Friday, July 13, 2012

Avian Fauna at office

Since I wrote my last few blogs regarding my​ birding experience around Bangalore I started thinking why not create a list of birds found at our own beautiful Campus. This blog is my contribution towards the avian bird species in our Campus.

I will keep updating this blog as and when I find a new bird species. I will try add photo's too whenever possible.

Also I'm not restricting the blog just to Birds but also any reptiles or  butterflies found around but will list them seperately.

Birds Identified:

1. Ashy Prinia(Can be found near the Big founatain)
2. Red Wattled Lapwing(Saw this near the Big Golf court)
3. Scaly Breasted Munia(observed Near CASA)
4. Oriental White Eye(observed Near CASA)
5. House Crow
6. Common Myna
7. Black Kite
8. White Cheeked Barbet(Around building 8)
9. Asian Koel(Near Building 1 and 2, especially during breeding season)
10. White Browed Wagtail(Saw this near the Big Golf court)
11. Tickell's Flowerpecker(Near Building 4)
12. Indian Pond Heron
13. Red Vented Bulbul
14. Red Whikered Bulbul
15. Pied Bushchat
16. Indian Robin

Butterflies Identified:

1. Common Grass Yellow
2. Choclate Pansy
3. Lemon Yellow

KokkareBelluru, Mandya District, Bangalore

We left Bangalore early​ in the morning to Visit one of our friends "Beegara Oota" which was in a village near Mandya. We were waiting for our friend Sanket who had come all the way from Mumbai just for this.

Vinay, Bindu and Sanket picked me up at my house in the morning. Vinay as usual was on the driver seat in his Alto. We reached there by about 11.30AM. Said "HI" to our friend had our Lunch by 2PM. The meal had a non-veg dishes except for rasam. Me and Vinay are veggies hence had a very light meal:-) We decided to try the McDonald on the mysore highway while returning.

After the dinner we went for a small walk near a temple which was closeby. As usual I took my SLR hoping to catch any birds around the area. We were talking about Asian koels and Mynas, all of a sudden I observed a Huge bird flying to the near by tree and settling on it. I switched on my SLR even Sanket had his digicam. When we peeked at the tree I could just see its tail which was grey and huge. It was "Grey Hornbill". I was thrilled to see the bird. It was my first spotting.

This guy kept jumping from one tree to another but did give me couple of good shots. Me and my friends were very happy to have photographed this guy. It was a first sighting in the wild for everyone. After Hornbill tried our hands at photographin Crow:-), Myna and Koel.

After watching all these birds we started thinking if we can go to "Kokkare Belluru" on the way back to Bangalore. We had seen a signboard of this place on the Mysore highway. No one had any objection to the idea. So we started to drive towards the kokkare belluru.

On the way to Kokkare Belluru we stopped at a very large lake which had lot of Egrets in their breeding plumage, Black Headed Ibis, Black Ibis, Woolly Necked Stork, White Throated Kingfisher, Grey Herons and Pond herons. Me and Sanket started clicking away. Vinay did end up taking one photograph with his car. Close by I spotted Collared Dove and explained to my friends why it is called like that showing the distinct Black mark on the dove's neck.

After a brief pitstop we started driving towards the Koakkre Belluru. On reaching the place we saw couple of Juvenile Painted storks which were injured. On enquiring the locals they said they take care of these injured birds. They showed us an enclosure which had injured storks and an injured Spot Billed Pelican.

We saw lot of Painted storks both adults and Juveniles. Even this was my first sighting of Painted storks. I also found a Balck Ibis which was very co-operating while taking photographs. Clicked some some good photographs of Black Kite, Brahminy Kite, Storks, Ibis and Sparrows.

Overall it was worth a visit. Locals told us to come back in Nov-Dec time frame which is the actual season for these winter arrivals. Should plan to visit this place again during this winter.

