Thursday, February 24, 2022

Look For Habitats – Not Birds

Yet again we are in a LOCKDOWN situation – I am not sure if it is a cause for comfort - but I am told that this time it is a SMART LOCKDOWN. I have not bothered to find out how smart is a smart LOCKDOWN. Well, I am placing my trust on the government and the Health authorities - to do what is best for us. It is simpler to keep up my trust - than go bonkers being worried over something over which I have no control.

But something positive about the LOCKDOWN is that it gives me the time and the opportunity to write. You may have noticed that I have been writing one article a day - well almost.

My last article was on bird photography and how one must remain focused on the bird in hand and disregard all the rest in the forest. Today’s article is also on bird photography - and in the same vein – how not to be distracted by a promise that is uncertain - stick with what you know is certain.

When I started my journey of bird photography, I use to cover 40 – 50 KMs a day - hunting for birds. The thinking then was that if I covered more ground, I would see more birds and therefore be able to photograph a lot more of them. It did not occur to me that covering more grounds was no guarantee that I would see more birds. It took me many years and hundreds of miles of walking up the garden path – to finally come to the realization that what one ought to look for is not many birds to photograph – but a place, a location, a habitat that has the conditions to support bird life

Few months back I relocated to Dechencholing Dangrena. The place turns out to be an extremely bird-rich habitat, being located at the edge of the forest. First few days I spent taking count of the birds and noting them down – to make sure that I have a comprehensive list of birds that frequent the place. I counted over 45 of them – including the common ones like Russet Sparrow, Rufous Sebia etc. The following is a partial list of birds found around my locality.

Alpine Thrush, Ashy-throated Warbler, Black-tailed Crake, Blue-fronted Redstart, Brown Parrotbill, Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, Dark-breasted Rosefinch (Male), Dark-breasted Rosefinch (Female), Eurasian Woodcock, Hodgson's Redstart (Male), Hodgson's Redstart (Female), Hodgson's Treecreeper, Long-billed Thrush, Maroon-backed Accentor, Himalayan Bluetail, Plain Mountain Finch, Rufous-breasted Accentor, Rufous-breasted Bush Robin, Rufous-fronted Tit, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Slaty-backed Forktail, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler, White-browed Bush Robin (Male), White-browed Bush Robin (Female), White-browed Fulvetta, White-browed Rosefinch Female, White-collard Blackbird (Male), White-collard Blackbird (Female), Winter Wren, Yellow-bellied Fantail, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie etc.

For the past close to two months I have not gone anywhere to hunt for birds – I have been combing the upper Dangrena area – to try and capture all the birds found here. I know that there are many birds in other places – but I adamantly refused to go to a new locations in search of birds – not until I am sure that all the birds in Dangrena are firmly in my pocket. And it paid off! Look at the following impressive list of birds I managed to capture – and almost all of them are “KEEPERS”!!!

List of "KEEPERS" so far captured by me in Dechenchholing Dangrena area

I am not chasing the Black-tailed Crake because I already have good images of it from Babesa sewerage tank area. The Eurasian Woodcock is eluding me despite hunting for it every day - morning, afternoon and evening – but I remain relentless. I am not so happy with my image of the Winter Wren – but I am working at creating an ambiance that should result in a much more pleasing image – I hope to nail it soon.

Lesson: Do not look for birds – look for a bird-rich area and stick with it until you are done with all of them. Don’t go hunting for new places until the old one has been thoroughly combed and all the birds in it are firmly in your pocket. If it takes you months to cover all the birds in the locality – so be it. I have spent two months – in the same spot - photographing the above birds. But it has been rewarding – I managed to photograph almost all of them – and 99% of the images are KEEPERS!

1 comment:

  1. Always a worthwhile read in your evry post of the blog sir. Keep inspiring!