The Indian Skimmers (Rynchops albicollis) are found mostly in the stretches of Chambal River in Rajasthan, UP and few parts in Orissa but visit rest of India in the winters. The stay normally does not last beyond a week or two in Pune. This freshwater species is considered Vulnerable in IUCN red List due to disturbed breeding grounds from human encroachments, sand mining in rivers and dams on the upstream releasing sudden waters when they breed in the river islands. The polluted waters in major rivers is another worry that has dwindled the prey fishes that they depend on.
While I had visited Chambal to see them, I had missed them there but this time they were closer to home and I thought to make the most of it. The pair seen here was mixed with a very large flock of river terns and would be mostly seen its beak tucked in its feathers but would fight it out with every tern that would want to land nearby it.
The fun part was off course to watch them to skim the waters in search of their food that is mainly fish. I found out that they are pretty lazy in the morning flying only when there is a raptor like Marsh Harrier overhead and resting most of the times. So, I visited following days on evening to see if they skim the waters. I was not disappointed though. They become active towards evening and then skim the waters for a pretty longer duration. The only issue was light and waters was good only at eastern side so I have to wait for it to skim there. Rest of the time, I would just enjoy their show and wait for them to arrive where I was expecting them to be.
Equipements : Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 500mm F4, Canon 1.4 TC, Tripod and lots of visits and patience 🙂
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