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Old 26th February 2012, 23:30   #1
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Default Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi

For the last several weeks Prajesh (kpzen) had been asking me to accompany him to a visit to a bird sanctuary situated on the backwaters of Yamuna in Delhi known as the Okhla Bird Sanctuary. I kept on refusing.

I'm not an avid bird-watcher and find it quite difficult to photograph them. Seeing some awesome works of known friends in photographing the bird, further depresses me.

Off and on I've taken some pictures of birds in forests while waiting for the Big Cat & they have been just so-so.

Early this week Sachin (sach.sri) called me up to ask if I was interested in going to the Okhla Sanctuary. Both, he & I had recently acquired a 100~400 L series and a 300 f/4 +TC14E-II respectively and were eager to test its capabilities. I said yes and then contacted Prajesh to ask if he was willing to come along. He too said yes.

So, we decided to go on Sunday, i.e. today. Since this sanctuary is enroute to Prajesh's office, he said he would find out the details and inform.

Sunday February 26, 2012

Some details first about this place. This is located right in the heart of the city of Delhi straddling the border with Uttar Pradesh.

Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-okhlabird.png <br />
The entry to this place opens at 7 am and one can drive their own car right till the last point on the mud trail near the watch towers. Apart from some morning walkers, only serious bird-watchers frequent this place.<br /> <br /> <b>Entry & camera charges:</b><br /> <br />
For Car/Jeep - Rs.100/-<br />
For still camera - Rs.30/-<br /> <br />
We planned to leave by 6 am and rendezeavouing with Prajesh on Mathura Road were to reach by 6:45 am. While Prajesh came from Faridabad, Sachin & I arrived from Gurgaon taking the Mehrauli-Badarpur Road. By 7 we had entered the sanctuary. It was windy & cold.<br /> <br />
Although the migratory birds had almost left, the resident birds were in good numbers.<br /> <br /> <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-5833.jpg <br />
We spotted many bird-watchers with binoculars and bazookas for lenses observing & photographing the avians.<br /> <br />
I was surprised to see a large number of crows amongst other various birds. The only bird of prey that I could see was the Black Kite (Milvus migrans govinda), also called Common Pariah Kite or <b>चील</b> in Hindi.<br /> <br /> <b>to be continued../-</b></div>   <div style=

Last edited by gd1418 : 26th February 2012 at 23:35.
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Old 27th February 2012, 08:53   #2
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Default Re: Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi

Wow, GD sir in a new avatar with his bazookas. Time for us to stay glued to the thread. Bring it on sir.
L 100-400 is this canon or Nikon? I know you are a nikonite.

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Aravind
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Old 27th February 2012, 12:39   #3
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Default Re: Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi

The L series are from the Canon stable only and is owned by Sachin. I use a 300mm f/4 with a TC14E-II from Nikkor.

Nikonite almost sounds like kryptonite..

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Originally Posted by aravind84 View Post

L 100-400 is this canon or Nikon? I know you are a nikonite.
Continuation - Sunday - February 26, 2012

We slowly moved in our cars, parked, traversed on foot, shot pictures. I realised how tiresome avionics is and requires helluva lot of patience. Lugging a 300mm lens on a tripod was becoming an effort. My Vivitar Pro tripod of the bygone era is fully made of heavy steel. The current-day tripods are made of carbon-fibre and thus are very strong & light too. I should now think of getting one.

Manfrotto provides a lot of options.

The Okhla Bird Sanctuary has two watchtowers and to reach them one has to foot it. It is a narrow trail with thick bamboo grass growing on either side in a swamp. One false step could bruise the body & ego massively.

Since there is nothing much to write, I shall let the pictures do the talking.

A small island in the waters - initially looked like it was a floating mass. Spot-billed Duck among other avians

Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-5825.jpg <br /> <b>Magpie Robin</b><br /> <br /> <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-5865.jpg <br /> <b>Straight in the eye - who you?</b><br /> <br /> <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-5864.jpg <br /> <b>Silhoutte of Black-winged Stilt</b><br /> <br /> <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-5853.jpg <br /> <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-5856.jpg <br /> <b>Purple Swamphen</b><br /> <br /> <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-5883.jpg <br /> <b>In the eye</b><br /> <br /> <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-5883a.jpg <br /> <b>Left-Right, Left-Right</b><br /> <br /> <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-5884.jpg <br /> <b>Morning bath</b><br /> <br /> <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-5888.jpg <br /> <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-5889.jpg <br /> <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-5893.jpg <br /> <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-5906.jpg <br /> <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-5907.jpg <br /> <b>Spot-billed Duck</b><br /> <br /> <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-5896.jpg <br />
Thus ended my "avionics". I was tired walking and walking and walking. Body was hungry & sour lugging that lens & tripod. Returned home by 10:30 for a hot lunch & a nice rest.<br /> <br />
Hope you enjoyed.</div>   <div style=

Last edited by gd1418 : 27th February 2012 at 12:45.
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Old 27th February 2012, 12:59   #4
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Default Re: Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi

Yes Sir. We enjoyed too!! Bazookas make so much of difference and the birds look lovely. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 27th February 2012, 15:59   #5
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Default Re: Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi

