Category: Conservation


Bangalore… a city that outshines others Indian cities

Is Bangalore just an IT city? For many of us it’s just a city with many job opportunities for everyone. I came to Bangalore with the same perception. But gradually, as time passed, I realised what this city offers to one and all. This city is a mix of cultures and traditions. Bangalore has not lost its charm even after the development of IT sector. People like us, with hectic weekdays, find peace in some of the places that are within the vicinity of Bangalore.

Bird watching and photography is our passion. Many of us are aware about the famous birding spots in Bangalore. It is difficult to find such nice birding areas in other commercial cities. Thus people staying in Bangalore are keen to spend their weekend in the lap of nature. The birding spots found here can be marshy grasslands, mountains, dense forests, lakes etc. So, most of the birds can be spotted here. I leave my home at dawn with the hope of finding birds in their natural habitat. But still it seems to be a very small list of places where I have been and there is much more to see and enjoy. One of my favourite birding area is Hoskote lake. Hoskote is near to where I stay. Hoskote has different habitats for different birds. That is why it is an amazing place for all bird fanatics.

The wet grasslands in Hoskote are suitable for a variety of birds like Munia. Many winter migrants can be seen here. A large variety of Kingfishers are near the lakeside to catch a prey.

Tricoloured Munia (also called Black Headed Munia)

Tricoloured Munia (also called Black Headed Munia)

Common Kingfisher

Common Kingfisher

Jacobin Cuckoo

Jacobin Cuckoo

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier

Indian Silverbill or White-Throated Munia

Indian Silverbill or White-Throated Munia

Siberian Stonechat (female)  It is a Winter Migrant.

Siberian Stonechat (female)
          It is a Winter Migrant.

I have given one of many reasons to love Bangalore. There are many such things that I wish to write. I am still trying to unravel the other side of Bangalore that is picturesque. My upcoming journeys would cover more of Bangalore city and places near to it. Stay tuned!

Preserving nature and wildlife has always been a priority of Karnataka government. I am grateful to the Karnataka government because they care about nature and its species. I and my husband are a nature lover and enthusiast. We always find time to be close to nature. Bengaluru is centrally located to many major spots of biodiversity which are within a range of 300 km. We have a hobby of bird watching and photography. Bengaluru is close to Western Ghats, so lot many migratory birds can be found in locations at the outskirts of Bengaluru. Karnataka government has preserved the biodiversity by keeping a check on the poachers and people who are trying to destroy wildlife and nature.

Karnataka government has been very supportive in making wildlife, a major tourist attraction. The people who are staying in and outside Bengaluru can’t miss the safari ride in Bannerghatta National Park followed by a visit to the zoo. The most wonderful thing about this place is to find a variety of reptiles, birds and animals which people usually don’t know.

Tiger

Tigers

Lion

Lion

Red Eared Tortoise

Red Eared Tortoise

 

One of the major spots for birding and wildlife is Nagarhole National Park and Tiger Reserve. It has an excellent count of carnivores, herbivores and birds. The ecosystem cycle is well balanced because Nagarhole has major number of Herbivores. Nagarhole National Park is very near to Western Ghats and so we can find the highest count of birds in Nagarhole and places near to it. All avid bird watchers must visit Nagarhole followed by a Safari ride in the morning or afternoon.

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Peacock

Wild Boar

Wild Boar

Hill Myna

Hill Myna

Grey Langur

Grey Langur

Spotted Deer(male)

Spotted Deer(male)

Every weekend is a time for us to explore something new and different. Nature is like a puzzle. We learn more by exploring it. Nature has its own secrets which we are trying to unravel by going closer and closer to it.

This question is person dependent but I compiled this top five places for birding in and around Bangalore for the new bird watchers. Please visit the complete list of birding place around Bangalore. For any further query, please drop me a mail at vaibhav.kumar@gmail.com

1. Lalbagh Park – In the middle of the city, Lalbagh is the biggest botanical garden of India. If you are interested in flowers (Flower show, happens two times in a year), trees and birds, Lalbagh will never upset you. And if you have knowledge of all these three, probably a week will also be not enough to understand Lalbagh.

