Archive for July, 2007

31
Jul
07

Flying the good times !!!

PiedKingfishers

Hebbal Lake is an excellent place to see the kingfishers. On Sunday, we saw quite a few White Throated Kingfishers, four Small Blue Kingfishers and a couple of Pied Kingfishers

PiedKingfisher1 SmallBlueKingfisher

PiedKingfisher WhiteThroatedKingfisher

3KF

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30
Jul
07

Manchinbele II

IndianSilverbills

Our second visit to Machinbele a couple of weeks back was as good as the first. Along with most of the birds sighted on our last visit, we had some really interesting sightings this time. The lifers were

  • Pied Crested Cuckoo, we saw quite a few of them throughout the drive
  • Indian Silverbills (White Throated Munia), there were so many of them that it is surprising we did not see them last time
  • Blue faced Malkoha. This bird is so elusive that it is impossible to view it for more than a few seconds before it flutters around and completely goes out of sight. We managed to get a poor record shot though.

IndianSilverbill3 IndianSilverbill2

Other noteworthy sightings included the Scaly Breasted Munia, Tawny Bellied Babbler, Rufous Treepie, the Long-tailed Shrike, White-browed Bulbul, Brahminy Starling, Pied Bushchat and a juvenile Coppersmith Barbet. The Indian Roller could also be seen often but it maintained a safe distance from us prohibiting any chances of getting a good picture. There were also many many butterflies which are always a pleasure to watch.

PiedBushchat1 BrahminyStarling
MB-Butterfly RockAgama
MB-Butterfly1
15
Jul
07

Kabini River Lodge

Kabini River Lodge

ElephantsOfKabini

After excellent birding sessions on the lakes of Mysore, we started on our drive towards Kabini. We had been wanting to go to Kabini since a long time but never got a booking there. Now that the monsoons are here and the huge elephant congregations are over, we got booking for a day on June 30th.

The drive from Mysore to Kabini on Mananthvadi road itself yielded excellent sightings of a Black Shouldered Kite, a few Indian Rollers, Spotted Doves, Bee-Eaters and Bulbuls perched on the wires running along the road. The road was in good condition besides the last 15 kms, which was pretty bad. We did see a mongoose run across the road from a distance on entering the park.

KabiniRiverLodge-JLR KabiniRiverLodge-JLR2

When we reached the reception of JLR we met with the disappointing news that the forests had been closed just from that day. We had not known this during the time of our booking but had read in the newspapers later about it. However, we had presumed that the closure was from 1st of July so had been hopeful that we will be able to manage one safari inside the forest. It seems that this is the first time in Karnataka that the forests are being closed in the monsoons. We were informed that we would be taken on a “boat” safari which would take us to the river banks inside the forest and a “jeep” safari the next day along the main roads outside the forests.

As compared to other JLR properties we have been to, the Kabini River Lodge seemed much more luxurious and sophisticated. There was a fridge and coffee maker in the room, even the bathroom had a bath tub!! The setup seemed to be targetted at attracting international tourists. Maybe they could have some rooms at a less expensive rate and keep away the additional frills.

KabiniView SpiderWeb

The boat safari initially seemed nothing more than an oridinary boat ride but as we moved towards the forest, the scenery around us was breath-taking. Dense green forests on all sides with us in the middle of the river gave a totally different perspective from being inside the forest on a jeep. As we moved inside, there were a many bare trees on the river with their branches jutting above the surface of the water. And on top of most of the branches, there were beautiful birds. A tree with around 7-8 branches and a single Painted Stork on each branch made an awesome sight. It seemed almost like a painting. Another tree had many Lesser Whistling ducks (lifer). There were many small islands full of birds, one with White Ibis, another with Painted Storks, a third one with many Egrets.

