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A new hobby during Lockdown

Life has changed dramatically indeed. We all are facing a new challenge, but at the same time, witnessing new heroes and changing our long cemented perceptions. As this struggle continues, one is striving to stay positive mentally and take precautions, to stay healthy physically.

Being in this situation, with limited options for spending one’s time, I was wondering about things that I can do, in this locked down state. Maybe, something that I have never done before or never thought would do.

How did it all start

So one of these days, I remembered that I possess a 300 mm lens, which has been sitting unused, in the box, since i purchased it three years back. I thought, this may be a good opportunity to put the lens to some use. And let me tell you, how this thought came to my mind.

I am very lucky to live in a neighbourhood which is full of big, beautiful trees. Living in Bangalore (one of the Metro cities of India) it is quite a rarity to have trees around, as over the years, most of the trees have given way to the sprawling real estate in the city.

So thanks to the many trees around, a lot of birds flock into my neighbourhood. Being a nature lover, I always spend some time in the morning, observing the trees, fruits, flowers, bees and the birds. I have my own little garden as well, which I tend to every morning.

And on one of such days, as I was going about this morning ritual, I got the idea of using my zoom lens, to capture the nature around. With so much more time at home, here was a chance to click some pictures and create digital memories of the neighbourhood. So that’s how it started.

I knew that I did not have the best of the lenses for nature photography (I have a Nikon 70-300 mm lens), but for an amateur like me, it was good enough for a start. I decided to start with clicking the birds.

So for me, Balcony Birding became a new hobby during Lockdown.

A Cinerous Tit...it produces such a cute chirp as it hop-flies around the neighbourhood
A Cinerous Tit…it produces such a cute chirp as it hop-flies around the neighbourhood
My balcony birding schedule

I wake up at around 6 am in the morning, quickly freshen up and almost stumble into my balcony with my camera. I just cannot wait to start observing the activities of the birds. Waking up early for this is important, because as the heat goes up, the bird activities reduce or are restricted to the shade of the trees. Also as I click the pictures from my balcony, the angles, the view, the distance to the trees, are all limited. The trick thus, is to make the most of the early hours, when the birds are out looking for food or collecting twigs for building their nests.

I stay out in the balcony for about 30-40 minutes to capture as many pictures as I can. It takes

  1. Patience (to wait for the birds to perch close by)
  2. Minute observation (to spot the tiny birds)
  3. Careful listening (to recognise their calls)

in order to get the right clicks. Well, I am no expert, but this is what I have learnt from my experience, in the past one week.

Bonus

The good thing being, as I am observing the birds closely everyday, I can now tell which call belongs to which bird (for the few species that are common in my neighbourhood).

A female Koel...loved its beautiful spotted wings...
A female Koel…loved its beautiful spotted wings…

Also, now that I am enjoying the process so much, I am planning to step out of my balcony, walk around and discover more birds in the neighbourhood. It will be quite exciting to witness and capture more.

This thrill of exploration inspires me to wake up each morning and patiently wait, to catch a glimpse of these fine creatures.

With that, I hope I have inspired you all to seek out some hobbies, for the remaining days under lockdown. I guarantee, that it will pull you out of boredom and minimise any negative thoughts, that are doing rounds in your minds. Keep exploring!

Eat, Pray, Love and Discover! 🙂
And a White-Cheeked Barbet again...perching on the neighbourhood Jackfruit tree
A White-Cheeked Barbet…perching on the neighbourhood Jackfruit tree

Birds that I have spotted so far (within a week):

  1. Cinerous Tit
  2. Red-whiskered Bulbul
  3. Common Tailorbird
  4. White-cheeked Barbet
  5. Female Koel
  6. Indian pond Heron
  7. Sunbird
  8. Indian ring-necked Parrot

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