Directions: Ask anyone in Bangalore, he/she will tell you where is Lalbagh. It has 4 gates and entry is allowed from all 4 gates. No charge for early birder, joggers till 9, after that a nominal charge of Rs 10 per person.

Green Tailed Jay on Dhalia flower

Green Tailed Jay on Dhalia flower

Spot-billed Pelican gulping fish

Spot-billed Pelican gulping fish

You will often see Spot-billed Pelican (nearly threatened species), Booted Eagle, Flycatchers, Spotted Owlets and many more.

View of Lalbagh on a beautiful day

View of Lalbagh on a beautiful day

The morning view from Temple gate and evening view from Lake is admirable and the best of nature. Even you will often see snakes in the mouth of kite and pelican, and fishes in the mouth of snakes. Overall a very dramatic action place.

 

White throated Kingfisher with a glazing light

White throated Kingfisher with a glazing light.

Rat Snake engulfing a big fish
Rat Snake engulfing a big fish

2. Valley School: Full of excitement. Valley School sometimes provide amazing result. Since, the place to cover is too much, it is always unexpected. A home of Oriental Honey Buzzard, Peafowl, Junglefowl. You can also sight Indian Pitta, White rumped Shama, Orange Thrush, Indian Blue Robin and many more.

Oriental White eye finding breakfast.

Oriental White eye finding breakfast.

Spectacled cobra

Spectacled cobra

Mottled Wood Owl

Mottled Wood Owl

White rumped Shama

White rumped Shama

Coppersmith Barbet

Coppersmith Barbet

Pale billed Flowerpecker

Pale billed Flowerpecker

White throated Woodpecker

White throated Woodpecker

3.  Nandi Hills – 60 Kms away from Bangalore. This place provides the most amazing site and a great offer to birders. I just put the place on no. 3 because it is 60 kms away from Bangalore. Nandi hills claims a completely different set of birds than rest of the Bangalore. Most of the Thrushs, Flycatchers and some of the scavengers are easy to spot at Nandi Hills. Not only the birds, Nandi hills also provides an excellent sunrise and majestic mountain view.

Blue Capped Rock Thrush - Female

Blue Capped Rock Thrush – Female

Cloud View of Nandi Hills

Cloud View of Nandi Hills

Egyptian Vultures

Egyptian Vultures

Sunrise view of Nandi

Sunrise view of Nandi

 

4. Bannerghatta Area:  Bannerghatta area in itself is Infinity. There are many sub-forests inside Bannerghatta national park. Some of the birding places are Ragihalli, Kagalipura, Bannerghatta Zoo Area and many more. Please be disciplined with the restricted area. Rules are meant for our good. We have our best time of birding in Bannerghatta national park and we have seen the worst time accidents in this area.

 

 

Pied Kingfisher

Pied Kingfisher

Brown breasted Flycatcher

Brown breasted Flycatcher

Blue bearded Bee-eater

Blue bearded Bee-eater

Blue Capped Rock Thrush

Blue Capped Rock Thrush

Black Eagle in flight

Black Eagle in flight

 

Asian Brown Flycatcher

Asian Brown Flycatcher

5. Hoskote Lake – Actually its tough to tell which Lake or place to put on 5th place. But then, by seeing the dying lakes in Bangalore, I guess Hoskote is much better than other lakes. Hoskote lake claims all kind of ducks, waders and provides a pretty good sight of raptors. Place is little confusing, though birders have made it a famous place now.

Migrated White Storks

Migrated White Storks

Black Eared Kite

Black Eared Kite

Black-breasted weavers

Black-breasted weavers

Flock of Garganey at fight under the attack of Marsh Harrier.

Flock of Garganey at fight under the attack of Marsh Harrier.

