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Birding at Bhigwan : January 2020

Birding at Bhigwan : January 2020

Bhigwan has been my most visited destination since last few years for birding. Come November and migratory birds arrive here in thousands. There are two villages neat Bhigwan which you can visit for bird watching namely Diksal and Kumbhargaon. There are boats avaiable here for hire. Kumbhargaon is more organised commercially however I prefer Diksal which is more suited for birding.

You can expect to spot Flamingos, Northern Shovellers, Ruddy Shellducks, Spotbill Ducks, Godwits, Sandpipers, Grey Heron, purple Heron, Ibis, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Sea Gulls, River Terns, Great Egrets and Pintail Ducks here. Occasionally you may be able to spot Barheaded Geese too.

Sharing few snaps taken during our recent visit (14 Jan 2020).

Northern Shoveller
Pond Heron
Purple Sunbird
Green Bee Eaters
Black Winged Stilt
Black Winged Stilt
Black Winged Stilt
Black Tailed Godwit
White Ibis among Godwits
Grey Heron
Northern Shovellers
Painted Stork
Ruddy Shellduck
Spoon Billed Stork
River Tern
Indian Cormorant
Grey Heron
Greater Flamingo
Purple Heron
Birding at Bhigwan : Tips to take good bird photos

Birding at Bhigwan : Tips to take good bird photos

For me in winters, the best past time is to visit Bhigwan for bird watching and bird photography. Come November and migratory birds start arriving at Bhigwan. Bhigwan is about 100 Km from Pune. There are two spots near Bhigwan which are good for bird watching, Diksal and Kumbhargaon. I prefer going to Diksal as you spot more birds here. It is advisable to reach Diksal early morning to witness a spectacular sunrise.

Take a boat, the local guides should be able to guide you to spots where the waders settle down for their morning rituals.

You can expect to site Flamingos, Open Billed Storks, Spoon Billed Storks, Bar Headed Geese, Northern Shovellers. RuddyShell Ducks, Pin Tail Ducks and many more species of birds here.Sharing few photos which I took during my visit in mid Feb 2019.

This Painted Stork was Walking along side our boat. The reflection in the water appealed to me and I clicked. While composing follow rule of thirds and always leave space towards the direction in which the bird is looking.

Spot Billed Duck. While shooting a flying bird use continuous focusing and track the bird till you get the right composition and then click.

Open Billed Stork. Photographed with an Olympus OMD EM 1 MK II Camera with a 300mm lens. Effective focal length comes to 600mm due to 2X crop factor in this camera.

Greater Flamingos. You see them by the hundreds here. Expose for the highlights while photographing Flamingos due white plumage. Thes birds have a comfort zone, the moment you get too close, the will fly off, so be prepared to catch them in the act.

Black Headed Seagulls

Lesser Flamingo
Black Winged Stilt
Grey Heron

Have patience and you will be able to get few action shots like these.

Greater Egret
Painted Stork

Pintail Ducks are very shy and fly away if you get too close. Keep on taking shots as you approach them, you never know when they will fly away.

RuddyShell Ducks
Glossy Ibis
Black Tailed Godwits
Spoon Billed Stork

Watch the birds. Focus and be ready to click when they get into action. For such shots you will need to set the shutter speed to at least 1/1000.

Northern Shovellers
Spot Billed Ducks & Pintails
Spot Billed Ducks
Black Headed Ibis
River Tern

Wow !!! That was a great morning.

If you want to learn Bird Photography then you may consider taking this course. Click the link below:-

Another visit to Bharatpur

Another visit to Bharatpur

In February this year we had taken a road trip which included almost all kind of destinations starting with spiritual destinations such as Shirdi , Maheshwar and Ujjain. Our trip also included  historic places such as Chittorgarh, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jaipur, Orchha and Ajanta Ellora caves . The destinations also included bird and wildlife sanctuary such as Beed Bird Sanctuary near Bikaner and Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary near Agra. We also visited wildlife destinations such as Bandhavgarh National park and Kanha National Park which are famous for tigers.

We visited Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary on 08 February 2018. We had only one afternoon available but that turned out to be quite an interesting afternoon.

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is very famous and during winter large number of migratory birds come over to Bharatpur to winter here.  I had made a number of visits to this sanctuary earlier and my main quest had always been the Sarus Crane and the Black Necked Crane but I had not managed to spot them. This time around I was lucky and we got to see both from quite close.

You got to venture out into  Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in cycle rickshaws. The  rickshaw pullers have really become expert at spotting birds and they also have good knowledge about the bird species. When you spot a bird you need to stop the rickshaw, get down and find a good spot to observe and take photos.

