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Old 30th March 2012, 16:01   #16
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Default Re: Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!

Amol, great pics and wonderful narration. Kept me glued all along. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 30th March 2012, 16:50   #17
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Default Re: Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!

Even though - i have said this earlier, saying it again.

Beautiful pictures - your guide seemed to be the right person for taking you on this delightful tour.

Specially liked the brahminy myna picture and the nightjar picture. It is the first good nightjar picture that i have seen. Kudos!!

Keep them coming. Rating the thread 5 star for the wonderful pictures and tour of Bharatpur!
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Old 30th March 2012, 18:18   #18
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Default Re: Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!

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Originally Posted by sach.sri View Post
great pics and narration. The last post with details on the park is specially useful. Thanks.
Thanks Sach.sri, I hope it will provide some direction for those who'd want to make their first visit to the park.

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Originally Posted by nvldvr View Post
Nice pics Amol. And you seem to be an avid birder, travelling alone all the way from B'lore to Bharatpur. Hope to see more pics in the thread.
I call myself a weekend wildlifer and an opportunist birder. Traveling alone for such trips is good, it lets you pace the trip to your own convenience and especially with birding it's all about sitting at one place for hours sometimes. If you go in a group, you're more likely to keep moving with them or get left behind. Such trips are best done with people who know you well so that they leave you alone without trying to push you to move ahead with them.

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Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
We stayed at the Lakshmivilas palace hotel. The place was pricey but well worth it with family. It's a heritage hotel which is basically a palace converted into a hotel. It's 5 star and is just a km away from the sanctuary.

The sanctuary itself was awesome.

Great pics Amol.
Thanks Vid6639. I remember seeing the place on the net and it looked good. But the price tag was quite high and given that most of the day would be spent outdoors, it didn't make any sense to spend as much. I was more keen on the ITDC resort inside the park, but there were mixed reviews about it so decided to avoid spending the extra moolah.

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Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
As usual great pictures Amol. Did you change your gear. In Pench, if I remember correctly you had a Nikkor 600mm with a Nikon camera.

We could have met if I had known earlier about this plan.

This renegade male Tiger was finally tranquilised and relocated to Sariska and christened ST 6.
Thanks GD Saab. I was always heavily invested with Canon so no shifting brands so far. Even during the Pench trip I had almost the same gear except for the 1D Mark IV which got added a bit later.

The whole trip was pretty much thought of as a solo trip and hence didn't reach out to anyone for company, but next time anything comes up that side, will surely put up a note here

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Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
Amazing birdie pics, is that a 600mm? thats some serious equipment for birding, did you also use a TC?
Thanks motomaverick. Yes that's a 600mm. For dedicated birding trips, I use it with the TC almost 100% of the times. For wildlife trips, I put it on as required as the extra reach proves detrimental in certain situations.

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Originally Posted by v&v View Post
I presumed Amol. The photography "keeda" has not yet reached that height to carry around 12kilos which equally weigh your pocket too .
Yeah, before anyone decides to invest in such things, it's always better to see whether you'll continue with the interest or not. For me, I waited a couple of years before taking the plunge, but now there's simply no turning back!

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Originally Posted by sach.sri View Post
Even though - i have said this earlier, saying it again.

Beautiful pictures - your guide seemed to be the right person for taking you on this delightful tour.

Specially liked the brahminy myna picture and the nightjar picture. It is the first good nightjar picture that i have seen. Kudos!!

Keep them coming. Rating the thread 5 star for the wonderful pictures and tour of Bharatpur!
Thanks again sach.sri. I'd say both the guide and my rickshaw guy were fantastic. They knew I was there for a purpose and never tried to cut corners with anything. In fact I'd recommend them to anyone who going there next season. The guide is known as Captain (kaptaan) and the rickshaw guy was Hakam Singh - Rickshaw No. 73. Apparently, there are 3 Hakam Singh's who work there and so the rickshaw number has greater significance. He drilled that into me over these days so much that I couldn't forget the 73 next to his name.

Here's a picture of him and my mode of transport for those 3 days.
Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!-bharatpur-013.jpg
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Old 30th March 2012, 18:31   #19
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Default Re: Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!

pardon me for replying again just to thank you for the wonderful pictures but they truly are out of the world!!! The black bird on the red (pink?) algae is stunning. How do you manage to get the right amount of depth of field for each shot? Wow. Kudos sir!!!
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Old 30th March 2012, 20:04   #20
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Default Re: Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!

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Originally Posted by arvind71181 View Post
pardon me for replying again just to thank you for the wonderful pictures but they truly are out of the world!!! The black bird on the red (pink?) algae is stunning. How do you manage to get the right amount of depth of field for each shot? Wow. Kudos sir!!!
Thanks Arvind, it's nice of you to drop by again and I'm glad that you liked the pictures!

