On-time arrival

This indirect flight had been expected at a familiar terminal since the early hours. The little guy was extremely kind to land on a rocky outcrop for quick refuelling at a spot where I had anticipated taxiing. Upon arrival, I hoped that the loud shutter did not bother him. Fortunately, it didn’t. While the light was difficult, sunlight filtered through the canopy, intermittently. With just the right amount of background separation, comprising lush foliage, reflected side lighting off a decaying bark produced light of an ethereal quality. Intentions and goods were declared at border control and customs, respectively. A swift take-off followed shortly after safety checks were completed. It is amazing when all elements come together for a brief second to produce something magical, the long wait and uncomfortable stances becomes ‘so worth it’. This image belongs to a series from one of my first ever encounters with a green avadavat.

  • Location: Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Mode: M; Exposure: 1/1250 @f/7.1; +1/3EV; ISO: 1600; FL: 250mm

  • Nikon D500 + MB-D17, AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm F/5.6E ED VR

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Hide photography at some birding hotspots is setup in a fashion where very little work is required on part of the photographer. Although clichéd, who wouldn’t want to frame images with the perfect background or a pleasing bokeh? It is all the more satisfying when it involves a rare species in the wild that usually hang around areas with busy backgrounds. Yet, it really isn’t about making that perfect image, but about attempting to be present, relishing the moment, the chase and wait.

While green avadavats are fairly tolerant of human presence – unfortunately working against them allowing easy trapping – it can be tricky to locate a flock during certain times of the year. I feel privileged to be able to document this species up close, in an effort to learn more about their ways. Sadly, the plunder of the forests and insensitivity is destroying their habitat rapidly. How many future generations will be fortunate to witness these birds fluttering around and singing in the wild?

Awkward months

Watching several flocks grow over the course of months has been an ineffable experience. The curiosity of juvenile green munias has been a joy to observe and has amazed me. As weeks passed, I watched a spectacular transformation. Over time, I noticed that the colony became extremely comfortable with me hanging around. To be able to identify individuals I’ve become familiar with, see their personalities develop on their journey from juvenescence, adolescence to adulthood is special. Often, flocks emerged from the scrub in greater numbers and were at ease hopping around me. My presence probably deterred birds of prey from their favourite feeding areas. Here, a youngster forages under a mango tree.

  • Mode: M; Exposure: 1/2000 @f/4.0; +1/3EV; ISO: 900; FL: 600mm
  • Nikon D850, AF-S Nikkor 600MM F/4E FL ED VR

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