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This image was made in Pune, Maharashtra. Winter is quite a busy time for any bird photographer in India with the arrival of many migrant species in huge numbers. This small sized migrant (18cm i.e.; 3cm bigger than the House Sparrow) which is an aerial insect catcher, I captured in the month of December after completing my work on migrating ducks & geese at a lake in Pune. I observed these swallows perching in the afternoon tired after laps of flying in search of insects on twigs, on islands not often visited by humans. On that day I decided to visit the lake in the afternoon specially for shooting these swallows in action. I approached one perched sub-adult (not fully grown) barn swallow through murky black water. Some villagers gathered in increasing numbers of 2-10 and were observing my moves from a distance. I could see them gather but was not interested in the reason of the gathering as I was far more into approaching the bird without disturbing it. As I reached the safe distance of maintaining a close proximity with the bird for the photograph & started exposing through my lens & camera, few children amongst the gathered villagers shouted in Marathi, “Magar ahe panyat, baher ye!”, which means “There is a crocodile in the water, come out! “. These kids always used to make fun of photographers visiting the lake of their village & throw unnecessary tantrums at them all the time. Hence, I thought of them to be doing the same to me & did not pay attention. Finally I got this desired take-off shot of the swallow when I was chest-deep in water through which I couldn’t even see my own half submerged t-shirt. I turned my back to the bird & slowly walked back to the island where the villagers were present. As soon as I stepped on to the land, all the villagers surrounded me & asked me to show them the photo I made. Happily of course, yet curious of them being so interested, I showed them the image. After few minutes one of them who had this totally “awe inspired” look on his face pointed his finger to the water in which a few minutes back I was more than half submerged. To my surprise the children shouting out about the crocodile to me turned out to be true. I saw the crocodile & thought of myself to be extremely lucky whilst learning to be more vigilant the next time I did something like this.

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