Tag: Birdwatching

Bird-watching at Doddakallasandra (Konakunte) Lake

I visited Doddakallasandra Lake in South Bangalore (off Kanakapura Road) for a session of bird-watching with the long standing Bngbirds group. For a change, the location was easily accessible via public transport (thanks Deepak Jois!).

It was a pleasant, early winter morning as the group of around twenty (plus one dog) assembled at the entrance to Sri Kumaran’s Children’s Academy. The lake is not very large and we were able to cover most of the accessible parts in a couple of hours.

The list of birds observed (nomenclature as per Dr. Salim Ali’s ‘The Book of Indian Birds’):

  1. Little Grebe (breeding plumage)
  2. Indian Cormorant
  3. Darter
  4. Grey Heron
  5. Indian Pond-Heron
  6. Cattle Egret
  7. Median Egret
  8. Little Egret
  9. Oriental White Ibis (Black Headed Ibis)
  10. Glossy Ibis
  11. Spot-Billed Duck
  12. Black Kite
  13. Brahminy Kite
  14. Shikra
  15. White-Breasted Waterhen
  16. Common Moorhen
  17. Feral Pigeon
  18. Spotted Dove
  19. Rose-Ringed Parakeet
  20. Asian Koel
  21. Greater Coucal
  22. White-Breasted Kingfisher
  23. Coppersmith Barbet
  24. White-Cheeked Barbet
  25. Red-Rumped Swallow
  26. Eurasian (Indian) Golden Oriole
  27. Jungle Crow
  28. Red-Whiskered Bulbul
  29. Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher
  30. Ashy Prinia
  31. Common Tailorbird
  32. Oriental Magpie-Robin
  33. Purple-Rumped Sunbird

Bird-watching at Lalbagh Botanical Gardens

Department of Horticulture Office - Lalbagh
Office of the Department of Horticulture – Lalbagh

I have been a part of a bird-watching group in Bangalore since around the year 1999-2000. The group, comprising of experts, amateurs, hobbyists and others interested in birds have been conducting bird-watching outings in and around the city of Bangalore for many years now.

Every second Sunday of the month, the group organised a bird-watching trip at Lalbagh Botanical Gardens in the heart of the city. This must be one of the oldest, continuously held bird-watching outings in India (couldn’t find any content on this online, so happy to stand corrected). The group is also quite active on email and social media, and a great resource to learn more about nature.

It was quite a large group that met this Sunday. It was great to see a group of school kids (in their uniforms) participating enthusiastically in the session. This session is specifically aimed for new comers to the field of bird-watching and the group leaders (typically Mr. J. N. Prasad) leave no stone unturned to ensure that people get a good idea of bird-watching, how to spot and identify birds, handy guides, etc.

Here’s a list of the birds that I observed (nomenclature as per The Book of Indian Birds by Salim Ali):

  1. Little Grebe
  2. Great Cormorant
  3. Little Cormorant
  4. Darter
  5. Little Egret
  6. Indian Pond-Heron
  7. Spot-Billed Duck
  8. Shikra
  9. Black Kite
  10. Brahminy Kite
  11. Blue Rock Pigeon
  12. Spotted Dove
  13. Rose-Ringed Parakeet
  14. Asian Koel
  15. Spotted Owlet
  16. Coppersmith Barbet
  17. White-Cheeked Barbet
  18. Ashy Drongo
  19. Common Myna
  20. Jungle Crow
  21. Red-Whiskered Bulbul
  22. Common Tailorbird
  23. Tickell’s Flowerpecker
  24. Purple-Rumped Sunbird

And some photos from a beautiful early winter morning at Lalbagh below:

The Glass House at Lalbagh
The Glass House at Lalbagh
View from the Lalbagh Glass House
View from the Lalbagh Glass House
Lalbagh Kere or Lake
Lalbagh Kere or Lake
At Lalbagh Botanical Gardens
At Lalbagh Botanical Gardens
Beautiful Day at Lalbagh
Beautiful Day at Lalbagh

A visit to Pench National Park

I visited Pench National Park a couple of weekends ago along with a few friends. It was my first pure National Park trip after 10 years and something I was eagerly looking forward to.

My first impressions of Nagpur were positive – clean, peaceful airport, good roads, metro construction happening apace.

Pench straddles Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. And on the absolutely wonderful road from Nagpur, we were at our resort in about a couple of hours. The National Highway has regular elevated stretches so wildlife can cross underneath, avoiding unfortunate accidents. I wonder if any studies have been done to understand the impact of this on wildlife – do they use the tunnels or still attempt to cross the road?

The resort was small, with A/C tented accommodation. It is located a few minutes away from Kharsapar, the entrance to Pench National Park from the Maharashtra side. We left for our first safari immediately after lunch.

We quickly settled into a routine – wake up early (around 4:30), leave for the morning safari that starts at 6:15, end the safari by 10:30, come back to the resort to rest and refresh, have lunch, leave for the afternoon safari around 2 pm, come back around 7 pm, refresh, relax and have dinner.

We did 8 safaris in total, which in the end, proved one too many for me. The hectic itinerary, heat and cold, oily food meant that I fell ill by the last day and took a couple of days to recover after reaching home.

But it was a very fulfilling trip. I spotted over 75 species of birds (full list in the next post), a tigress, two one year old tiger cubs, a jungle cat, mongooses, sambar and chital deer, herds of gaur and some nilgai.

It was interesting to view the difference in landscape between the Maharastra and Madhya Pradesh sides of Pench. While the Maharashtra side is dryer and rockier, the Madhya Pradesh side is visibly greener. The wide open patches along the Pench river were especially scenic.

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The other interesting thing for me was to see that most of the guides were locals who were earlier living in or near the National Park. It was also heartening to see many women guides. I would definitely recommend Pench for anyone wanting to visit a typical Central Indian jungle – the setting of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Jungle Book’

Bird watching at Hebbal Lake

It’s been a while since I have indulged in my hobby for bird watching. So it was with some excitement that I made my way to Hebbal Lake on Sunday to join the bird watching session organised by Bngbirds every first Sunday of the month at Hebbal Lake, to the north of Bangalore.

Hebbal Lake is a fair distance away from where I live in Bangalore, but thanks to the reasonable efficient bus transport, I was able to reach it comfortably and inexpensively.

It was a cold, quiet morning with surprisingly few people around, even at 7:30 am. We were a diverse group of 10 and observed birds from the periphery of the lake for about a couple of hours.

The list of birds seen:

  1. Great Cormorant
  2. Little Cormorant
  3. Darter
  4. Purple Heron
  5. Indian Pond Heron
  6. Cattle Egret
  7. Median Egret
  8. Little Egret
  9. Oriental White Ibis or Black Headed Ibis
  10. Northern Pintail
  11. Spot-billed Duck
  12. Black Kite
  13. Brahminy Kite
  14. Shikra
  15. Booted Eagle
  16. White-breasted Waterhen
  17. Purple Moorhen
  18. Common Sandpiper
  19. Asian Koel
  20. White-breasted Kingfisher
  21. House Crow
  22. Jungle Crow
  23. Red-throated (Taiga?) Flycatcher
  24. Blyth’s Reed-Warbler
  25. Great Tit
  26. Tickell’s Flowerpecker
  27. Purple-rumped Sunbird
Hebbal Lake
Hebbal Lake
Hebbal Lake 2
Flowering tree – Hebbal Lake