Lesser Kestrel Female Chasing the Grasshopper!

Glimpses of my favorite season!

winter is coming!

I always wanted share my favorite season experience and so this time I present you with one. When the monsoon season descends, it engenders life to the environment and winter strokes color to it. Winter marks the arrival of beautiful birds. Every bird photographer eagerly waits for this season. Waking up early in the morning, with all the gears packed and loaded, each day has a new gift, new moments, new experiences. Amalgamation of these new stuffs brings in a new you through the knowledge that you gain. May it be photography techniques or to wait patiently to have a glimpse of the species, you learn and so you grow. 

Sunrise is always special but during winter, it is feather on a hat!. The freshness in the atmosphere along with cold breeze flowing, covers the entire place with a blanket of mist. When bright streaks of red, and orange starts to take over the dark sky and bled like a fire, the skyline escalates the silent dark blue water into liquid gold. Flamingos, Sea Gulls, Painted Storks, Pied Avocet and many other birds become silhouettes against this vibrant gold sky and their reflection in water is enhanced by the shimmering radiance.

Magical Heaven!
Shimmering Radiance and Falmingo!
Colony of seagulls on liquid gold!
Feeding Frenzy of Northern Pintails!

This is the magic of winter on the wetlands. Stepping ahead from wetlands to forest, the story has a different chapter or we can say a whole new book. 

Thick morning dew covers the forest landscape. It glistens brightly with the rising sun and forest begins to wake up. Birds greet us with sweet melodious chorus of seemingly never repeating notes, cascading through the branches, tumbling into crisp morning air, echoing in the whole area like music of the forest. In this orchestra, the performances take place where birds come one after the other dancing between the branches. 

In this chapter, the first was by Asian paradise Flycatcher, making a grand entrance with its beautiful elongated tail. When male is putting up a show, there has to be a spectator.

Asian Paradise Flycatcher (M)  dancing between those branches!

No! Even though we are spectators, the male wants someone special to have a look at its performance. As if to grant his wish, female arrives taking the front seat, checking for minute details, making herself the judge and males as contestants.

Asian Paradise Flycatcher (F) acting as a judge!

Slowly, the entertainment started to pick up pace and other beautiful birds started to show up. Red Breasted Flycatchers followed by Black naped monarch, then Yellow tit, then fantail, not the least, Verditor Flycatcher.

Indian Yellow Tit giving me a curious look!
The Indigo beauty, Verditor Flycatcher posing for me!

When these birds were putting up a show, out of nowhere, came the celebrities. One who journeys every winter, all the way from the foothills of Himalayas. Mix of blue and white, paired with blue tinges on brown and white, none other than the Ultramarine Flycatcher.

Ultramarine Flycatcher (M) showing its beauty!
Ultramarine Flycatcher (F) showing us why those beautiful males are carzy for her!

Many birds are residents, but to get a glimpse of their wonderful attire, one should see them in the winter. 

Walking down to climax, lets head for the grasslands. Grasslands hide many insects, rodents and even serpents. To uncover them from under the tall grasses that dances with each gust of wind requires an eye of an expert. One of the famous Indian mythological tales is "Arjuna and the parrot eye". In reality for me it appeared as if raptors have eye of arjuna. They keep a check on the populations, be it for dragon flies or grasshoppers or serpents. Grasslands are their practice hunting grounds. They polish their skills of hunting, sighting, hovering and what not. They are so majestic and have a charismatic aura around them. Their magnificent tendons rips apart the prey. Adorable wings span and patterns. Gravity pulls everything but they hover at a single place looks as if they are paused. Lightening speed flight. Masters of camouflage. Prey doesn't even know what had hit them. Never tiring eye sight. Words fall short to describe them. This doesn't me grasslands are only famous for Raptors, they also hide other beauties. 

Pallid Harrier Female in her full glory!
Indian Courses emerging from those grasses!

Chestnut bellied Sandgrouse in early morning light!

Little Ringed Plovers showing their cuteness!

Short Eared Owl hypnotising us!

Lesser Kestrel Female showing her prized catch!

To conclude, it was an amazing journey through these chapters with such wonderful opportunities that I had never imagined before. This winter has taught me many lessons, making me ready and curious for the next season which I can't miss to document.

Naresh Iyer

Software Engineer

Software engineer by profession, Wildlife Photographer by passion.