Monday, 8 February 2016

Tale of two beautiful birds...

Okay - my every story starts the way this one is going to...
'I had gone birding yesterday... and 'What-a-Day'  it was... '
It was the Big Birding Day yesterday. I was teamed up with Mr Sriram, who has been kind enough to let me tag along for past few birding trips. The place chosen was Uma Maheshwaram Temple on the edge of Nallamala forest, a tiger reserve. I crossed all my possible fingers praying that I should not get some errand on "The Day" - well the wish was granted and we started early to make sure the first morning chirp was greeted by us. The 'Start Early' has never been a problem with any of the birders I have ever come across so I was not going to be any different. I was up and ready and at the place of my pick up at 0320, ten minutes before the designated time. I was picked up and off we went to our chosen place of birding. I was excited like a little kid going to the first day of the school. I had been perpped up by our team leader who had spoken in detail what to expect - and there were two birds would have I would have loved to have in my "lifer" list today. The birds were - Painted Spurfowl and Yellow-throated Bulbul.
The temple was on top of a plateau and I was told that the temple disposes of refuse and waste there only and the birds frequent the place. The spurfowl and bulbul I have mentioned both are not really common sightings by any length - especially the bulbul that has been placed on IUCN (3.1) list of Vulnerable birds threatened by extinction.

 The sunrise was 0646 and we were at the temple gates by 0600 waiting for the birds to start calling. With the horizon lighting up the birds as expected started calling out and we prepared our gear for a great birding day. 
I was so excited to see the first Yellow-throated Bulbul that I started firing off the camera with vigour ramping up the iso to 6400 and getting only blurs. In the brief periods of silence my camera with 10 fps must have sounded as a machine gunner firing off at some poor soul in the heat of the battle. I can now tell because Mr Sriram placed a hand on my shoulder and said - wait for some better light - they all will remain here only. Each minute of waiting was like a year of the life passing by and then I saw some other moment nearby - Painted Spurfowl. I let go another burst of 50-100 shots before I told myself to calm down, take a long breath and wait for the sun to rise. looking back the 6400 iso was producing pictures distorted that I would have placed them in some modern art exhibition and possibly they would have made the grade ;-)
The sun rose and I was running to and fro once again searching for birds and not knowing what to shoot and what to do. I used to go to place a and the sounds would come from the other corner - and walk those 100 yards to that side and the sounds were suddenly coming from the other side.

Finally, another hour passed by when the birds were stationary, light was good and I got my photographs that I was expecting. The photography out of the way and now was the time to sit and really enjoy the birds. We spent more than four hours there, most of my time was admiring, staring and enjoying the every moment I spent with those 'Lifer' of mine.
Painted Spurfowl (Male) Notice the spurs on the legs - what gives this bird its name.

Painted Spurfowl

Painted Spurfowl (Female)
Same bird - the Painted Spurfowl (Male)
yellow-throated Bulbul

Yellow-throated Bulbul

Yellow-throated Bulbul
As you might have noticed I have not talked about the birds. Well I do not intend to also - but then a small footnote may be okay. The southern range of the both the birds is shared. They live in the rocky places that are now so often mined for granite. Mining - and that too in a reckless manner is leading to a great loss of habitat, especially for the bulbul as the bird is only restricted to the South India. It may or may not be a reason to stop mining altogether but a review may be in order to co-exist with the rest of God's creations also.
Before starting the climb for the temple - the scene that would have greeted us. Well like you would have guessed it, we crossed this place in pitch dark so saw this on our way birding back.

I live by a strong belief: we will not obtain Nirvana by praying alone. We all have to play a small part in the scheme of things to appreciate nature and GOD's creations...


Manu said...

Cheema Sir, Beautifully written as always. I have started to wait for your blogs and somehow you are becoming the inspiration for me to start writing my blog again. Well i will try.

S S Cheema said...

Thank you Manu. Blogging is where I can share what beauty of creation I see and express it. I feel - sharing experiences always enhances the joy of those moments. Thanks for liking it.

Sarbjit Randhawa said...

The birds are truly beautiful However, you have missed out the location. I am driving South in end Mar-Apr and would like to see this wonderful place.

S S Cheema said...

@Sarabjit Randhawa: Sir the location with respect to Hyderabad has been updated.