Brahminy Kite - The killer

Brahminy Kite – The killer

After a hectic journey our team reached to Valparai, TN.  It is located 3,500 feet above sea level on the Anaimalai Hills range of the Western Ghats. We started feeling the coldness as we went top. Thanks to Kannan Sir for routing us till top. I liked the way Tamilnadu Government has worked for the endemic and endangered species of Western ghats. I am adding some of our spotting. It was overall a fun journey. Only thing that hurt me is the toll on the roads which creeps up to 2000/-  .

Our first spotting was Nilgiri Tahrs, an endangered specie. We didn’t shot this beautiful creature as there was no place to stop the car. Soon, we have our beautiful spotting of  Lion-tailed macaque. A beautiful endangered specie and endemic to Western Ghats. Excellent effort by TN Government to save it. Crossing for Macaque has been made, staff standing on road, stopping the vehicles which are going fast. Valparai claims 130 of this awesome creature.

Lion Tailed Macque - Valparai

Lion Tailed Macaque – Valparai

Guy showing the board for the safety of Lion Tailed macaque - Valparai

Guy showing the board for the safety of Lion Tailed macaque – Valparai

Lion Tailed Macque - Pair.  Picture depicts tail like lion - Valparai

Lion Tailed Macque – Pair. Picture depicts tail like lion – Valparai

Moving forward we have seen a tree full of Velvet-fronted Nuthatch and a pair of Emerald Dove.

Emerald Dove - Valparai

Emerald Dove – Valparai

Velvet-fronted Nuthatch - Valparai

Velvet-fronted Nuthatch – Valparai

Soon we have encountered the beautiful raptors – Crested Goshawk and Crested Serpent Eagle.

Crested Serpent Eagle - Valparai

Crested Serpent Eagle – Valparai

Crested Goshawk - Valparai

Crested Goshawk – Valparai

Pied Thrush Female

Pied Thrush Female

Jungle palm squirrel

Jungle palm squirrel

Orange Headed Thrush

Orange Headed Thrush

Malabar Hornbill

Malabar Hornbill

Golden Fronted Leafbird - Female

Golden Fronted Leafbird – Female

Common Hawk-Cuckoo

Common Hawk-Cuckoo

Chestnut Bee Eater

Chestnut Bee Eater

Bar Winged Flycatcher

Bar Winged Flycatcher

Malabar Gaint Squarrel

Malabar Gaint Squirrel

Our birding group - Puneeth, Chandu, Deepu, Kriti and Varalakshmi

Our birding group – Puneeth, Chandu, Deepu, Kriti and Varalakshmi

Vernal Hanging Parrot

Vernal Hanging Parrot

Tickells Leaf Warbler

Tickells Leaf Warbler

Southern Hill Myna

Southern Hill Myna

Scimitar Babbler

Scimitar Babbler

Scimitar Babbler - Side view

Scimitar Babbler – Side view

Pygmy Woodpecker

Pygmy Woodpecker

Bison or India Gaur in Tea Plantation

Bison or India Gaur in Tea Plantation

Blue Capped Rock Thrush - Male

Blue Capped Rock Thrush – Male

Nilgiri Langur

Nilgiri Langur

Peahen - Female Peafowl

Peahen – Female Peafowl

Plum Headed Parakeet Male

Plum Headed Parakeet Male

Plum Headed Parakeet Female

Plum Headed Parakeet Female

Covering route – Hebbal Lake, Nandi Hills, Hoskote and then Valley School.IMG_3077 IMG_3093 IMG_3073 IMG_3065 IMG_3058 IMG_3050 IMG_3046 IMG_2968 IMG_2979 IMG_2983 IMG_2997 IMG_3000 IMG_3025 IMG_3032 IMG_2966 IMG_2964 IMG_2962 IMG_2947 IMG_2946 IMG_2930 IMG_2927 IMG_2893 IMG_2898 IMG_2900 IMG_2907 IMG_2908 IMG_2917 IMG_2918 IMG_2886 IMG_2882 IMG_2864 IMG_2852 IMG_2842 IMG_2840 IMG_2838 IMG_2834 IMG_2833 IMG_2832 IMG_2830 IMG_2827 IMG_2824 IMG_2820 IMG_2811 IMG_2800 IMG_2798 IMG_2797

