WPY 2011

Photograph Details

Highly commended 2011

Behaviour: Birds

Nilanjan Das, India

Fire flying

'The heat was unbearable,' says Nilanjan, 'and that was from where I stood, some 30 metres [100 feet] away from the fire.' The black drongos, on the other hand, swooped close to the flames, picking off insects fleeing the blaze. The conflagration happened in late February, in Kaziranga National Park, Assam. But it was a deliberate fire lit by the Indian forest department to burn off the elephant grass and encourage new growth, and so Nilanjan had time to position himself with a clear view of the fire. The heat haze played havoc with his camera's auto-focus, but luckily he had switched to manual focus moments before the birds appeared. The drongos hunted for just 10 seconds in front of the wall of flames, seemingly unaffected by the heat, and then vanished.

Technical specification

Nikon D700 + 200-400mm lens at 400mm; 1/2500 sec at f5.6; ISO 800.


Kaziranga National Park, Assam, India: latitude 26.577532, longitude 93.17112 Kaziranga National Park, Assam, India: latitude 26.577532, longitude 93.17112

Kaziranga National Park, Assam, India


Nilanjan Das, India

  • Emerging blackbuck