Bird Sanctuaries

Thattekhad “ The” Birding destination of South India-Dec 2007 ( Part II)

Posted by Susan Sharma on January 30, 2008

 
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Thattekhad “ The” Birding destination of South India-Dec 2007 ( Part II)

-Posted by Partha Pal in Delhibird yahoo group

 


Post lunch trip was with Girish (Mrs Sudha’s son) . I accompanied Girish and three Foreigners(Swede birder and Australian birding couple) to a different part of forest on lookout for Waynad laughing thrush. Though it eluded us I got my first sighting of Malabar hornbill,  Malabar parakeet, Hill mynah ,Ruby throated Bulbul and Pompadour green pigeon. However the location for Waynad laughing thrush and the path was full of leeches . I was literally hooked on to shoes removing every time a leech crawled up, still I had eighteen bites around the ankle to calf muscle. Other guys also met with the same fate except the lady. Reasons unknown ,probably fairer sex has advantage even in jungles.

Next two days were with Eldhose and I was looking forward to them. So much was written about him that I already had image of him bigger than life. Well he turned out to be very soft spoken, gentle ,down to earth person, whose only love is birds.    His preciseness of the location , sharp hearing , recognition of calls , all are amazing. There were so many incidents in two days you could only be stunned with Eldhose’s magic.

So we started of with Red spur fowl behind his house, white cheeked barbet ,Malabar grey hornbill at the Papaya tree next to his house.  For photographers he also creates a hide sort of situation where you can have really close photos of birds. Then it was the time of Mottled wood owl little distance from his home, followed by Blyth’s pipit. We took a brief break for breakfast. Post breakfast session yielded Grey breasted prinia, Crested hawk eagle – As per Eldhose , a sub species of changeable hawk eagle which does not change, in sanctuary area – we saw Grey headed bulbul, Crimson backed sunbird, Brown breasted flycatcher, Crested serpent eagle,Grey jungle fowl, White bellied treepie, fleeting glimpse of Crested goshawk a grizzly squirrel , flying lizards ,Asian Bird southwing and other butterflies.

Post lunch session produced a amazing collection of birds. We visited another part of the sanctuary. Blue throated flycatcher,Dark fronted Babbler, Chestnut tailed starling the south India sub species, Heart spotted woodpecker, Large cuckooshrike,Black headed Cuckooshrike, Drongo cuckoo, Black napped monarch, Asian paradise flycatcher – all this at one location. Little further in the Jungle we saw a giant squirrel, plum headed parakeets, Fleeting glimpse of Besra and Chestnut winged uckoo.Malabar Parakeet, and the Highlight of the trip – The beautiful Malabar trogon. I was so sucked up by the beauty, I forgot to shoot photos. The day does not end here. In absolute darkness Eldhose tracked down Indian Pitta and with the help of a small torch another species has etched onto my memory.

Next day was my last day at Thattekhad and we had still lot of names in the list.. We started of with Black Baza – a beautiful princely bird. We had to wait nearly 45 minutes for the lone baza sighting. While waiting for Black baza, White bellied and Rufous treepie, Large cuckoo shrike, Brown shrike, Black naped, Black hooded and Golden oriole , Black crested bulbul (Ruby throat -south Indian sub species)were seen. Next  in line was Blue bearded beater . Post breakfast sightings produced,Lesser yellow naped woodpecker – south Indian sub species, Streakthroated woodpecker and Yellow billed babbler . Then we took a long and beautiful drive to Edamalyar barrage where we saw Dusky craig martin, White bellied treepie, Rufous babbler and on the way Common hawk cuckoo, Shikra and Paris peacock butterfly.

After having a hefty and late lunch at one of the Kerala dhaba we proceeded toward the sanctuary gate. Target was White bellied woodpecker, however due to less time I opted for Dollar bird. As usual Eldhose tracked down the Dollar bird and in process we saw lots of Hill mynah,Malabar hornbill, Grey jungle fowl, Rufous treepie with a kill, hordes of caterpillar and a lone Oriental honey buzzard.

Quite a few names were still pending in the wish list, but I ran out of time, probably I can cover in my next trip.Eldhose has given a open offer - ten days in south India. He will show you 300 species.