PaintedStorksOnATree PaintedStorkInFlight

On moving slightly ahead, we had the beautiful “Osprey” in full view. After a few minutes, the Grey Headed Fish Eagle was seen perched on the branch of a tree along the shore. We were soaking in the these raptor sightings when a herd of 10 elephants was seen grazing on the banks of the river. The boat moved closer to the bank for a better view. The naturalist told us that there had been no elephant sightings for the last two safaris. Going to Kabini and not seeing an elephant would have been sad indeed. On the way back, we also saw a couple of wild boars and a herd of spotted deer at a distance. Even though our expectations from the boat safari had not been too high, we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Osprey WhiteIbis

The next mornings Jeep safari was on the main road, the one we had taken to reach Kabini. We spotted the Booted Eagle (lifer), Crested Serpant Eagle, Peafowls (without the dance), a few Flamebacks and the Grey Junglefowl. An interesting incident happened though. A herd of elephants could be seen behind the bamboo thicket and all the jeeps were watching it. It seemed that the herd wanted to cross the road so the four jeeps moved back to make way for the elephants. We all were waiting for the elephants to cross the road, but they probably were scared. After a long patient wait, a single elephant came out from the thicket and ran over to the other side (he seemed nervous). After a few moments, an extremely cute young calf followed by its mother also crossed the road. It was amazing to see them so close. This incident gave the sense of adventure which we had missed because of not being able to enter the forest. It was probably the high point of the trip to Kabini.

CrissCross ElephantAtKabini

After we checked out from JLR, we decided to go on our own “Car” safari along the same road. For a longish time in the slowly moving car, we could not sight a single bird. We then decided to just stop at one place and wait for some time. Immediately, a White Bellied Drongo came into view, followed by two Flameback Woodpeckers (one after another) on a tree. Then there was a Streaked Woodpecker (lifer) on the ground with a Oriental Magpie Robin and it then hopped its way up on a tree. A group of Jungle Babblers were seen playing with each other and we could see three Drongos (White Bellied, Racquet Tailed, Black). A movement in the branches on the opposite side of the road showed us a beautiful Rufous Treepie (another lifer). This 15 minute halt yeilded us more bird sightings than we had on any of the safaris :)

Rufous-Treepie-(recordshot) LongTailedShrike1

The treat was not over yet. On the road from Kabini to Mysore, we got the much awaited sighting of two Long-tailed Shrikes. We spent some 15 minutes with them before moving ahead. Some more BSKs and Rollers could be seen along Mysore road. We took a 20 minute diversion into Ramnagaram and said hello to the Long-Billed Vulture there. As a bonus, we got to see an Egyption vulture perched a short distance away from the LBV which took off in a few minutes.

A wonderful weekend came to an end. The beautiful sceneries, the excitement of spotting so many birds and the amazing time we had will keep the memories of this trip fresh for a very long time.

Common-Peirrot Flower-@-Kabini-River-Lodge

 

Bird List:

  • Hoopoe
  • Ashy Prinia
  • RV/RW Bulbul
  • House Sparrow
  • Spotted Dove
  • Booted Eagle
  • Crested Serpent Eagle
  • Peafowl
  • Junglefowl
  • Flameback Woodpecker
  • Babbler
  • Greater Coucal
  • WB Kingfisher
  • Laughing Dove
  • Streaked Woodpecker
  • White Bellied Drongo
  • Racquet Tailed Drongo
  • Black Drongo
  • Rufous Treepie
  • Oriental Magpie Robin
  • Long tailed Shrike
  • Indian Roller
  • Black Shouldered Kite
  • Long-billed Vulture
  • Egyptian Vulture
  • Brainfever Bird (Call)

 

KabiniLandscape

 


 

08
Jul
07

Lakes of Mysore

Lakes of Mysore.

LingambudhiPanoramaOptimize

We had read a lot about the beautiful lakes of Mysore. Thus we decided to halt overnight at Mysore, enroute Kabini to check out the birding scene. Very heavy showers in the morning seemed to jeopardise our plan, but after some deliberation we decided to go ahead.

