Nameri has a number of different opportunities to shoot. It has dense pristine forest, small scrubby patch and a wonderful river bed. This river bed holds some very nice opportunity to shoot one of the very beautiful birds found in India - Ibisbill. The second day morning was mostly dedicated for the ibisbills which are normally found only while rafting.
The rafting starts almost 14km upstream and the total duration would be around two and a half hours. The currents are not very strong except at couple of places rest of the waters is quite calm. A bit care is indeed required to protect the camera gear from becoming wet but it is manageable.
The landscape of the region is very picturesque. The morning was bit cloudy which had dual effect on our photography. For certain type of images it helped and for some other it didn't. There were two people who were guiding the raft and one of them was a local expert on birds. He was very good in locating the birds in the highly camouflaged environment and identifying them.
The river bed was a calm and quite place and no wonder why the bird density was so healthy. There were large cormorants, river terns, Stone Plovers, river lapwings, king fishers, brahminy ducks, mergansers and of course the ibisbill.
River terns were having a nice morning fishing so as the pied king fishers. Photographing through the raft is quite a difficult task especially if you are using a fixed focal length lens. Zooms are perfectly suited for this condition where you will never know from where the bird approaches you.
After covering about half a kilometer our guide pointed towards a group of stones are called one of them as - Ibisbill!! I was baffled! I checked 3 - 4 times to see the characteristic long red bill of the bird but failed. I started doubting his spotting capacity.
But he was right. There WAS an ibisbill among the wet rocks which was so well camouflaged in between the rocks that for any first timer it was almost impossible to spot them. The difficulty manifolds because of the movement of the raft as well. At the second look I was able to spot the bird and spent next few minutes to help my other two team mates to spot the bird. I was very much impressed by the spotting ability of the guide and thanked him.
We spotted few more ibisbills just after that and one gave us a good opportunity to make some images of the beauty.
They are very beautiful birds and at the same time they are very shy and sensitive too. A bit of disturbance and they are gone...After that very less chances that you will be able to see them again on the downstream.
Not only ibisbill gave good company to us but also couple of huge flocks of great cormorants and couple of pied king fishers well.
We finally saw the mergansers from a bit closer than the last evening. For our luck one flew quite close.
The riverbed offered us some more interesting opportunities. As we moved along we saw a huge monitor lizard just entering a hole on the bank. As we moved further we were able to see only a part of its head stretched out.
Then we came across a barking deer (Muntjac) on the bank of the river. On the white rock the deer was looking amazing. Whatever mammal you get on those white stones is a bonus.
The experience of the rafting was simply amazing. Even though it doesnot come anywhere near to the actual white water rafting, but as this was added with photographic opportunity this was a unique and nice experience for all of us.
We were back on the ground by 10:00AM. Headed straight to the eco camp and started packing our stuffs.
A visit to the pigmy hog conservation camp was pending in the last. We completed that one as well just before the lunch.
By the time we started back to Guwahati it was 2:30PM and my mind was still hearing the voice from within which said - 'One and a half days are no where enough for this wonderland called NAMERI'.