Of Dancing flames and Geese

How a photography trip ended as a lesson on what to avoid in farming

I once happened to visit Dighal wetlands, Haryana for Bird Photography. After spending the entire day on-field, it was late when I started to return. Darkness was slowly spreading over the skies as the sun was setting down on the horizon.  Only a few rays were prevailing through the sky, a very pleasant sight to see.

There were small wetlands on the left side of the road. I was settling myself into a peaceful state, feeling the breeze through the car window, when I saw a flock of Bar Headed Geese in a pond within a few meters.  Since it was getting dark, there was no point taking out my camera.  I dropped the idea to photograph, instead thought of scanning this geese habited spot next morning. I assumed that the flock would be still around, and I would be able to click them in the morning light. In the middle of my thoughts, my car took a turn and from a particular angle, I saw the orange shade of clouds reflected exactly on the flock of geese in the wetland.  These type of eye-catching silhouettes are favorite of most of the photographers.

I immediately asked my driver to park the car on the roadside, deciding to click some images from there. But I was unable to get the feeling I was aspiring to have in my image. I soon learnt that in photography angle makes a big difference, and decided to get myself to the level of the geese in the wetland, quickly implementing the thought with action.

Happy with the outcome, I suddenly noticed some activity in the background of where the geese were present with my camera’s view-finder. No sooner had  I tried to look up and make out the disturbance, that the field was set ablaze on the other side of the pond by some farmers, who soon became invisible as the flames and smoke reached heights.


Geese and the fire

Geese and the fire


This sudden change got the geese uneasy too. They started giving out calls of turmoil and got alert and panicked. I was completely blank and could not understand what to do in such a situation. But quickly I realized that this perspective must be documented. I struggled with my camera lenses, pushing up the ISO and clicking as much as I could since it was getting very dark. In no time the dry field caught fire on a large scale and the geese flew away suddenly, disappearing into the horizon. This pond was in complete solitude now.

If we analyze this incident, it verily draws our attention to the bird’s migration habits. The Bar Headed Geese are known for their awe-inspiring capacity to fly over clouds and cross the seas during migration. They come to India for the winters. Their main food comprises of paddy from fields, like the ones which went up in flames.  They prefer wetlands which are near the fields. And here I see examples of their food source is almost destroyed in the fire I witnessed. We never know if they ever return to this wetland again or look for better promising places.

I have a slight idea about farming. For the purpose of cleaning the field completely, in a gap of two crop harvestings, villagers burn the left outs as a common practice.

But when we are already facing the adverse effect of climate change on migration, this kind of scenario also play a vital role, in my humble opinion. In few more subsequent disturbances similar to the one I witnessed, these birds may never turn up here ever. I was sad to realize this as well as happy that I stopped by that evening and could document this.

Next day, these birds would not be here I guessed and to confirm, I visited the place in the morning, noon and evening but they were not to be seen.

Bar Headed Geese are famous for their regular visiting spots at a particular time.  As they were here last evening, they had to be here next day generally and at the same time, too. But Alas…




Read also: Camouflage – The Art of survival in the wilderness 

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About the Author /

I am a 30 years old lady bird photographer and bird watcher based in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. By profession, I am a Deputy Section Officer in the Department of Industries & Mines, Gujarat Secretariat. Birds and their behaviour have always fascinated me since childhood. Later Birdwatching resulted in photographing them. I have been photographing birds in various parts of India since past 5 years from now. Gujarat Kala Pratishthan and Lalit Kala Academy have awarded me “ THE KALA RATNA “ for my contribution to wildlife photography. Prestigious magazine “Gruhshobha” has featured me as one of the GOLDEN GIRLS of Gujarat. I have been participating and presenting Gujarat in wildlife section, especially birds, in national bird festivals. My interviews and articles have frequently been published in local newspapers and national magazines. Though there are very few woman bird photographers among us, I prefer to work hard and put my all efforts to raise myself above gender bias. “PHOTOGRAPHY IS A MEDITATION FOR ME”


  • Krinal jani

    April 17, 2018

    Thank you so much team Seavus

    • SAEVUS

      April 17, 2018


      • Haseeb Shaukh

        May 7, 2018

        Spell bounding write up

        • Krinal jani

          May 11, 2018

          Thnka you

      • Jigar Vora

        January 10, 2020

        Fabulous Article Krinal !!!

        • Krinal jani

          April 27, 2020

          Thanks Jigar

  • Goutam Mitra

    April 17, 2018

    Awesome write up. Enjoyed every bit of inormation

    • Krinal jani

      April 24, 2018

      Thank you sir !

  • Pranav

    April 19, 2018


    • Krinal jani

      April 24, 2018

      Thank you !

  • Subir Ghosh

    April 20, 2018

    Very nice and to the point writeup and photo.

    • Krinal jani

      April 24, 2018

      Thank you !

  • Anurag Sharma

    April 23, 2018

    Lucid and informative Krinal..keep up the good work.

  • Krinal

    April 24, 2018

    Thanks a lot


    September 25, 2018

    Superb article

  • Krinal jani

    April 27, 2020

    Thanks a bunch

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