Sir,
Great pictures as always with even more interesting captions.
Thanks for sharing
Regards
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Old 27th February 2012, 19:47   #6
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Default Re: Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi

Valiant first attempt! Welcome to the increasing band of those bitten by the birding bug. Be warned, it is difficult to get out of it once you get involved in birdwatching.
Now that you have invested in costly lense, I suggest the following steps
1. Invest in a sturdy tripod as you yourself realized. The two Carbon Fibre models that I can suggest are 055MF3 and 190CX3
2. Buy a Field Guide like Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp and Tim Inskipp or Afield Guide to the Bird of India by Krys Kazmeirczak.
3. Invest in a decent pair of Binoculars like Nikon, Go for 7X35 or 8X40 or 8X42.
Join some of the awesome birding mailing lists like Yahoogroup called Delhibird, Google groups like Delhibirdpix or Seriousbirders.
Happy birding
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Old 27th February 2012, 20:40   #7
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Default Re: Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi

Good birds photos. The black bird is not a Magpie robin, but a Pied Bushchat. The ducks along with the spot billed ducks are Eurasian Wigeons.
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Old 27th February 2012, 20:50   #8
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Default Re: Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi

gd1418,

Beautiful pics. Loved the Purple swamp-hen! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 28th February 2012, 12:26   #9
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Default Re: Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi

Sharp shooters at work
Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-bcg1-large.jpg <br /> <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-bcg2-large.jpg <br /> <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-okhla3-large.jpg <br /> <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-okhla2-large.jpg <br /> <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-okhla6-large.jpg <br /> <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-okhla5-large.jpg <br /> <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-okhla1-large.jpg <a href=Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi-okhla7-large.jpg   <div style=

Last edited by kpzen : 28th February 2012 at 12:31.
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Old 28th February 2012, 12:50   #10
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Default Re: Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi

Wow, some lovely pictures there, Loved the purple swamphen, they actually look blue in color (not sure if its sun/camera etc), any idea why they are called as purple?

Also the close up shot of Magpie Robin staring back at you is well timed.
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Old 28th February 2012, 13:18   #11
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Default Re: Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi

As mentioned, I'm not an avid birder. Just started. I've no idea why they are called purple swamphen. Maybe they were purple then and over the years changed colours...

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Loved the purple swamphen, they actually look blue in color (not sure if its sun/camera etc), any idea why they are called as purple?
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Old 29th February 2012, 06:46   #12
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Default Re: Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi

GD Sir, beautiful images.
Some of the images of Purple Swamphen seem out of focus. Is it because of the Teleconverter?
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Old 29th February 2012, 11:37   #13
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Awesome! First to thank you for letting us know that there is a beautiful Bird Sanctuary that is so near to us. I was personally not aware of it and is a definite on my list to visit Okhla Bird Sanctuary.

When do you think is the most appropriate time to visit ?

Marvellous snaps and interesting snap of GD bhaisaab in action :-)

Enjoy!
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Old 29th February 2012, 21:14   #14
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Default Re: Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi

Thank you C300. TC does not result in OOF pictures. It was very windy and the surface was quite uneven. Tripod was of WWII vintage and could barely manage to take the weight of the 300mm (1.3 Kg). I could see the wind slightly shake the lens. I took photographs on timer to minimise shake, but couldn't control the wind.

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Originally Posted by C300 View Post

GD Sir, beautiful images.
Some of the images of Purple Swamphen seem out of focus. Is it because of the Teleconverter?
Thank you Saurabh. Okhla Bird Sanctuary has been there for quite long. People say it becomes more beautiful when the migratory birds come in. Winters are the time when you would see a lot of birds. But you can go even now as there are so many resident birds.

As I found out, it requires a lot of patience and walking. Birds are a nervous lot. You've to sit it out almost akin to fishing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saurabhdadhichi View Post

Awesome! First to thank you for letting us know that there is a beautiful Bird Sanctuary that is so near to us. I was personally not aware of it and is a definite on my list to visit Okhla Bird Sanctuary.

When do you think is the most appropriate time to visit ?

Marvellous snaps and interesting snap of GD bhaisaab in action :-)

Enjoy!
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Old 1st March 2012, 14:31   #15
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Default Re: Visit to Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi

That's some nice equipment that you acquired GD! How far were you from the purple moorhens ?

Questions :

1. How are the results without the TC ?
1a. Do you miss VR on this lens a lot ? Probably not.
2. At the price you must have got 300 f/4 and the tc14e 2, you would have probably got the 150-500mm sigma. Did you do a comparison ( I haven't )?

I have a 70-300 mm and cannot afford anything more than that right now. Some day when I can afford it, I'll go for the 300 f/2.8 VR.


"I'm not an avid bird-watcher and find it quite difficult to photograph them. Seeing some awesome works of known friends in photographing the bird, further depresses me." is what many go through ( I'm still going through that )

My 2 paise :

When you start off bird photography, whatever equipment you have, it'll always seem less. That's the other reason why I have stuck to my 70-300 : I will not go for another one until I consistently get good ones with the lens I have - getting close to them birds is the key. Folks getting full frame closeputs of birds are plain lucky. Many bird photographs are always cropped.

Another key tip is : shoot a lot, but post only the very best ones

sorry for the

Last edited by airguitar : 1st March 2012 at 14:32.
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