Okay spoiler alert - I hate hate hate this bird.
I am a birder and most of my years I did birdwatching only looking at the birds and appreciating them because I did not have a camera. In those days I tried for some time to maintain a list - that I do not have any longer with me. Perhaps the diary got sold off along with other scrap over a period of time. As time passed - I was lucky to have in my possession a SLR Camera from Nikon - that too was not too useful because I could not afford a lens that could do me any good with birding. Then I moved on to a Nikon Prosumer camera a 4 megapixel beauty with both optical and a digital zoom, the details of which I do not really recollect. During the same time I came in possession of a computer and the magic of keeping records and databases. I quickly learnt and started maintaining an Excel Sheet. It was not extensive, but those were the days that you could not easily get a good book on birdwatching in India. I maintained that as well as I could and - one fine day, after years of writing down names I lost everything to what I was told was a virus and because of which I had to reformat the disk. Then came the time of me not keeping any lists and records - it did not make sense - after all I was loosing whatever I had in a blink of an eye.
But that itch of penning down what I see was just too great. Later - about two years or so back we had the miracle of eBird launching in India and once again I started out - recording birds wherever I go. In this third year ending I am hoping to reach the target of seeing 10% of the world species. For that I am out day night whenever I get an opportunity. The eBird was an opportunity that promised me a lifelong of maintaining list without the fear of loosing it.
Now comes the interesting part - having a digital camera now I have a choice of clicking bird pictures endlessly - the problem with this approach is that I hardly have time to sit down, tag and rate every picture I take. But then I do what is necessary during the times I am free and have time on my hands. During one such 'free time' yesterday I decided to sort out the pictures of my Birdwatching trip to Sikkim during Feb this year. While going through the thousands of snaps I came across this picture - a beautiful bird that was not tagged with a name. First look - I was confident that it is a flycatcher or a Niltava - afterall - now I do identify a lot of birds with the pose it makes, the sounds, the behaviour etc. I opened the book and my heart skipped a beat - there was no flycatcher or a Niltava with and orange rump. I looked up Indian flycatchers online and - no joy. I looked up at my logging of birds for that day on eBird, no flycatcher logged on that would have had an orange rump - hey - and Bingo I was about to log a lifer - that had the potential to tick my bird list a notch up.
|Same bird - different perch|
The problem with birdwatching is that over a time the lifers come few and in-between. Unfortunately - by an act of self discipline I do not log a bird till I am hundred percent sure of the ID and am satisfied that I got a good sight of the bird. Because of this while there are others whose lists grow faster - I fight and frown and finally celebrate every new bird that gets on the list. Over time this list seems to be struggling to grow - and here was an opportunity that I will be celebrating a tick in the evening. With great anticipation I posted this bird online - in facebook 'Ask my ID' group for identifying this bird. I would have just posted me when I got the reply - Blue-fronted Redstart. I looked up the ebird list expecting this bird to be missing from my log for the day - unfortunately in my list for 21 Feb 2016 - there it was - already logged. It almost brought a tear rolling down my eyes with the hopes of a lifer dashed to ground. How can I be so forgetful? I might have asked one of my birding group members that day for ID and logged - whatever the reason I lost the golden tick I would have made to my list. Now you know too - why I hate this bird...