Oct 1, 2010

Raptors, Raptors, Raptors!!!

It was just a routine birding trip to the hills. Raptors was never in the 'wish list'. But as it turned out it was not one but two Raptors which made their presence felt and ignited the quiet birding party into a flurry of excitement.

First to appear was the Black Eagle. It flew out of the high trees above the deep valley and was content at hovering just above the tree canopies as if searching for something. Back and forth it went in a semi circling motion carried by the sluggish mid morning thermal. After about 5-6 minutes it decided that it wanted to check out the wider expanse of the forest and began to pick up the wind to glide effortlessly away from our position. As suddenly as it appeared it's disappearance into the thick forest below us was equally quick. It was an exhilarating moment to watch this rare Raptor and we were fortunate to have taken photos for the record.


The Black Eagle hovering and checking the hilly terrain.

The excitement over the appearance of the Black Eagle had hardly subsided when another Raptor made it's appearance! It came out of the the forest in the same direction as when the Black Eagle first appeared. Our minds started to mentally run through the field guide in an attempt to zero-in on the ID of this big bird! The silhouette it cast against the cloud-filled sky revealed that this bird is not a Black Eagle! But what was it??? The crest of feathers on it's head became more apparent as it tilted to turn with the thermal. Ahh....yes it is a Blyth's Hawk Eagle!!! The adrenaline flow by now was fast & furious as we tried to follow whilst aiming our cameras to get the best shots! The big bird may have sensed our frustration - our cameras positioned almost vertically upwards and the strain on our necks and knees needs no further elaboration. Fellow bird photographers who have faced similar situations will know what I mean. :-))

As frustration turned into desperation to record a couple of good shots was rewarded when the Eagle decided to perch on a tree close to our position. It's perch was quite precarious and it took all of it's claws to hang on for a good 3 minutes, sufficient time for our cameras to 'fire away'. And am I glad to be able to share the 'bounty' with all of you.


                                           The majestic Blyth's Hawk Eagle in-flight and perched.

Thank you for dropping by. Cheers!

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