Treated to a Icecream by Eldhose I said bye to Thattekhad . Thanking Eldhose and my stars that at least some part of the dream has been fulfilled. Those who are interested in hiring Eldhose services need to book minimum month or two in advance.

 

 

 

 

Bird Sanctuaries

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary

Posted by Susan Sharma on January 22, 2008

 
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Thattekhad “ The” Birding destination of South India-Dec 2007 ( Part I)

-Posted by Partha Pal in Delhibird yahoo group

 

Roughly 25 odd square kilometer of area but it boasts of 270 species and above. Two and half days of birding yielding 33 lifers and the greed to continue was still there, unfortunately time didn’t allow.


Reached Thattekad around 11 a.m . Ashy wood swallow were the first ones to greet perched on the wire across the river. Happy with the good omen I continued and reached the sanctuary gate.

Sudeesh the young guide who is under tutelage of Eldhose was wating for me at the sanctuary gate. Since Eldhose was already booked for that day Sudeesh took me around for the first part of the day . My staying arrangements were done with a family who lives within the sanctuary.  Fresh home food and family atmosphere, very good host added to the good birding. The lady of the house Mrs.Sudha and other family members were extremely nice and caring. Incidentally her son is lawyer and also a birding guide . His free time is taken up as birding guide.

My first foray into the forest - actually before that ,just next to the gate
a pair of brown hawk owl were roosting.(1st lifer of the trip) 12 hours of bus journey in normal circumstances I would have been sleeping like a log but here I was excited like a kid who has just been given a free hand. Late morning visit resulted in sighting of five Srilanka frogmouth (really strange looking birds infact the way they sit still – just like statues.  Sudeesh advised that they won’t move unless you touch the bush they are sitting on.  We saw Giant wood spider with a huge web , fleeting yellow
browed bulbuls, Greater racket tailed drongo as common as black drongo in north, Bronzed drongo, Black napped monarch, Asian paradise Flycatcher, Forest wagtail and of course The Pit Viper (We managed to go as close as 12 inches . It lay lazily ,tummy was bloated ,must have good kill.

 

 

 

 

(Continued in next part)

Bird Sanctuaries

In search of Mahseer

Posted by Karthik on May 20, 2007

 
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Doddamakali Fishing Camp (12th May 07, 140kms from Bangalore)

My mind and soul both were craving for some kind of adventure and I was also sick and tired of slogging at work. Actually, I was looking for agn opportunity to unleash my Beast on the road and it came at the right time. This is about a trip that Netra (my wife) & I cruised along the gorgeous locations of Karnataka (Halagur – Malavalli – Doddamakali) searching for Mahseer. It was just ’awesome’. That’s the only word comes to my mind when I think about it. This write-up is all about three entities - we two and BISON (the Bullet).

Meandering through the woody landscape amidst the forests of Karnataka is the Cauvery the most majestic and sacred river of South India. The river offers both adventure and opportunity for nature lovers. Nestled along this mighty river is the Doddamakali Fishing Camp, world-renowned as home to the great ‘Mahseer’ - the finest & the largest tropical sporting fish known to man. Tucked away from the milling crowds, yet close enough for you to reach, this camp offers a slice of nature that is entirely unique, one in which you can totally feel free! JLR has exclusive rights to vast stretches of the Cauvery. Four different kinds of Mahseer (Large Headed) fish are found in these waters Silver, Gold, black and Pink. However, in light of decreasing sizes and numbers of good specimens, ’Catch-and-Release’ has become a necessary practice. Other fish often found are carp, catfish and many small ones useful as bait.

Doddamakali Camp is situated 6km upstream from Bheemeshwari. This place is as remote, rugged and as primitive as any place could be. Hugging the River Cauvery, the Camp is absolutely protected and riparian—sylvan in solitude and great for bird sightings & Mahseer fishing. Mammals that are spotted around the Camp include leopard, elephants, wild pigs, sambar, spotted deers, the highly endangered grizzled giant squirrel, Malabar giant squirrel and jackals. Reptiles that can be sighted are marsh crocodile, turtles (Leith’s Soft Shelled Turtle, an endemic species is found in these waters), chameleon, python, cobra, russell’s viper and banded krait. However, the Mahseer fish is the main attraction of the waters of River Cauvery

