2023 Edition

Kallol Mukherjee

Falling Leaves are Blue, 2018

Himalaya, India

Category - Into the forest

Category Winner
Falling Leaves are Blue, 2018

This snowstorm was captured in the Himalayas at an altitude of 4,267 meters. A flock of Grandala birds (Grandala coelicolor) fills the landscape although this species usually lives well above 4,572 meters. Grandalas can descend to 2,400 meters when the upper Himalayas are completely covered with snow and there is not enough food left. In the lower areas, they find their primary source of food, the fruit called buckthorn. These rare birds’ synchronised flight, or ‘murmuration’, is always a treat for the eyes. They fly this way to protect themselves from their main predators: golden eagles, buzzards and other raptors in those higher Himalayan regions. Their safety and existence depend on this symmetrical dance. At regular intervals these birds, resembling sets of blue leaves, swirl through the snow-capped mountains and jungles of the Himalayas.

300 mm f/4 Lens - 1/800 sec at f/5 ISO 2000