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Archive for May, 2010

The sole reason for visiting Kaggalipura lake, located about 140km from Bangalore, was to see the winter migrants – Bar-headed Geese. Madhu and I left Bangalore by 5:30am and with a stopover for breakfast reached the lake by 9:00am. It was unexpected but pleasant to meet Anush, Garima and Rajneesh there. A family of Pied Kingfishers were diving for their breakfast. Nearby, saw a small flock of Chestnut tailed Starlings. But the harsh sun didn’t give good images.

The winter sun was beating on us, and there was no sign on Bar-headed Geese. Shovlers, Garganeys, Pintails and Spot-billed ducks were there in hundreds, if not thousands. We heard from locals that the big white duck (presumably Bar-headed geese) would visit the lake in the afternoon. Since it was late February, we were not sure if the geese were still around or had left for their summer breeding ground, Ladakh, in their reverse migration.

There were few Whiskered Terns, a Purple and a Grey heron, a Spot-billed Pelican. So were few Sunbirds. This Purple sunbird was co-operative to enough to make an image.

Purple sunbird, male of the species

By 10:30, we felt the sun will burn us down. Anush and gang left for Mysore. Madhu and I decided to head for Somnathpur temple as it was very close. Spent some time checking out the ruined Hoysala temple, mostly thronged by the foreigners.

By 12:45pm, we went to check the lake again. Voila! There were 6 Bar-headed geese. The noon sun was not ideal for photography. I decided to head to my cousin’s house at Bannur, at about 20km, for lunch and come back later in the evening for photographing these birds.

Returned to the lake by about 4:30pm. The evening sun was better and in the right direction to capture some decent images. After many attempt at flight shots, got one decent image of this Spot-billed duck.

Spot-billed Duck in flight

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Bar-headed Goose

Within 12 minutes of us arriving, the geese left the lake. Just in time for few images, but missed their flight shot with the clear blue sky and small hillock in the background. Imagine the super imposition of the first image with the image below.

Maybe next year! :)

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Mute Swans

Though recorded as winter migrants, Mute Swans are very rare to be seen in India. Swans, without doubt, are one of the most elegant and graceful birds. I had the fascination of this large white bird since childhood. It was a treat to watch a pair with two juveniles at HTC lake during my visit to Eindhoven.

I caught them up close and at distance and saw them preening, sleeping, swimming, drinking, and feeding.

On the banks of the lake in surreal golden evening light

The late evening light in summer is simply brilliant. The golden light at oblique angle makes surreal images, but only in those summer months. In this case, I am not very impressed with the image outcome. Maybe there’s a trick or two in handling white balance of images in such light that i have missed.

They have a unique was of roosting on the banks, with their feet over their body, probably all of the family Anatidae do so.

A sub-adult Mute Swan, roosting on the banks of the lake

Though the young chicks are white, as adults, the juvenile or sub-adult Mute Swans are not. They are greyish-borwn. Juveniles are not as pretty, graceful and elegant as adults Swans are. It reminded me of one of my favorite childhood stories, The Ugly Duckling.

Here are couple of more images:

Spreading wings – angelic

I missed to see them flying.

Drinking water or just posing pretty

P.S.: All images made on Canon EOS 450D and Canon 55-250mm IS lens. Man, I miss that lens!

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