck which gives the bird its name.

Dove - Birding Diary - 1
Dove (9th August 2013)

Blue Rock Pigeon (Columba Livia)

Location : Patiala, Punjab (India)

A very common bird in the urban cities. Often found in large groups on every building.

Pigeon - Birding Diary - 1
Pigeon (18th August 2013)

Common Myna (Acridotheres Tristis)

Location : Patiala, Punjab (India)

Every kid has often said “Two for Joy” on seeing a pair of this bird. The Common Myna is a very aggressive bird and is very common in India. This bird makes very loud sounds / whistles.

Myna - Birding Diary - 1
Myna (18th August 2013)

Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula Eupatria)

Location : Mohali, Punjab (India)

Another beautiful bird is the Parrot. This one I found enjoying the fruits of the tree in Nature Park, Mohali.

Parakeet - Birding Diary - 1
Parakeet (13th March 2014)

Jungle Babbler (Turdoides Striatus)

Location : Mohali, Punjab (India)

Babbler - Birding Diary - 1
Babbler (13th March 2014)

House Crow (Corvus Splendens)

Location : Zirakpur, Punjab (India)

This is the bird that indicates the “Arrival of guests at home”. According to an old myth in India if a crow continuously caws outside your home it signifies arrival of some guests at home.

Crow - Birding Diary - 1
Crow (8th December 2014)

Location : Mohali, Punjab (India)

Crow - Birding Diary - 1
Crow (22nd December 2015)

Indian Peafowl (Pavo Cristatus)

Location : Sariska, Rajasthan (India)

Peacocks are not found in Himachal Pradesh. These are one of the most beautiful birds found in the wild. My first close encounter with these were in 2009 when I visited the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary as part of an Astro-Photography workshop. I did not have a DSLR at that time so the following two photos were taken with a normal digicam.

Peacock - Birding Diary - 1
Peacock (28th March 2009)
Peacock - Birding Diary - 1
Peacock (28th March 2009)

With this I come to end of the first part of my birding diary. Will be back soon with the second 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