Endemics of Andaman – Feb 2019 – Tour Report
The Andaman Islands are an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal. Supporting a wide variety of bird and animal life, these picturesque islands make for the perfect locale for a bird photography tour. The white sand beaches, lush mangroves and coral reefs are truly a nature lover’s delight. Think of a photography tour destination and Andaman surely comes to mind!
Our recently concluded Endemics of Andaman – Bird photography workshop was an experience to cherish. Over a period of 9 nine days we covered the length and breadth of the verdant island in search of local and migratory birds. And, we were surely not disappointed. Our search and patience yielded fruit as we were fortunate enough to spot a myriad of endemic (exclusive to the island) and migratory birds that flocked to the rich and fertile lands of the islands.
We bring to you a few of the delightful shots that our trip in nature rewarded us with.
After a couple of days of birding at Port Blair we boarded a ship to sail to another wonderful location. An 8-hour overnight ship to Little Andaman was an experience to remember. The twinkling of stars in the navy-blue sky was reflected so purely in the vastness of the ocean all around. We awaited with much anticipation for our arrival at the fourth largest island in the archipelago and were eager to start our photography workshop there.
Birding in the Andaman Islands is a truly gratifying experience when you spot rare species such as the Mandarin duck make an appearance. This truly unique perching duck is painted in so many beautiful colours that it makes for a photographer’s delight.
Some of Andaman endemics in wildlife are scarce in sighting. So, we were truly surprised and delighted to witness a pair of Andaman barn owls make an appearance in broad daylight. We clicked away and yet were careful to keep silent and let the beautiful pair enjoy their basking time in the sun even as we were gifted with some amazing shots of their outdoors presence.
Night photography has a thrill of its own. The silence in the air is often broken only by the sound of the wind and rustling of leaves. The peaceful atmosphere leaves you at ease to explore, unfettered by the rush of daytime hustle and bustle. Our nightly photography outings too were extremely edifying in experience. We spotted many endemic species of owls and even the nightjar. Needless to say, we went click happy and had a great learning experience on night photography lessons.
Nature thrills us most when it is in action. One evening we were pleasantly rewarded with the amazing chance to capture images of the stork-billed kingfisher as it made an evening meal of some fish. The elegance of this tree dweller as it cleanly dove into streams and came up with its meal in its beak is an image that will stay etched in our minds and in our cameras for a long time.
As the sun set, we exchanged details on shots taken and relaxed by the cool water’s edge.
A sighting we won’t forget for a long time to come is that of the bashful watercock. This dark-coloured forager is a secretive creature and we were truly excited to spot it in a pair as they dug their short beaks in the mud perhaps searching for twigs or even insects to feed their young.
Some species of avian life are exclusive to the Andaman Islands. This means that birding enthusiasts from across the world come here to witness their beautiful creatures and capture them in their pictures. We were truly fortunate to be able to photograph some of Andaman’s native avian life forms. Among the endemic birds we spotted in our bird photography workshop include the Andaman serpent eagle, ruddy-breasted crake, Andaman scops owl, Andaman drongo, Andaman coucal, Andaman woodpecker, Freckle-breasted woodpecker, Andaman shama, Andaman treepie, Andaman flowerpecker, Andaman white-headed starling, Andaman bulbul and the Bar-bellied cuckoo shrike. All of these gorgeous creatures exquisitely call the Andamans their home and can be found nowhere else in the world.
The Andaman Islands are also extremely rewarding in terms of landscape photography. The clear blue skies are vividly reflected in the depth of the clear sea. Palm-fringed beaches, pearly-white sands and lush tropical forests all blend with a far-flung horizon to make for truly memorable photographic shots; each one worthy of being a desktop wallpaper. Warm golden sunrises and deep pink sunsets are moments that will hold you captive with wonder at nature’s beauty.
With a deep sigh we bid farewell to the scenic Andamans and eagerly await our next photography workshop here soon. Till then, happy clicking!