Friday, January 28, 2011

Birding around Chitradurga Fort, Vani Vilasa Saagara, Shanti Saagara

Chitradurga was a pit stop for us during our journey to Hampi. Fort and a few other places offered us a great opportunity for birding as well and we had a superb start at Vanivilas Sagar (or Marikanive). We began by spotting a few Egyptian Vultures.

About Places
Vaani Vilasa Saagara(Mari Kanive): Around 20 Kms from Hiriyur, on NH4 highway. Vaani Vilasa Saagara is a reservoir built during Mysore Maharaja’s period. We reached here at around 10 and had a few sightings, I am sure if we could have managed a bit early, we could have had a great day. Nevertheless, Egyptian vultures made the day for us.
Laughing doves were in huge numbers and they were laughing quite a bit at us!
Chitradurga Fort: Fort offers a lot of opportunity for birding, but unfortunately we took a guide with us, who was more of a nuisance and kept on reminding us not to look at the Spotted Owlet as it was considered a bad omen. Anyway, Sum and I kept ignoring him and were gazing at the Owlet in awe, when he was explaining about the history of the fort! Fort definitely needs another few visits dedicated to birding.
Shanti Saagara (SuleKere): Around 35 Kms from Davanagere, second largest lake in Asia, didn’t offer us much except on our way to the lake.
Silhoutte of a Black Ibis - Couldn't take a good shot due to the unfriendly light.

Bird List
Kite, Black
Myna, Common
Bushchat, Pied
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Little
Pond Heron, Indian
Parakeet, Rose Ringed
Hoopoe, Common
Dove, Eurasian Collared
Kingfisher, White Throated
Bee eater, Green
Drongo, Black
Egret, Median
Swift, House
Dove, Laughing
Bulbul, Red Vented (there was not a single Red Whiskered Bulbul in the entire trip!)
Vulture, Egyptian
Kite, Black Shouldered
Wagtail, White Browed
Robin, Indian
Babbler, Jungle
Dove, Spotted
Sunbird, Loten’s
Owlet, Spotted

A short-toed Snake Eagle. Thanks Prashanth for helping us to id this.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Visitors from across Himalayas - Bar headed Geese at Magadi Tank

My car pool partner, who is infected with my birding habits, drew my attention towards an article before our X’mas vacation, published in Prajavani and Deccan herald about 2000 odd Mangolian beauties flocking at Magadi lake near Gadag. Since we were heading that direction for the vacation, we went ahead a hundred more kilometers to have a look at these myriad Bar Headed Geese.

Having done some research about the place, we also read that geese headout for food during morning and return to the lake only after 11AM, we decided to go by evening and we reached around 4.30 PM. The whole lake was abuzz with geese and I must say a couple of hours flew by as we kept watching them.
We surely felt there were more than 2000, the whole huge lake full of these geese! The whole area was echoing the continuous loud quacks that seemed to never end! Even the Lapwings’ loud calls were blotted out.
As I was photographing them, a few hundred more swamped the lake making loud calls, with some really good acrobatic show.
It was a real treat to watch them, and a hundred kms of extra drive was worth the effort to watch these migrants who have traveled a few thousand kms across Himalayas. As per my knowledge they are already here more than a month now and supposed be here for couple of more months. Go visit once, it’s definitely worth it!!

Bird List: There was little or no time to watch others there :P nevertheless here is the bird list.
  1. Lapwing, Red Wattled
  2. Cormorant, Little
  3. Moorhen, Purple
  4. Swallow, Wire Tailed
  5. Swallow, House
  6. Bee Eater, Green
  7. Dove, Eurasian Collared
  8. Drongo, Black
  9. Iora, Common
  10. Coot, Common
  11. Egret, Cattle
  12. Shikra
  13. Marsh Harrier, Western

Western Marsh Harrier(??) or White Eyed Buzzard (Confirmed by the experts): Posed for a long time and allowed me to capture from very close range.


Location Information:
Magadi Kere (Tank): Magadi Tank is located in Magadi Village of Shirahatti Taluk, Gadag District. On Gadag Haveri route, its around 40 Kms from Gadag and around 60 Kms from Haveri. The lake is fenced towards the road side and there is also a 3-storied watch tower built for bird watching.

Some useful links that we found while reading about Bar Headed Geese.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year-2011

May all your dreams come true in 2011, Wishing you a great year ahead. The resolution is to have more birding trips this year :-)