Jan 26, 2011

Makkithitta homestay

Christmas weekend and nothing to do and no prior enquiries nor bookings led us nowhere... Guru and gaitonde were unavailable as they were preoccupied and after multiple enquiries and follow ups by Raja, we were assured of a place for the weekend at Makkithitta homestay near hanubala, Sakleshpura.After Sakleshpura, need to turn right to reach hanubala that is around 17kms away. From hanubala circle, right turn to be taken (mudigere road) and from there you will find the direction boards that will lead towards the homestay. Makkithitta is located in the donahalli village and is owned by Mr. Tejpal who is very friendly and courteous and be rest assured you will be staying at an home far away from your home.

We left early on christmas day and after a comfortable ride, reached there at 1pm. The route is as below:
Bangalore » Nelamangala (take Bangalore - Mangalore Road) » Kunigal » Bellur Cross
   » Channarayapatna » Hassan » Sakleshpur » Hanbal » Donahalli (MakkiThitta Home Stay)

Our main intention was to get out of Bangalore and relax for a day and the itinerary just suited us fine, we were welcomed with a glass of majjige and then treated to a sumptuous delicious home made malnad food that left us immobile (due to the heavy stomachs ;)). Post lunch and some rest, we went around the house for some light birding activity and back home hot cup of estate coffee awaited us. Mr Tejpal kept us occupied without boredom interfering and along with him we went up to the hillock opposite to the home, from where the beautiful sunset view against the backdrop of the house could be seen.
Back home after sunset another family were expected from Bangalore and after their arrival, it was time for another round of hot coffee and then snacks around the campfire. We and Ramprasad's family were treated to some witty card tricks by Tejpal that kept us entertained for the evening. Again after a heavy dinner comprising Malnad delicacies, its time to hit the sacks and rest for the day. The speciality out of Bangalore anywhere is that, after 8pm its dinner and bedtime and we love it ;)
Early to bed, early to rise, me and raja were up early than the others to be treated to a foggy sight outside with hardly any visibility around. The weather stayed the same for almost till 8am and the sun peeking through the fog made it all the more enjoyable to watch. Me and raja went around the place into the neighbouring estate for some birding acitivity and we were able to sight quite a handful of the winged beauties busy with their morning chores.

After freshening up and heavy breakfast, we and the others drove up to the Bettada Byraveshwara temple and then climbed up the hillock opposite to the temple for some amazing views of the valley all around. Its a sight not to be missed that you enjoy in the core and raw format without any interferences around. After a couple of hours here, we went to the Magajalli falls that is hidden just beside the main road, but a treat to the sore eyes.
Back at the homestay, our hungry stomachs were waiting to gobble up the bisi bisi malnad food served served with utmost care and hospitality that makes you to gobble more than you can handle and raja loved this fact to the core ;)

After lunch and some light rest, time to leave, Ramprasad and family left early and we stayed on a little more time and left at dusk to reach home by midnight full of memorable malnad tastes howling in our stomachs...
Bird checklist:
Chestnut headed bee eater
Scarlett minivet
Heart spotted Woodpecker
Golden flameback Woodpecker
Golden Oriole
Black lored Yellow Tit
Blue tailed Parakeet
Racquet tailed Drongo
Rose ringed Parakeet
were the main highlights...

Jan 9, 2011

Ramadevara betta, Ramanagaram

A quick dash to the place as we have never been here earlier. We started off for a early morning birding session at Hebbal lake, but changed our minds due to the heavy fog and poor visibility, midway towards lalbagh, our directions changed and Me and Raja ventured towards Mysore road to have breakfash at Kamath Lokaruchi (Raja loves this place for food....) and then visit Ramadevara betta!
There is an arch led road on the right side (while coming from Bangalore) in Ramanagara that leads directly to the foothills of the hillock. From here steps are constructed all the way up to the temple. You can venture behind the temple to get some good views of the Ramanagara Sholay area and also climb the hillock using the carved out steps on the hillock and the lone metal railings for support.
We could see lot of Oriental white eyes and the bulbuls and tits all around the place. We had another species in mind that are seen only here, but they were precariously absent at that time. Lots are talked about their habitat being destructed and if that continues, they will never be seen around again and as of now only few are left around here! I was not particularly impressed with the sight of "bottles", "packets", "plastic" on top of the hill and this is supposed to be a sacred place, what all people do here... crap!!!
An eagle (later id confirmed as Booted Eagle) was our lone raptor sighting for the day that hovered on for quite sometime. As the sun rose and the hot rays stiking ruthlessly, it was time to get back home!
Loads of people visit the temple here regularly and pity that such a wonderful place is being abused so badly!

Rajini mania

No serious stuff here... strictly for those who just want to have a laugh... :)
After the ROBOT mania, my cellphone is flooded with sms on rajini and many of them are truly funny and make me roll with laughter again and again...

Sharing some of them here...

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------How does god exclaim when he's surprised by something...

Oh my Rajinikanth!!

One day Rajinikanth got angry on his sweeper boy, he kicked him so hard that he went flying in the sky with his broom.

today that boy is famous as "HARRY POTTER"!

Why earthquake occurs on earth?


at that time Rajinikanth's mobile is on VIBRATE MODE!


Once Rajinikanth decided to donate blood to a very small thin child...

Now that child has become "The great WWF Khali"!

Rajinikanth to his friend - Tell me a word with 1 G and 4 T's?

Friend - dont know!

Rajini - Originality (oru g & naalu t)


Mind it :)

Future news...

40 years from now ROBOTS make a film called...


Once Rajini issued a cheque...

and the bank BOUNCED!

Rajinikanth was told to choose 3 subjects when he got admission in junior college...


A child went to Nepal and started playing by makind small mounds of ice...

today those mounds are called HIMALAYAS and the child is called RAJINIKANTH!

Once Rajini was playing near his home and fell in the well...

Now that place is known as Indian Ocean!

What is that Rajinikanth can do and we cant even think of doing it?

He can answer a missed call!

What is Solar Eclipse?

When Rajinikanth stares at the sun in anger, the sun hides behind moon, this phenomenon is called solar eclipse!

Once Hanumanji was caught reading Rajinikanth chalisa...!

Once Rajinikanth was playing cricket in monsoon...

Rain stopped due to play!

One Rajinikanth participated in bike race...

Dont even try to guess what happened...

Rajinikanth won the race on Neutral gear!

10,000 years ago rajini's girlfriend died and he cried a lot...

and today...

still 71% of the earth's surface is covered with water!

Once Rajinikanth was having HUKKA...

he made a smoke ring and it went into space...

today that ring is known as "The ring of Saturn"

Principal: What you want to become in future?

Boy: After studying MBBS, I want to join Police force and do job in software company and also work as lawyer and construct big buildings, conduct research and become actor!

Principal: What is your name?

Boy: Rajinikanth!

And the Rajinikanth award goes to...


Mind it!

Intel's new ad...

Rajinikanth Inside!

Why did British leave India in 1947 only?


they came to know Rajinikanth was going to be born in 1948!

Beat this one...

An email was sent from Bangalore to Mumbai

Rajinikanth stopped it in Pune!


People, please stop making fun and sending sms on Rajinikanth, else he will delete the Internet! :)Mind it!

Jan 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 http://adventureanytime.blogspot.com/2010/12/rafting-in-dandeli.html)
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!