Thursday, March 22, 2012

Nature trails around Bengaluru

As I'm lagging behind with many of my posts and with hardly any time to sit on them, I'm clubbing few of my outings of bird watching and nature trails in and around Bengaluru into one single post. Most of these were with the UGS (Usual Gang of Suspects) as Deepa Mohan aptly calls it!

Well, winter mornings are not the time to be sleeping at home and we made the most of it wandering to any place that was interesting around. Wonderful sessions and lip smacking 'assortment of breakfast' from many homes to keep up our energies and unending humorous discussions are the main ingredients of the UGS nature trails and walks every time.

Valley School area (Rishi Valley School):
Me, Amit and his friend Srinivas went on this trail around the campus, probably one of my longest trails in and around the campus. We traversed on the road next to the gate and then took the track into the campus at the far end and then wandered off on some trail only to get lost for a good hour or so and finally managed to trace our way back into civilization. Well, getting lost had its advantages as we got to see the Verditer flycatcher, Fantail flycatcher antics and lots of Sunbirds on that route and a whole lot of elephant dung in many places. Buzzards, Wire tailed Swallow, Verditer were first time sightings for me in this place. Amit and Srinivas were first timers here and enjoyed the off trail and birding activity.

Route: On Kanakapura road, 100 mtrs after the NICE junction, take the right turn towards Rishi Valley school.

Tips: Don't wander alone, go at least in pairs, don't wander off the track - the forest behind the school campus connects to the Bannerghatta forest and finding you would be difficult. Carry water and snacks as nothing is available around.


Bird watching highlights:
Buzzards
Oriental white eye
Verditer flycatcher
Tickell's blue flycatcher
Purple sunbird
Purple rumped sunbird
Crimson backed sunbird
Common Iora
Fantail flycatcher
Tailor bird
Great tit
Eurasian golden oriole
White cheeked barbet
Coppersmith barbet
Wire tailed swallow
White breasted Kingfisher
Ashy prinia
Drongo
Rose ringed parakeet
Red wattled lapwing
Jungle babbler
Spotted dove
Eurasian collared dove ...



Hulimangala trail:
Wander along the Bannerghatta road towards Anekal and you get to many trails mostly near the villages around that are wonderful birding spots and Hulimangala is one such place so near to us, yet so far away :)

Deepa Mohan, the mastermind behind all these walks, coordinated with many of us and present in the group this time were 2 elderly ladies - elder only by age and not by enthusiasm. Hulimangala is a beautiful hamlet with those beautiful tall majestic trees and a lovely water body and a perfect place for birding and buttering.

Checklist (thanks to Sudhir naik for compiling this super fast):

Little Cormorant 
Little Egret 
Grey Heron 
Purple Heron 
Eastern Cattle Egret 
Indian Pond-Heron 
Oriental Honey-Buzzard 
Black-shouldered Kite 
Black Kite 
Brahminy Kite 
Shikra 
White-eyed Buzzard 
Common Kestrel 
Indian Peafowl 
Purple Swamphen 
Red-wattled Lapwing 
Common Greenshank 
Wood Sandpiper 
Blue Rock Pigeon 
Spotted Dove 
Rose-ringed Parakeet 
Asian Koel 
Greater Coucal 
Mottled Wood-Owl 
Spotted Owlet 
House Swift 
Common Kingfisher 
White-throated Kingfisher 
Lesser Pied Kingfisher 
Indian Roller 
White-cheeked Barbet 
Coppersmith Barbet 
Barn Swallow 
Red-rumped Swallow 
White-browed Wagtail 
Paddyfield Pipit 
Red-whiskered Bulbul 
Common Iora 
Brown Shrike
Oriental Magpie-Robin 
Pied Bushchat 
Plain Prinia 
Blyth's Reed-Warbler 
Booted Warbler
Asian Brown Flycatcher 
Purple-rumped Sunbird 
Scaly-breasted Munia 
Common Myna 
Jungle Myna 
Indian Golden Oriole 
Black Drongo 
Ashy Drongo 
House Crow 
Indian Jungle Crow


As we had to rush back, we had to skip the mandatory brefus and what a osum outing this was :)



Kaggalipura trail (Fred's place):
Just on the periphery of the Bannerghatta park, we went on another trail near Kaggalipura and precisely behind the small property owned by Fred Pais and his wife Claire who are a delightful couple to be with. Me, DM, the Managolis and Kannand's were in attendance with their kids on this trail. Usually a person from the estate comes and guides us around the hillocks and dense foliage, but as nobody were available, we made it on our own not venturing too far away from the estate, lest we get lost in the Bannerghatta forests.

The sunrise was fantastic, birding was excellent, breakfast osum and finally all of them ganged upon to target me and my bachelorhood, gosh! somehow escaped unscathed :)

(can you spot the bird?)
Bird checklist (as I can recall now):
Oriental honey buzzard
Blue bearded bee eater
Small minivet
Oriental bush lark
Golden fronted leafbird
Shikra
Common Kestrel
Asian Koel
Purple rumped sunbird
Eurasian collared dove
Spotted dove
Red whiskered bulbul
Red vented bulbul
Barn swallow


Useful links:
Bangalore birding blog - http://www.bangalorebirding.blogspot.in/
Deepa Mohan's FB albums - https://www.facebook.com/media/albums/?id=587058877
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