Google Maps Co-Ordinates for the location : 12.542499,77.092438

List of birds found during the trip :

1. Asian Koel(Male and female)
2. Mynah
3. Indian Robin
4. Grey Hornbill
5. Black Ibis
6. Black headed Ibis
7. Egrets
8. Grey Heron
9. Pond Heron
10. White Throated Kingfisher
11. Spotted Dove
12. Collared Dove
13. Painted Storks
14. Spot Billed Pelican
15. Black Kite
16. Brahminy Kite
17. House Sparrow
18. Wooly Necked Stork

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Valley School, Kanakpura Road, Bangalore

While going through lot of blogs to find good birding spots around Bangalore I came across this​school name which is located on Kankapura Road. It was mentione in lot of blogs on the net. I decided to check this place myself.

It was decided to go on 22'nd June. One of my Ex-Infy friend Subbu joined me during this trip. I packed couple of water bottles and biscuit packets. My camera batteries were charged to full and memory card formatted. We started around 6.30AM from my home. Once we crossed the NICE road there is a diversion on the right towards mysore road, there is also a sign board for Valley school there. From Kanakpura main road its about 4-5km's inside. Even the drive towards Valley school was very good. We saw few lapwings, Babblers, Munia's on our way to the school.

On reaching the school we enquired near the gate secuirty if we are allowed to enter the school. As I already knew they said we are allowed to walk around the school but not allowed inside the school. Even for walking around the school we had to make an entry in their register. While entering the details I observed there were people who had already come for bird watching as early as 5:45AM. I logged my name parked my friends car at the school gate and started walking around the fence of the school.

On the way we saw some common birds like koels, mynas, bulbuls, Hoopoes on the way. On the way we stood for good 10 minutes under the large Banyan tree which had good number of birds. Closeby we did see lot of Oriental white eyes feeding on small berries. I also saw couple of Golden Orioles flyby.

We resumed our walk again. After 10 minutes we found ourselves in an Unhabited building. There was lot of bird acitivity there. On closer inspection we found lot of nests belonging to House swifts. We also few Bulbuls around the place which looked quite agitated with our presence. We decided to leave them alone and left the place. As we walked along we could hear lot of Peacock calls. The only time I have seen a Peacock in wild was in Bandipur. We started walking towards the call in hope of spotting bird.

On our way we spotted couple of Hares and spotted pigeons. The forest started becoming very thick. There were lot of Bamboo trees around. Because of the wind they were making all kind of noises. I was told that elephants used to come to this place to feed on these bamboo trees. And on one of the blogs there was a report of even a leopard sighting around this area. So people planning to visit this place have to be very careful.

We spotted couple of woodpeckers trying to dig hole in the trees. Tried to take pictures of it but failed because of poor lighting conditions. This was my first sighting of a woodpecker in the wild. Along the way found some Fantails munching around, there were around 8-10 fantails. Came across a spotted owl and a Grey Hornbill.
We decided it was time to leave since we had gone a little deeper into the jungle. On our way we rested under the banyan tree started munching on the biscuit packets which we had carried. While resting we could see few cattle egrets and Drongos irritating the cattles which were grazing.

On the way back from the school we took a detour and entered into a farm. There we spotted Jungle Prinias, Tawny bellied Babblers, Tickells flower pecker, Tailor Bird and few other birds.

It was about 11AM. Our stomach was calling for some attention which made us leave and find a good hotel for breakfast. All in all it was a very good outing. It was a first for my friend subbu who enjoyed the entire outing. It is really a very good place for Birding. The school is very green. One day I hope to get a permission to do birding within the school.

Google Maps Co-Ordinates for the Location : 12.854482,77.501593

List of Birds spotted :

1. Green Bea eater
2. Red Wattled Lapwing
3. Asian Koel
4. Yellow Billed Babbler
5. Jungle Prinia
6. Ashy Prinia
7. Common Tailorbird
8. Spotted owl
9. Mr and Mrs Robin
10. Magpie Robin
11. Oriental Whiteye
12. Golden Oriole
13. Hoopoe
14. White Naped Woodpecker(Both adult and Juvenile)
15. House Swifts
16. Bulbuls
17. White Browed Bulbuls
18. Drongos
19. Grey Hornbill
20. Tickell's Flowerpecker
21. Tawny bellied Babbler
22. White Throated Fantail
23. Peacock(Calls heard)
24. Black Kites
25. Scaly breasted Munia
26. Mynah
27. Egrets
28. White Throated Barbet
29. Coppersmith Barbet
30. Small Minivet
31. Blue Faced Malkoha
32. Greater Coucal
33. Mr and Mrs Common Iora

I will add few more to the list after finding the ID's:-)

Hesarghatta, Bangalore Savannah

From a very long time I wanted to visit this place. I was told it was the best place to find and photograph raptors. It is also the only grassland around Bangalore.

