Himalayan Monal is probably the most colourful of any bird that I have ever seen or heard of. It is adorned with all the colours one can possibly dream or imagine of. The feathers all shades of blues, purples one could possibly think of. The Neck and Mantle a blast of Yellows, orange, reds, again blue and even a tinge of Magenta. It adorns a beautiful blue eye mask and the belly complete black, a stark contrast to the otherwise colourful bird. Not only is this colourful, but also totally iridescent. One must see it when it is lit up by the morning sun. Sparkling like crystals, each colour on the bird changes when it takes a step to the right or left.
The habitat of this bird is equally majestic. In summers and rains, the bugyals or the alpine pastures is its home. Breeding and feeding on these several thousand square kilometres of grassy slopes, it’s a wonder to behold. When snow falls it descend downs to between 2800 to 3000 Meters, and stays most of the time, hidden in the dense oak and Rhododendron forests. It is when it comes to this altitude that most birders and Photographers make an attempt to capture this beauty.
For me however, I prefer to shoot it when it is in the higher reaches of the Himalayas. If one is able to trek to higher altitudes, there is no place like the Bugyals to shoot this bird in all its glory. The habitats are immensely vast and to find a bird in such a setting is a challenge that may be daunting to some. But it’s the joy of spending time with it for hours and the innumerable frames I am able to make, that drives me to explore its vast habitats.
So today, I share with you, some habitat shots that I have been fortunate enough to make of this bird in the bugyals. I thoroughly enjoyed making them, hope you like them too.
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