12 December 2011

Wynaad Laughingthrush report published on The Hindu

Birds Photographs on Buceros by ENVIS - BNHS

Malabar Trogon Female Image published on Buceros.

Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike Male image published on Buceros.

29 September 2011

Malabar Trogon, Near Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary -Goa, India.

     Malabar Trogon Harpactes fasciatus is a mesmerizing bird of the moist evergreen biotope of  Peninsular India, belonging to the Trogonidae family of birds it has been the most prized birds of the Western Ghats for Birdwatchers, Photographers and enthusiasts, There are two subspecies of the Malabar Trogon the malabaricus sub-species has its distribution along the Western Ghats and the fasciatus (or nominate race) in Srilanka. The Male and Female differ in coloration and plumage with the Male exhibiting a splendid red belly with a combination of Black head , the female slightly duller with orangish to brown coloration as seen in the images.

Malabar Trogon Male at Valpoi- Sattari, Nr. Mhadei WLS, Goa, India.

Malabar Trogon Female at Valpoi- Sattari, Nr. Mhadei WLS, Goa, India.
       This bird is known to breed between February to May and nesting in the monsoons, feeds on insects and fruits and can be seen with 'Mixed-Hunting Flocks' in the Western Ghat forests, the acrobatics and the melodies of the Male are on display at such times. In recent past the Malabar Trogon is rarely found or localized to certain forest tracts along the Western Ghats which suggests that habitat disturbance and destruction plays a key role in its survival, and the fact that mining and plantations have led to destruction of large forest tracts all along the country and more so in the Western Ghats which is in peril. 

      I have spent countless hours and time observing this species in a variety of forests across Goa and bordering areas with Karnataka, One of my best sightings with Vijay Mohan Raj sir where the above image of the Male was taken near Valpoi, and in subsequent trip i photographed the Female. The male being much bold than the female, but overall the species is not much tolerant to human disturbance and much care needs to be taken always not to disturb the bird as it is very sensitive. Have had the opportunity to observe the nesting of this bird and the Male being involved in incubation over a period of 08-10 days, but owing to the sensitive nature of the bird did not make many trips so as to allow the bird's privacy.

      The images were taken on my Nikon D7000 with Nikon AF-S 300mm f4+1.4x TC II  at settings ( Will update later).

References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malabar_Trogon

Image Copyright © Prasanna Parab. Please do not use any image without prior permission from the copyright holder.

24 September 2011

Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Western Ghats, India.

     Heart-Spotted Woodpecker Hemicircus canente belongs to the Picidae family and has its home in moist deciduous type forests of South-east Asia. As observed the woodpecker mostly found with Mixed-hunting flocks in the forests of Western Ghats, mostly foraging on low level branches mostly pecking the branches for larvae which they to with their beak with such precision like a 'doctor with his stethoscope ' which indeed is amazing to observe. The breeding of this species is known to be mainly between November to April. Male and female differ as observed in the images below.
Heart-Spotted Woodpecker Male at Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa, India.
Heart-Spotted Woodpecker Female at Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve, Karnataka, India.

      The bird is quite allergic for approach and will fled on the slightest disturbance, so photographing it will require to be very calm and stable. A rewarding sight of the bird will be from the back angle with all its 'Hearts & Love' it showcases. So for the "Hearts-sake" please make it a point to protect our denizen's by protecting the very forests it lives in. They too deserve to Live !!

       To photograph this species morning is the best time when birds come out to feed in the mixed-hunting flocks as observed. Photographed the Male at Bondla in 2008 with a Canon 30D and Sigma 70-300mm lens, and the Female was photographed in 2010 at Dandeli-Anshi area with a Canon 30D and Canon EF 400mm f5.6 L lens.

References: The Book of Indian Birds ~ Dr. Salim Ali.

Image Copyright © Prasanna Parab. Please do not use any image without prior permission from the copyright holder.

21 September 2011

Blue-eared Kingfisher, Bhagwan Mahaveer WLS - Goa, India.

     The Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting is a forest-dweller and found exclusively along forest streams, it looks quite similar to the Small-blue kingfisher but the Indigo colour, absence of white neck pattern, and the Indigo-Blue ear distinguishes it from the latter. In recent times very few sightings in Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary of Goa and the Anshi-Dandeli Tiger Reserve of Karnataka might suggest the presence of this species in very few numbers or 'Locally Common', which all but means we ought to protect the evergreen forests in which this bird finds home.

     The Blue-eared Kingfisher mainly feeds on aquatic insects and small fish on fresh water streams and ponds, the nesting season of the bird is known to be around April to August during which most of the sightings occur.The major threat which arises to the species is from forest clearance and destructive human intervention in conservation of the evergreen forests in which this species is found.

      Photographing this bird has been a big challenge as ive waited for 6 long years to get a clear sight of this bird. This monsoon in my first trip with Amit Bandekar, Shriguru Shetkar and Madhura Niphadkar i managed to photograph this species from very close counters. The shots were taken with Nikon D7000 with Nikon AF-S 300mm f4+1.4x TC II lens at ISO 640-800 at 1/250 Shutter speed and aperture f5.6 in Manual Mode handheld.

Image Copyright © Prasanna Parab. Please do not use any image without prior permission from the copyright holder.

Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary - Goa, India.

     Got an opportunity to design and publish a pamplet with the Forest Department of Goa in 2010, A pamplet on Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary was published, Thanks to Shambhu Sir (DCF Goa South) who dedicated his precious time passionately to make it happen. Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary of Goa is a haven for some very rare forest birds and variety of fauna and entire is a part of the 'Biodiversity Hotspot - The Western Ghats of India'.


