Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Birding at Hesarghatta

After lot of deliberation I decided to visit Hesrghatta lake for birding. Have been planning to go in December but decided to visit it this weekend on suggestion from one of IMW members.

I was told there was a sighting of a European roller and I was told it wont stay for long. So I decided to give a visit. I had already visited this place once but never photographed any raptors.

Woke up at around 4:30 and started at around 5AM from my house. The place is around 50+ kms from my house. It was lot of driving hence started a little early than normal. Drove non stop till I reached the lake bed. On reaching the light was still bad. I parked my bike near a small pond which had good water. While walking along the edge of the lake a Sandpiper flew right across me and landed at the far end of the pond. After a while a second sandpiper joined. But they did not stay there for long since people started coming. They were Common Sandpipers.

I saw few cars started going inside the lakebed. I had never gone deep into the lakebed. I followed them. On the way I spotted the European Roller. My first sighting of this bird which has been categorised as "Vulnerable" now. It was beautiful. I kept my distance and took few shots. They were not good but I did not want to get close and scare away the bird. I saw the bird coming to the ground couple of times to catch something. I moved on from there.

After driving a little deep I saw few cars chasing couple of birds. I did not know what they were chasing. I parked my bike and started walking. By the time I reaced there the raptors were gone except for a Common Kestrel. This guy was amazing and posing for us. I got few good shots of the bird. After this all the cars moved on. I was still around trying to photograph Oriental lark and Cisticola.

When I turned around I saw couple of birds at a distance. On my first look at one of the birds I knew it was a Egyptian Vulture and the other one was a Juvenile. It was my first sighting. I was so happy to see this one. I always wanted to see a Egyptian vulture. I could not beleive my luck, European roller and Egyptian Vulture on the same day Amazing. I wanted to take some pictures of the vultures and started walking very slowly towards the birds. I started crawling on the ground very slowly without revealing myself. When I got close enough I tried to take some photographs when 5 cars came zipping by and got too close to the bird. It flew away.

I don't know what make these people to get so close to these birds in their cars. They are kind of destroying the Hesarghatta Habitat. You can see car tracks everywhere. These people they dont use the proper road instead they drive through the grass. Its really sad. There were atleast 10 cars going around the lake trying to find these elusive raptors. Apart from Kestrel other raptors looked uneasy.

For my luck there were a group of people who were photographing a European roller. I joined them to get some good shots. We stood behind the car and took some shots without disturbing the bird.

I also got a chance to get some good photographs of Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark and some other birds which I could not ID. I also photographed a Pied Cuckoo. Was happy to see this bird.

Co-Ordinates to the location : 13.159809,77.48889

List of Bird's seed during the outing.

1. Sandpiper (2)
2. Black Kite
3. Brahminy Kite
4. Black Shouldered Kite
5. Common Kestrel
6. Indian Roller
7. European Roller(Only one bird)
8. Pond Heron
9. Red Wattled Lapwing
10. Egyptian Vulture(Female and Juvenile)
11. Black Drongo
12. Pied Cuckoo
13. Large Grey Babbler
14. Yellow Billed Babbler
15. Zitting Cisticola
16. Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark
17. Oriental Skylark
18. Paddyfield Pippit
19. Common Myna
20. Common crow
21. Bay Backed Shrike
22. Long tailed Shrike
23. Baya Weaver
24. Indian Robin
25. Pied Bushchat
26. House Swift
27. Red Rumped Swallow
28. Silver bill
29. Purple Rumped Sunbird
30. Green Bea Eater
31. Ashy Prinia
32. Plain Prinia
33. Cattle Egret

                                                                 Baya Weaver(Male)

                                                                   Oriental Lark

                                                                   Common Kestrel

                                                                 Egyptian Vulture(Juvenile)

                                                                 Egyptian Vulture(Adult)

                                                                   Zitting Cisticola?

                                                                   Oritental Skylark

                                                          Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark

                                                                    Oriental Skylark

                                                    Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark(Female)

                                         Cars Crowding birds to take photograph of European Roller

                                                                       Black Drongo

                                                          High key shot of Kestrel

                                                                        Pied Cuckoo

                                                                   Baybacked Shirke

                                                                Siberian Stonechat(Female)

                                                                    European Roller
                                                                   Common Kestrel

                                                                                Siberian Stonechat(Male)


  1. Hello Sir,
    very nice.

    Last Pic Id is Siberian Stonechat - male.
    3rd pic from is siberian stonechat - female not buschat.
    2nd photo from top - are you sure its oriental Lark??

    1. Hello Bhargav Sir,
      Thanks for correcting the ID's. I have updated the ID's.
      It does look like a Oriental Skylark. Please let me know if you think otherwise.


    2. Hi,
      Sorry for the late reply. It is Oriental Skylark. Sorry for creating confusion!!
      and just Bhargav will do ,no need of Sir :)


  2. Very nice pics. Love the clarity. Hope you don't mind me asking what lens are you using. The reason I am asking is because I need to pick up a zoom. Have a 300 mm but want a longer zoom. Regards

    1. Hi,
      I have 70-300 Tamron lens.


  3. Lovely images... :)
    I was there yesterday for the European Roller, even saw it, but didn't go behind it photographing. :D
    Angad Achappa

    1. Good to Angad Achappa. I hope we give the birds some space for them.


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  5. Went today in 2017, 4-5species only