Rainbow in flight

Aabha Garud
Saturday, 14 October 2017

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher has all the possible colours of the visual spectrum. Here’s how we caught a glimpse of the bird and managed to get some brilliant shots

Bedecked with every colour of the visible spectrum, the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx erithaca) is a visual spectacle. So my photographer friends and I decided to embark on an expedition to have a sighting of this nature’s marvel in Chiplun in Ratnagiri district.

Located along the coastal belt of Konkan district, Chiplun is a breeding ground for a variety of birds. It was in this village that we waited for hours on end to catch a glimpse of the tiny bird which chose to remain elusive behind the thick veil of greenery.  

That day we realised the true meaning of ‘patience is virtue’.  It was the incubation period for the bird as we waited with our cameras silently enduring the sluggish progress of time. Gradually minutes turned into hours and our photographers’ group began fidgeting. It was a task of colossal patience to wait and watch. But we could do nothing to overcome the helplessness and coax the bird out of its shelter.

The crawl of idle hours continued and suddenly from nowhere, in a rush of wings, we caught a fleeting glimpse of the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher  like a rainbow in flight. Photographs were taken in rapid succession until our winged celebrity chose to snub us again and disappeared from sight.
We had spotted the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher that we had longed to see, but somehow, I was not contented. All my photographs had an anterior view of the bird and I was hankering to have at least one beautiful photograph with its vibrant display of colours from all angles.

By then, the photographers’ group had begun to move on but I was possessed with an unbending zeal to shoot the bird. So I decided to wait a little longer at the spot.

Minutes began ticking away again and I stayed rooted to the spot humming every possible Bollywood number biding my time. It was the last day of our expedition and I realised that I would probably have to return home without the perfect shot. But it is rightly said, ‘Good things come to those who wait’.  Without the slightest warning, the bird swooped in like an apparition in the sky and nestled on a nearby twig for a complete one minute. It flitted and danced on the twig in a complete 360-degree motion, giving me occasional glances saucily, as if mocking my back-breaking hours of patient fortitude. Nevertheless it gave me some of the best memories which I captured with incessant clicks of my camera button.  

As I look at the photographs today, I hardly recollect the fatigue, the solitude, or any other discomfort I experienced. My patience and persistence had paid off well, and left a lingering smile on my face.

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