Last week​ I made all the plans and arrangements to visit this place. It was decided to start early on saturday and reach the place by 6AM. It's a 35KM drive from my house. I was a little skeptical about going alone as there were reports of mugging around this area but decided to go ahead with the plan.

On Saturday morning I woke up at 4.40AM. Took my Hyabusa(Suzuki Access 125 ;-)) and started my trip. Immediately after 2-3 kms I regretted of not carrying the Jacket, it was pretty cold. I started from J.P Nagar took the outer ring road(Via Devegowda petrol bunk and Nagarbhavi). Once I reached Tumkur road I took a left. At 8'th mile stopped for quick coffee and started again. Took a right towards Hesarghatta and kept driving. Locals around the area helped me with the directions.

At 6PM reached the Hesarghatta lake. I was dissapointed to see one of the largest lakes dried up. On enquiring with locals, I was told it has been in the same state for almost 15 years. Only during rains you will see some water. It's a pity to see such a large in that state. I was able to see some Kites, Red Wattled Lapwings around the lake.

Instead of spending time near the lake I decided to head towards the grassland. According the map I was supposed to head towards Adarsh Film Institiute. I started driving towards the institute and found some good birding sites which I would visit on my way back.
Immediately after reaching Adarsha and Karnataka Film insititutes I took a right. There it was bangalore's version of "Savannah Grassland", It was majestic sight. The only problem was with the tree sapplings which were sown by our BDA. They wanted to convert this grassland into a forest. Thankfully lot of NGO's fought against it and prevenetd BDA planting these trees. I'm still worried to see so many tree saplings there.

Once I started goind ahead I saw lot of Yellow wattled lapwings which was quite a sight:-) My only prior sighting of this bird was in Anjanapura layout. Seeing so many of them in one location made my day. I was also able to see lot of birds in the area which I have listed below.

While driving around I observed few small birds walking along with these yellow wattled lapwings, that is when I realised these are juveniles. They were beautiful, making high pitch noises from their small little beaks. It was great to see them. As I drove along I saw lot of these chicks, it's the breeding season for lapwings. For some reason these yellow wattled lapwings were quiet. They did not get too worked up with my presence. Took some good shots of these Yellow wattled lapwings.

At 8AM I started seeing lot of 4 wheelers around the area. On asking the people I was told there was a film shoot(Shivrajkumar movie) scheduled in the area. The shooting was happeing at the same exact area where I saw the lapwings. The director was screaming in his mike, I could hear his voice wherever I went. I could see it was disturbing the birds around. They had moved from the area. Even I decided to leave the place and head towards the lake.
On the way I took a detour towards a small forest area to see if I can find some interesting activity there. And I was correct to take the detour. I spotted a Black Shouldered Kite gorging on his morning kill(Some rodent). He was perching on an open tree, I was able to take some good shots. Not distrubing him too much I decided to move-on.

Near the film insitute I saw lot of yellow billed Babblers crossing the road. I stopped my bike and started photographing. Couple of White Browed bulbuls decided to join the party along with Red whiskered bulbuls. Also spotted a white cheeked barbet perching on top of a huge tree.

After a small break I headed towards the lake. On reaching the lake I immediately saw couple of Red Wattled lapwings. One on the right side of the road and the other on the left. Took some shots and when I tried to get a little closer they flew away but not too far. I stopped my bike and decided to shoot some birds around the area. Seeing my presence around the lake the lapwings seemed to be a little agitated. They kept flying above my head and they kept making these alarming calls all the while. That is when I realised I should be closer to their nest. Even a Black kite started hovering around the area. I did not want to disturb their nest hence moved to the opposite side of the lake where I saw lot of sparrows and bushlarks feeding. I got some good shots of the birds.

