Passion. Wildlife. Photography. Trekking.

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Portrait of Rock Agama

Here is a portrait I made yesterday of  The Peninsular rock agama (Psammophilus dorsalis) in Nandi Hills, Karnataka.

_DSC6859Rock agama – A portrait

Rock agamas are a common sight here. I found this particular one on the tree basking in sun. A nice head turn by the agama and the spot light/harsh sunlight falling on it gave me the opportunity to get a nice underexposed background.

Hope you like it. Critics and Comments are welcome.

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White-throated Kingfisher

White-throated Kingfisher

White-throated Kingfisher

White- throated  Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) is one of the most commonly found birds in and around the city, in fact it is seen more often  than the Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), I liked the  perch  it is sitting on and the background. Hope you like it.

Critics and Comments are welcome.

Photos of Back-Lit Palm Leaf

I made a quick visit  to Hebbal Lake early in the morning today, and ended up with the images below.

Kids playing(shouting) Cricket inside the park  wasn’t helping for Birding , and I then came across this Back-lit Palm leaf.  Hope you like it.

Monochrome of Back-lit Palm Leaf

and for those of you who like color, here it is…

Back-lit Palm Leaf

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Photo of the day

The last few weeks have been very exciting, I am meeting amazing people and learning a  lot of things but on the flip side I have hardly taken my camera out! I am re processing old images , I  liked this one better than the older color version. I am even planning to print this one :)

_DSC6918

Green Bee-eater in Rain

which one do you like? This one or the earlier one?

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New Life

For those of you who are following this blog, wondering if I’m still alive, let me dispel your doubts on the subject and tell you that I am and very much so! Alive and kicking for all the right reasons too! :) The last seven months have been one hell of a ride and have resulted in my making a life changing decision. The decision being: I quit my day job and turned to a full-time photographer, freelancer and a traveler.

This is exactly what I have wished for all my life, but to say that it was an easy choice would be a far shot. After months of clocking in with the rest of the corporate world, wishing to be out in the wild while sitting in front of my computer, day after day, in anticipation of my next steady paycheck, lots of deliberation and debating with my family later, I realized the only thing left to do was to take that leap of faith. Sticking with a safe job is an easy decision, especially because it means a steadiness that is considered good based on the collective societal belief impressed upon us. Taking a risk on the other hand, comes with a risk. (Duh!) I am happier having taken this route as it means staying true to myself even if it means missing the perk of a fixed moolah at the end of each month and high speed internet acess. (I won’t lie, I dreadfully miss it.:P)

Living the life of a freelance photographer comes with its share of challenges. If I had imagined being self-employed would be tough, the first five months have asserted that through reality. Paying the bills is still a priority as is learning. In this quest, my aim is to get exposed to as many forms of the art as possible. My passion lies with wildlife photography, but I am also working in parallel on commercial photo shoots and travel photography. That being said, it is important to me that the aesthetic of this art is preserved irrespective of the forum.

For my first photo shoot, I had the opportunity of clicking an adorable baby girl, Sameksha and was rather pleased with how I did.
Also tried my hand at wedding photography for my cousin Prashant, who gave me my first camera.  Although they liked my clicks, personally I felt I could have done better.
Another wedding assignment followed this and here my learning from the previous shoot, helped me do better.

I did an assignment for a leading travel firm to shoot hotels and resorts in Pondicherry, mangalore and Bangalore. It was fun to work and a great learning experience.

I ventured out into capturing portraits and here are a few clicks.
This month I had a chance to shoot at the Enchanted Valley Carnival where there were about 60 artists performing at Aamby Valley. The experience overall was very rewarding and I got to shoot some biggies like Indian Ocean, ATB and Taio Cruz etc. You can check out the pictures here.

Take a look at my website( http://www.bhargavshandilya.inhere. The gallery is not fully up yet, but will approach completion in a few days time.
I am always open to feedback , so Feel free to leave your comments.

So if any of you are looking for a photographer don’t even consider going elsewhere. I’m your man! :D:D (All the publicity aside, I’m a really nice person to work with.:P)

If you like my work, then please do share it with your family and friends :)

Powder Puff flower in bloomHappy new year, have a colorful year ahead :)

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Grey -headed Canary -flycatcher(Culicicapa ceylonensis)

The Grey headed Canary flycatcher (Culicicapa ceylonensis) is an insectivorous and a species of small flycatcher – like bird found in tropical Asia.

This species breeds in upland to montane oak  and other broadleaved forests and similar wooded areas in temperate  to tropical southern Asia, from Pakistan, Central India and Sri Lanka east to Indonesia and southern China. Many populations are resident, but some Himalayan birds are partial migrants that winter in Peninsular India sometimes even occurring in arid habitats.

Bhargav Dwaraki _GHCFGrey headed Canary flycatcher

The Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher is about 10 cm long with a squarish grey head, a canary yellow belly and yellowish-green upperparts. They forage actively like flycatchers and perches in a very upright posture. The sexes are indistinguishable in plumage. They have a very flat bill  which when seen from above look like an equilateral triangle and is fringed with long rictal bristles.

The Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher is an insectivore and like flycatchers makes sallies for aerial insects from a low perch under the canopy of a tree. A pair may forage together and they will often join mixed -species foraging flocks.( Source – Wikipedia)

Bhargav Dwaraki _GHCFGrey headed Canary flycatcher

As we(myself and Vinod ) reached Ooty, we made a list of species that were special from this region .We wanted to spot and photograph each of them.Apart from the commoners like Mynas and Sparrows ,the first bird which we saw was this little Grey headed Canary-flycatcher. Though we spotted it quite easily and spent close to two hours ,I could not make a descent picture as it used to sit up high in trees or on the grills.Next day morning too went with out much luck (in terms of Photography), later in the day I saw it perch on a branch  with less or no clutter .I went there and I was waiting for it to come back ( yes,these birds do perch on the same place), initially  I missed few shots but this bird had kind of got used me and gave an other opportunity. Light was little harsh but I will take it!.Hope you like it :)

Have a great Day :)

Cheers,

Bhargav

 

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Kashmir Flycatcher (Ficedula subrubra)

The Kashmir Flycatcher(Ficedula subrubra) is a small passerine bird in the flycatcher family Muscicapidae.
This is an insectivorous species which breeds in the north-west Himalayas in the Kashmir region. It is migratory and winters in the Western Ghats and in the hills of central Sri Lanka.

Kashmir Flycatcher _Bhargav DwarakiKashmir Flycatcher

It is 13 cm long.The male has a grey-brown back with an orange-red throat, breast and flanks, bordered with black on the throat and breast. Females and first-winter birds have slightly browner upper parts, and the red of the underparts reduced to just a pinkish wash.

Kashmir Flycatcher _Bhargav DwarakiKashmir Flycatcher

The Kashmir Flycatcher breeds in deciduous forest with dense undergrowth, nesting in a hole in a tree and laying 3-5 eggs which are incubated by the female. It winters in gardens, tea estates, forest edges, and open areas within forest, generally above 750 m.

The song is a short melodic sweet-eet sweet-eet-did-he, and the call is a sharp chak.

This migratory flycatcher is a vulnerable species with a decreasing population and breeding range, which is also severely fragmented as a result of the destruction of temperate mixed deciduous forests by commercial timber extraction, agriculture and livestock grazing.(Source – Wikipedia)

Both photos were taken in Ooty ,using Nikon D300s.Nikkor 70 – 300mm VR lens.

I had been to Ooty  with Vinod  during the  last week of march. It was a good birding trip. We got to see this rare bird along with many endemic species(including Black chinned Laughing Trush or Nilgiri Laughing Trush ). I made some good images of Grey headed  canary Flycatcher and Nilgiri Flycatcher (will post them soon) , I will definitely go back to photograph the endemics. We had gone in an  open jeep and it was great, we had to embrace the scorching heat and rain!(will tell more about this later)

Have a  Happy Weekend :)

Cheers,

Bhargav

 

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Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis tickelliae)

The Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis tickelliae) is a small passerine bird in the flycatcher family. They are insectivorous species and are found in dense scrub to forest habitats.

It is a sparrow sized (14cm ) bird , it perches bolt upright a couple of meters from the ground,flicking its tail and uttering a sharp tick,tick from time to time.

Bhargav Dwaraki_Tickell's Blue flycatcherTickell’s Blue Flycatcher

Male has the upper parts indigo blue and their  forehead,supercilium and shoulders are azure blue , the throat and breast are orange – rufous and has white belly.Females are similar to male but are duller in color.

Bhargav Dwaraki _ Tickell's Blue Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher

They feed mainly  by capturing insects in flight but their prey include other insects such as termites and earwigs that may be gleaned or picked from the ground.They have an  unmistakable call which sounds tick – tick.( Source – Wikipedia and Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan)

Bhargav Dwaraki _Tickell's BlueTickell’s Blue Flycatcher

All 3 photos were taken in Nandi hills using Nikon D300s ,Nikkor 70 – 300mm VR lens.

Comments ,critics and suggestions are welcome :)

In the past 3 months I have made many visits to Nandi Hills and I Have struggled to photograph  here because of the tricky light condition . Out of  several visits  I have made , only the last two were good in terms of photography and I  learnt  how to handle the camera in such  condition.There is so much to learn!!And I am learning (slowly though). Saying that , every time I go to Nandi Hills I have a surprise waiting there each time. During each visit I get to see and learn something new , the last one being sighting of Pied Trush (Zoothera wardii) :) . I really hope this continues :)

On a personnel note , I completed 23 years few days back and also completed 1.5 years in office. Office is  frustrating like never before I think I was confident of doing something (in life) when I was jobless and sitting at home than now (while working). Hope things get better(Soon , Plz!!).

Cheers,

Bhargav

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Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis)

Indian roller is one of those few birds I knew before I started bird watching as they were very commonly seen perched along roadside wires and trees en route to my native.

