Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bird watching at Hesaraghatta lake, Bangalore

Well, somehow I had been here only once so far and put off my the many number of vehicles seen everywhere. Hesaraghatta can be called the grassland of Bangalore as it's a dry, scrub land and vast in area with a water body too. The lake has lost its original charm and is now only a mere shadow to what it was.


But, on the flipside it hosts a variety of birdlife and many winter migrants especially the raptors that fly over oceans to spend the winters here. After multiple weeks of planning and dropping me and Amit finally made a visit here on a weekend in December.


As we reached braving the bitter cold outside, it was a foggy welcome with visibility very poor all around and there were already a couple of cars waiting. For the next hour and a half , all we did was wait for the fog to clear and get some visibility. All along a lone Harrier was roosting on a anthill patiently waiting for the sun too. In the meanwhile, we met Dayananda (a friend me earlier in Ganeshgudi too) along with Rakesh Gupta, Kartick VB, Sachin and few others and the men-men discussions started off to whale the time.


Info from Wiki:
Hesaraghatta is actually a man made reservoir located to the north west of Bangalore.It is a fresh water lake created in the year 1894 across the Arkavathy River to meet the drinking water needs of the city. The reservoir is reported to have filled up last in the year 1994 and thereafter the lake’s deterioration and drying up started, reducing its reliability as a water supply source. The reasons attributed to the lake’s drying up are erosion in the catchment and consequent capacity shrinking due to continuous silting. As of July 2009, the lake is completely dry.


But, still the area supports a vast variety of birdlife and some very good sightings have been reported from here in the recent years, the latest being the sighting of the Lesser Kestrel from here. All we did was car birding, ie., sit in the car and drive around on the tracks. Birding from the car here is very rewarding with the raptors feeling comfortable amidst the vehicles rather than humans. Harriers, Kestrels, Eagles, Falcons, Larks, Quails, Drongos, Flycatchers, Chats and Robins and not to forget variety of water birds are to be found here in abundance.
I was pretty happy to sight the Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Skylark, Siberian stonechat from close quarters. Drongo's are the best bet and their boldness amazes me, you literally point the camera near its face and it does not fly off!!!


All in all, a good outing to a great place. But as bird watchers and photographers and most importantly being educated, we should restrain ourselves from behaving like morons in the field, after all the bird is a bird and it needs its space too and they too have families and some of them nest along the ground as they have been doing it for ages.


Directions to reach- Right turn on Tumkur road at 8th mile, reach Hessarghatta, then right towards the board pointing to Adarsha Film Institute, 10mins drive from here you reach Hessarghatta lake.
Carry water and food (if required), but please don't litter the place and please do your bit if you come across bird traps in the field.


Respect Wildlife, Respect Nature!
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