Birding at Chintamoni Kar Bird Sanctuary : My Photostory

Chintamoni Kar Bird Sanctuary or CKBS is a dedicated sanctuary specialized in conserving avian fauna and maintained by Forest Department of West Bengal. This sanctuary is located in Narendrapur near Rathtola. As a topic of my summer internship project I chose to study the diversity and abundance of avian fauna of this place , obviously the main reason was to get some decent pictures of those exotic resident birds and also I was longing to do something different and natural rather than those routine robotic lab works…

It was 15th june , 7am and I was standing in front of the gate of the sanctuary with my internship cum photography partner Somdipto. We have already visited this place twice  but that was from a photographic approach ..and this time it’s more of an academic approach. We got a special permission of 15 days from forest department to carry out our study there without tickets !!

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THE FOREST


This is a very dense , thick , tropical evergreen forest. This forest is so dense and thick that most of the people won’t believe that such a place actually exists near Kolkata. It’s not at all a photographer friendly place..there is so much perch and density , the dense canopy allows very little light to penetrate so you have to keep your iso very high always. This place is a heaven for insect and macro lovers. But this isn’t a fancy place to wander around. There are poisonous snakes ( like Russel’s viper , common krait ) , abundant of mosquitoes ( most of them are Aedes aegypti – carrier of dengue , fileria etc. ) and lots of blood sucking ticks and lice .

 


BIRDING


After the completion of two days work we have documented 30 species of birds there and still continuing our work . I am going to share only few of them which I photographed for the first time and also got a decent shot.

1.Orange headed thrush – This one appeared very much interested about us and came very close to us giving enough time for some decent shots.

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after the bath

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 2. Brown hawk owl – One of the most important sighting !! There were 2 pairs of owls sitting together and they also gave us enough time to take pictures as we maintained a certain distance , but lighting condition was very poor . One thing I always say ..there is something special about their eyes.

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eye to eye
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winking owl

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and her partner fell asleep

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3. Fulvous breasted woodpecker – One of the most beautiful woodpecker I’ve ever seen.

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such a beauty ..

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4. Oriental white eye – If you don’t look at them very carefully they can be easily misidentified as tailor birds but they are smaller than tailor birds .

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5. White rumped munia – The smallest and cutest candidate in my list ..

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6. Red whiskered bulbul – Time to time they display very funny activities . This one was checking me out.

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7. Slaty legged crake – This bird is a show stopper !! One need to be extremely careful while photographing them as they are very shy.

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8. White throated fantail – As they have a tail like Chinese hand fan that’s why they are named so . IMG_20180616_075457_570

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9. Rufous treepie – It has a very funny name in Bengali – ” hanrichacha “.

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10. Lineated Barbet –  It nests inside holes bored into tree trunks…as you can see

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with food

 

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nesting site

11. Common iora – The common iora is a small passerine bird found across the tropical Indian subcontinent with populations showing plumage variations .

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addition to these we saw a lot of juvenile bulbuls..PSX_20180621_091943

and an Indian grey mongoose – PSX_20180614_234356

we also saw 2 Bengal monitor lizards but failed to photograph .


Some important points to consider


As this is a sanctuary so rules and regulations are very strict . Moreover if you want to see wild animals in any form of jungle then you need to follow certain rules and manners –

  1. The entire zone is a plastic free zone
  2. Always talk less and softly inside the jungle
  3. Playing music or loudspeaker is strictly prohibited
  4. Wearing vibrant colored clothes isn’t encouraged
  5. Always keep patience and remain quiet
  6. Never try to go too close or touch any wild animal , give them their personal space
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Some Common Butterflies : A Photostory

For me wildlife doesn’t only mean big games and birds. I believe that all the life forms roaming out there and thriving in their own way in nature , in wilderness can be called wildlife. While photographing birds and animals in their habitats , I’ve taken photos of various butterflies with or without knowing their exact names and IDs. For the past few days I was thinking ( just thinking ) to study the patterns of Butterfly wings and regulation of gene expression responsible for forming such patterns and that’s why I was just checking my collection of butterfly images and bingo !  I found that I got a very rich collection of images of common and some uncommon butterflies and I didn’t even know ! Then the idea of making a blog with all these images came in . I know a very little about butterflies but I like to take pictures of them and invest my time to find out the proper ID .

