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Birdwatching at Saul Kere – 3 July

Saul Kere

A few weekends back, I finally visited a lake that I have been wanting to for a while. Located off Sarjapur Road, Saul Kere is a medium sized lake that is still, thankfully, untouched by the blight of modern development. The natural landscape with abundant greenery on and around the lake is host to numerous species of birds. A checklist of birds I saw over the course of a couple of hours is below:

  1. Little Grebe
  2. Great Cormorant
  3. Little Cormorant
  4. Darter
  5. Spot-billed Pelican
  6. Purple Heron
  7. Grey Heron
  8. Black-crowned Night Heron
  9. Indian Pond-Heron
  10. Cattle Egret
  11. Median (Intermediate) Egret
  12. Little Egret
  13. Glossy Ibis
  14. Spot-billed Duck
  15. Brahminy Kite
  16. White-breasted Waterhen
  17. Common Moorhen
  18. Purple Moorhen
  19. Common Coot
  20. Bronze-winged Jacana
  21. Pheasant-tailed Jacana
  22. Spotted Dove
  23. Rose-ringed Parakeet
  24. Asian Koel
  25. White-breasted Kingfisher
  26. Small Bee-eater
  27. Coppersmith Barbet
  28. Lesser Golden-backed (Black-rumped Flameback) Woodpecker
  29. White-cheeked Barbet
  30. Black Drongo
  31. Ashy Woodswallow
  32. Common Myna
  33. Jungle Myna
  34. Indian (Rufous) Treepie
  35. Jungle (Large-billed) Crow
  36. Red-whiskered Bulbul
  37. White-headed (Yellow-billed) Babbler
  38. Plain Prinia
  39. Ashy Prinia
  40. Streaked Fantail-Warbler
  41. Pied Bushchat
  42. Tickell’s (Pale-billed) Flowerpecker
  43. Large Pied (White-browed) Wagtail
  44. Purple-rumped Sunbird
  45. Spotted (Scaly-breasted) Munia

Road Trip: Day 4 – Around Kushalnagar

Dubare Elephant Camp – Even though we visited on a weekday, there was a long queue to enter the Elephant Camp. After about 90 minutes, we boarded the boat for the short ride across the river Kaveri to enter the Elephant Camp. The restrictions in place due to Covid meant that activities such as elephant ride, feeding and bathing the elephants were not being offered, but we still got to see elephants up close and enjoying their time in the water.

Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement – We visited this place again for a Tibetan lunch. It’s a shame that the monastery was closed due to Covid; it was closed for renovations the previous time we visited Coorg, which means that I have not been able to enter the monastery since a visit more than 20 years ago. The lunch, though, was delicious.

Harangi Dam

Harangi Dam and Musical Fountain – I had not heard of this place until Praveen, our host, told us about it. We visited in the evening and were treated to a gloriously hued sunset. We then took our places for the Musical Fountain show, which started at 7 pm. It was very nice, except for the highly distorted music being played at very high volume. Interestingly, the choice of songs ranged from Kannada to Hindi and English!

Coffee Art – Cafe Levista

Cafe and Restaurants in Kushalnagar – We visited a few cafes, bakeries and restaurants in Kushalnagar. As always, it was fascinating to see the changes in small town India over the past few decades. There were a large number of cars on the roads, and the places we went to were clean, with all the amenities one can find in large cities. This could possibly be because this is a relatively well-to-do district which sees high tourist traffic. But I would love to continue exploring more small towns in India…

Been a long time since I have…

Contributed to this blog. Things were a bit busy over the past couple of months, but things are easing up a bit as the end of the year nears.

And what a year it’s been, yet again! A year which started on a wave of optimism when it came to Covid (here in India), only to be thoroughly shaken up when the second wave hit from March to May, followed by another phase of optimism when the pace of vaccination picked up, only to be thrown into further uncertainty with the Omicron variant as we entered the last month of the year… Am I glad this year is coming to an end? Yes. But I wish we could have entered 2022 with more optimism, as opposed to the dread of the third wave hitting us sometime in the early months of the new year…

Anyway, enough of all that. I want to acknowledge the spark that led me to resume writing. I recently came across I don’t want to reveal much more about the blog, other than strongly recommending you to visit it and read a few articles. I realise it might appeal to a certain audience only (in terms of age and interest), but what stuck with me was the dedication of the author to maintain a fairly regular blog starting way back in 2002 / 3. However, the last article was posted more than a year ago. I do hope everything is well with the author and he will resume writing on his blog.

I am writing this post from a coffee shop. As much as I have enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with my kids that working from home provided, I have had enough. This café, close to my house, provides a welcoming space when I want a change of scene. As does a WeWork – with special mention to the innovative Christmas Tree that you can see in the picture above!

Here’s wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season, and a great 2022!

Monday Reads – 04/10

A few interesting articles I came across recently:

Why You Should Stop Reading News – This article makes a series of thought-provoking statements on the topic of today’s ‘news’ and ‘journalists’. For example, ‘the more news we consume the more misinformed we become.’, and ‘your attention is so valuable, it might be the most important thing you have’.

The Exponential Age will transform economics forever – This article in the Wired argues that ‘It’s hard for us to fathom exponential change – but our inability to do so could tear apart businesses, economies and the fabric of society’. Do take the time to read this fascinating piece.

Why Europe is a great place for digital nomads – The pandemic-inflicted Work From Home phenomenon has shone the spotlight firmly on ‘Digital Nomads’. While it’s usually places like Bali, Thailand and Goa that one usually associates with this trend, this article in the Economist makes the case as to why Europe is also a great place to consider for digital nomads.

How to have a perfect day in Dublin without spending a euro – And talking of Europe, a great itinerary if you are looking to spend a day in Dublin, Ireland sampling some of the many things one can do in that wonderful city without spending much money.

Tuesday Reads – 28/09

Photo by Sai Kiran Anagani on Unsplash

A few interesting articles that I came across recently:

The Happiness Benefits of Walking – I have been taking a brisk morning walk regularly for a few years now. It’s become part of my daily routine that I almost can’t do without. And even otherwise, I love to walk. It does help that, for the past decade or more, I have lived in cities that are largely conducive to walking, especially from a weather perspective. If you do not yet appreciate the joy of walking, then this article is for you!

Many birds flocked to cities during COVID-19 lockdowns – This will not really come as a surprise, but there is now data to back the general sense that many of us had during lockdowns last year that we are now seeing and hearing more birds in urban areas. This data is US specific, it will be interesting to read about similar studies in other parts of the World.

A Brief History of the Hippie Trail – The Hippie Trail is a fascinating, and largely forgotten part of the whole youth cultural movement of the 1960’s and 70’s. My familiarity with the Goa of the 1990’s when one could still see many ‘hippies’ is possibly one of the reasons I have been interested about this particular cultural episode. This is a good first-person account of those interesting times.

The most epic overnight train journeys in the world – I have always loved train travel, especially long ones. There is a certain sense of peace in knowing that, for the next how many ever hours, you are cocooned away from the hustle and bustle and stress of everyday life and can happily watch the work go hurtling by outside your window. And while I might be biased in believing that any list of epic overnight train journeys has to include at least one Indian rail journey, this is a good list if one wishes to experience the charms of an overnight train journey outside of India.