Monday, March 18, 2013

Birding in Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary

After seeing so many trip reports of CWLS we got our chance to visit it and by far it was my best Birding trip. I had company of very good people who made this trip thoroughly enjoyable. I was joined by
1. Ajit
2. Srinivas
3. Raghavendra and his family

When we started to talk about birding destination for the weekend we had 3 options to choose from Hoskote Lake, Nandi Hills and CWLS. Since the birding was planned for Sunday we decided not to visit Nandi because of the huge crowd there on Sunday’s. And decided to head towards CWLS. Thanks to Janhvi from bngbirds group for providing inputs about the location and the route. The directions posted by Sheshadri on bngbirds group did help.
We started very early in the morning. Ajit picked me and Srini from my house at 4:45AM. Then we headed towards Raghu’s house to pick him. We were on the Kanakpura road by 5AM. On the way we stopped at Kanakpura for an early morning(6AM) breakfast and packed few idli and Vada’s for later on. We headed towards Sathnur from where we decided to take deviation towards Muthathi. Thanks to the locals for providing the directions. Our first stop was at a fig tree which was having few busy visitors in the morning. We could see Bulbuls, Starlings, White Eyes and Barbet in the tree. Raghu tried his luck with photographing a White Eye. He still hasn’t got a good photograph of a White Eye till now. Just like I had a jinx with Treepie he has a jinx with White Eye’s and APFC. After a stop for about 15 minutes there we started our drive again.
Our next stop was near a tree where we spotted atleast 8-10 Yellow Footed Green Pigeons. The tree again was busy with hosting Bulbuls, Coppersmith Barbets and lot of Pigeons. This was my first sighting of this bird and what an amazing sight it was. Just as we were observing these pigeons we spotted another Barbet which flew and sat across another tree which was a little far. Initially we thought it should be a White Cheeked because of its size and after inspection from Binocs and zooming from our cameras ajit corrected it as Brown Headed Barbet. The Brown head and the ring across its eye was a give away. Another first spotting for me and Srini. And just before we could enter car we saw another fellow swooping into the tree and immediately everyone started calling it as a woodpecker. This time it was a Streak Throated Woodpecker. My second sighting in two weeks. Last week I saw it for the first time in valley school and it was a female and this time we spotted a male. So both sexes seen in two weeks. Not badJ It was bust trying to find something in branches. It left after sometime. We were amazed to see so many birds just on the road side.
Since Raghu and his wife did not have breakfast in the morning we decided to take a break and stopped under a tree. Ajit as usual was busy looking for birds and we opened our Idli packets. Raghu had started having idli when he saw a Jungle Owlet across the road. He could not take any photos since he had idli and chutni all over, Ajit came back running, Srini started looking through his binocs and I left my idli packet took my camera and started taking photos. And when we were busy looking at this fellow and Innova comes in and stops right in front of the bird and scares him away. We were all disappointed but still enjoyed the sighting of this fellow. Again it was a first sighting for most of us. Most of the blogs that I had read had mention about this fellow being seen in this area. We finished our idli’s and started our drive again.
Just before we reached Anjaneya temple we saw couple of Treepies on the road which were busy basking in the sun. They did not mind our presence at all. This was the first time I was seeing a Treepie in such a close quarters. We took some very good photographs of these birds and considered ourselves very lucky to see these beautiful birds in open space like this. I always had a jinx with this bird. It took me almost 2 years to see this bird for the first time. My first sighting was in Shivanahalli and again it was just seen in flight. I considered myself very lucky here. From here on we kept seeing this bird all throughout the trip.
Just as we reached Muthathi we were asked to pay fees for passing by. When asked they mentioned it’s from forest department and everyone has to pay. They were collecting 40/- and I could not find the reason for the same. Also we saw lot of monkeys here and they were snatching bags from everyone. Whenever we stopped a car they came running towards us. Later we realized why they do that. We saw people feeding them from their cars. It’s really sad to see people doing this. We did not stop here and headed towards Bheemeshwari. When we reached there we saw a sign board which had 1700/- for a day visit. Since we had come here for birding and not for any other recreational activities we decided to head back and do birding on the way.
On our way back before we reached Muthathi we stopped by a temple. The place was looking good for birding. There were people around but we still went ahead for birding. Immediately after getting down Raghu spotted something. Initially I thought it should be a Large Grey Babbler but after seeing its red beak we realized it’s a Sirkeer Malkoha, amazing bird. It was a wonderful wonderful sighting. When its walking in the ground it looks exactly like a Mongoose walking. It was a first sighting for everyone. After this sighting we went near the water to check if we can spot some birds. And the first one seen was a Blue Bearded Bea Eater. Only Srini could get some decent photos. After a while it flew away. We tried to follow it and came across another Bea Eater and this time it was a Chestnut headed Bea Eater. Amazingly colorful bird and again the first sighting for everyone. We could see some of its acrobatics in the air. Just few record shots taken and moved ahead hoping to see more.
