Not sure if many people have heard about Victoria park, so let me start with some introduction of Victoria park.
The reserved forest (Victoria park) is situated 3 km south of Bhavnagar City, Gujarat State, India. The hot, dry climate supports scrubby and thorny vegetation. It has variety of bird life and is also home of animals like Neel Gai (Blue bull), fox, hynea, porcupine. Just next to the park there is a small reservoir (Gaurishankar lake) where plenty of water birds can be found.
I have spent my entire child hood and part of my adult hood in Bhavnagar and this was one place which I never missed a chance to visit. Even now when I am no longer residing in Bhavnagar and have moved out of Gujarat, when ever I get chance to visit Bhavnagar a trip to Victoria Park is first on my list. I had been to Bhavnagar this year in January 2010 and had made couple of trips to Victoria park with my friend Kalpesh and of course my Nikon D40 camera. Having acquired a new 55-200mm lens few days before the trip I was rearing to try out some bird photography and capture commonly seen birds and mammals in the park.
Trip 1 (Jan 12, 2010)
Started off early in the morning at around 6.30 AM, and headed to the lake. The first look of the lake really disappointed me as major part of the lake was dry. We went down and walked some distance to reach the water and finally we were greeted with a lovely sight of birds of different kind. Pelicans, Painted stork, Black winged stilt, River tern, Shoveller, Darter are few to mention. I was able to capture few of them, though the light was not ideal and would have loved to have little more reach with the lens. Of course this was my first attempt to picture birds and I am no expert. Here are few shots:
Black winged stilt
| Spotted bill pelicans in flight|
| Darter/ Snake bird|
|Red vented bulbul||Magpie robin|
|Tailor bird||Green bee eater|
|Peacock||Ring necked dove|
|Sunbird - female|
Trip 2 (Jan 13, 2010)
Today we decided to head straight to the park. Started at around 6.45 AM and this time got in from the front gate of the park. We quickly left the park's main path and went inside the scrub forest expecting to see more birds and if lucky a neelgai. It was a beautiful winter morning and we witnessed beautiful sunrise.
After roaming around for a while without much luck, we got on the main path of the park and suddenly we saw a male nilgai crossing the path. We stood still as it stopped and stared at us. I had my camera ready and quickly took couple of snaps. After this we were lucky again to see a female nilgai along with its fawns.
|Male nilgai||Female nilgai|
We also saw a fox scampering around but it was too fast for me to take a shot. Finally we called it a day as sun was climbing up and it was getting hot. When returning back to the main gate we saw few rose-ringed parakeets and a shikra which I happily photographed.
|Shikra||Rose ringed paraket|
It was also last day of my stay in Bhavnagar and I left in the evening. It is was a satisfying experience and felt happy to spend time at a place which I visited so many times during school and college days. Its always good to recall good old memories.