There is an interesting story behind the Long-tailed Broadbill and the Toehold trips to Sattal. On my first trip in 2014, we saw some very nice images clicked by Rahul & Amar of this beautiful bird at Sattal. They had come in a day earlier from Corbett and decided to stop by at Sattal before reaching Pangot where our tour would commence. And boy, did they get lucky – the Broadbill in the open near the stream. And since we had no such luck when we finally reached Sattal in May ’14 there was a lot of murmur that the two of them and the Broadbill had a deal of sorts. So on the build-up to this trip, this bird was high on everyone’s agenda.
Our naturalist / guide, Hari Lama, had spotted the area of the nest. The only issue was that we needed to climb about 50m up a steep and tricky slope to give ourselves a chance of spotting him. There were 3 of us who were upto the task – so off we went with Lama leading the way. Tricky was an understatement – we had to gingerly shuffle our way up the slope, set up our tripods very carefully so that it would be stable on a fairly steep incline and wait.
And just when we were wondering if this had been a futile effort, a pair of Broadbills made their appearance on the tree in front of us. There were several problems though – they were at quite a distance from us, the canopy was quite dense light was low, focussing on them was proving to be a problem as there were too many competing elements and the birds were hopping about and were hardly in the same spot for any decent period of time.
I decided that I would add on the teleconverter to improve the reach of the lens, close down the aperture to f/9 to get some depth of field to negate focussing issue and push up the ISO to 1600 in order to get a usable shutter-speed. Not the best of images I have made but worth every second of the 2-hours we spent on this endeavour.
Nikon D7100 | 600 f/4 | f/9 | 1.4 TC II | ISO 1600 | EV -1/3 | 1/320 | noise reduced using Neat Image