Bird personalities vary from species to species and are always fascinating to observe. After years of work in the domain, hobby photographer Ramthansiama Chawngthu who is a banker by the day, took to Instagram to chronicle the rekindling of his appreciation and passion for birds. Bird watching is a rare hobby and one that requires boundless patience. There is also the intellectual challenge of trying to figure out what their orders or families are and recognizing them.
“It’s not just passively sitting there and having a beautiful image thrown at you. You have to work at it,” said Chawngthu in a brief chat with the Roots & Leisure team.
Tell us a bit about your work.
I’m Ramthansiama Chawngthu from Aizawl, Mizoram. I work as a banker by the day and pursue nature photography as a hobbyist. I have a deep passion for bird watching and travel intensively across the northeastern India to shoot birds. Most of my photos, however, are shot on the outskirts of the city of Aizawl. I have found some really rare birds in the parks, farms, hills, and rivers right around the city.
- Do you see a lot of migratory birds flying through Mizoram?
Mizoram is the only state in the peninsula that has a variety of magnificent lakes. The state has both valley and landslide lakes, among other artificial reservoirs making Mizoram a mega biodiversity hotspot. These lakes serve as breeding grounds for several migratory birds. It is believed that there are more than 400 species of birds in Mizoram.
“This seasonal phenomenon has cast a spell on the state’s tourists, who visit the lakes during the winter season. Lakes like Rengil, Tamdil, and Mampui are hotspots for tourists that are looking for rare migratory birds.”
What do you think is the innate appeal of bird watching as a hobby?
Well, it does require a lot of patience but the rewards are worth it. Apart from the intellectual challenge of trying to figure out what their orders or families are and recognizing them, it is also physically strenuous. It’s not just passively sitting there and having a beautiful image thrown at you. You have to work at it. Birds as most loved by the man compared to other creatures in the ecology. But when an ecological imbalance causes avian overpopulation leading to hazardous attacks on farmers’ fields, then the same lovers can turn to poachers. That is very unfortunate.
What places must tourists interested in bird-watching visit in Mizoram?
I’d recommend Hmuifang Tlang, Reiek, Darlawn, Buhchangphai, and Serlui-B. These are good and safe destinations for bird watchers.
That’s a great feed you have on Instagram! When did you decide to post your work there and why?
All of those birds are shot in Mizoram. As a photographer, I began shooting birds as a hobby many years ago. Hence, I have built a huge repository of information that can help bird watchers visiting Mizoram. That’s the reason why I started posting my work on Instagram.
“I also aim to invigorate the hobby of bird watching within young minds who follow my work. It’s a rewarding hobby that can help them engage with nature around them.”
Do you use any specific equipment for bird watching?
My favorite gear is a Nikon D7200 and a Nikkor 200-500mm f5.6 lens. I never step out for work without wearing some camoflouging clothing.
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