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LRK

Up until I got to this place, I knew very little about it. After spending three days shooting birds and some mammals, I still know very little but boy, did I experience the Little Rann of Kutch and how.

The Rann of Kutch and Gujarat state are the largest salt production areas in India. During monsoon months, the Arabian Sea floods Rann with sea water. When the water retreats around October, salt farmers dig wells and pump briny groundwater into square fields where white salt crystals are naturally evaporated out.

The Little Rann of Kutch, also known as LRK is a salt marshy expanse, in Kutch district. LRK is home to the endemic good-looking Indian wild ass also known locally as Khur.

At LRK, we were in the able and experienced hands of Vipul from Wild Ark who took us to a 3 day adventure that had it all – wild assess, great sightings, lots of dust and copious amounts of PJs.

Indian Desert Fox

The white-footed fox (Vulpes vulpes pusilla), also known as the Indian desert fox, is a small, Asiatic subspecies of red fox which occurs throughout most of northwestern Indian subcontinent. It is mostly found on sand-hills or in the broad sandy beds of semi-dry rivers, and only very rarely in fields, and then in the vicinity of sandy tracts.

Short-eared Owl

The short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) is a widespread grassland species found in LRK. The ear tufts in this species, may or may not be visible. The short-eared owl will display its tufts when in a defensive pose, although its very short tufts are usually not visible. The short-eared owl is found in open country and grasslands.

To get a shots like the above, you need to shoot like below.

Peregrine falcon

The peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus),is a large, crow-sized falcon. It has a blue-grey back, barred white underparts, and a black head. The peregrine is renowned for its speed. It can reach over 320 km/h during its characteristic hunting stoop (high-speed dive), making it the fastest member of the animal kingdom. According to a National Geographic program, the highest measured speed of a peregrine falcon is 389 km/h. To put that in perspective, an F1 car does about 350 km/h on average when bombing down long straights.

This species requires a separate post altogether as I ended up shooting this one at length including a kill.

The Golden hour

The last hour before sunset and the first hour after sunrise are coveted by professional photographers. Referred to as β€œthe golden hour” or β€œmagic hour,” these times provide the perfect light to capture stunning photos.

Not sure about the stunning part, but these are some shots I managed during the golden hours.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LIGj2Plts0

I may not have ended up where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.

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The wetlands

During the brief period from post-monsoon to winter, these water-courses provide resting/roosting and/or feeding sites to the water-birds such as ducks, waders, herons, egrets, cranes, terns etc. Two major rivers- the Narmada and the Tapti play important roles in nurturing the biodiversity throughout the year.

Here are some of the wetland birds in their habitat.

The key is some of these shots are to go as low as possible or wait for it to raise up…dead.

This was possibly a Coot kill by Marsh Harrier, who also mastered the art of letting go.

Another good-looking bird found in these parts are the Common Kestrels.

From Cranes, to Larks to Wheaters to Greater-spotted Eagle, this trip gave me over a dozen lifers. I have reached a point where I have genuinely lost count. Also, I just can’t do justice in one (or two) posts to all the great moments from this outstanding place. Do follow my Instagram handle, where I will be posting a lot more than what I have listed here.

My last shot from the last session is one of my favourite. This Hoopoe was busy eating seeds on a cloudy morning. Lying down for a few minutes, the bird felt comfortable to come towards us and I ended up getting this beautiful profile shot with its crest half-open. Must’ve clicked about 100 shots to get that perfect moment. Happy that I got a near-perfect one.

Don’t forget to check out my favourite subject in this next post.

All images shot on Canon 90D with a 100-400 ii lens.

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