Sunday, November 28, 2010

Little wonders of Hebbal Lake

Over the period of few weeks, I had made many trips to Hebbal lake and photographed many birds. Being a lake it is expected to see few varieties of water birds. However since the lake also has a decent garden there are some common birds (other then water birds) which can be seen in plenty. Well I am talking about sunbirds, flowerpeckers, prinia and tits.

Though these small birds can be spotted easily, I find them very difficult to photograph mainly because of following reasons

  1. These birds are small and very active. They do not stay long at one place and are constantly on the move.
  2. The focal length of my lens is 300mm which works for bigger birds but for smaller birds, I feel its bit short. Which means that I need to get very close to them to get a frame filling shot which good details.
  3. These birds usually move in and out of thick cover of leaves. So its difficult to get good focus and exposure.

However now having visited Hebbal lake so many times and spending plenty of time shooting these birds I realized that these birds can be caught on camera. I found the following tips to be very useful when shooting these birds

  1. These birds do not stay at one place for long, but they do return to same place after some time. So keeping some patience defiantly helps. There is no point chasing these birds. Just wait for some time at the same place and more often then not these birds will return. 
  2. Most of these birds are too busy doing their chores, so if you stay reasonably still without making any quick movements they do not mind your presence. So, just wait, stay still and it will defiantly help to get you close shots.
  3. Shoot in Manual mode. This allows you to change the exposure settings quickly and  accurately. These birds move in and out of shade and they are very small, so the camera meter can get fooled by a dark or bright background. I usually keep Spot metering with Manual mode.
Over several visits to Hebbel lake I managed to get few shots of these small beauties. Here are few shots.

Ashy Prinia

The Ashy Prinia or Ashy Wren-Warbler (Prinia socialis), is a small warbler. It is a common bird in urban gardens and farmland in many parts of India and its small size, distinctive colours and upright tail make it easy to identify. The northern populations have a rufous rump and back and have a distinct breeding and non-breeding plumage while other populations lack such variation.

Purple Rumped Sunbird
Purple-rumped Sunbirds are tiny at less than 10 cm long. They have medium-length thin down-curved bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues, both adaptations to their nectar feeding.  The males have a dark maroon upperside with a blue-green crown that is visible in some angles. There are violet patches on the throat and rump which are visible only in good lighting.


Tickell's Flowerpecker

Tickell's Flowerpecker or Pale-billed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum erythrorhynchos) is a tiny bird that feeds on nectar and berries, found in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The bird is common especially in urban gardens with berry bearing trees. They have a rapid chipping call and the pinkish curved beak separates it from other species in the region. This is a tiny bird, 8 cm long, and is one of the smallest birds occurring in most parts of southern India and Sri Lanka.

I have spotted Grey Tit many time but was never able to capture it. So that one is still pending. I do have one shot of Grey Tit that was taken long time back at Lalbuagh. Here it is

Grey Tit


  1. This is super. What I observe with birds, though I am new in this work:

    1. They sit at same place where they sat last time. Once I was in Dandeli and in the two evening I got some 3-4 birds and it was looking like i replicated what i did last time.

    2. They afraid more of a tripod, which we use so less and carry always.

    3. Small birds don't run too much so you can guess the next point my seeing there fly. But as you said, there is no use of chasing them.

    4. Big birds are almost impossible to shot again if they scared of you.

    5. Kingfisher sit in open space.

    6. No bird, stay in dense forest... they sit on road side or less dense forest.

  2. nice observation Vaibhav. These tips will surely help.

  3. great photographs you got here!

    1. thanks for encouraging comment and thanks for passing by. Do visit again.


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