Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) Out for a kill   Leave a comment


It would indeed be hard to convince people that I went looking for birds in Goa – yes the feathered variety. But that’s exactly what I did. To think of it, the trip was full of contradictions. To begin with I was in Goa to attend an office meeting – honestly it’s the last place in india where one should think of doing a formal meeting. After managing to wrap up my meeting early, I actually headed for the river and the mangroves instead of the alluring beaches. Symptom of midlife crisis ? Don’t really know but, there I was -on a boat as it made its way through the calm waters of the Zuari river.

Our motor boat glided through the green waters. The hunt for Ospreys, Grey headed fish Eagles, Peregrine Falcons and Collared Kingfishers was on.  The sun was beating down hard and it was high tide. It’s the low tide which bares open parts of the river bed thus enticing the birds to come into the open to partake in the rich pickings on the floor. So our pobability of success seemed low.

However, it was my first birding trail in Goa and I was carrying my beginner’s luck. All the coveted birds started showing up as we explored the river and the adjoining backwaters. It was indeed saddening to see garbage and pollutants floating on parts of the river. These blemished what was otherwise a beautiful ride. The mangroves were lush green and full of designer perches. Just that the birds kept away due to the heat. I made a mental note to visit this place again on a winter afternoon. After all, a bird photographer is never satisfied with mere sightings. I needed to capture the birds, up close, in my camera.

As we turned to head back to the landing spot, I was filled with mixed emotions. The beauty of the place had far exceeded my expectations, yet there were no pictures in my kitty , that were worth writing home about. But the final word on the day’s journey had not yet been written. At a distance, but in the boat’s path, was a small stake jutting from the surface of the water. As we approached, we realised that the stake was even smaller than it had appeared as two-thirds of the protrusion was actually the body of the majestic Pandion haliaetus.

Ospreys are known to frequent these waters but I had never expected to encounter one, perched at eye level from the boat. We switched off the engine and let the momentum propel us closer to the bird. At the end of it all, I left Goa with this picture in my bag, and with a burning desire to get back there again for some more birding action 🙂

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