Over 200 species of birds have been identified around the camp. Among the water-based birds, you can spot the grey-headed fishing eagle, spot billed duck, small pied kingfisher, black-bellied river tern, osprey, and many more. There are also a number of rare land-based birds such as the honey buzzard, tawny eagle, pied crested cuckoo, etc. Our cruise was quiet smooth till Mandya through the four-lane highway. After that the roads were little bit rough & uneven. After doing some left, right turn and riding on smooth road, Netra & I reached the old tarred road and then kacchi sadak.. the way to Doddamakali.. 8 km stretch which took us around 45 mins-1 hr. It was very interesting journey on that road both times. We were finally at camp at 11:40am, but via a slope hugging zigzag path with no soul around.

After reaching there we were welcomed with a glass of lemon juice. It was like "amrut jal" or may be "tirthanm" after 3 hrs ride. I couldn’t resist jumping in to the river even after reading about crocs & whirlpools in the stream; swam for an hour and then lunch around 1:30. After lunch we were at river side & I fixed my fishing rod to ankle the Mahseer; a legendary fighting fish which can grow to over 100lb in weight. These fish are famous for being able to strip a reel bare of 40lb line on the first run and can easily swim upstream, against rapids, at over 20 knots. Netra was resting on hammock & fell asleep.

Putting her to sleep, I swiftly changed into my fishing gear and taking my trusty spinning tackle, called forth with determination. After I had worked out the kinks from my casting arm, I was rewarded by a Silver Mahseer, who seized my large spinner with a vengeance as soon as it struck the water. In no time the reel was singing, my arm was straining against the pull from the Mahseer, who was whizzing downstream looking for refuge in the rapid and rocks. This gave me time to overcome the initial shock of hooking a big one, and also a respite to my pounding heart. I now concentrated on landing this monster. The usual tricks of playing and tiring the fish were applied with great care and eventually I landed my first 1 pound Silver Mahaseer which is the smallest anyone could catch, after about an hour of sheer grit and pleasure.

Around 4:00 we went for the coracle ride... Delirious with excitement, Netra & I jumped into the Coracle. Not fresh to such conduct, indulgent rowers stop me and hand over a lifejacket in glowing orange. I put it on, and gingerly get into a coracle that shudders fleetingly under my weight. The coracle whirled, twirled, swirled, and finally drifted rhythmically. The oar touched the water with a plop & hit the rocks, Netra & I started disquieting the Gille (guide) for some local wildlife news as usual

We were there till the tea & planned to climb up the roads around 5:00pm, except for my BISON no vehicle can reach out there. On the way back we spotted couple of spotted deers, wild fowls, and mongoose. By the time we reached Halagur, it was past 6 pm. Since we were on a day tour (no accomodation available for the night) we had to return to Bangalore. We had spent only about 8 hours at the camp but it was an extremely satisfying and relaxing trip. My mind was away from all the worries of every day life and was raring to go back to work full blast.

Cheers Karthik

hrkart@gmail.com

Bird Sanctuaries

A Haven for birds

Posted by Raghavendra Rao on May 16, 2007

 
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A Haven for Birds 

-RagooRao

 

The River Kaveri, which takes it’s birth high up in the Western Ghats, flows down Karnataka state feeding the parched lands and turning them into bountiful yielders of precious food and then meanders through the valleys of Tamil Nadu blessing them with her bountiful precious water for their land, finally merging with the Bay of Bengal.

 

Indian Wild Life Club

 

As the river flows through Karnataka over undulating terrain, plenty of small cataracts and some very impressive waterfalls are formed. This river is reverently called the Life-Line of Karnataka. As the river meanders through the terrain plenty of small islands are formed all the way along it’s course. These islands are a host to plenty of Flora and Fauna all evolving with nature and thriving. One such spot in the river’s course, close to Mysore-about 12 kilometers, is the Naturally formed group of islands filled with Pandanus plants, Pongamia trees, Mahua trees and a score of other plants playing host to many breeding birds. The banks of the river are filled with Bamboo and other tall majestic trees. This is The Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, where regular nesting birds come to nest and raise their young.

