Another close encounter

Most birds, actually make that any wild lifeform, are extremely skittish around humans. And with good reason. Come to think of it, we humans should be extremely skittish around ourselves, given how dangerous we are as a species, not just to all the other species around us but to ourselves as well.

Birds like the Tibetan Sandgrouse above, which have been hunted as game-birds in the past, have even more reasons to be nervous around humans. Their nervousness with human presence is quite apparent in the distance that they will let us get near them. I read an old description of this bird by the famous ornithologist, A O Hume, where he has mentioned that they do not let you get closer than a hundred yards. From my experience, I have found that to be more or less accurate.

So, how did I manage to get so close to this one to get an extreme close-up portrait? So close that each individual barb in the feathers can be distinctly seen and the lovely barred patterns on the neck of this male becomes mesmerisingly clear.

I used one of the desert shrubs as a cover (and as a bean-bag for my camera), stayed put and waited for the flock to get closer and closer as they were foraging in the fields.

You can see me in action in the above pic – the flock is in the foreground. A little bit of extra effort (and patience) does raise the quality of the image one comes away with.

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