Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary birding


Just about a distance of 100 odd kms from Bengaluru is the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. To be precise, it's a pretty huge area that falls under the sanctuary limits but the roads around that lead to and some places on the way offer excellent birding opportunities.

Cauvery river forms a natural boundary between the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and closer to Bengaluru, just on its rural area periphery is the Cauvery river and the other side is part of Tamil Nadu. So, naturally the forests around the river basin are rich in flora and fauna and this green belt in a way connects to the Western Ghats (some dry patches cut them though) region if you closely look at the maps in a way which is wonderful continuous corridor we have for the wildlife considering the 'development first' scenario we are in!

Muttathi, Sangama, Mekedatu are the touristy spots on the banks of the river where hordes of people visit and unfortunately where many lose their lives too... sad, but true. Picknicker's paradise, drunkards heaven, family outings, couple's getaway are some of the adjectives that can be used to describe these places. Jungle lodges (www.junglelodges.com) has two excellent properties at Galibore and Bheemeshwari in the surrounding areas of these touristy places.

Birding on the way to i) Dodda Alahalli to Sangama ii) Sangama to Galibore JLR property iii) Halaguru to Bheemeshwari JLR property is good and would yield some wonderful sightings if the observation is keen and sharp.

Below, I'm sharing a few images from multiple trips done to this place and many a times I just would prefer to see and enjoy rather than using the camera :)

(Ashy Prinia)

(Green Imperial Pigeon)

(Indian Silverbill raiding a Baya Weaver's nest)

(a passage migrant - European Bee-eater)

(Brown Fish Owl)

(Baya Weaver - male in all its glory)

(A specialty of this region - Grizzled Giant Squirrel)

(a closer look at the grizzled fluffy wonder)

(Elephantscape - can you spot them?)

Just for the numbers sake, we sighted/heard over 110 species in about 2-3 trips to the region and 8 mammal species including Elephants, Jackals, Giant Squirrels etc.

Points to remember:-
> Wander around in these regions in a group and not alone (there have been some mugging incidents unfortunately and camera's are a real attraction for muggers.
> Carry adequate water and some food (Kanakapura is your best bet else Sangama has good hotels availability for those going towards Galibore. No good options towards Bheemeshwari.
> Do not get off your vehicle inside the sanctuary limits or park your vehicle causing disruption towards traffic.
> Do not litter and leave no trace.
> Carpooling is a better option.
> Do not get into the waters at Sangama / Mekedatu as there are strong under currents and many lives have been lost there.
> Stay safe and happy birding :)

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