Dr. Ashok Kolluru is an ardent birder from Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. Read on to find out more about him:
Please tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do and where do you live?
I live in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. I am a Pediatrician and Pediatric Bronchoscopist by profession. After being in practice for nearly four decades I am now slowly transitioning into retirement and what better than birding to get into!
When and how did you get interested in birding?
I got interested (more seriously!) in birding only about 4 years ago. It was a natural extension of the many decades of interest in nature, photography, and trekking.
Do you have a favourite bird or birds? Why is it/are they your favourite?
Difficult to choose a favorite bird from over many thousand around! But all colorful birds fascinate me as do those that migrate over thousands of kilometers like the Pacific Golden Plover we see here in Vizag. We can only marvel at nature. I liked the locally rare sighting of the Chestnut-winged Cuckoo….. right in my own backyard!
Where do you enjoy birding the most?
I enjoy birding the most in any scenic place. Fortunate to live in a city like Vizag famous for its natural beauty. We have places like Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary, Kailashgiri hills etc. within the city limits. Also been lucky to have done at least a little birding in 7 countries spread over 5 continents.
Do you have a birding partner or a group you enjoy birding with? How is birding alone different from birding with others?
I enjoy birding with my cousin or with fellow birders of Vizag birding group. We help each other learn more about birds and explore new birding hotspots. Going alone is also a great way to enjoy nature in contemplative solitude.
Anything on the birding bucket list? (Doesn’t have to be a bird, could be a place, witnessing a phenomenon, etc)
I live barely two hours from the relatively less explored Eastern Ghats. Birding and documenting those areas is on my bucket list for the next year, of course depending on the pandemic situation.
Has eBird changed how you bird? How?
Glad to be a tiny contributor to the world’s biggest citizen science project! eBird has taught me the importance of documentation, the significance of bird sounds in identification, etc. And the amount of information that can be mined from eBird to help you learn more is amazing. Wish I’d known about birding and eBird much earlier!
Have you set any birding goals for the coming months?
What is your message for fellow birders?
My advice to fellow birders is to invest in a good pair of binoculars before buying a camera! That way you will begin to “observe” the birds more and learn about their features and behavior rather than ending up with just some pretty portrait shots! Focus on bird sounds and register with eBird. And most importantly to respect Nature.
Header Image: Brown-headed Gull Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus by Ashok Kolluru/ Macaulay Library