Living on the edge – Grey headed lapwing(Vanellus cinereus)   Leave a comment

Grey headed lapwing_sRGB

Enough and more has been debated by our generation about the suitability of Betty, over Veronica, as a life partner to Archie. I, for one, have always cast my vote in favour of Betty. Inspite of her plain Jane image, there is something about her that mesmerizes me. It still does.

Amusingly enough and, of course, in a completely different context, I have harboured similar feelings for the Grey Headed Lapwing. It’s not the most exotic of birds, it lacks the spectacular plumage of some of the other varieties and is quite common. Yet, for long I have coveted a closeup of this bird. They frequent the Chilika lake, during the winter months of India. However, my attempts at getting a decent picture of them, had not yielded much fruit.

Over the last few years, I kept scanning the lake bed and the surrounding marshlands, but this species would never oblige. My luck finally turned last November. November is the beginning of the migratory season for birds to Chilika. My friend, Avinash and I, had set out on a boat ride, hoping to watch some exotic species, before the large scale migration set in. Avinash had lent me his super sharp 600mm f4 lens along with a 1.4xTC. The stage was set and this time the Grey headed lapwing couldn’t resist the lens either.

To make it memorable the lighting was good and as we approached, the bird turned to give us a fleeting glance before going down the edge. Just enough for me to get a keeper of a snap.

On a different note, anyone with a serious interest in bird photography should definitely consider buying or renting Nikon’s 600mm f4 lens. It’s just awesome. One drawback however is the weight and it is quite impossible to handhold it and use. And once you stabilise an optical marvel like that on a tripod, one has to be really unlucky not to get some memorable pictures.

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