We did manage few nice shots of the avian creatures which flock around here. Sharing these with you.

Birding Season Pune : 2017

Birding Season Pune : 2017

Come year end and migratory birds start arriving at wetlands around Pune at Kavadi (about 15 kilometers from Pune) and Bhigwan (about 100 kilometers from Pune). This is the time to do some bird watching to see these beautiful creatures. This year towards end of December 2017 I made trips to Bhigwan and Pune and managed to get some nice photos, sharing these with you.

Bhigwan has a large wetland formed from back waters of Ujanni Dam. Here you can see many kinds of ducks, egrets and storks. Flamingos can also be seen here. The best months to do bird watching here is from November to March.

Arrive early at Bhigwan to catch the sun rise and to capture some candid silhouettes of fishermen in their boats.

About 230 species of birds have been spotted at Bhigwan over a period, around 100 of these are migratory which come here to winter during the months of November and March.

Grey Heron


Black Winged Stilts

Lesser Egret

Another place to do some birding is at Kavadi Path about 15 Kilometers from Pune.

White Browed Wag Tail


Ruddy Shell-duck

Common Teal

Northern Shoveler (female)

Black Winged Stilt

Ruddy Shellduck

Common Teal

Northern Shoveler

Do take your camera and visit these places, you will be happy that you did it.

Birds of the Western Ghats

Birds of the Western Ghats

Each year we visit various bird sanctuaries towards the end of December as this is the best period to sight both migratory and resident birds. In the last week of December 2017 we visited the Western Ghats to include Dandeli in Karnataka and Tamdi Surla and Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary in North Goa. The trip was rewarding as we saw many species of birds from close quarters.

In Dandeli we stayed at The Old Magazine House, a resort run by Karnataka Tourism. This place is a favorite with birders as they have put some bird baths in this area which attracts birds. The birds keep coming through out the day to have a bath and have a sip of water.

Grey Headed Fulvetta

The Old Magazine House has few good rooms and cottages which can be hired online from

This is a place where you can literally do arm chair bird watching and photography.

Oriental White Eye

Grey Headed Fulvetta

Yellow Cheeked Black Lored Tit

You can also observe the Giant Malabar Squirrel feeding and playing around on the trees in this area.

I saw many Blacked Necked Munia here through out my stay.

Also this is place is full of Black Headed Warblers

Asian Paradise Fly Catcher – These are winter visitors to this place.

Grey Horn Bill

Yellow Bulbul

The Emerald Dove is a regular visitor here.

Grey Headed Fulvetta

Orange thrush

Play this video to see an orange thrush enjoying the bath.

White Bellied Blue Fly Catcher

We spotted this Rock Thrush at the timber depot at Dandeli. The timber depot is about half an hours drive from the Old Magazine House.

A Leaf Bird at the timber depot

We saw many Malabar Pied Horn bills at the timber depot.

An orange minivet (female) at timber depot. While at the timber depot take a walk around and you will get to see many species of birds.

Nut Hatch at timber depot

We also saw many Hill Myna’s

An Oriental Magpie at Ganeshgudi

Black Naped Monarch

Tickell’s Blue Fly Catcher

Oriental White Eye

Emerald Dove (female)

Puff Throated Warbler

Orange Breasted Fly Catcher

Asian Paradise Fly Catcher (female)

White Bellied Blue Fly Catcher

White Rumped Shama at Old Magazine House

For the next phase of our birding we moved on to North Goa. We stayed at Natures Nest Resort near Tambdi Surla.

Mahadev Temple at Tambdi Surla. Most of the birding is done in and around here. We heard the call of Malabar Trogan but could not site it. Next day we went to the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary and did manage few snaps.

Asian Koel (female)

Bay Backed Shryke

Indian Robin

Shikra (female) – We spotted this at Bondla Wildlife Sanctury.

Ruby Throated Bulbul – State bird of Goa

White Cheeked Bulbul

Purple Sun Bird

Golden Oriole

Brown Winged Green Pigeon

….and yet another year end birding session came to an end. God willing we will be there this year end too, looking for more.




Birding in Kaziranga

Birding in Kaziranga

A visit to Kaziranga was on my bucket list for a long time and  gods made it happen in first week of December 2017. I had been to Kaziranga a few times earlier but for official purposes, this was the first time that one was there to enjoy the wildlife which Kaziranga is famous for. Kaziranga is world famous for it’s one horned Rhinos which I saw in plenty during my visit. On a visit to Kaziranga you are bound to see the three biggies that is the Rhinos, elephants and the wild water buffaloes but the tiger generally remains elusive, we will talk about these in another blog. You got to have great luck to spot one. Kaziranga also hosts more than 400 species of birds and this post is all about them. The Eastern Range in Kaziranga is the one famous for bird watching. Many species of water and forest birds migrate to this area during winters. I did few safaris in this range and did manage to snap few species which were lifers for me. Sharing the photos taken through my lens.

