Murugesh Natesan is an ardent birder from Salem, Tamil Nadu. Read on to find out more about him:
1. Please tell us bit about yourself. What do you do and where do you live?
I am a Geologist by profession, and I work in the oil and gas exploration sector. I live in Salem, Tamil Nadu. I love travelling, trekking and collecting fossils.
2. When and how did you get interested in Birding?
I got interested in birding 6 years back, when my wife was posted in the Nilgiris. Nilgiri Flycatcher, Black-and-Orange Flycatcher, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, White-cheeked Barbet could be seen regularly in our backyard. Seeing those colourful birds for the first time gave me immense happiness. I began observing, photographing and trying to identify them. After that, I bought a pair of binoculars and started birding in the surrounding areas. It was only towards the end of 2014 that I started birding seriously as then I’d started getting more time off from my job.
3. Do you have a favourite bird or birds? Why is it/are they your favourite?
I like flycatchers. I’m especially fond of Indian Paradise Flycatcher, Black-and-Orange flycatcher, and Nilgiri Flycatcher. Malabar Trogon and Emerald Dove are also my favourites. I love their beautiful colours.
4. Where do you enjoy birding the most?
I enjoy birding in the Nilgiris and in Yercaud. However, as part of my daily routine, I enjoy birding in a few open patches and lakes near my home.
5. Do you have a birding partner or a group you enjoy birding with? How is birding alone different from birding with others?
Usually, I go birding alone. I found a few friends with whom I bird, but they work in different places and I cannot go with them on a regular basis. Few months back, we initiated Salem Nature and Wildlife Trust (SNWT) in my city to bring all birders together and to create awareness amongst students and the larger public about bird watching. Now, I have a good team and have been enjoying birding like never before.
My heart fills with joy whether I’m birding alone or in a group. When you are birding alone, you can take your own time in observing, photographing each species which can be difficult to do in a group. In groups, we can share our knowledge and experience; and increase our chances of spotting more species.
6. Anything on the birding bucket List? (Doesn’t have to be a bird, could be a place, witnessing a phenomena, etc)
First, I wish to see all the bird species in my state and then want to visit Mishmi Hills in Arunachal Pradesh for birding.
7. Has eBird changed how you bird? How?
Initially I would only photograph and try to identify the species I was seeing. I didn’t keep any records in writing other than those of rare birds. After attending the Tamil Birders’ Meet 2016 in Thirunelveli, I came to know of the importance of eBird and proper documentation of birds.
eBird has shown me a different world of birding and it encourages me to spend more time in birding and explore new places. It made me want to concentrate on bird calls, habitats and behaviour more often as well.
8. Have you set any birding goals for the coming months?
I want to see and record migratory birds as much as possible in the coming months.
9. What is your message for fellow birders?
Keep birding, document birds regularly and learn to interpret the eBird data. Apart from visiting regular hotspots, try to explore new places in your region.
Try to encourage students and kids to do bird watching.
All photos by: Murugesh Natesan