The DOF is mainly a function of the focal length, f-stop and the distance to the subject, there are other things too but I guess they're pretty much constant for a particular setup. With longer lenses, one needs to stop down if the subject is filling the frame to avoid blurring out details that are required to be seen. If you have reasonable distance to the subject, then the lens can be used at its wider aperture as well. I usually shoot at F8 with the TC and use a wider aperture (F5.6) when the light demands it. For the Common Coot picture, the aperture was 5.6 since the light was pretty dull that day.
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Old 30th March 2012, 22:17   #21
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Default Re: Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!

Lovly pictures and narration.

The shot of the four owlets sleeping huddled together was priceless.
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Old 30th March 2012, 23:54   #22
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Default Re: Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!

Excellent pictures, Amol!
I'm yet to go thru quite some details on the write-up and am sure I'm going to love it.
I'm from Gujarat and hardly had an opportunities to go these places. I attempted Gir when I was in Gujarat last year October.

Your pictures are wonderful and liked the composition which is tough to get with the limited time and opportunities with birds/nature as subject. Next time, please inform a bit earlier about the trips in case you are planning something. I would love to join and learn from you
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 31st March 2012, 11:42   #23
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Default Re: Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!

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Originally Posted by Aiel View Post
The shot of the four owlets sleeping huddled together was priceless.
It sure is, the owlets make for very cute subjects all the time!

Here's another one of my favorites from the trip:
Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!-bharatpur-043.jpg


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ketan View Post
Excellent pictures, Amol!
I'm yet to go thru quite some details on the write-up and am sure I'm going to love it.
I'm from Gujarat and hardly had an opportunities to go these places. I attempted Gir when I was in Gujarat last year October.

Your pictures are wonderful and liked the composition which is tough to get with the limited time and opportunities with birds/nature as subject. Next time, please inform a bit earlier about the trips in case you are planning something. I would love to join and learn from you
Thanks for sharing.
Yup, I think Gujarat has a lot to offer with respect to birds because of it's strategic positioning in the migration path. I still have Gir on my list but that needs a dedicated trip since you need to spend at least 3-5 days in such reserves to enjoy them thoroughly.

Apart from these long haul trips, I keep doing regular trips to the Bandipur and/or Kabini jungles. Let me know if you'd be interested to join some time and we can surely work something out. We can stay connected through my FB Page since that's where most of the real time updates of my plans get posted nowadays WildZests.com | Facebook
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Old 31st March 2012, 12:55   #24
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Default Day 4 - My last day at Bharatpur

This was my last day at Bharatpur and I was supposed to board a deep night train to Delhi (3AM) and then catch a 10AM flight to Bangalore, only to reach home and get online for the Monday blues!

Given that I had two very nice days at the Keoladeo Park, I was contemplating hard on visiting Chambal which is known for the Indian Skimmers found in plenty. I had gotten some good reports about Chambal and at just about a 100km journey from Bharatpur, this was an easy day trip if I could hire a taxi. The only question was whether I'd be pushing myself with all the travel and put the Monday work schedule at risk. Finally, I decided against the idea and chose to have a leisure day at the park instead.

The taxis charge anywhere between 1500-2500 for the trip to Chambal is what I was told. The boat rides cost approx another 1000 bucks or so, but not sure if that was by the hour or for the day. I'm thinking it's the hourly rate there.

We entered the park at around 7AM or so and I told Hakam Singh that today we'll just hang around at some strategic locations and not move around too much. He parked his rickshaw and I was off on the walkway looking for some photo opportunities.

A Nilgai feeding off a tree pefectly depicted the mood of the misty morning.
Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!-bharatpur-152.jpg

The spotted owlets were never out of sight and the soft morning light was looking very nice on them!
Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!-bharatpur-157.jpg

There were a few Black Redstarts that were hopping on the walking trail looking for food. On the previous occasions, I've always found myself running behind them and not getting a satisfactory shot. Today with all the time at hand, I just plonked myself by the side of the trail and setup my tripod at almost ground level. This was going to be a waiting game since there are very specific patterns of movements followed by these beautiful little birds. With the people walking up and down, it did pose a challenge but the odds were still reasonable. After about half an hour of people giving me those strange looks wondering why a guy is crouching down with his camera when there's nothing in front, the little birdie finally obliged. This time, it flew in and perched so close that I could touch it with my hands if I wanted to. But this wasn't going to solve my issue since the lens needs atleast 15 ft distance to focus. Slowly, it moved on its typical movement path and my camera got quite a bit of exercise.

