One of the features of a civilized man is that he has hobbies, serious hobbies. From time immemorial man has invented and developed various hobbies ranging from stamp collection to feather collection. Though man has been a social animal for a long time, the primeval instinct in his has not died. We yearn and long to be close to nature. There are a few hobbies that give us an opportunity to do so. One such hobby is bird-watching.
It might seem simple to read the word and guess that it is very easy to watch the birds. But it is not what it seems. It needs a lot of dedication, determination and consistency to master ‘the art of bird-watching.’ It takes years of patience and perseverance to be a good birdwatcher.
What you choose as your hobby is not as important as to what hobby chooses you. You have to be the chosen one. Dr. Pankaj Maheria, a Professor at GMERS Medical College, Valsad (South Gujarat) is one such Chosen One. Birds have chosen him as a medium between their world and ours. He began birding in the year 2004 and he never knew where it would lead him. He fell head over heels in love with the birds and eventually emerged as a very dedicated birder and photographer. Though he did his Masters in human anatomy, he is equally interested in anatomy of the birds. He is a bird lover in real sense. He can identify variety of birds at a glance. Spending many years on the field has made him very alert and observant. He has seen 400+ bird species in Gujarat state. He loves all birds but his interest lies especially in small bush-birds like warblers and wren babblers.
Like any other hobby, birding also needs a lot of patience, dedication and above all support from your family. In addition, if your life partner enjoys the same hobby as yours, there’s nothing more brilliant and beautiful in life. Pankaj is one such lucky person. His better half, Viral Patel, is also a good birdwatcher. They both fell in love with each other and then together, they fell in love with the birds. Viral also started birdwatching in the year 2004. She is a nest-wife (why not!) by profession and field partner to Pankaj. She is a post-graduate in English literature and graduate in Education. She also loves to capture the birds she has mastered another (and very difficult) skill. She records bird calls on field. She can identify many birds just by listening to the call.
Like any other hobby, birding also needs a lot of patience, dedication and above all support from your family. And if your life partner enjoys the same hobby as yours, there’s nothing more brilliant and beautiful in life. Pankaj is one such lucky person. His better half, Viral Patel, is also a good birdwatcher. They both fell in love with each other and then together, they fell in love with the birds. Viral also started birdwatching in the year 2004. She is a nest-wife (why not!) by profession and field partner to Pankaj. She is a post-graduate in English literature and graduate in Education. She also loves to capture the birds she has mastered another (and very difficult) skill. She records bird behaviour and calls on field. She can identify many birds just by listening to the call.
Birding led them to photography as photography is a very powerful medium to capture and record the birds. They set off with a simple Canon point and shoot in the year 2012 and then shifted to Nikon dslr. Currently, they uses Nikon d7100 with Nikkor 300mm f/4 lens combined with 1.4x converter. They also owns a Nikkor 105mm micro lens which he uses to capture smaller objects like butterflies. Their photography took them to next level as their images began to feature in many national and international books and magazines.
Their images were selected by the World Wide Fund to be used as flash card. Hong Kong Birdwatching Society also honored him by using his images. An Educational booklet published by Luyanghu Salt Ponds, Shaanxi Province, China also contains his images. Carol Inskipp, a very well-known name in the field of Birdwatching, also included his image in the field guide ‘Birds of Nepal’. Their images also selected in the book Guidebook to the Birds of Ikhnart Nature Reserve in Mongolia. Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore has also displayed his images. Their images also used in Birds of Shrilanka by Gehan de Silva and Waders of India by Harkit Sangha.
Their contribution to www.orientalbirdimages.com is very profound and useful. He regularly updates the images of various birds on the website which proves to be very useful for other birders. The website accepts images after much scrutiny and his 2600+ images have been selected. This proves his talent as a photographer. Check out his photos at: http://orientalbirdimages.org/photographers.php?action=birder&Birder_ID=1312 and http://orientalbirdimages.org/photographers.php?action=birder&Birder_ID=1608
Though they are an excellent photographes, They call themself a birder first. They strictly follows ethics of birding and also asks others to do so. They love birds. When he is not his class teaching anatomy to the students, he is on the field studying and learning anatomy of his feathered friends.
Viral and Pankaj were blessed with a baby girl in the year 2008 (She is a fledgling now :D). They named her Geet, the song of their love and perhaps their love for the birds. They have passed their legacy to her. Because of spending long hours in the field with parents, she also developed interest in birds. Compared to the other kids of her age, she knows a lot of things about birds and can identify many birds instantly. She is a birder in making.
This family is a ‘Terrific Trio!’
This website is to tell you about our trips, our stories and explorations in the wild and eventually to inspire you to pack your bags and lose yourself in the mysteries of nature. Escape the boredom of your life, smoky and noisy city life and enjoy the serenity of wild.
We believe that to observe is to conserve. Our all efforts intend to make your aware about the natural world around you. Once you’ll know its importance, you’ll know how important it is to save it. This trips or photographs are not just medium of relaxation to us but it is our passion.
We have visited many national parks and sanctuaries of Gujarat. Our deepest desire is to visit all of them again and again. Among all the parks and sanctuaries, Vansada National Park, Little Runn of Kutch and Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary are our favourite.
Our dream is to see all the woodpeckers of India and even of the world.
And we want you with us in this journey.
Believe us; it’s going to be a tremendous one J