Image Copyright © Prasanna Parab. Please do not use any image without prior permission from the copyright holder.

15 September 2011

Grey-headed Bulbul - Goa, India.

     Grey-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus priocephalus belongs to the Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls) family, The species is Endemic to the Western Ghats of India and is classified as Near Threatned under the IUCN Red Data List by Birdlife International.

     It is a very shy bird with a remarkable sound and vision, mostly moving in groups of 10-15 birds at times. The best time to see these birds is during their breeding season in the normal Cheenk-cheennk sound is accompanied with a vibrating shrr-shrr sound which they make with vibrating motion of the tail and heads-up like the one seen in this image, also a kind of moon-walk which the males perform during such activity is worth witnessing.

      This photograph was taken on in a forest patch on the way to Cotigao WLS of Goa in February 2009, with a Canon 30D and Sigma 70-300mm APO DG Macro Lens at Aperture F5.6, Shutter Speed 1/30Sec, at 300mm with Exposure compensation of -1step at ISO100.

     It is indeed a difficult task to photograph this bird as slightest movement will trigger the birds to flee. And by all means the Grey-headed Bulbul is one of the most cleverest birds ive noticed in the Western Ghats, so care may be taken not to disturb them while nesting or any-other activity as it might have some rather bad consequences. Also preservation of its habitat i.e. 'Forests', is the most critical step to the survival of this species along with a host of other flora and fauna. 

Image Copyright © Prasanna Parab. Please do not use any image without prior permission from the copyright holder.

14 September 2011

Wynaad Laughingthrush, Goa-Karnataka bordering areas, India.

   Wynaad Laughingthrush (Garrulax) Dryonastes delesserti, Endemic to the Stunted evergreen forest patches of Western Ghats from Goa-Belgaum and Southwards with its nesting season known to be between July-Aug, The Behavior of these birds mostly moving in groups in specific areas and foraging for insects mostly maggots as i observed overturning leaf matter. Courtship happens to start in May as observed and nest building activity also commences around mid may and after feeding the couples mostly engage in nest building together. The calls of this bird mostly lot of chatters loud and continues and in a Watreeeee-treeeeee treeeeee form. My trip in short in given below.

     This is a very important sighting/ photograph after 23 years and 1st photograph from this area , The news got published in newpapers in Karnataka mainly The Hindu Wynaad Laughingthrush - The Hindu and Deccan Herald Wynaad Laughingthrush - Deccan Herald  in Karnataka thanks to Vijay Mohan Raj sir, who highlighted the fact.

      In the first & second week of May i along with Shriguru Shetkar and Julio Quadros and Paresh Porob sir made few trips to the bordering areas of  Netravali WLS of Goa and Anshi-Dandeli Forests of Karnataka, The roads as predicted very bad to worse as we had been halting almost at every turn and the steepest inclination ive been in the ghats so far, the spirit of exploration though kept us going, The reward awaited in the cacophony of birds that we saw in the area, we were greeted by the White-bellied Treepie at start, but as we kept moving around the woods i instinctively followed some babblers foraging around in a flock. As i moved in closer it struck me by surprise that it resembles some laughingthrush, and the image from the book of Birds of Western Ghats, Konkan and Malabar just flashed in my mind, then we followed it almost for an hour but they moved very fast in the stunt evergreen forest.

     On 13th May i made a trip to the same area and witnessed the movement of the flock of Wynaad Laughingthrush mostly 12-15 birds moving in a certain point to point location, and i sat in a location expecting their arrival, a long wait it seemed from 7am to 2:30pm and in a few minutes i witnessed a couple right in front of me 5-6meters away started to gather some material and returning to a spot on a tree 3-4meters above the ground, seemed strange but then i realized that the the two birds had just begun to build a nest. To witness such a moment in the wild is a dream for any bird lover.

     I got the photograph of this bird just sitting on a spot but it took me 8 hours of patience for that and yes it feels too sleepy if its silence for so many hours, Nonetheless it always is productive. Photograph taken with Nikon D7000 and Nikon AF-S 300mm f4+1.4x TC II at Aperture f 5.6 Shutter speed 1/250 and ISO 800 in Manual mode.

Image Copyright © Prasanna Parab. Please do not use any image without prior permission from the copyright holder.

5 February 2011

Dark-fronted Babbler at Bondla WLS - Goa, India.

     Dark-fronted Babbler Rhopocichla atriceps belongs to the Timaliidae (Babblers) family of the Passeriformes taxonomic group. Typically a skulker by nature it is an amazing bird to watch.

     The Dark-fronted Babbler generally keeps to low level bamboo clumps and forest undergrowth all along the Forests of the Western Ghats. Feeding mostly on insects and small larvae.  It is so hyper-active that it hardly allows for approach with its churrrrr churrrr sound dancing around very quickly. It is locally common but a very difficult bird to photograph at times owing to its behavior.

      Normally in Goa you can find them in plenty at Bondla, Molem, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuaries, mostly among mixed hunting flocks. This bird was photographed at Bondla WLS in early morning hours in February 2010. I used my Canon 30D and Canon 400mm f5.6 L lens on Manual mode at Shutter Speed 1/320 & aperture f5.6 at ISO 250, Specifically i was very keen on taking a shot with the eye in good focus highlighting the real beauty of this beautiful 'Forest Bird'. 

      A Major concern for the survival of this species has been the destruction of bamboo which forms a vital part of its habitat. Conservation of bamboo forests thus is an important concern for the protection of this species along with a host of other birds and fauna.

Image Copyright © Prasanna Parab. Please do not use any image without prior permission from the copyright holder.