 

Indian Wild Life Club

 

The river being filled with a lot of boulders also plays host to the Marsh Crocodiles and the waters are filled with fish. A pristine home for breeding birds. The bamboo and other trees also provide a good habitat for most of the birds of Karnataka. The main season for the migratory breeding birds is from Aug to Sept. and  for the other breeding birds it is Dec to March. The islands are a very safe Haven for these nesting birds tucked away inside the deep waters of the river and safe from any land predators. The water being infested with Marsh crocodiles even human interference and vandalism is kept at bay, thanks to the Marsh crocodiles. In one of the islands even the crocodiles build their nests and breed. One can always find the crocodiles basking on the rocks. 

 

 Indian Wild Life Club

 

An ideal location for the birds. The river surroundings are all fertile paddy fields, which provide a good source of Crustaceans and other aquatic life as forage for the parenting birds. The Forest Dept. of Karnataka regulates the visitors to this place and unauthorized entry is prohibited. The serious visitors are taken around these breeding islands by row-boats to have a glimpse of these birds and their young.  Even motor boats are not used to keep noise pollution away.  Visitor facilities are excellent and good view locations are also provided.  There are rest-rooms, a small refreshment canteen a little away from the riverside is also provided. Overnight staying is not possible and also not encouraged by the Forest Dept. In all, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is a Haven for Nature Photographers, Ornithologists, and a beautiful place to visit. 

 

 Indian Wild Life Club

 

It is really reassuring to see such a Naturally evolved place still maintained in its Pristine condition. Any Nature Lover will enjoy the visit and would always love to come back often. A List of nesting birds is also displayed with all their details and with appeals to conserve them.

  

Indian Wild Life Club

 

The Regular Birds: Open billed Storks, Painted storks, Spoonbills, White Ibis, Pond Heron, Little Heron, Plumed Heron, Night Heron, Darters, Little Cormorant, River Terns, Plovers, Red-wattled lapwing, Peacock, Black Ibis, Kingfishers and the River Otters which  are a source of amusement as they dive in and out of sight of the visitors.

 

 (Text and Photographs-RagooRao)

Bird Sanctuaries

Point Calimere

Posted by Mohamed Sheik Ravuthar on February 07, 2007

 
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POINT CALIMERE

M MOHAMED SHEIK RAVUTHAR

Forests and wildlife of Nagapattinam district

  • Point Calimere Wildlife sanctuary with a total protected area of 30 square kms, is home
  • to the largest population of the endemic Blackbuck in south.

Other animals of the sanctuary include the jackal, spotted deer, jungle cat,

feral horses, black napped hare, etc. including a variety of reptiles.

From October to January nearly 90 species of migratory water birds

visit the sanctuary and its surroundings. They include Flamingoes, Painted storks,

Pelicans, Spoonbills, ducks, teals and a variety of shore birds. The best time to visit

the sanctuary for bird watching is November-December. The sanctuary is open to

visitors throughout the year.
 

A Forest Rest House at Kodiakkarai is available for visitors to the sanctuary.

Visitors may contact Wildlife Warden at 04365- 253092 or

Ranger, Kodiakkarai at 04369-272424

 

                  

   Blackbuck- the most important herbivore               

 

 Olive Ridley turtles nests in the sanctuary beach from Jan-March

                                                                   

 

         

              On 14th November, 2000 a 35 ft long Bryde’s whale was rescued
            from mud about    10 km  west of Kodiakkarai. The rescue operation was
            carried out with the active support of district administration. Pic: Top: A full grown    Bryde’s whale. Bottom: Diagram showing padding of whale for towing during rescue.
The sanctuary is now declared
as a Ramsar site
 
 
Sanctuary vegetation
 
Tropical dry-evergreen forest covers nearly 15 sq.kms of Pt. Calimere Wildlife sanctuary. The forests are mostly of the nature of scrubland that stands on low sand dunes located on the western half of the sanctuary. Manilkara hexandra, locally called Palai is the most important evergreen species of the sanctuary forest. In the sanctuary grasslands the dominant
graminoid is Aeluropus lagopoides followed by Sporobulu tremulus and Cressa cretica. The forest is home to 154 species of medicinal plants
like Mucuna pruriens, Solanum trilobatum, Tinospora cordifolia Randia dumatorum and Cissus quadrangularis
 
                       

 
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