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18 February 2007 @ 06:48 pm
Did a little bit of birding this morning at Hessarghatta. The plan was to go see and photograph a rare species of Pipit which another team had spotted during the Bangalore Bird Race. We were unlucky with the bird, but we decided to drive around a bit on the slushy lake bed in search of other subjects to shoot.

Shooting raptors is tough work. They are brilliantly camouflaged when perched and fly away as soon as we get within shooting range. An innovative way to shoot them is to use the car as a moving hide and my friend has perfected the art of doing it. And Kestrels (a type of Falcon) are notorious for being shy and wary of humans. Just look what it did as soon as we got close to it!

Common Kestrel. Isn't she a beauty?

That's how the Kestrel looked when we first spotted her.

Black Kite. Don't ask me why a Black Kite isn't black - there's no answer for it. However, its interesting to see it on the ground. What's it upto?

Ah! It's picking up twigs to build a nest. The unsolved mystery is how the twig got to the middle of the nearly-dry lake!

A Stick Mantis. With a structure like that, any small insect will be fooled to think its predator is a stick!

sainath on February 18th, 2007 01:50 pm (UTC)
beautiful ! :) the kestrel is an absolute beauty !
as for the mysterious twig , it might have been dropped by some other bird on the way i guess :)
Aragorn, Son of Arathorncode_martial on February 18th, 2007 01:54 pm (UTC)
The flying Kestrel picture is breathtaking! And, umm, "... its predator is a stick".
ZuZusuzan_s on February 18th, 2007 02:36 pm (UTC)
AWESOME! I love the Kestral just taking off into flight....THANKS!
Vibhavibharaj on February 18th, 2007 03:02 pm (UTC)

She looks ravishing in the first pic..
Simply Divine !!
Shivakumarshivakumar_l on February 18th, 2007 04:18 pm (UTC)
Beautiful dude -- all pics are awesome .... the take looks so serene ....
how did u manage to spot that "stick mantis" unbeliveable
Yathinyathin on February 18th, 2007 04:20 pm (UTC)
> how did u manage to spot that "stick mantis" unbeliveable

I didn't. A master spotter, who we all know, found it - it was unbelievable when he showed it to me since it was so well camouflaged!
Shivakumarshivakumar_l on February 18th, 2007 04:22 pm (UTC)
Hmmm -- double reference to the person in the same thread -- who was that ?? you told that he is good in using the car as hide also ... am bit keen on knowing that :)
Yathinyathin on February 18th, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
Just watch out for who posts the stick insect on INW and you'll get the answer. ;)
ex_neke on February 18th, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous! :D
Arunbirdonthewire on February 19th, 2007 04:48 am (UTC)
Stunning. The first pic is just awesome! Thanks!
depontideponti on February 19th, 2007 05:58 am (UTC)
Lovely pictures, thanks!

Missed you very much at Dandeli, where we all had the most amazing sighting of hornbills feeding each other, butting their casques, feeding the nestlings in a nest right near the road, and finally, a "war" between a couple of mynahs and the hornbill (malabar grey) couple, with the mynahs going and putting in nesting material, staking claim to the nest, and the hornbill coming in and clearing it out and finally chasing the mynahs away. Between all of us, we also got a wide variety of birds and some mammals too...
Arun Pillaiarunpillai on February 19th, 2007 02:01 pm (UTC)
The way that kestrel parked himself in the second picture is simple amazing. See the way he rest
ajat: Andre Nelajat on February 19th, 2007 02:34 pm (UTC)
*Adores pictures*
Rajaram Srajarams on February 23rd, 2007 03:20 pm (UTC)
Metering of the birds
The sharpness of the eyes are spot on ..I assume that u r using your 200-400 F4, but how do u meter the shot (of the flying bird ) or the one where it is standing on the ground ?
Yathinyathin on February 24th, 2007 05:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Metering of the birds
I use the Nikon 300mm prime lens with a Nikon 1.4x convertor. I used the Programmed mode with center-weighted average metering for this. It usually works very well, and only rarely do I have to overexpose/underexpose it.
velvetinkvelvetink on February 25th, 2007 03:43 am (UTC)
ohhhhhh there is nothing common about the kestrel, nor your images here, they are fantastic. thanks for sharing. I love all the mellow colours in these ones.