Saturday morning at Lalbagh

Saturday morning, I headed to Lalbagh with deponti,anushsh,wild_guy, and two other non LJ friends of deponti, Mahesh & Jaimon. My first ever “official” birding trip, you could say.

We were there at Lalbagh by 6:45, and as it turned out, even birds aren’t up that early. I had planned to stick around for an hour and half or so, but as I was to realize, time has little significance when you are out bird watching with serious photographers. Not that I minded, with the excellent spottings (there, another bird watching term added to my lexicon) we had, it was a morning very well spent.

The first not-so-common bird to make its appearnce was the Ashy Drongo, which I had seen before without knowing that this was what they were called. Their call is a bit unusual, well, at least unusual to someone who hasn’t heard too many other calls! Most of them were hovering around this tree in full bloom with gorgeous pink flowers. So, if you are around at Lalbagh, that’s the place to look for it.

From there, we hopped across to a nearby spot, where anushsh had spotted the “Mottled Wood Owl” in one of his previous trips to Lalbagh. Spent a while there without much luck, and decided to return there again later.

The “spotted owlets” were up next, but that was some distance away, and along the way, spotted quite a few “Small green barbets”. deponti informed me that they ate figs, and she even got a really nice snap of one munching a fig. If you can identify a fig tree, and spot a small greenish bird, that’s a barbet for you. 🙂 When we finally reached the huge tree where the spotted owlets are usually found, no surprises, that’s exactly where we found them. The two owlets hunched close, and semingly asleep. Mahesh and Jaimon proceeded to setup their cameras and tripod to take a zillion pictures of the owlets staring down at us zen like. Standing a few metres behind, we noticed the rays of the falling like a halo on the two photographers, and while they shot the owlets from different angles, deponti and I proceeded to do the same with the sundust.

Almost bang opposite was another huge tree with a monster bee hive, and while we were busy with the owlets, a couple of other bird watchers had noticed the “golden oriole” there. With the sun out, and occasionally beaming directly on the oriole, they shimmered magnificently, and one of them was even kind enough to pose for some excellent photographs.

Already happy with the spotting we had, we walked back to where we started from, briefly digressing to take a look at the Lalbagh lake. By then it was almost 9:00, and I didn’t really think we would be able to see the mottled wood owl. But this was the kind of day when the fates seemed to smile kindly on a first time birder, and we spotted not one, but two (or maybe three), mottled wood owls. The crows were constantly troubling the owls, but the owls stayed put, and let us take quite a few excellent snaps. Aptly named this owl, woodish it certainly is, and so well camouflaged, that unless you have a remarkably keen eye, it’s very difficult to spot.

That was that for the morning, but before we left, there was time enough for one more spotting on the way back. A spotted dove, common enough, I am told, but I don’t know if I have seen it before. Beautiful, like all doves, it sat peacefully on a branch and I managed to get as close-up a snap as I ever will with my S3.

A great morning, all said and done.deponti and everyone else, thanks much for your company and all the info. Hopefully, I will be able to do this again some place else, in the not too distant future.

And oh yes, the mandatory photographs. 🙂


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Posted on December 3, 2007, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Wow.. superb writeup 🙂

    Enjoyed your company dude 🙂

  2. Great post…and what a neat collage. I say it again…the S3 really is a VERY good camera. Very nice pictures indeed.

    The purple-flowered tree is the Tabebuia Avellanedae (also called Impetignosa, heh, heh, I dare you to remember that)

    And…don’t say so confidently, “if you spot a small greenish bird, that’s the barbet”. Ha, ha, you have not yet been introduced to the confusing world of birds such as the “greenish leaf warbler”….

    And…for birding (as for LJ) photographs are NOT man (or woman!)datory, but yours certainly added to the appeal! And since you DO have one, use it and have fun! (and let us see the results!)

  3. And… trees belonging to the Ficus (fig) family are the MOST common trees of India…peepul (where the barbet was), varieties of banyan, and so on. Other common Indian trees are the tamarind, neem, mango…

    Do you care a Ficus about this senseless piece of trivia?

  4. My bird book has SEVEN pages of warblers, which all look extremely alike to me…

  5. Man! Your camera is no way less than the others. I was actually surprised that you got the Mottled Wood Owlets pic. So the fact remains…it takes a good photographer to capture good photos!

    Hope I can follow suit.

    Cheers!
    -Krish

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