The Indian roller (Coracias benghalensis) gains its name from its elaborate courtship displays, during which it performs some startling aerobatics culminating in a series of ‘rolling’ motions. The Indian roller is a medium-sized bird (26–27 cm ).The breast is brownish,the crown and vent are blue.The primaries are deep purpulish blue with a band of pale blue.The tail is sky blue with a terminal band of Prussian blue and the central feathers are dull green.The neck and throat are purplish lilac with white shaft streaks.The three forward toes are united at the base.Its eyes are greyish-brown and the strong, hook-tipped bill is blackish-brown. (Source -Wikipedia , Arkive)

ROLLER1_DSC0178INDIAN ROLLER

Its local name is Neela Kanta (meaning “blue throat”).This colorful cousin of the migratory Eurasian Roller was formerly called Blue Jay and is also the state bird of Karnataka.

ROLLER CALLINGRoller Calling

First image was shot in October while the 2nd was  in December 2012,in Hessarghatta.

This bird feeds primarily on insects, in particular beetles, crickets, and grasshoppers. It also regularly consumes flying insects such as wasps, flies, moths and butterflies . Where available, amphibians also form a large part of its diet.It prefers open cultivated areas or light deciduoud forest. (Source – Arkive )

In flight , Indian Roller is  a spectacular sight to watch. I have tried capturing flight shot but haven’t been successful yet! :( . Will post that as and when I get.

Critics and comments are welcome :)

Cheers,

Bhargav

Birds in my Backyard

Last weekend, I went looking for Bar Headed geese , whose sighting had been reported from Hassan. Unfortunately, since I couldn’t get the transport to get there, I had to spend two days in my village. My bad knee didn’t allow me walk so I was pretty much at home the whole time, watching the winged visitors in my backyard.

Now about my backyard, picture this — the last wall of my house also acts as a compound on one side, on the other end of this is a barbed wire fence, hardly visible as the Lantana has covered it completely. To the left there is lifeless wall made of mud, only about knee-length in height and doesn’t serve any function a compound should; to the right is the wall of our Rice Mill. It is big and has quite a few trees. To the left of the house wall, Hibiscus has grown into a tree, next to which is a big Neem tree and farther away from it are two Coconut trees. On the south west left corner of the plot, there are two Teak trees and to its right is another Neem tree, surrounded by Lantana. On the top right side corner of the plot, there’s a heap of Paddy husk from the mill and this attracts lot of birds that come in search of food.

From August to October the birds I’ve noticed are Baya weaver, Indian silverbill, Black headed munia, Scaly breasted munia , House sparrow ,White throated Munia etc . There were at least a 100 baya weaver birds which would come to feed on the paddy husk. They had built their beautiful nests next to our plot on a Tamarind tree. Scaly Breasted munia also came in large numbers and I think along with silverbills and other munias,they had built their nest in the lantana or the nearby bushes , as I spotted them there most of the time.Baya weavers, munias and sparrows later in the evening would sit on the electric wires in front of the rice mill , some used to preen their feathers and most of them simply sat and used to sing . It was quite a sightto watch 100s of birds sitting almost next to each other.

In november , I made a single visit to this place , and other than the above mentioned birds , I could hear the pecking sound of the woodpecker on the coconut tree – but before I could get to see it, it had gone. I am guessing it could be a Flameback Woodpecker, as I have seen one not far away from my place on a coconut tree.

During my last two visits, I saw new visitors to this place . I could see a Brown Shrike happily singing, on the top left corner of the plot where the dry corn stalks are dumped.Also, I saw an Asian Koel pair. They are usually seen on the plot next to ours which has more trees and bushes, but they do visit our plot regularly. Red whiskered bulbul was seen on a Neem tree whereas its  cousin Red vented Bulbul was spotted on a Lantana. House Sparrows which used to restrict themselves to the Rice mill can now be seen near the paddy husk and also near the front side of the home. I also saw
a White cheeked barbet on a dead tree next to our plot. Blue Rock pigeons, which have made the Temple Gopuram (close to my plot) its house, comes in a gang to feed. Purple rumped Sunbird pair calling to each other was seen on lantana and also near the Hibiscus tree. Ashy prinias call can be heard but I haven’t seen it yet.

Apart from the above birds, Common Mynas and Yellow bellied Babler can be seen anytime near the bush on the top right corner of the plot close to paddy husk. House Crows are always seen either cleaning the plot or attacking the Three striped palm squirrel present near the Teak tree. Apart from these there are other small birds which I couldn’t Identify.

These are the Birds which I have seen in my backyard to date. I am sure that there are more birds which I have not spotted as yet, will update as and when I see. Though I saw all these birds here, this place is not good for photography (Lantana and bushes never give you the background which you want and the tall trees doesn’t help you either.

Speed_DSC7435Speed

Baya weavers and Scaly Breasted Munias were happily feeding on paddy husk. The moment they saw me, they all were up flying with great speed.

Last Sunday, I went around my village looking for birds. I could spot 37 dfferent kinds of birds of which the highlights   were White wagtail(First Timer for me ) and Grey Francolin (First time I saw this here) .It is so much fun to go to a place without knowing what to expect and find everything on your own.

White WagtailWhite Wagtail

Have a Happy Weekend :)

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