Saturday, September 13, 2008

Little Egret

I featured a post on the little egret last month; but the reflection of the bird in the water in this photograph tempted me to post it again. Clicked with the smallest possible aperture on my Sony H-7 (f/8) inorder to get a clear reflection.
This snow white bird is similar to a cattle egret in its non-breeding plummage, except that it has a black bill and black and yellow feet. In former years, the bird's filamentous ornamental feathers from the posterior and the breasts were used for millinery purposes which is illegal now. The bird is very bright and it has startled me on a number of occasions; when it takes off, it appears as a bright white flash.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Little Whistling Duck

This was one of the most difficult photography assignment for me. I spotted these Whistling ducks in a flooded paddy field and the only way I could come close to them was by wading through knee deep water. As soon as they saw me approaching, they flew off and I had to wait submerged knee deep for the birds to return back.
This Little Whistling duck is pretty easy to recognize as it does not resemble any other duck except for the rare Larger Whistling duck. It rests on flooded waters during daylight and feeds at night, mostly on grain and sometimes, fish and snail. On seeing me, when the birds flew away, they perched on a tree for a while and this was for the first time I saw a duck on a tree and with their webbed feet, they looked pretty clumsy to me.
It is called whistling duck probably because of its call, which sounds like a whistle to me (seesik seesik)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Small Blue Kingfisher

I'm having a kingfisher bonanza for the last few days, this time encountered the Small Blue Kingfisher and the Pied Kingfisher still remains elusive. It was a nice opportunity for me to watch this kingfisher go about hunting. It was scanning around, sitting on the highest available point close to the waterbody, all the time bobbing its head or swaying it accompanied by a jerk with its tail followed by a click sound. At the sight of prey, it flew very low over the water surface, quickly dropped its beak into the water, picked its prey and flew to some other spot to relish on its prey. In about 10 minutes, this bluish-green bird had caught three fishes and then flew off with a 'chichee, chichee' sound.
The third photograph is after a successful hunt but just before devouring the fish.
In the second photograph, the sun was directly opposite the camera and was casting strong shadows on the bird. Inorder to photograph the bird, I had to spot meter the shadow area and use a slower shutter speed, hence the background is completely washed out and reveals no details.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

White Breasted Kingfisher

This is the 150th post on ' Friendly Animals ' and I would like to thank all of you for reading through the posts and certainly the comments which are always welcome.
The last post featured a Pied Kingfisher, but the photograph was not a close up and to get a closer view, I went to the same place again. This time instead of the Pied kingfisher, I saw this White Breasted Kingfisher, munching on a tasty frog.
This is the most familiar of all kingfishers and since it is least dependant on water, it is seen not only near water bodies but also in areas far from them. If not fishing, this turquoise-blue bird preys on lizard, grasshoppers and other similar insects; on rare occasions it has been spotted hunting other smaller birds and mice.
Photographed with Sony H-7; 1.7x telephoto; f/4.5
P.S: For the second photograph, I could not place my tripod in the water, because of the slushy river bed and had to hold the camera, to reduce the camera shake. I deliberately underexposed the photograph by choosing a faster shutter speed and later corrected the image with photoshop.
Post-processing: Levels, Brightness, Contrast, Saturation for blue and red and sharpness.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Lesser Pied Kingfisher

As of now, this is the best photograph that I could manage of the Lesser Pied Kingfisher. The bird generally fishes for food by hovering over the water and this one was lucky to have a power cable passing over the water in its hunting range, making life a bit easier for him. Once the bird has caught a prey, it flies to a nearby rock and batters its prey before swallowing.
Their nests are generally tunnels on the mudbank of streams.
Photographed on Nethravathi River, standing on the Panemangloor bridge.
Sony H-7 ,1.7x telephoto
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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Gold Fronted Chloropsis

A female Gold Fronted Chloropsis; the male has a bright golden forehead, purple and black, chin and throat. The bird is found throughout the sub-continent and hunts for insects and spiders in foliage where its plummage blends perfectly, and hence I almost missed this bird. It was sheer luck that I spotted it, but could not locate the male. It imitates the call of other birds like bulbul, drongo and shrike and again may get passed over on this account. The bird also imitates migratory birds when they are absent and an avid bird watcher might get confused over how one appeared during the wrong season.
Photographed off NH48 near Bantwal (Mangalore)
Sony h-7 ,1.7x telephoto, f/8, spot metering

Monday, September 1, 2008

Jungle Babbler

This earthy brown untidy looking bird has a tail that seems to be loosely stuck into its body. These birds hunt in groups; generally forage on ground for moths and insects or even feed on figs and berries. They form the nucleus of the mixed hunting parties of birds in a jungle. When attacked by predators like hawks or cats, they group together and chase the predator away.
Hence as a bird watcher, if you see a babbler its good news, because there will be invariably other species of birds around it. Cuckoos also use the nest of the babbler to lay their eggs.
The bird is found all over the subcontinent.
Photographed at Narahari Hill
Sony H-7 camera with 1.7x telephoto