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I didn’t realize putting these two blog posts will be almost as time-consuming as sorting out all the data. Picking 50 from over 3000 shots isn’t easy. Thankfully, Omicron gave me some free time to sort all of these out. Here’s my second yearly list. Check the previous year’s here.

Twenty Twenty One Top 50


Yellow-eyed beauty

Yellow-eyed Babblers are one the cutest looking ones around. Usually found in groups during the non-breeding season, they are shy and are usually found inside bushes, emerging up to the top of a stem and then diving back into cover to forage.

20 Jan 21
Amrutha Narayanaswamy Temple area


Explosion of colors

Getting the male Purple-rumped Sunbird in the right setting gives you a riot of colors. Chanced upon this guy on the way back from a birding walk inside FootPrints.

21 Jan 21
Malhar – FP, C cluster


Lucky day

On an outing to Savandurga, chanced on three Egyptian Vultures. Parents and a juvenile. Have a few in-flight shots of these in this blog.

4 Feb 2021


Hoo dat hooman?

One can never get tired of Spotted Owlets. Look at these two. Its like they wanted to have some serious conversation with me.

11 Feb 21
Malhar – Behind Resonance/ Mosaic


Profile shot max

A Scaly-breasted Munia gave me the perfect pose on the ground. Lying down on the floor, the perspective is always enhanced to a great deal. Think about it, they are barely 11 to 12 cm long.

18 Feb 21
Malhar – Behind Resonance/ Mosaic


When hunger strikes

The good part of this one was that I had access to this nest from a friend’s home. Almost eye-level. Here’s the series from that day.

22 Feb 21
Malhar – Terraces



Not a fan of hides. But, you cannot discount some really close-up shots of birds that you normally won’t get. Coppersmith Barbets are colorful, and have the funnest call, hence the name.

22 Feb 21
Satisha Sarakki’s hide, Aagara



From the same hide. It’s not easy to get shots like these at eye level otherwise.

22 Feb 21
Satisha Sarakki’s hide, Aagara


All brown

The onset of summer makes a lot of the green go brown. A Pied Bushchat provided a perfect opportunity for me to click against a perfectly clean background.

1 Mar 21
Doddabele lake


High-speed capture

Have always wanted to capture a bee-eater with its wings spread. Noticed an opportunity when a pair of them kept coming back to the same branch after catching bees. The key was to focus on the guy already perching and waiting for the other to come and land. And, at 1/3200 of a second, you can get something like this.

5 Mar 21
Malhar – Behind Resonance/ Mosaic


Mystery visitor

When we were returning from a birding outing, someone mentioned about Black-naped Monarch, and the same afternoon, this was on my balcony. This is also the only time I have ever spotted one. Spookiest co-incidence so far.

7 Mar 21
Malhar – FP, H cluster


Yet another King

On my first ever trip to Ranganathittu, apart from all the big birds, I was really excited to meet this King – Stork-billed Kingfisher. They are large, and as the name suggests, they also have a large bill.

12 Mar 21


Against the light

These large Spot-billed pelicans lined up on a rock against the light seemed like a good frame. Hence, made it to this list.

12 Mar 21


Shock effect

Sometimes, if you wait around long enough, you will get some unusual poses from some of the birds. A Brahnimy Starling seemed to dry itself up on a wire, and I managed to make it look like it’s getting an electric shock.

18 Mar 21
Malhar – Behind Resonance/ Mosaic


A muddy affair

Red-rumped Swallows use moist mud from the ground to build their nest. Saw a bunch of them taking turns in collecting mud. The light was good, the cover was decent, lying down on the ground was all it took for this shot.

1 Apr 21
Malhar – Behind Resonance/ Mosaic


Feeding and safe-guarding

While feeding the young, a White-cheeked Barbet also had to fend off a few noisy neighbors in the form of Mynas.

3 Apr 21
Malhar – Behind Resonance/ Mosaic


The Punk

White-naped Woodpeckers aren’t very common. This female seemed to have found a good nesting spot in one of the coconut trees.

1 Apr 21
Malhar – Behind Resonance/ Mosaic


Patience pays

That applies both to the Kingfisher as well as me. Since I knew this one was looking for a good breakfast, I decided to just sit on the ground and not move. This is also the closest I’ve been to one of these guys – about less than 10 ft. Waited for 30 minutes like this and the result? Check the next pic.

3 Apr 21
Malhar – Behind Resonance/ Mosaic


Prize catch

After about 30 minutes of scanning, it swooped down to get a lizard. Had I not waited, I would’ve missed this shot completely.

3 Apr 21
Malhar – Behind Resonance/ Mosaic


The preacher

It wasn’t a Sunday but I did attend this sermon. Some deep stuff were shared. Amen!

16 Apr 21
Malhar – Behind Resonance/ Mosaic


The hues

Blue-tailed bee-eaters have a lot more colors than green ones. The reserve in Naguvanahalli near Ranganathittu is a great place to watch hundreds of these together.

23 Apr 21


The secret family

Following a Tickell’s blue Flycatcher family for over two months has been captured in detail in this blog. I don’t even know how to select the best from this series really.

28 Apr 21
Malhar – Resonance


Perfectly perched

I don’t know why I really like the composition of this Ashy Prinia sitting nicely. It was also a chance shot as I was walking back documenting the flycatcher family.

28 Apr 21
Malhar – FP, Children’s park


Clean shot

Getting Swallows to sit on something other than a wire is super rare. When this Red-rumped was resting, I found a perfect angle to capture this colorful fellow.