Our next interesting spotting was of a Black Hooded Oriole. Its bright yellow body could be seen clearly in midst of green. We saw a Stork Billed Kingfisher and a APFC with a brown body and White tail. I had not seen a APFC like this before, interesting sighting. We also saw few Common Hawk-Cuckoo, couple of them fighting in the air. Raghu managed to click a decent photograph of Black Naped Monarch while we were busy soaking our feet in the river water.
Ajit and Srini got busy photographing Damsel flies and meanwhile Raghu and myself got busy in photographing a Brown Fish Owl. We were awestruck by its sight and its size. Lot of yellow billed babblers seem to be bothered by the presence of this owl. We got some decent photographs of this fellow. For myself and Raghu it was first sighting of this fellow. We could not believe our luck. First we saw a Jungle Owlet and not a Brown Fish OwlJ
We decided to head back and just before we came out we saw another flycatcher which looked like Asian Brown but we need to confirm the ID yet. Got a group photo and headed towards the car. On the way we stopped for eating the Watermelon which Raghu had got. It quenched our thirst and our appetiteJ
We stopped at Sathnur got some refreshments and headed towards Kanakpura. We stopped for a brief while in Kanakpura lake to see the waders. We saw lot of waders in the lake which had Whistling ducks, Sandpipers, Bronze-winged Jacanas, Wagtails and lot of Egrets. There were atleast 50-60 of these Whistling ducks in this lake. Even Wagtails were in good numbers.
Our next stop was at Harohalli lake to take a quick glance at the waders in the lake. Again here we saw Bronze winged Jacanas, Pheasant-Tailed Jacanas, Herons, Common Coots, Purple and Common Moorhens. Spotting a Pheasant-Tailed Jacana was a first for me. Even here there were Whistling ducks in good numbers. They were at the far side of the lake.
It was already 4:30. We headed back towards Bangalore after a brief stop for having a tender coconut on the way. Dropped Raghu and his wife first and then Ajit dropped me and Srini at my house. We had finished an amazing day of birding which none of us will forget anytime soon.
Birds seen during the trip.
1. Black Kite
2. Brahminy Kite
3. House crow
4. Jungle crow
5. Common Myna
6. Jungle Myna
7. Little Coromorant
8. Little Egret
9. Intermediate Egret
10. Cattle Egret
11. Jerdons Bushlark
12. Indian Roller
13. Indian Robin
14. Pied Bushchat
15. Yellow Billed Babbler
16. Jungle Babbler
17. Large Grey Babbler
18, Greater Coucal
19. Oriental Magpie Robin
20. Brahminy Starling
21. White Cheeked Barbet
22. Coppersmith Barbet
23. Brown Headed Barbet
24. Spotted Dove
25. Laughing Dove
26. Rock Pigeon
27. Yellow Footed Green Pigeon
28. White Browed Wagtail
29. Grey Wagtail
30. Yellow Wagtail
31. Green Bea Eater
32. Blue Bearded Bea Eater
33. Chestnut Headed Bea Eater
34. House Swift
35. Barn Swallow
36. Grey/Great Tit
37. Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark
38. House Sparrow
39. Pond Heron
40. Purple Heron
41. Grey Heron
42. Rose Ringed Parakeet
43. Black Drongo
44. Ashy Drongo
45. White Bellied Drongo
46. White Breasted Waterhen
47. Purple Sunbird
48. Purple Rumped Sunbird
49. Black Ibis
50. Red Vented Bulbul
51. Red Wattled Lapwing
52. White Browed Bulbul
53. Rufous Treepie
54. Oriental Honey Buzzard
55. Common Kestrel
56. Tawny Eagle
57. Asian Paradise Flycatcher
58. Sirkeer Malkoha
59. Black Hooded Oriole
60. Jungle Owlet
61. Spotted Owlet
62. Brown Fish Owl
63. God Fronted Leafbird
64. Shikra
65. Common Blue Kingfisher
66. White Throated Kingfisher
67. Stork Billed Kingfisher
68. Flame Backed Woodpecker
69. Streak Throated Woodpecker
70. Ashy Prinia
71. Plain Prinia
72. Grey Breasted Prinia
73. Common Tailorbird
74. Grey Hornbill
75. Oriental White Eye
76. White Browed Fantail Flycatcher
77. Black Headed Cuckoo-Shrike
78. Common Hawk Cuckoo
79. Booted Warbler
80. Common Iora
81. Hoopoe
82. Blue Faced Malkoha
83. Black Naped Monarch
84. Asian Brown Flycatcher
85. Black Winged Stilt
86. Bronze Winged Jacana
87. Pheasant Tailed Jacana
88. Purple Moorehen
89. Common Moorehen
90. Common Coot
91. Lesser Whistling Duck
92. Black Headed Ibis
93. Open Billed Stork
94. River Tern
95. Wooly Necked Stork
96, Green Sandpiper
97. Common Sandpiper
98. Wood Sandpiper
99. Zitting Cisticola
100. Oriental Darter
101. Chestnut Headed Starling
102. Grey Francolin(Calls Heard)
Indian Bushlark

Common Kestrel

Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark

Oriental White Eye

Black Ibis

Coppersmith Barbet

White Browed Bulbul

Red Vented Bulbul

Grey Breasted Prinia

Jungle Babbler

Brown Headed Barbet 

Yellow Footed Green Pigeon

Grey Hornbills

Streak Throated Woodpecker

Spotted Dove

Blyth's Reed Warbler

Laughing Dove

Jungle Owlet

Tawny Eagle

Green Bea Eater

Rufous Treepie

Oriental Honey Buzzard

Chestnut Headed Bea-Eater

Black Hooded Oriole

Sirkeer Malkoha

Stork Billed Kingfisher

White Browed Wagtail

Common Hawk Cuckoo

Golden Fronted Leaf Bird

Brown Fish Owl

Asian Paradise Flycatcher

Brown Fish Owl

Asian Brown Flycatcher

White Bellied Drongo

Bronze Winged Jacana(Juve)

Indian Roller

Bronze Winged Jacana

Wood Sandpiper


Whistling Ducks

Pheasant-Tailed Jacana

Common Moorhen and Jacana

Open Billed Stork


  1. Nice post! Good birding trip indeed. I might plan a trip with my family to these places - sounds very interesting!

    Great shots, by the way!