Dandeli – Birding into the new year

Landscape - Kali 

Having seen wonderful pics from the INW07 meet at Dandeli in Feb 07 (before we started birding), we decided a weeklong birding trip to Dandeli/Kulgi/Ganeshgudi from 25-30 December. We travelled to Dandeli via Kumta and thus did not have our own vehicle.

Ganeshgudi – Hornbill extravaganza

For the first couple of days we stayed at the Hornbill River Resort (6 kms from Ganeshgudi, adjacent to the Bison River Resort). The location is unbelievably beautiful and offers amazing view of the Kali river. The morning views are stunning when the mist from the river creates a magical effect. True to its name, this place offer excellent sightings of the Malabar Pied Hornbill and Malabar Grey Hornbill. Both are seen in abundance within the campus feeding on fruits. Another must-watch here is the Hornbill Crossing – a routine of these majestic birds crossing across the Kali river every evening. Across the river one often can see the Lesser fish eagle and the Black-capped Kingfisher (amongst other birds). These are best seen on a boat/raft ride. Besides birdwatching we also experienced the adrenaline rush of river rafting here, traversing through some 10 rapids (3+ grade) on the Kali River.


Kulgi – Camping in nature’s lap

Kulgi nature camp was our second destination where we camped for 3 nights. This is probably the best place to camp around. The camp is situated in the forest and is a great location for birdwatching. You can see birds practically everywhere (behind the tents, enroute the watch tower, Inspection Bungalow). The best experience we had were with the mixed hunting parties when for 10-15 mins birds of different species are seen in large numbers. Typically this includes Drongos, Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Starlings, Babblers amongst others. In addition to these we had good sightings of Woodpeckers (Greater-flameback and Yellow Crowned Pygmy) and our favourite – Asian Paradise Flycatcher right behind our tent. The forest department offers jungle safari here, but ours (like most evening safaris here) did not prove very productive. Our lone sighting was a Gaur (which most others did not). Though one can supposedly sight the black panther and the tiger in this sanctuary, we did not come across a single deer/chital.

Besides the surroundings we visited the backwaters of the Bommanahalli dam and the Dandeli Timber mart. The former did not yield any special sightings and was a bit of a letdown having walked 7 kms in early hours of morning. The later was a great place to sight the hornbills but our experience was slightly truncated by heavy fog early morning. Nevertheless this place offered great sightings of the Roller, Barbets and a number of small (still unidentified) birds.

Some things to note

  • For birdwatching, it really helps to have your own vehicle here. Not having one imposed a major constraint for us.
  • Private transport (typically Jeeps) is exhorbitantly expensive. Public transport is cheap but intermittent.
  • Distances are long. More often than not distances are much greater than those indicated by locals.
  • Hornbill camp offers tree house, log huts, rock huts and rooms at the same cost (please verify). Try to book the tree house, it is excellently located. The standard rooms are a pithy in comparison.
  • Bookings for the Kulgi Nature Camp need to be made through the forest department in Dandeli (Phone-, Fax-). Advance payment towards accomodation must be made via a draft drawn in favor of “The Deputy Conservator of Forests, Dandeli”. State Bank of Mysore has a branch in Dandeli.
  • Kulgi Nature camp is very economical. It offers standard/deluxe tents in addition to dormitories. The deluxe tents come with attached toilets. All tents have electrical points for charing camera batteries/laptops.
  • Though cheap, Kulgi Nature Camp offers very clean accomodation. Remember to carry your own towels and toileteries. Reasonably good food is available in the campus at a additional cost.
  • There is no mobile network/phone connectivity at Kulgi.
  • The temperatures at Dandeli, Ganeshgudi and Kulgi can vary. For us, Ganeshgudi was very cold in comparison to Kulgi.


 Plum Headed Parakeet   Shikra   Black Eagle   Green Imperial Pigeon 

 Gold Fronted Leafbird   Bay Backed Shrike   Malabar Giant Squirrel   Indian Nightjar 

 Malabar Grey Hornbill   Malabar Pied Hornbill   Lesser Fish Eagle   White-bellied Sea Eagle 

 MalabarPiedHornbill3   PlumHeadedParakeet   PrayingMantis   Reflections 

 Greater Flameback Woodpecker    Common Wood Shrike   Malabar Giant Squirrel   Draco 


Sightings in Kumta, Ganeshgudi, Kulgi, Dandeli: (* first time sightings)

