Friday, April 17, 2009

Nandi Hills

Some offbeat birding activity @ Nandi betta...

Nandi Hills or Nandidurg is a hill fortress of southern India, in the Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka state. It is located just 16 km (till base) 24 km (top of the hill) from Chickballapur town and approximately 70 km(top of the hill) from the city of Bengaluru.

Nandidurg hill, known commonly as Nandi Hills, gets its name from an ancient Nandi temple situated on this hill. This temple has a thousand year old sculpture of Nandi. An ancient lord Shiva and Parvati temple also adorns this hill. It is 4851 ft. (1478 meters) above sea level. It is located in close proximity to the newly constructed Bangalore International Airport, the second largest in India. In addition, the hills are located about 20 km from the National Highway (NH-7) just after Devanahalli Town. Due to its location, Nandi Hills is rapidly developing and numerous commercial and residential ventures are underway in the region.

The vegetation of the hills is typical of high hills. Inside the fort at the summit, many of the large trees are planted exotics such as Eucalyptus and the undergrowth consists of Coffea arabica along with some native species. The forest acts as a substrate for cloud condensation and every morning the trees are covered in water. This allows for many moist forest species of plants and animals.

The hills are very rich in birdlife making it a very popular location for birdwatchers and bird photographers. The evergreen forest patch on top of the hill being a favoured wintering location for many migrant species of warblers, flycatchers and thrushes.

The forest patch is also home for a relict population of the Nilgiri Woodpigeon. A breeding pair of Shaheen Falcon, the resident race of the Peregrine Falcon is also often seen at the Nandi Hills. The Malabar Whistling Thrush, Uropeltid snakes and Pill millipedes which are otherwise known only from the Western Ghats ranges are also found here. The hill slopes are the home of the Yellow-throated Bulbul, a species endemic to the hills of peninsular India.

An april weekend and nothing to do!

Raja and Guru were unavailable.... only Nag and me... so we decided to do a quick dash to Nandi hills. The last time I was here was in a adventerous way coming by bus and walking down the stairs and landing in some village and finally after a good gentlemen dropped us to Chikballapur, then reached home!!!

Our planning was bad as we went there long after the sun was up... and being a weekend, maddening crowd and vehicles all around.

Still we managed to go around places where there were fewer people and managed to spot a few birds till post lunch session. The highlight was sighting the pair of Indian Spotted Eagle and the Paradise Flycatcher.

Next time i need to have a small notepad to note down all the species I see as now I'm finding it difficult to recollect all of them...

1. Indian Spotted Eagle 2. Asian Paradise Flycatcher male 3. Blue Capped Rock thrush 4. Brahminy Kite 5.Indian Roller 6.Black kite

Hope to be here soon early in the day before the crowd seeps in.

But few disturbing things that I noted here...

1. Alcohol is sold across the counter @ the hotel at exorbitant prices...

2. Plastic.. plastic.. plastic all around...

3. The "Tippu Drop" viewpoint as well as the dormitories are in a state of despair and looks ruined...

4. If you manage to walk around the place having either a juice can or snacks in your hand w/o the bonnet macaques jumping on you.... you are blessed...

5. Food dependency is on the only good hotel here and at high prices...

6. Hotel Mayura Pine Top - 08156-250906

Care for the nature and the nature cares for you!

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