Each January, Pulicat Lake in Tamil Nadu, India, harbors tens of thousands of lanky, pink-feathered birds that gather in the warm waters during their annual migration. Approximately 20 flocks of flamingos land in the region in early November and stay until May, transforming the 750-square kilometers of brackish lagoons into breeding grounds for the long-legged creatures.
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Photographer Raj Mohan documented these temporary settlements in a series of aerial images that capture the birds’ sprawling, even bizarre formations. The avians dot the landscape, congregate in heart-shaped groups, and align in long, perfect diagonals, seemingly choreographed arrangements visible only from above.
Mohan’s images were taken during what’s known as the annual flamingo festival, which “promote(s) tourism at Pulicat. Several bird photography contests, environment education sensitization programs, school excursions, etc., are organized to increase awareness,” he shares on Peta Pixel. “This attracts a large number of bird watchers and photographers from different places.” In addition to the spectacle they create, the flamingos also help to control the otherwise rampant algae growth in the lake and prevent the need for human intervention.
A corporate photographer by day, Mohan is based in Chennai but currently spending his time in Bangalore. Travel has always been his preferred way of exploring India’s natural diversity, and you can find more of his work on Instagram. For another glimpse of flamingo migration, head to Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula with Claudio Contreras Koob.
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