All together I have got images of  26 different species . As I said I am not a butterfly expert ( but will like to be in future ) so it took a lot of time just to get the proper ID of some of them . And it was a laborious job to collect all the proper images together from thousands of other images , to edit and rename them according to the species .

The thing about butterflies that fascinates me so much is their perfectly symmetric , artistic , amazingly beautiful and tremendously diverse wing patterns . 

It seems like Nature is a painter and wings of the butterflies are her canvas …

Here I am representing all my images with the names and location sequentially-

assam yellow helen
Assam yellow helen , Buxa tiger reserve
autumn leaf
Autumn leaf butterfly , Buxa tiger reserve
blue tiger (1)
Blue tiger , Central park
blue tiger (2)
Blue tiger , Buxa tiger reserve
broad banded sailer
East Himalayan broad banded sailer , Buxa tiger reserve
common albatross
Common albatross , Baidyabati
common baron
Common baron , Saltlake city
common castor
Common castor , Baidyabati
common jay
Common jay , Central park
common leopard (2)
Common leopard , Botanical garden
common leopard
Common leopard , Buxa tiger reserve
common rose
Common rose , Central park
common tiger
Common tiger , Central park
dakhan common castor (2)
Dakhan common castor , Baramangwa
five bar swordtail
Five bar swordtail , Buxa tiger reserve
great eggfly (2)
Great eggfly , Gangasagar
himalayan purple sapphire
Himalayan purple sapphire , Buxa tiger reserve
himalayan spangle
Himalayan spangle , Buxa tiger reserve
indian common crow
Common crow , Central park
indian wanderer
Indian wanderer , Botanical garden
indiancommon jezebel (1)
Comon jezebel , Central park
indiancommon jezebel (2)
Common jezebel , Central park
monkey puzzle
Monkey puzzle , Central park
oriental blue bottle
Oriental bluebottle , Buxa tiger reserve
oriental gram blue (1)
Oriental gram blue , Central park
oriental gram blue (2)
Oriental gram blue , Central park
peacock pansy
Peacock pansy , Baidyabati
plain tiger
Plain tiger , Central park
tailed jay
Tailed jay, Central park
tawny coster (1)
Tawny coster , Central park
tawny coster (2)
Tawny coster ,Central park
yellow helen - common mormon
Yellow helen , Common mormon – Buxa tiger reserve

Just 26 species and see how diverse and beautiful they are in terms of wing patterns . Let me know in comments if you find this blog interesting and if it also fascinates you …

An encounter with Spotted owlet

As an amateur wildlife photographer we often come across various new species and photograph them for the first time but then why am I so excited about this particular owlet ??!!! I always try to think of owls as separate than other birds because of their unique look , attractive sharp and bright eyes , amazing body structure and ability to hunt at night. As a birder I always have a special interest towards Raptors ( bird of prey ) and among all the raptors owls are so different !! And if you want to understand why they are so different ..you need to know a little about raptors –

There are total 18 orders of birds but raptors consist of 2 orders only –

1) Falconiformes  (diurnal) and 2) Strigiformes (nocturnal)

Falconiformes  contains all the raptors other than owls i.e. diurnal or day hunters. like osprey, kites, vultures, eagles, buzzards etc.

Strigiformes  contains only owls i.e. nocturnal hunters.

–  so among all the raptors owls have their own heavyweight separate domain!!

Owls are different from other raptors in ways – like their beak structure , nocturnal behavior , big round eyes and obviously overall appearance ..

It was 25th may , a bright sunny morning , perfect for birding. Usually like other days I went to Central park for birding. I have been doing  birding sessions there for more than two years and now I’ve become an expert about that place. But nature is unpredictable !! I’ve never seen any owl there before and also never heard of any sightings. But that morning was special . While searching for woodpeckers in the woods I saw it for the first time !! It was so cute and amazing and i got so excited that I could feel my heart and the impulses through my vein. I just pointed my nikkor 200-500 towards it and burst mode on !!!  It gave me enough time and appeared curious about me. The way it nods it’s head and plays hide and seek through leaves is absolutely funny and cute. After it flew away I realized that I should have recorded a video of it’s funny movements.

 

– cute , isn’t it ??!

May be I’ll meet this creature again in the wild but the experience of  first time will never fade away from my memory ..