WildZests: March 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Two Little Terns

An early morning trip to Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary enroute Bandipur yielded great results. There were two River Tern fledglings that were pretty friendly to let us watch them at close quarters. At one point in time the boat was so close to the rock that I had to ask the boatman to move further back since I wasn't able to get them in the frame individually. The light was great and the green waters of the Cauvery made for a good background.

At about a month old, they were able to make short flights but were still dependent on the parents for food. We did get to experience the feeding session however their placement on the rock didn't favor good photography. I wanted to have a picture of both of them together and after a lot of moving around the boat, I was finally able to get them fitted into a single picture. Had to stop down quite a bit to get the DOF right since they were almost never in the same plane of focus.

Tech Specs:

Canon 1D Mark IV + Canon 600mm F4 L IS
Shot at 600mm, 1/320s, F14 and ISO 200

River Tern Chicks

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Northern Pintail - A Long Distance Traveler

The Pintails are pretty looking ducks that migrate to the southern continents at the onset of winter. They are usually found in the open wetlands and Bharatpur makes an excellent venue for their stay. They were mostly seen closer to the shoreline only in the mornings post which they were very elusive.

The details on the male bird are very exquisite and though the bird isn't very colorful, it's still looks very stunning.

Tech Specs:
Canon 1D Mark IV + Canon 600mm F4 L IS with 1.4x TC
Shot at 840mm, 1/1250s, F6.3 and ISO 1600.
Northern Pintail - Male

The Purple Heron

This Purple Heron suddenly landed on a raised mound in the water while I was shooting a Glossy Ibis. The colors on the bird looked awesome with the soft evening light falling from behind. After a couple of as-is shots from where I was, I moved a bit to position myself for a better background. The bird nicely obliged with a nice head turn making this a very special image.

The larger version on my flickr stream looks nicer since it brings out the details on the feathers. It can be found here.

Tech Specs
Canon 1D Mark IV + Canon 600mm F4 L IS with 1.4x TC
Shot at 840mm, 1/400s, F5.6 and ISO 800

Purple Heron

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bar Headed Geese - The high fliers

While at the park, on several ocassions i tried to see if I could get a clear view of the bar headed geese, but they were always positioned quite inside from the shoreline. These are really beautiful birds and are known for their high altitude flying capabilities, in fact there are reports which suggest that these are the highest flying birds in the world. During the migration, they cross the Himalayas and sometimes are found flying over heights of more than 15000 ft.

So on Day 3, I did get a bit lucky when a small group of birds landed approx 50m from the shoreline. The only hiccup was that there was no clear view due to the taller grass near the shore. I waited patiently for more than half hour for them to start moving closer towards me and was happy that I could at least get a few decent record shots of these beautiful birds. I would have loved to get a landing shot but given the conditions it was pretty much impossible to get it.

I'd love to get them in Ladakh the next time I'm there. Tso Moriri is a well known breeding ground for these birds and the magnificient lake would be the perfect background to capture these beautiful birds.

Here's one of the decent shots I managed to get from that day:

Tech Specs

Canon 1D Mark IV + Canon 600mm F4 L IS
Shot at 840mm, 1/400s, F8 and ISO 200

Bar Headed Geese