Most of the birds I spotted within the reserve's lake were water birds, like Cormorants and Snakebirds. I had a little more luck when it came to shooting these Snakebirds, as they would sit there on their spot quietly and watch us pass by in our boat.
Snakebirds, also known as Darters, are water birds found mainly in the tropics. These birds are usually found in freshwater lakes like these, as well as rivers, swamps and marshes. They are called 'snakebirds' due to their thin and long necks, which resemble snakes, especially when they swim in water with their bodies submerged.
These birds are rather sociable; they usually mix and hunt together with other water birds like Herons and Cormorants. Although they are known to gather in flocks, the ones I spotted here in Periyar were lonesome individuals.
There was another common species of Darter in the reserve, a slightly larger one. However, I could only snap a single shot of the bird, that too a rather mug one. Certainly, my 200mm can't be used for serious birding!
Apart from these Snakebirds, another common bird was the White-Throated Stork (or Wooly-Necked Stork). Despite the fact that they are rather large birds, my photographs didn't turn out too well as the birds seemed rather shy, and flew off when we got close.
An individual flies off as our boat drives closer.
I managed to grab these two shots of the bird in flight, by pure luck!
Sure enough, shooting birds in Periyar was a great experience for me and it enhanced my birding skills. What about the other wild animals in the reserve? Coming up next.