Archive for the 'NTP' Category


Daroji Revisited


Our previous visit to Daroji was awesome, but had us wanting more. This place thus remained on our must-visit list. This time around we chose to do things a bit differently. We drove down instead of taking the train. (Note: Having one’s own vehicle is really useful). Our friend Alwan (fellow INWian) joined us. Santosh Martin (fellow JLR NTPian) helped with accommodation and logistics. Samad Kottur’s guidance too was invaluable. Thanks Santosh/Samad.

Contrary to our apprehensions, the drive was rather smooth. The total distance from Bangalore to Hospet is around 330 kms – 200 kms of excellent roads (NH4) to Chitradurga and 130 kms from here on to Hospet. Barring a 10-15Km stretch, the roads were fairly good. End to end, it took us 7.5 hours (including breakfast/birding breaks). We stayed at the Kamalpura forest rest house, ~15 kms from the bear sanctuary. The food provided by the rest house staff was really good and economical. The stay was comfortable indeed.

Highlights of the trip were:

  • Excellent sightings of the bears inside the sanctuary from close quarters. We even got a glimpse of a cub piggybacking on the mother. Piggybacking behavior can be seen in Feb-Mar but apparently, there were a couple of late cub arrivals this season. Good for us :) Did not get too many shots though since it was very very brief. Inside the sanctuary, we also got to see and make images of the Ruddy Mongoose, Peafowls, Painted Spurfowls, Grey Frankolins, Jungle Quails and other birds.

  • Visit to Hampi(Mathanga Parvatha in particular) in search of the Yellow Throated Bulbuls. We saw quite a few of them but they were very skittish and not easy to photograph. Also got to see many other birds such as Grey Hornbill, Shikra, Common Hawk Cuckoo and others. Hampi looks so nice that probably should make another trip just to visit the ruins of Hampi.

  • A drive along the High Canal road on the first evening led to the much-awaited sighting of the Eurasian Eagle Owl (same as Great Horned Owl and Bubo Bubo). The road is not tarred and the ride was bumpy, but the was really beautiful with the canal on one side of the road. We also sighted a Barn Owl along this road.

  • The lake along the main road in Kamalpur yielded excellent sightings of Pied Kingfishers and Pheasant Tailed Jacanas on all the days of our trip.

All in all, a very enjoyable and relaxing trip. The weather was very nice and the lighting was good enough to make many memorable images.

Birds Gallery

Laughing Dove Brahminy Starling Grey Francolin
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Mammals Gallery

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JLR – Naturalist Training Program


Jungle Lodges and Resorts have been conducting the Naturalist Training Program since the past couple of years. We had heard about this from some people and decided to enroll for it during the May 18-20th weekend. It was a truly unique and enriching experience.

The course was conducted by Karthik, the chief naturalist at JLR. A wonderful teacher, Karthik is a walking encyclopedia on any topic related to nature. From the tiniest ant to the mightiest elephant, he would possibly know all. Anecdotes from his vast experience made all sessions very informative and interesting. Coupled with a great group (collective chaos?), there was never a dull moment during the entire course.

Field-Study KarthikWithButterfly

One of the most enlightening part of the course was a presentation on bio-diversity. Having lived in metros for most part of our lives (and having forgotten our geography lessons from school), it was fascinating to know about the vastly different habitats and the various different species supported by them. Geographically covering a small percentage of the total world land area, India still has a significant part of plant and animal life in the world. It makes us feel proud to be a part of this country and also makes us realize how quickly we are losing it.

We learnt a number of aspects of bird-watching (specially the basics) and realized some of the mistakes we have been making. Bird-watching is not about marking entries off a checklist. We typically tend to see a bird, attempt to identify it and move on to the next, losing interest in the species once we have seen it. We understood the need to focus on the unique characteristics of birds, their behavior, their habitats, their calls and songs. Our hobby has now found a new dimension.

RedRumpedSwallow TickellsBlueFlycatcher

Another important lesson learnt was that nature offers a lot of beautiful sights, only if we start looking at them and observing them. Many a times we just move towards our destination without pausing to look around us. But if we just become more aware of our environs, there are so many interesting sights – butterflies fluttering around the flowers, the small ant troubling the relatively bigger termite, the wasp involved in its intricate nesting activities, the caterpillar camouflaged so perfectly on the plant, the innumerable minuscule flowers which we trample upon while walking on grass without observing their beauty. There is so much more in the world (even in our urban settings) to watch and appreciate, if only we make an effort to look around.

Along with a lot of useful information and interesting interactions, we also had tons of fun. The participants were from different walks in life, different age groups, and different stages in their education or career – the common thread amongst all being the love for nature. We also had a chance to meet Sandeep, a member of the voluntary organization Clean and Green. This group puts in a lot of effort to keep the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary clean. For those interested in knowing more, please visit Deepa, from whom some of us actually got to know about the course, too shared her experiences with the group. She maintains a mailing group of all the people who have taken those course and share information.


The parting message (probably the most important) that we took away from the course was that of Conservation. With the number of resources we suck up from our planet, we have accelerated the path of extinction of many species at an alarming rate. If immediate action is not taken, we may soon lose a lot of beautiful life on our wonderful planet. Each of us, in our own small way, should support the cause of conservation. Every small step in the right direction would definitely help make a difference.

We hope all is not lost and the cloud still has a silver lining.