We were on a morning safari into the Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary in Nagarhole national park. We had quite a few sightings on the drive; a Peacock courtship dance, a Crested Hawk Eagle on the ground and a Malabar Trogon. It was one of the first times that we had spotted the Malabar Trogon in Kabini Backwaters and we instinctively knew that this safari was building up to something special. Suddenly we heard the alarm call of a Grey Junglefowl and stopped the jeep to see if we could spot the cause of the call.

In spite of our best efforts we could not spot anything and the driver started the jeep to continue with our safari. Just then we spotted a Crested Hawk Eagle snoop down and catch a flying bird in mid air! After catching the bird, it came close to the jeep and perched on a branch that was at eye level to us. It was simply spectacular to see this raptor pick out a flying prey in mid-air. But it all happened so fast that we could not capture that very moment on camera. However, we were glad that the raptor chose to perch on a branch close to the jeep. We thanked our lucky stars, requested the driver to switch off the jeep engine and started clicking away in a frenzy. We knew that the Crested Hawk Eagle was just catching its breath before taking off once again to the comfort of the thick canopy to enjoy its catch.

In the three minutes that it gave us, we photographed it to our heart’s fill. On our return to the camp and on closer examination, we noticed that the prey was a juvenile Plum-headed Parakeet. We were sorry for the Parakeet, but this is the way of life in the wilderness and we were thankful to have caught it on camera.