6 May 21
Doddabele lake


Surprise catch

I had no clue when I shot this one which bird it was or the fact that it was carrying a vine snake. It was really far out and only after getting home did I realize that this was a Crested Serpent Eagle.

31 May 21


Hide and shoot

Apart from not disturbing the bird, another good thing about hiding behind foliage and shooting is the foreground bokeh one can play with. I like the way the that’s added to this image of a tri-colored Munia.

7 Jun 21
Malhar – Behind Resonance/ Mosaic


Size – XS

At 8 cm in length, the Pale-billed Flowerpecker is one of the smallest birds found in the country. I always try and see how I can use a seed or fruit for comparison of these tiny birds.

17 Jun 21
Malhar – Main junction


Tiny tit

A young Cinereous Tit came and perched on a branch right next to me when I was busy focusing on a Common Kingfisher. Had to oblige and take a side profile.

20 Jun 21
Malhar – Behind Tarana



A couple of Indian White-eyes seemed to have some disagreement over food. They’ve always been fun to capture as they are so animated.

1 Jul 21
Satisha Sarakki’s hide


My all time fav

This shot, a day before my birthday has to be my favorite shot both in terms of the image and the bird. Not an easy one to shoot, the Common Kingfishers have always fascinated me with their behavior patterns.

13 Jul 21
Doddabele lake


Time to impress the ladies

It’s always fun to watch these master architects build their nests and invite the females to inspect. One can spend hours watching Baya weavers build their nest.

19 Aug 21
Malhar – Behind Resonance/ Mosaic


National bird

This one made it to the list only because of the composition and the fact that there was another male in the background.

31 Aug 21
Doddabele lake


Thorny wait

By now you may have realized I am a fan of clean backgrounds. When the bird is small, you have to get to the right angle to get this sort of a creamy backdrop.

31 Aug 21
Doddabele lake


Nati Geo

This is probably my only shot in this collection with a dead bird. Watching a rat snake raid an Ashy Prinia nest and make a meal out of juvenile was intriguing. The whole series is documented in this blog.

6 Sep 21
Malhar – FP, C cluster


Bird bath mayhem

Keeping a birdbath in our balcony has been one of the best decisions this year. I get a lot of visitors every day. And, some days are more chaotic than others. Here’s how a bunch of Indian White-eyes had fun. More on this blog.

27 Sep 21
Malhar – FP, H cluster


Ready for take-off

One can never get tired of the Black-winged Kites. They are probably my favorite raptor so far. This one was waiting to take off when I got this slightly unusual stance.

29 Sep 21
Doddabele lake


Off to raid some honey

Here’s another raptor shot on the same day. The Oriental honey-buzzard seemed to be in a hurry for some sugary treat early morning.

29 Sep 21
Doddabele lake


Sharp focus

Why do Kingfishers have such lovely profiles? No matter how many shots I take, I will always want more of these guys. This was shot in Pondicherry when we managed to got out on a short holiday.

2 Oct 21
Pondicherry, Eden beach


Good looking glider

Black kites are also fun to shoot in flight. Mostly I end up getting a completely uncharacteristic blue background. This was slightly different.

10 Oct 21
Doddabele lake


The King and her catch

Wondering why I said “her”? Common Kingfisher females have a slight lipstick on their bill. Males have completely black bills. A couple of these KFs were found almost every morning, doing what they do best – fishing.

14 Oct 21
Malhar – Behind Tarana


The Beast

This Greater Spotted Eagle is one of the largest raptors I’ve managed to click so far. While searching for other raptors in Avalahalli forest, found this guy chilling almost at eye level.

21 Oct 21
Avalahalli forest


The poser

This was the first instance of spotting an Oriental darter near home. Unfortunately, I have an extremely sad association with this picture. This is around the same time, we lost a close friend.

28 Oct 21
Doddabele lake


Eye-level with a Brahminy

Something about this picture I really like. Is the light? Is it the composition? Is it just the magnificent bird? I can’t tell, really.

31 Oct 21


The King with an intent

Okay, I should stop my obsession with the Kingfishers. This one was looking for some snacks in the ocean.

31 Oct 21


The giant

When I first saw this one fly past, I actually thought it was a pelican. It was huge! Ran towards the beach to identify this lifer – White-bellied Sea Eagle. Has to be one the largest I’ve seen. Managed to spot its nest too over the next couple of days.

1 Nov 21


Kites in action

Another first. Black kites mating. That’s it. That’s the picture.

8 Dec 21
Malhar – Behind Resonance/ Mosaic


The escapist

I don’t know how many times I’ve told my birding buddies that I need to get a shot of the Indian Pitta right through the year. I had to go all the way to Wayanad to finally get this one. Not the best shot, but this had to make it to the list because of how desperate I was to shoot this one.

14 Dec 21
Wayanad, Tranquil resort


“I got it, I got it”

An Indian Cormorant was very excited with its catch and broke away from a pack to savor the meal alone.

25 Dec 21
Anekal, Dodda kere


The Papaya thieves

Never seen Woodpeckers gorging on papayas. This seemed like a parent and a juvenile. Evening light helped capture these two nicely.

26 Dec 21
Malhar – Behind Resonance/ Mosaic


Let’s make love, not…

Last of this list. Capturing raptors in these intimate moments needs a lot of patience. And, ensure that you are not disturbing them. Caught these two in the act while I was driving back from Aagara lake. With that, it’s a wrap to this year’s top 50.

26 Dec 21
Somewhere on the Aagara lake road

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