Saturday, December 15, 2007

Flamingoes at Pulicat

After days of going through the FZ18's manual, I thought it was time to try it out in the field -- last Sunday my friends and I landed up at the Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary, near Sullurpeta.
Before getting into the sanctuary we had decided to check out the Shar Road (the road leading to Shriharikota) because the best time to sight flamingoes here is early in the morning before the traffic starts.
That was not to be -- we planned to leave Chennai by about 5.30 in the morning to be on Shar Road, about a 100 km from here by about 7.00. We were about an hour behind schedule even before we started. By the time we reached Sullurpeta the flamingoes had retreated and were a distant white patch on the horizon. We noticed a group of fishermen with their fishing boats by the roadside. Pretty lucky for us and quite unusual -- I have never seen boats by the roadside in this place. It just took us a moment to decide to go out on the boat. We asked the fisherman, and for four hundred rupees, he agreed to take us out to the birds or at least as near as they will allow us to come.
The sun was pretty high in the sky and there was quite a glare, the water vapour lifting off the surface of the backwaters added to the haze. But the Lumix FZ18 with its 504 mm reach -- with extended zoom I think it goes up to 700mm (not sure) -- was great. The images needed a bit of tweaking on photoshop to bring out the contrast and colour. Here are the results.

These birds just would not let us anywhere within a couple of hundred metres. They would just stride away from us as the boat neared them and moments later they would take off in a flurry of wings. There must of been a few thousands of these flamingoes and it was a sight none of us will ever forget.
All these pics were shot at the full extension of the FZ18's reach.

This was the closest we came, I thing these three guys below were about 100 metres

A pelican at the Nelapattu bird sanctuary.


Just.Cliking said...

Third and fifth is my best Balaji.
I wish to see the big image of last one.

R. Balaji said...

Thanks, Sathiyan. I do not understand why the last image does not enlarge. Will try to sort it out or just post it again.

flowergirl said...

Found your lovely pictures via a Google search. Strangely, we also visited Pulicat in Dec 07, and replicated your trip! Ours was a dull day, so the pictures are not as bright as your. Have posted them on my blog!

R. Balaji said...

Hi Flowergirl,
Thank You. I saw your post on flamingoes. I can tell you the daylight conditions were no different from what you have described. The only difference between your pictures and mine is -Photoshop. Just a bit of tweaking levels and unsharp mask.
R. Balaji

Prasanna said...

hey Balaji, can you give more details to watch out these flamingos in nov-dec ? How did you catch hold of fishermen ?

Anonymous said...

Hi, Prasanna,

These birds can be spotted on the Sullurpeta - Shar road. You have to travel a few kms down this road. If the flock is large enough you can spot them in the distance. The fishermen are usually available with their boats along this road if the water level is right for them to lay out their nets. They are used to taking bird watchers for a boat ride - costs a few hundred rupees. BALAJI