We spotted this Barred Owl just after few minutes of entering the forest. The owl was perched under the thick canopy were light was minimal. I cranked up the ISO to 1600 and took this shot, had to work on it in Lightroom and Photoshop.

As we ventured deeper we came across few rhinos and wild water buffaloes and then we saw these pelicans perched atop a bald tree, pruning their feathers.

By now we were driving along the banks of the seasonal lake which gets formed due to flooding of the flats during monsoon. We could see many waders, mostly migratory.

The Bar Headed Geese (above) could be seen in large numbers. These migrate from Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Tibet during winters. They fly over the Himalayas and are known to cover about 700 miles in one flight. They are lovely to watch and photograph. Below are few more snaps of these lovely creatures.

By the time we managed to snap these, it was time to leave the forest as you are permitted to be inside the forest for only two hours during a safari. I subsequently made three more safaris in this range and managed to capture few nice shots. Let’s have a look at these.

We spotted these Northern Pintail Ducks, but their population was sparse. They are one of the most beautiful ducks. The pintail or northern pintail (Anas acuta) is a duck with wide geographic distribution that breeds in the northern areas of Europe, Asia and North America. It is migratory and winters south of its breeding range to the equator.The northern pintail is a bird of open wetlands which nests on the ground, often some distance from water. It feeds by dabbling for plant food and adds small invertebrates to its diet during the nesting season. It is highly gregarious when not breeding, forming large mixed flocks with other species of duck.

I snapped this bird at the central range. I think this is a common stone chat (female). Common Stone Chat (male, below).

The Black Necked Stork (above). I went places looking for this bird and finally found it at Kaziranga. Amazing creature to watch. The black-necked stork is a  wading bird in the stork family. It is a resident species across the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia with a large population in Australia.

An Osprey (above). We came across many hovering above looking for prey. Look at this one (below), having caught a fish it is rushing away.

…..and then it found a safe spot to nibble at it’s prey.

….and then soon it was soaring again, looking for prey.

Open billed stork. We came across many of these in the seasonal lake and perched atop trees.


I was thrilled to see this Grey Headed Fish Eagle. This was a lifer for me. The grey-headed fish eagle is a striking bird and an impressive hunter, with a relatively small head, longish neck and a powerful, grey beak. The plumage is brownish-grey on the upper parts and white below . It has relatively short legs, a rounded tail, sandy-yellow eyes, and long, black talons.

Alexandarine Parakeets. We saw many flying around and perched on trees.

As we were about to finish our safari in the central range, we saw these Greylag Geese flying past and soon they descended on the near by lake.

A Bar Headed Geese trying to land among the Greylag Geese. And the we spotted these owls.

Mallard (male,above). The mallard  is a dabbling duck that breeds throughout the temperate and subtropical Americas, Eurasia, and North Africa and has been introduced to New Zealand, Australia, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, the Falkland Islands, and South Africa. It is migratory and can be seen in lakes and ponds in India. We came across many of these in Kaziranga.

Mallard (female,above)

During the safari you can see occasional Pelicans hovering around.

The lesser whistling ducks were present in thousands. You could see them flying past off and on.

Green Peigions

Common Flame back Woodpecker

Jungle Spotted Owlets

Ruddy Shell Duck

Indian Roller

Black Hooded Oriole

Adjutant Stork. This was again a lifer for me. This had been evading me for a long time. I finally caught up with it at Kaziranga.

In Assam, the far North-Eastern corner of India, lives one of the the largest and rarest of the storks, the Greater Adjutant Stork, together with it’s smaller cousin, the Lesser Adjutant. These are endangered species; only a thousand Greater Adjutants, and 5000 Lesser Adjutants are left, and the populations are declining.

Darter also called the snake bird

Changeable Hawk Eagle

Woolly Necked Stork

Brown Shryke

Northern Lapwing

Eurasian Wigeon

Crested Serpent Eagle (above). While on a safari in Kaziranga keep a watch on the trees as your jeep moves along and you may land with one of these.

Palas Eagle. Caught this when it was just landing to perch.

A flock of cormorants out on a hunt

Jungle Fowl

Shikra. We got this at close quarters. We could have stretched and caught it with our hands.

This week at Kaziranga  was a week to remember. Each day had something new to offer. I enjoyed every moment, I will go back again if I can. There was more at Kaziranga then just birds. More about it in the next blog.