Here's one of my favorites from the series, a full frame shot of this little bird!
Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!-bharatpur-163.jpg

Next up, I moved along the banks and noticed a small group of Comb Ducks on the small mud mound inside the water body.
Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!-bharatpur-165.jpg

The Indian Sawback Turtle was out again, but this time at a little different location.
Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!-bharatpur-171.jpg

A pair of Spot-billed ducks were found swimming on the red carpet.
Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!-bharatpur-175.jpg

A bit tired with all the walking, I decided to find a shade and rest for sometime. Just then a Female Black Redstart came over for some company. This little birdie was very bold and sat just about 17-18 feet away without getting intimidated by the big glass being pointed at her.
Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!-bharatpur-180.jpg

After the quick lunch (packed parathas from the hotel), a big flock of the bar headed geese landed pretty close to the shoreline. This was my only chance to get some decent shots of these beautiful high flyers. Apparently, they are the highest flying birds and have been seen at the high altitude passes of the Himalayas. While waiting for them, I had to go through a lot of questioning from the passer by tourists who were in plenty since it was a Sunday. A lot of people expected me to say that I work for Natgeo .

Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!-bharatpur-186.jpgBengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!-bharatpur-188.jpg

After capturing the geese, I was fully satisfied with my whole trip. I couldn't have asked for more from the maiden trip to Bharatpur. There were still shots that I wanted, but you should always keep some for the next time. One of those dream shots was to capture a bird silhoutte against the setting sun. I had the right location and the right setting, the only thing missing was the bird!
Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!-bharatpur-001.jpg
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Old 31st March 2012, 19:51   #25
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Default Re: Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!

This is easily one of the best Bird photography I have seen in Team BHP. Superb pics and narration. Rated 5 stars. Spotted owlets was the best.
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Old 31st March 2012, 23:12   #26
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Default Re: Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!

Amol,
Mind boggling shots and absolute knowledge of your photographic subjects. There's a lot one can learn from you about the birds and photography. Rated this thread five star.Look forward to the outcome of future birding trips
regards,
Ashok
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Old 1st April 2012, 00:08   #27
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Default Re: Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!

Lovely pictures Amol, and great detailed narration. If you ever want to do a trip to Kaladunghi and Kilbury/Pangot, let me know. I am looking to drive down there somesday.

I regularly visit Masinagudi, so we might run into reach other oneday on a jungle road.
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Old 1st April 2012, 12:24   #28
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Default Re: Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!

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This is easily one of the best Bird photography I have seen in Team BHP. Superb pics and narration. Rated 5 stars. Spotted owlets was the best.
Wow! That's really nice of you to say that

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Originally Posted by ashphil View Post
Amol,
Mind boggling shots and absolute knowledge of your photographic subjects. There's a lot one can learn from you about the birds and photography. Rated this thread five star.Look forward to the outcome of future birding trips
regards,
Ashok
Thanks Ashok, will keep posting about the future trips. I may have one coming up soon if everything works well.


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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
Lovely pictures Amol, and great detailed narration. If you ever want to do a trip to Kaladunghi and Kilbury/Pangot, let me know. I am looking to drive down there somesday.

I regularly visit Masinagudi, so we might run into reach other oneday on a jungle road.
The Kumaon area is another paradise I'd love to visit, but have a couple of long haul trips already chalked out for this year, one of them being Ladakh. It would be good to bump into each other some day, I'll look out for your Fortuner!
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Old 1st April 2012, 21:31   #29
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Default Re: Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!

Awesome photography mate! Surely you made my day. Just loved the owls(my personal favorites).

A visit to Bharatpur is now a must now!
Cheers!
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Old 2nd April 2012, 07:01   #30
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Default Re: Bengalooru to Bharatpur - A solo birding trip!

Amol, thanks for this wonderful photologue on Bharatpur! This brings back beautiful memories of my trip to Bharatpur in 2004. Also, brilliant photos and congratulations for the sheer variety of species you were able to capture!

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It's the Canon 600mm F4 L IS and weighs roughly 6 kilos. It is big and heavy but does it's job wonderfully if you can point it in the right direction and keep it stable. Personally I feel it is a bit restricting on long walks due to it's sheer weight and you do need a lot of motivation and strength to lug it. When setup on the tripod, the whole combination weighs around 12 kilos and my shoulders hurt after carrying the rig for more than 10 mins at a stretch.
Lugging around 12 kilos of equipment in the Bharatpur heat is just awesome. As a fellow birding enthusiast, I can truly appreciate that!!

Quote:
Yup, the TC was used 100% of the time. For birding, it's very rare that you can be satisfied with the reach and everything that could get you that few extra mm is always helpful.
So true! I am imagining that if with your 600mm you are not satisfied with the reach, what should I do with my 300mm?

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- In the recent years, the park had very less water and faced a threat of going dry. In 2012, the park was irrigated through a 100km pipeline which draws water from Chambal. I was told that the water came in a bit late which did impact the number and species of birds seen in the park, but it was definitely better than the last 4-5 years. Next year, there should be no issues since the pipeline work is now fully completed.
Back in 2004 when I visited Bharatpur, it was one of the first few years of recent drought in Bharatpur. And I could see the damage that had on the fauna in the park. Good to know that something is being done. Although it seems late, in the next few years, the situation (bird population) should be better!

Last edited by nileshch : 2nd April 2012 at 07:09. Reason: some more superlatives :)
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