Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Birding dangerously... Collared Kingfisher !

People think that birding is - well just a man walking and looking at birds here and there - cannot be any more exciting that this ? Well you cannot be more wrong. Birding most of the time is pursuing birds here, there and virtually everywhere. That one step while peering through the binoculars or a camera can be such a mistake... It reminds me of a recent article I read that talked about 'Selfie deaths' . It is just as dangerous when that urge to get a better view/better picture of the birds make you do crazy things. Crazy as think back - at that moment the decision was perhaps the most obvious one...

I am talking about 2012 - um ! that's three and a half years back when I had gone to Havelock in Andamans and Nicobar Islands. Like always, I was the first one to get up and be at the beach side enjoying the sunrise. Ofcourse the camera for the birding was around my neck (I did not have a side sling at that time). Walking to the beach I noticed one Collared Kingfisher having breakfast sitting on a tree. The birder in me kicked in, I clicked some pictures from an odd angle I must add wherein only the Bumpies of the bird were filling the frame.  I carried out a quick review of the situation and considered - Ummm - 'if I could climb that fallen tree - I can just attempt to reach the eye level of the bird'. Looking back the decision had its perils - though the trunk was huge - it was covered by moss and I did consider slipping and falling. Anyway - a birder and his instincts soon shrugged aside the misgivings and climbed up - Vola - I was so proud of myself as I reached almost level with the bird - I  clicked, slipped and the Humpty Dumpty had a great fall...

At 110 odd Kg I must have fell like a sack full of potatoes I believe. The camera hit the trunk, bounced and fell on top of me. I was stunned but gathered my wits, the first thing was to look around if someone had witnessed this fall and was giggling ! There was no one around, next I did an inspection of all my body parts - they too seemed to have survived the fall - how? I have absolutely no bloody idea ! Moving on to the camera - the flash shoe was uselessly bent, Lens (100-400L) had a dent. With a numbing pain in my right arm I raised the camera - the camera fired, I reviewed the pictures - Oh it was working...

I limped back to the room, wife was still in a slumber, I slid back into the bed as quietly as I could and closed my eyes. The swollen body parts screamed and soon I was dreaming about the beautiful Kingfisher laughing at me...

Almost reached the eye level - Collared Kingfisher
The last picture before the fall...

4 comments:

David Gascoigne said...

I think that based on this experience you are hereby elected to the Birders'Hall of Fame! My daughter always says that I will never die a natural death. She swears that I will drive off a cliff following some hawk!

S S Cheema said...

@David - at first I had a very hearty laugh reading your comment - but then - please be careful. We require millions of 'safe and sound' birders to make the difference in the long run. I have really learnt from my this incident. When peering through a binocular or a camera I just do not take a step till I have them off my eyes and I see where I am going.

JRandSue said...

Lovely captures.

S S Cheema said...

Thanks JRandSue !