Lifescapes Gallery

1 / Dec / 2010
The Hovercraft!
Common Kestrel, Kabini
Kiran Poonacha

The Hovercraft!

What would you consider the greatest virtue of a species whose very name conjures up visions of high speed diving attacks? Certainly not motionlessness, but that’s exactly what makes the Kestrel stand apart from all other raptors. If you’ve been to Kabini between October and March, you might have spotted a brown robed, smaller version of the Falcon hanging mid-air almost as if in suspended animation. This optical illusion is achieved by the expedient method of ‘wind-hovering’ above a point on the ground; flying into the wind at a speed equal to that of the head wind. Lest you think otherwise, the Kestrel is also a long haul champion, flying all the way to holiday in Kabini from her distant mountain home in Afghanistan and Bhutan, and sometimes from as far as Europe. So why exactly would an action heroine like her adopt the mien of a Zen monk, and hover contemplatively over a seemingly barren patch of open land? Since we are not blessed with the sophisticated surveillance system she possesses, we can be forgiven for not understanding that patience can also be a form of action. For the Kestrel has chosen her spot well, and her special telescopic vision gives her the ability to spot a small, plump field mouse scurry out of cover, long before we lesser mortals are even aware of any movement. As for the poor mouse, even before he’s aware of his karmic connection with the Kestrel’s dinner table, it’s all over. A sharp dive at high velocity is invariably followed by sharp talons clamping down, and then it’s time to ease off and find a quiet corner to enjoy the repast. To happily misquote Milton, the Kestrel’s flight is a timely reminder that “…they are also served, who only hover and wait.”

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 at 9:45 am and is filed under Birds, Kabini . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
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  5. Ved Prakash T Nagpal says:

    Amazing and wonderful photograph.Piecture deserves appreication from photographic point of view. Thank you

  6. Vinod Kumar VK says:

    Fantastic pic as usual by Kiran Poonacha.. I love reading the write up by you.. its nice!!!!..

  7. kn mohankumar says:

    great picture. it would be nicw if the picture contains info of shooting specs such as focal, shutter and iso.

  8. Sameer R. rao says:

    Kiran, all your images are high class but this one is very special ,the light ,colors and the pose of the beauty are just too good

  9. Kiran Poonacha says:

    Thank you all dear friends and nature lovers for your kind words of encouragement and thanks to Rajesh for the beautiful writeup that adds so well to the images and team Orange County for this wonderful work called Lifescapes.

    • Rajesh Ramaswamy says:

      Thanx so much for the kind words Kiran. Like I keep telling people, all a writer needs is inspiration, and when I have such wonderful photographers to be inspired by , the muse is to be found rather easily. Thanx again:-)

  10. Nikhil Baliga says:

    I simply love your write-ups and your photographs!! Brilliant! Just brilliant!

  11. Vinod Kumar VK says:

    Superb text.. Its a wonderful thing that these raptors come from such far distance.. and as u told, the lightning speed attack is its power to survive.. Thanks for sharing a wonderful write up.. and The Photographer.. no words for him.. He is the best who had shot raptors in action.. Kiran Poonacha.. I’m proud that he is from my lovely tiny district called KODAGU..

    • Rajesh Ramaswamy says:

      Dear Vinod…while I’m unfortunately not rom Kodagu, I’m equally proud of Kiran’s talent, and am honored to write for a set of lensmen who have set new benchmarks in wildlife and cultural photography

  12. Neeta Kiran says:

    What amazing eye contact!!!!!
    A suberb take off shot…..

  13. Devarajan says:


  14. Lovely Devaya says:

    Simply beautiful … thank you 🙂
    Care2 make the world greener!

  15. Kannan .K.V. says:

    Exquisite visual treat and eloquence as well as humour in the commentary.An explosive combination as usaul.
    KEEP IT UP!!!

  16. Diwakaran Nair says:

    Outstanding once again. What a lovely imagery. I can almost read the expression on the raptor’s face:-). And as for the storytelling, it has now reached the level of an art form…moves so smoothly like ‘venna’ and leaves you hungry for more. Fantastic marriage of lensmanship and wordsmithing. Kudos Orange County!

    • Rajesh Ramaswamy says:

      Diwakaran…you’ve been a pillar of strength for us…missed you n the last few editions though:-(
      Thanx again, and like i keep repeating, it’s the support of Lifescapes subscribers that is the oxygen for our efforts:-)

  17. Nirav J Parekh says:

    Bows to you master!!! King of raptors photography

  18. Chetan Sashital says:

    Superb Pro. Patience Pays. What lens and What Camera?

  19. Sanil Shah says:

    Hey Guys,
    Love your photos!!
    I am an amateur photographer myself, and was wondering what Camera/Lens config you’ll are using for these wonderful photographs.

    • Kiran Poonacha says:

      Thanks Sanil, This image was made using Canon MK4 body and a Canon 500mm F4 lens.

      best wishes for your photography.



  20. Ajit K Huilgol says:

    Another beauty from the master of raptor photography!

  21. Anitha Kashyap says:

    very nice picture ! keep it up!

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