My introduction to Birding.

Sometime towards the end of 2014, I became friends with a kid; Souranil De. He is interested in good food and birds. “Because they are cute”, was his constant response every time I asked him why. There were times he went out with his friends for “birding” and sent me photographs of immensely small, cute, furry feathery birds and ask me, “Isn’t this cute?”. “Yes”.

Souranil has always been a sweet person. His demands range from “Let’s have dinner” to “Let’s go to Victoria Museum” or “Dada, play cricket with me”. I love giving in. While in front of the Victoria Memorial Hall (Museum), I was telling him trivia about the Victoria Memorial when I noticed he was pointing his camera in the exact opposite direction, towards a tree, asked me to shut up and listen to the noise chirping. “Psittacula Krameri”, he said, “Parakeet”. “Arre, Tiya Pakhi! (Parrots!)”.

Souranil: Dada, this bird είναι αυτής της οικογένειας, το είδος αυτό και βρίσκεται σε αυτήν την περιοχή και αυτή την περιοχή. Είσαι μου πάρει;
Did you get it?
Me: No.
Souranil: Look up there. They are there in good numbers and the sound is coming from there!

I tried looking at the direction, far away in front of green leaves were green parrots, supposedly moving, so were the leaves of the tree.


But his passion made me take a note of it and whoa! There are so many others doing this. Mainak, Swaroop, Agniprava – who are all younger to me, all takes stunning images of birds. Sooner I got introduced to a range of people online who are into this. I used to see their images and think to myself, “Someday, I’d appear less dumb to my brother.” Of the people I got introduced to is Tamanud Mitra (partner, GoingWild LLP) and Swarnava Nandi (Young birder).

I met Tamanud during the Bengal Global Business Summit 2016. I was telling him how things should be brought online and how West Bengal Tourism could benefit from it. While I spoke about different masked dances, he dismissed all of it and said, “Do you know there are around 1300 bird species in India, around 850 could be spotted in Bengal!”

I followed everyone’s work for around one year and then I proposed a blogging workshop for the Wildlife enthusiasts; also proposed birding/ WildLife to be separately showcased in the tourism events I was associated with.

During the blogging workshop with GoingWild LLP in Sunderbans, I shot my first bird photograph. Tamanud and Soumyajit, are perhaps the best guides you can have in Sunderbans. After being back to Kolkata, I caught hold of Swarnava and demanded a birding session because I still have the Tamron SP 150-600 G2 lens with me.


As soon as I got the internet, I sent a few photographs to Souranil and asked him, “You should be proud of your Dada.”

State bird of West Bengal, white throated kingfisher

My first shot of a bird | White Throated Kingfisher

Collared Kingfisher

Collared Kingfisher shot in Sunderbans, West Bengal | This is my mobile wallpaper now.

 

black capped kingfisher

Black-capped Kingfisher shot in Sunderbans | Tour with GoingWild LLP.

 

crested serpent eagle, sunderban

Crested Serpent Eagle at Sunderbans | Spotted by Harshal Varday.

Brahminy Kites, Sunderbans

Brahminy Kites at the Sunderbans | Guide: Tamanud Mitra (GoingWild LLP)

Taiga Flycatcher Female, Central Park Kolkata

Taiga Flycatcher Female | Central Park Salt Lake Kolkata | Guide: Swarnava Nandi | Tamron SP 150-600 G2 lens.

spotted owlet, central park kolkata, tamron sp 150-600 g2 lens

Spotted Owlet | Guide: Swarnava Nandi | Tamron SP 150-600 G2 lens | Central Park Salt Lake Kolkata

birds in central park kolkata

Oriental Magpie-Robin | Guide: Swarnava Nandi | Tamron SP 150 – 600 G2 lens | Central Park Kolkata

 

Kingfisher in Sunderbans

Kingfisher silhouette at the Sunderbans | Trip with GoingWild LLP.

birding in sunderbans

Lesser Whistling Teal | Shot at Sunderban trip organised by GoingWild LLP | Tamron SP 150-600 G2 lens

parrot eating flower

That’s a parrot eating a flower by its own hands | Tamron SP 150 – 600 G2 lens

Souranil De.

Souranil: More than just proud.

 

I am happy that I could write this article days before Souranil would be celebrating his birthday in Bhubaneshwar. If he can inspire me to try out birding, I can pester him to make a blog of his own – www.souranil.de

I should thank Tamron India for allowing me to use Tamron SP 150 – 600 G2 lens. The auto-focus is very fast. A first-timer like me could also use it with ease. For a person who is used to 11-16 or 50mm, this lens might appear slightly on the heavier side but not uncomfortable. A proper review would be there in the next blog post.

Thank you Swarnava Nandi for taking me out to the Cental Park, Salt Lake during the morning and to places where you knew we would see birds. He is a person bubbling with positive energy and I’m sure he would do really well.

Thank you Tamanud Mitra and Soumyajit Nandy of GoingWild LLP for accepting my proposal of a bloggers workshop and translating that to reality. You both have been more than guides. A detailed Sunderban trip blog post would come soon.

There are a lot of young birders in Kolkata who are immensely talented and can bring about a revolution with their work in the digital sphere. The government and related private companies should also encourage them to go online, study and explore more. I have very limited exposure to this sphere and perhaps could only extend technical support. The ecosystem should be conducive to their growth. And when I say growth, I mean it should generate business for them.

For now, these are my first shots and attempts to “Birding”. Although most of the terms they use are still Greek to me, I believe I’ll appear less dumb in front of my very young friend, whom I fondly call “Baccha Bhai”.