Kukkarahalli lake was very close to where we were put up. When we entered the lake area, there was just one word to describe the scenery.. WOW. In single view frame there were Little Grebes, Purple Moorehens, Cormorants, Herons, Spot billed Ducks, Brahminy kites; even the Small Blue KF perched reasonably close to us. From a vantage point we looked around taking in all the activity around us. A Brahminy Kite was hovering over the lake (looking for its prey), it glided down close to the surface, one dip inside the water and up it came with a largish fish in its claws, and it made its way to the wilderness around the lake. There were other Brahminy kites also hovering around, not all were successful at fishing. There were some juvenile Brahminy Kites too (which we initially mis-identified as some Fish Eagle)

SpotBilledPelicans OrientalDarter

There is a 4km walking/jogging path around the lake. The wilderness around the path enhanced the spectacular beauty of the place. Despite the rain, we decided to walk along the path; our equipment well protected under our jackets and an umbrella. The rain stopped after we walked a few hundred meters and weather cleared up beautifully. So much that there was sunlight, albeit momentarily. The Ashy Prinia could be seen and heard almost every few steps, we also sighted the larks, sunbirds and the babblers. There were hundreds of painted storks, cormorants in their typical wing drying poses, many white ibis in flight and in water, number of kingfishers and some spot billed pellicans in clear view. At one time, we also saw a mongoose scurry past below the bund and hide into a thicket of grass.

SpotBilledDucks WhiteIbisFlight

There could have definitely been many more birds that we might have missed, but surely the lake is a treat to any bird-watcher. Even though there were not many lifers, the sheer variety of birds in one place made it a unique experience. As a souvenir, we got back a feather shed by a Brahminy Kite.

After checking out of the hotel, we made a short visit to Lingambudhi lake. Not sure if the place we reached (after asking atleast a dozen people) was actually Lingambudhi or not, but it was surely beautiful. There seemed to be channels of water instead of one single lake with many aquatic birds in each channel. The highlight was a Egyptian Vulture (juvenile) on the ground and it took off in a few minutes. With not even a single human soul around us, the beauty was all for us to enjoy.

KukkarahalliLake2 KukkarahalliLake1

 

Bird List:

  • Rose Ringed Parakeet
  • Purple Moorhen
  • Little Grebe
  • Spot Billed Duck
  • Brahminy Kite
  • Small Blue Kingfisher
  • WT Kingfisher
  • Grey Heron
  • Purple Heron
  • Cormonant (Small/Large)
  • Black Headed Ibis
  • Darter
  • Spotted Dove
  • Ashy Prinia
  • Greater Coucal
  • RW Bulbul
  • Painted Stork
  • Pelican
  • Great Tit
  • Yellow Eyed Babbler
  • Jerdon’s Bushlark
  • Purple Rumped Sunbird
  • Night Heron
  • Pied Wagtail
  • Magpie Robin
  • White Breasted Waterhen
  • Common Coot
  • Red Wattled Lapwing
  • Egyptian Vulture
  • Egrets
  • Black Drongo
  • Indian Robin

 

LingambudhiLake

 


 

03
Jul
07

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

RanganathittuLandscape

During the weekend of June 30, we made a trip to Kabini River Lodge halting in Mysore for a day. We left on Friday afternoon itself, taking half a day off from work.

We reached Ranganathithu Bird Sanctuary by early evening, hoping to catch some bird activity there. It was raining most of the time but luckily during our boat ride the rains had stopped. The density of birds this time wasn’t as much as the last time we had been here in March [view]. The Spoonbills and the River Terns have returned back and the White Ibis have migrated into the bird sanctuary now. The resident birds included the Painted Storks, Openbills, Herons and Darters.

PaintedStorkJuvenile NightHeron

We saw a young crocodile resting on one of the rocks. The boatman Raju took us so close to it that it was hardly a few feet away from us. The thought that it could suddenly spring up and jump at us was pretty scary. We managed to get a few close-up photographs of it.

After the boat ride, we were hoping to see the birds we had seen in the gardens during last time. With the rains though, they were hardly visible. We just caught glimpses of a few of them. On the way back, the clouds and the evening light made the landscape very picturesque.

CrocodilePortrait Crocodile

Finally with dusk setting in, we continued on our journey towards Mysore.

Bird List (in order of sighting)

  • WT Kingfisher
  • RW Bulbul
  • Ashy Prinia
  • WC Barbet
  • Openbill Stork
  • Painted Stork
  • Purple Heron
  • Night Heron
  • Pond Heron
  • Darter
  • Black Headed Ibis
  • Pale Billed Flowerpecker
  • Pied Wagtail
  • Magpie Robin
  • Tailor Bird
  • Purple Rumped Sunbird
  • Red Rumped Swallow
  • White Breasted Waterhen

ButterflyAtRanganathittu Hibiscus-Flower