Archive for the '2007' Category


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 




2007 – A Reflection


The year 2007 has been a defining year for us in terms of nature appreciation, bird watching and photography. It is the year in which we got introduced to the joys offered by nature. We have traveled much more in this one year than we had done in the previous few years combined. We have also become much more aware of the threats which the bio-diversity in India has been facing.

Our initiation happened on our weekly Sunday morning walk in Lalbagh. For a long time, we had just been taking a walk, appreciating the beauty of the place and returning home. An accidental sighting of the White Breasted Kingfisher near the Lalbagh lake got us all excited. Being city dwellers most of our lives, we had mostly seen just the most common birds found in the cities (the likes of crows, kites, mynas and pigeons). This striking blue of the WBKF held us in awe for a long time.

On subsequent walks in Lalbagh, we noticed a group of people looking up into the trees and realized that they were looking at birds. Upon conversation with them, we found out that this was the bngbirds group which met once a month for Bird-watching. We attended a couple of such sessions and since then there has been no turning back.

Initially our interest was primarily in birds but the JLR – Naturalist Training Program introduced us to a number of other wonders such as the buffer flies and insects. We still love bird watching the most but have started enjoying the other aspects of nature too.

Every single free day over a weekend, we try to venture out in and around Bangalore to observe these beauties. Every long weekend, we try to go into the forests of South India which the hope of sighting the big cats or the mightly eagles. In 2007 alone, we have been to Ranganthithu a couple of times, Bandipur, Kabini, BR Hills, Dandeli, Ganeshgudi, Daroji, Ramnagaram and made numerous trips to Nandi Hills, Valley School, Manchinbele Dam and Lalbagh (of course)

The most important aspect in this initial phase of our journey has been the people we have met on our numerous trips. We got opportunities to interact with some of the most knowledged and dedicated nature-lovers as well as novices who are starting their journey like us. We also met a number of great photographers and learnt a lot from their images on the India Nature Watch forum. Lastly, maintaining this blog has given us enormous pleasure. We try to provide information so that it can be useful to anybody who wants to visit the same place.

We still have a couple of reports of 2007 coming up soon – Daroji Bear Sanctuary and Dandeli/Ganeshgudi. We hope that 2008 is as fruitful and enjoyable as the past year and we wish all the same.