In the middle of the lake these politicians had installed this huge shaamiyaana and lot of chairs had been kept. At around 10.30AM I started hearing these announcements in the mike. They were announcing that government had sanctioned few lakhs to restore the lake. I just hope they use this money for restoring the lake than increasing their bank balances.

I walked around the lake for another hour and then started my way back to home. It was an amazing outing. I will never forget the sight of seeing those Yellow Wattled Lapwings with their chicks. I should return to this place again this winter when one can expect some raptors.

Google Maps Co-Ordinates for the location : 13.163235,77.488976

List of Birds/animals found :

1. Bushlark
2. Pipit
3. Black Kite
4. Black Shouldered Kite
5. Red Wattled Lapwing
6. Yellow Wattled Lapwing
7. Mr and Mrs Robin
8. Oriental Robin
9. White Browed Wagtail
10. Common Tailorbird
11. Red Whiskered Bulbul
12. White Browed Bulbul
13. Purple sunbird
14. Purple Rumped sunbird
15. Babbler
16. Barbet
17. Sparrows
18. Shikra
19. Tickells flowerpecker
20. Ashy Prinia
21. Jungle Prinia
22. Pond Heron
23. Rat Snake
24. Parakeet
25. Rock Agama
26. Spotted Dove
27. Laughing Dove
28. Rufous-Tailed Lark
29. Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark

Birding at Anjanapura Layout, Bangalore.

I started taking lot of interest in Bird Photography from last year. As most of us do, I started going to Lalbagh regularly in the mornings. But soon I realised it was a little too crowded for my liking.

While driving on the Kanakpura Road, I found few very good Birding areas. And one such area with very less human intervention which I found was partially developed "Anjanapura BDA layout". The entire layout had small bushes and trees everywhere. Some people come in the mornings for a walk. And during after 10 you will see lot of Real Estate people trying to sell the plots to the clients.

You could hear birds everywhere you go. I was fortunate enough to find this area. During my repeated visits I was able to photograph different kind of birds which are listed at the end. The area is roughly around 1-2 sqkm and the variety of birds that you could find over such a small area was amazing.

During one of the visits in February, I just stood in front of a tree which was filled with Rosy Starlings, Brahminy Starling, Drongo, Baya Weaver, Common Tailor Bird, Ashy Prinia... It was an amazing sight. I stood there taking photographs and after a while just dropped by camera and started enjoying these birds. They were very co-operative to other birds.

Now the BDA has done the inevitable thing by cutting down all the trees and shrubs in the area. It looks like a barren land. My usual spots where I could find enough birds are gone. I have to find a new area for birding again.

I will return to this area this winter to check if I can find these guys again.

Google Maps Co-Ordinates for the location : 12.856825,77.56485

Bird's spotted in the layout.

1. Green Bea Eater
2. Indian Bush Lark
3. Red Rumped Swallow
4. Spotted Dove
5. Laughing Dove
6. Black Shouldered Kite
7. Black Kite
8. Hoopoe
9. Egret
10. Greater Coucal
11. Grey Bellied Cuckoo
12. White Throated Fantil
13. Rosy Starling
14. Brahminy Starling
15. Drongo
16. Baya Weaver
17. Common Tailor Bird
18. Ashy Prinia
19. White Browed Wagtail
20. Plain Prinia
21. Yellow Eyed Babbler
22. Yellow Billed Babbler
23. Jungle Babbler
24. Scaly Breasted Munia
25. Long Tailed Shrike
26. Red Wattled Lapwing
27. Yellow Wattled Lapwing
28. Spotted Owl
29. Pied Bushchat
30. Indian Robin(Male, Female and one in breeding plumage)
31. Grey Wagtail
32. White Browed Wagtail
33. Bulbul
34. Parakeet
35. Pond Heron
36. White Throated Kingfisher
37. Asian Koel
38. Cinerous Tit
39. Blyth's reed warbler
40. Tickell's Flowerpecker
41. White Cheeked Barbet
42. Magpie Robin
43. Blue Tailed Bea eater
44. Grey Francolin
45. Barred Buttonquail
46. Tickell's Blue Flycatcher