Both the places used to be the legendary for birding but I have seen the recent coverage of human race over it. Muthanallur Lake used to have small water blocks. Now, people are taking soil from there and there is no real place for waders to seat. Building construction started in Gulakmale (near T K Falls). I got very few birds, it was 2 upset trip. Enjoy the pictures. Nothing much to add that’s why I added 2 locations together.

common sandpiper, the only sandpiper i saw in Muthanallur Lake

common sandpiper, the only sandpiper i saw in Muthanallur Lake

Black Drongo

Black Drongo

Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

IMG_2441

Peacock - Male

Peacock – Male

Oriental Honey Buzzard in morning shine

Oriental Honey Buzzard in morning shine

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon

Paddyfield Pipit

Paddyfield Pipit

 

Nandi Hills or Nandidurg is an ancient hill fortress of southern India, in the Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka state. It is located just 10 km from Chickballapur town and approximately 60 km from the city of Bangalore.

Excellent place for birding and the nearest place to Bangalore if you want to see some different kind of birds. This place is famous for its thrush, flycatcher, raptors and many more.  Enjoy some of the pictures. I have constraint of my 2 GB card, so not able to take more pictures 😦

Asian Paradise Male in flight.

Asian Paradise Male in flight.

Asian Paradise Male

Asian Paradise Male

Common Blackbird

Common Blackbird

blue-capped rock thrush

blue-capped rock thrush

greenish warbler

greenish warbler

Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

Common Kestrel Female

Common Kestrel Female

Nilgiri Wood Piegion

Nilgiri Wood Piegion

orange headed thrush

orange headed thrush

blue rock thrush female

blue rock thrush female

rockthrushfemale1 tickellsblue

verditer flycatcher

verditer flycatcher

The Black Ibis

Here

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is the Wiki entry for the

BLACK IBIS:

“The Red-naped Ibis (Pseudibis papillosa) also known as the Indian Black Ibis or just the Black Ibis, is a species of ibis found in parts of the Indian Subcontinent. The sexes are alike. It has a curlew-like long down-curved bill, a black head with a patch of crimson, and a white patch near the shoulder. This largish black bird is found at lakes, in marshes, in riverbeds and on irrigated farmland—it is not as aquatic as many other species of ibis. It is gregarious and generally forages on margins of wetlands in small numbers. It is a common breeding resident in Haryana. It nests in trees and breeds from March to October in North India.”

I was very fortunate, indeed, to stay with a friend who as a 5-acre plot of land in Ahmedabad; part of her undeveloped property is maintained as a lawn, part of it is a wilderness, and part of it is given over to growing wheat and vegetables. I had a lovely view from my bedroom window, and was lucky enough to watch these beautiful birds….they were sitting on the neighbouring buildings:

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Grazing on the lawn:

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Resting, relaxed and unthreatened, with one leg up:

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and in particular, one mother and child, on the vegetable patch.

Here’s the Ibis chick, obviously calling, “Mama!Mama!”….

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The chick is importuning its mother:

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It is running behind the mother:

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And, finally, the mother feeds it:

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I got this video of the child running around behind the mother and harassing her for food:

Children are always demanding attention, whether
Or not, they happen to have skin…or feathers!

I was away in the foothills of the Himalaya, very far away (the journey from Bangalore to Guwahati alone was 2992 km, and passed through 8 states…Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Assam!) and came back with such a variety of experiences.

Just wanted to mention, in today’s world of plastic bags and cups, the biodegradable containers that are still being used in many places, that I saw on the train.

One is what is called, in Bengali, “bhAnd” (or matkA in Hindi)…the earthen cup that can be thrown on the tracks, or out of the window, or anywhere, because the mud will disintegrate again:

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This one contained “mishti doi” (sweet yogurt), one of the specialities of Bengal.

It was covered by a bit of newspaper and a rubber band:

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This was, after ages, a typical “bhAndEr chA” (tea-in-a-mud-pot)…it has a taste all its own:

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As you can see, it goes well with the cryptic crossword (that’s from The Telegraph).

