Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ganeshgudi birding

We took a couple of days off and we were back at Ganeshgudi again (we had just visited a month back...!) Gaitonde missed out again and now its becoming a routine of him missing many of our last trips and it was again 3 of us, I, raja and guru prepared to visit Ganeshgudi again. Driving down would be long and tiring, so for a change we decided to travel by bus.
We booked the NWKRTC Rajahamsa bus that leaves bangalore by 8:45pm and reach Dandeli by 5:30am. 5 minutes into the journey and the bus came to an halt near Okalipuram bus shelter as there was a problem with the clutch plate. We had to wait till 10:45pm for the next NWKRTC bus to proceed our journey. 2 hours gone waste and with it hopes of early morning birding!!! What a start...!
Finally we reached Dandeli by 9am and after the mandatory breakfast we boarded another bus towards Ganeshgudi, 25kms away. Its always nice travelling in the state express buses and where you get to see lot of varied colorful people :) The bus driver was kind enough to drop us off right in front of the JLR property and we were greeted with a warm welcome by Parshuram and team once again. We were more than happy to be back again :)
As we freshned up, Vinay, the helpful JLR staff guy sent a message that the Malabar Trogan had made a visit... I ran picking my camera and after some searching I just got to see the beautiful bird with its head turned away, still better than no sighting. A male Paradise flycatcher also caught our attention but deep inside the lantana. After these two good starts, the brown cheeked fulvetta caught our attention on the water tub kept for the birds, In the meanwhile a plain prinia just made its appearance and vanished.
-- Ruby throated Bulbul above --
Then Vinay again called out to us as he had just spotted a snake (later I realized it was a Hump nosed Pit Viper), nice little fearless one that gave us some nice good poses. Just an hour being there, we were already busy moving around swiftly aided by the ever helping staff of the JLR. Another thing that we like is the personalized attention we get by the staff who know our requirements very well by now!
Birding acting kept me busy even after the sumptous lunch with the fulvetta, white bellied blue flycatcher, giant squirrel, shama, yellow throated and ruby throated bulbuls making their presence felt strongly. Then we had a mixed doubles sighting at the water tub with the Robin, White-eyes, fulvetta, and the flycatchers sharing space one after the other dipping in the cool water.

Evening time and nothing much to do outside... Carrom board, hot sipping tea and bajji's served hot kept us occupied without boredom. Then inevitably a movie kept the clock ticking... With no guests around, we are given the liberty with timings to be served food as we require and post dinner a deep cozy sleep ensured we are fresh and active for the next day.
Finally after hearing continous calling of the Malabar Whistling Thush, just got to see one in the long distance perched and singing happily away from us, happiness and dissappointment indeed. Trogan and the Whistling thrush are some who I'm a trailing to get a good capture from quite some time now!
Early morning we are up by 6 and still be greeted by the overcast weathe with intervals of rain. Sitting on the chair, all relaxed listening to the bird activity and breathing fresh natural air, you are rejuvenated enough to keep you going for the rest of the day! After that a full cuppa of hot tea served without being asked rakes up your senses no end...

A blue capped rock thrush caught our attention sitting motionless in the dark and photographing it was a challenge in the low light. Birding and walks around the campus kept us busy till we got the call from Parshuram to go for river rafting (a separate post on rafting is published here
After rafting and a heavy lunch, birding kept us occupied for the rest of the evening. With other guests around, it was an early night out for us as there was a noisy crowd around who were not to our liking! Early start the next day and the same rituals repeated, a good hot cup of tea, relax on the chair, soak in the fresh air and as the light improves venture out for birding. We walked up to the Supa bridge area to catch the hornbills but only could manage to see them flying far away in the distance. Birding all the way back, we were exhausted by the time we reached the campus as we had walked almost a distance of 6+ kms on an empty stomach. Breakfast was like a life saver to us then that rejuvenated our energy and senses.
Time to leave and we were dropped off till Dandeli in the JLR jeep (that had some repairs in the Dandeli town) and we headed straight to Timber depot hoping to catch some hornbills but no luck this time as probably it was afternoon time. Only the Malabar grey hornbill gave us some nice poses. Well with this our birding stint came to an end yet another time at Ganeshgudi and Dandeli and we are already on the plan for another visit... crazy fellas... aren't we? ;)

From Dandeli we boarded a bus to reach Dharwad, picked up the famous Baburoa singh Thakurs Dharwad Peda and then hopped on another bus to reach Hubli. Our scheduled Airavat bus was from Hubli to Bengaluru and as always we never realized when we reached home as all of us were in deep deep slumber recollecting Ganeshgudi memories all the way!
Cheers till next time... Enjoy!
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