  • Golden Oriole
  • Pompador Green Pigeon*
  • Black Winged Stilt
  • Black Winged Stilt
  • Spotted Redshank*
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Asian Koel
  • Coppersmith Barbet
  • White Cheeked Barbet
  • Cattle Egret
  • Pond Heron
  • Tailor Bird
  • Black Kite
  • Brahminy Kite
  • Blue Rock Thrush
  • Chestnut Tailed Starling
  • Common Myna
  • Common Crow
  • Spotted Munia
  • Spotted Dove
  • Laughing Dove
  • Indian Roller
  • Green Bee Eater
  • Peacock
  • Small Blue Kishfisher
  • Stork Billed Kingfisher
  • White Breasted Kingfisher
  • Black Capped Kingfisher*
  • Chestnut Headed Bee-eater
  • Lesser Fish Eagle
  • Crested Serpent Eagle
  • Green Imperial Pigeon*
  • Gold Fronted Leafbird
  • Red Whiskered Bulbul
  • Yellow Browed Bulbul
  • Asian Brown Flycatcher
  • Asian Paradise Flycatcher
  • Warblers
  • Purple Sunbird
  • Purple Rumped Sunbird
  • Lorikeet*
  • Plum Headed Parakeet
  • Scarlet Minivet
  • Malabar Pied Hornbil*
  • Malabar Grey Hornbill*
  • Common Iora
  • Black Lored Tit*
  • Velvet Fronted Nuthatch
  • Greater Flameback WP
  • Lesser Flameback WP
  • Darter
  • Cormorant
  • Black Drongo
  • Hill Myna
  • Oriental Magpie Robin
  • Pied Wagtail
  • Tickels Blue Flycatcher
  • Tickels Flowerpecker
  • Greater Coucal
  • Rufous Treepie
  • Grey Wagtail
  • Bay-backed Shrike
  • Red-vented Bulbul
  • Puff Throated Babbler
  • Tawny Bellied Babbler
  • Jungle Babbler
  • White rumped WP*
  • Yellow Crowned Pygmy WP*
  • Brown-Capped Pygmy WP*
  • White Bellied Drongo
  • Ashy Drongo
  • Racket Tailed Drongo
  • White Breasted Waterhen
  • Red Wattled Lapwing
  • White Rumped Munia
  • White bellied WP*
  • Oriental White-eye
  • Swallow (Misc)
  • Swift (Misc)
  • Brown headed Barbet
  • Rose Ringed Parakeet
  • House Sparrow
  • Great Tit
  • Malabar Whistling Thrush
  • White Rumped Shama*
  • Common Woodshrike*
  • Dark Fronted Babbler*
  • Yellow Footed Green Pigeon*
  • Shikra
  • Indian Nightjar*
  • Lesser Yellownape WP*
  • Black-hooded oriole*
  • Black Eagle
  • Common Rose Finch*
  • Blue-capped Rock Thrush
  • Jungle Crow
  • Wooly Necked Stork
  • Small Minivet
  • Brown Shrike
  • Black Shouldered Kite
  • Blue Rock Pigeon
  • Jungle Myna
  • White bellied Sea Eagle*
  • Flying Squirrel*
  • Malabar Gaint Squirrel
  • Draco*
  • Praying Mantis*
  • Gaur


Landscape - Dam 




21 Responses to “Dandeli – Birding into the new year”

  1. 1 Karthik
    March 17, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Impressive stuff. Keep it up.

  2. March 17, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Amazing sightings and Lovely photographs.

  3. 3 Anonymous
    March 17, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Great post!!!
    Excellent shots too!!!
    Sachin you bought a new camera?

  4. 4 Mamta
    March 17, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Oops the above comment was made by me…

  5. 5 Anjali
    March 17, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Beautiful photo’s and a nice writeup like always :)

  6. 6 Uma
    March 17, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Wow! Awwwwesome! What fantastic shots! And thank you so much for the info about the logistics – it will be very helpful for anyone planning to go there! Great job, both of you!

  7. March 19, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    Lovely post, Sachin and Neelu! Enjoyed it very much.

  8. 8 thoughtsinflight
    March 23, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Thanks all for your lovely comments and feedback.

    We got our new equipment around Dec 07 – a Canon 40D and Canon 100-400L IS Lens.

  9. 9 rsdha
    June 9, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    wow its ameging to see these photos

  10. July 14, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    just went trough the blog and found to be interesting.. i have a blog http://www.dandeli.blogspot.com where in you can contribute your views as well.

  11. 11 MAHESH
    January 7, 2009 at 6:32 pm


  12. 12 MAHESH
    January 9, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    BOOKING AND TRANSPORTAION TAKEN CARE BY MR ANIL PATNEKAR AND IMAM OF DANDELI , THEY HAVE GREAT FUTURE IN THE INDUSTRIES, EXCELLENT SERVICE AND VERY COMMITTED PERSONS……FOR MORE INFORMATION ABT DANDELI YOU CAN VISIT http://WWW.dandelimasti.com, rafting was life time experience…..really had a lot of fun , unforgetable trip.. once again planing to visit to dandeli with famil.. c u anil thnx a ton

  13. March 3, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    At home I’ve two black-capped parakeets and they are just so nice to keep as petbirds

  14. 14 Raman
    April 15, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Hi all really above comments helped us to plan our trip to Dandeli. really it was memoriable trip……we did our white water rafting,rappling,river crossing,sight seeing,all activities were mind blowing .. safari was not work for Rs 500/per person no single animal sighting, we booked our trip through Mr Anil and Imam, they organised our trip v.v. well to book Dandeli trip you can call Mr Anil 0-9448408844 or you can visit http://www.dandelimasti.com

  15. 15 milind kelkar
    October 16, 2010 at 10:50 am

    fantastic information those going for the first time in dandeli.
    additionally good bird photos / bird listing create others what
    they will find?
    i am visiting in next month.

  16. July 10, 2013 at 2:31 am

    Hello, this weekend is good in support of me, for the reason that this point in time i am reading this impressive
    informative paragraph here at my home.

  17. 18 Anonymous
    August 27, 2013 at 12:43 am

    Amazing blog on Dandeli! Appreciate your blog.
    Keep it up and in case you need any assistance for your trip again to Dandeli please do call us in advance so that we may assist you.
    Please do visit my Blog which helps you plan again to
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  18. October 5, 2014 at 7:25 am

    WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for zero down mortgage payment

  19. February 10, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Excellent captures! I wanted to add my two bits of advice for new bird lovers. If the intention is bird watching, then you’re better off at a resort that has a lot of bird baths. In a place like Ganeshgudi, where bird population is not particularly scared of humans, they make the best of such birdbaths during the hotter times of the day. I have actually seen one of the resorts, OMH, do that. The next part I guess is scouting for a naturalist to guide you on the species of birds. Ganeshgudi is one of the best places for some real-time education on avian life. Well finding a naturalist might sound tough but it is not. All good resorts in the area offer this facility.

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