When the “JhAlmoodiwAlA” came by, I asked for some,

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I got it in this “tongA”, which is Bengali for this kind of paper container:

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It’s better than an ordinary folded paper bag, as when it opens out, it has some width, and sits well on a countertop:

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The third container I liked very much was the “dOnA” (called donnai in Tamizh, and dOnA in Kannada, too), which is made of a certain type of leaf;they are stitched together, very expertly, and shaped into bowl-shapes:

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Can you see the way the stick has been expertly used to “stitch” the leaves in place?

How I wish these traditional, “eco-friendly” (to use a hackneyed term) and full-of-character containers continue to be used, and are NOT replaced by Ghastly Plastic….

Its always fun to search those place for which maps, wikis won’t help. My last trip to Bihar, I decided to find out those bird sanctuary which are their in map but there is no feedback, no wiki, no information. I visited Asia’s largest freshwater oxbow lake – Kanwar Lake (Kanwar Bird Sanctuary) . I added whatever i knew about the place. Please visit the wiki of Kanwar lake as well.

I can just tell this is one of the must visit places if you are around Bihar for any reason and have interest in bird life.  What is as clear as purified water, its huge, its drastic in view. Though a good part of it has been captured by local farmer and slum but they are helpful if you want to do boating or want to have fish curry :P.

I did some dramatic mistake in my camera setting, so pictures are not up to mark but still enjoy :).

A beautiful sunrise. Time when I reached to Kanwar Lake

A beautiful sunrise. Time when I reached to Kanwar Lake.

Some Olive backed Pipit

Some Olive backed Pipit

Yellow throated Sparrow - also called as Salim Ali's bird.

Yellow throated Sparrow – also called as Salim Ali’s bird.

Small Green Bee-eater - Pair

Small Green Bee-eater – Pair

Olive backed Pipit

Ferruginous Duck -  I reached quite earlier than the period when I can see the migrants but still some ..

Ferruginous Duck – I reached quite earlier than the period when I can see the migrants but still some ..

Ferruginous Ducks

Ferruginous Ducks

Ferruginous Duck - in flight

Ferruginous Duck – in flight

Greater spotted eagle chased by Black Drongo

Greater spotted eagle chased by Black Drongo

Greater spotted eagle view

Greater spotted eagle view

Little Cormorant in flight

Little Cormorant in flight

Lesser Whistling Ducks ?

Lesser Whistling Ducks ?

Red Napped IBIS

Red Napped IBIS

A close view of Red-napped IBIS

A close view of Red-napped IBIS

Red Napped IBIS - Juv

Red Napped IBIS – Juv

A view of grass land and Indian Roller :)

A view of grass land and Indian Roller 🙂

Pond Heron

Pond Heron

Indian Spotted Eagle

Indian Spotted Eagle

Common coots in flight

Common coots in flight

White throated Kingfisher - You can see a bit different if you consider with the same species in south India

White throated Kingfisher – You can see a bit different if you consider with the same species in south India

Crow chase to Greater spotted Eagle

Crow chase to Greater spotted Eagle

Crow chase to Greater spotted Eagle

Crow chase to Greater spotted Eagle

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

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Greater Spotted Eagle

Greater Spotted Eagle

Yellow Throated Sparrow

Yellow Throated Sparrow

Indian Roller

Indian Roller

Common Myna

Common Myna

Ashy Drongo

Ashy Drongo

Common Kestrel

Common Kestrel

Black Eagle

Black Eagle

Siberian Stone Chat

Siberian Stone Chat

Common Crow

Common Crow

Ashy Drongo

Ashy Drongo

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Black Shouldered Kite

Black Shouldered Kite

White Lotus

White Lotus

Common Tiger

Common Tiger

Siberian Stone Chat

Siberian Stone Chat

Brown Shrike

Brown Shrike

Pair of white eyed buzzard

Pair of white eyed buzzard

White eyed buzzard

White eyed buzzard

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