3rd Sunday Outing of BWFC, Ragihalli area, 161212
For once, I am going to describe an outing with only words…my bad memory this time led to a lack of another memory.. my CF.card, which I’d left behind at home…so no SMS or Deepa Mohan shots…you will only be getting good shots from everyone else, with several people having brought lenses that looked like telescopes; and others taking great shots with simple cameras. Yet others brought binoculars and captured their images with the best cameras in the world…their eyes.
About 15 of us got together at Shoppers’ Stop, and Geetanjali, having asked the earlier goup to carry on, waited for us. Today, instead of birding either at Shivanahalli Ashram or at Ragihalli kola or the sheet rock area, we followed Ulhas’ suggestion of taking the trail that leads up-and-down to Camp GeeDee. And what a rewarding trail it was!
Right at the start, before any of us got there, Geetanjali and the “early birds” had sightings of Nightjars…and after all of us gathered together, and introductions of first-timers (many of them today!) were made, we walked off on the trail. Rod, a birder from Germany, was a welcome addition to our group today. He seems to be more experienced in local birding than many of us!
We started with the regulars…the Robins, the Bushchats, and a saucy Oriental Magpie Robin, several Spotted Doves, and Rose-ringed Parakeets in the bamboo bushes. We stopped to watch Ashy Prinias, and Bee-eaters, swooping around to hawk insects, like magic, out of the air.
The trail, in itself, was a path of beauty. After going through the village and a few fields, we were in the forest area, and the rocky path wound through stands of Eucalyptus, Teak, and White Cedar..and then, of course, the various trees and bamboo thickets of the scrub jungle. We pondered over the id of one tree with fruits, and it seemed to be one of the three fruits that the Ayurvedic medicine Triphala Churna (powder of three fruits) is made of. I took the opportunity of learning the names of a few common plants from the ever-helpful Ulhas.
Then came what I call the Hour of the Raptors. It was as if Ulhas and Geetanjali had organized a special Raptor show for us. Normally one expects Raptors only when the sun is on high, and the thermal currents can be used by the birds of prey; but today, though the sunlight was weak throughout, and it was cloudy and chilly…. we saw an Indian Spotted Eagle, A Tawny Eagle, a question-mark Black Eagle (it looked like one but the yellow beak and legs were not clearly visible…we spent quite some time poring over the birdbooks on this!) , a Short-Toed Serpent Eagle, one to four Oriental Honey Buzzards, were treated to the spectacle of one Spotted Eagle being repeatedly mobbed by crows…and then, as we sort-of-trespassed into Vishnu Narain’s property (Camp Gee Dee), a Crested Hawk Eagle sat on a tree for quite twenty minutes, allowing everyone to take the shots they wanted. A Booted Eagle, too, gave darshan right at the end of the outing. All this Raptor Rapture was interspersed by sightings of the Golden-fronted Tree-bird, the Rufous Treepie, various Warblers (I am wobbly on Warblers!), the Common Iora, Munias, Larks, Orioles, Drongos, Small Minivets, White-eyes,and other birds that Deepak has carefully noted down, and the list of which he will be posting soon. (I’ve added the butterfly list, so any mistakes in that are mine alone!)
The weather, too was beautiful. As I remarked, Geetanjali had even delayed the sunshine for us, and it started getting brighter only after 8am. Even then, there was a bracing breeze, and it was very pleasant indeed, to be walking along the hilly path, looking around, watching the mist disperse into blue skies and fleecy clouds…. and overseeing the vistas of the Bannerghatta forest that the crests of the path afforded us. To have this treasure, literally, in our backyards, is a stroke of great good fortune for Bangaloreans. It was so scenic that I would not even have minded if I’d not seen any birds. Everyone seems to bring along such great snacks, too, that waiting until 11am to have breakfast was not difficult at all.
The group, too, gelled really well. There was quite a good crowd today, but we managed to all meet and speak to each other. Rohan and another little boy (whose name I didn’t get, sorry!) were the youngest among us, but they kept up with us all the way. I do wish more children would join us!
Vishnu hospitably allowed us to enter the Camp Gee Dee property, and later, some of us went and said hi to him and his wife, too, at their home, adjoining the Camp Gee Dee campus. We made our way back to where we’d left the cars, and off we went to the Lotus restaurant, where we were still not able to foil Geethanjali’s paying of the breakfast bill for all of us. However, we collected some money and gave it to her and Subir, to use for the valuable work they do in the area. Geetanjali and Subir take so much trouble to scout out locations in the Bannerghatta area for all of us, and they always pay for breakfast for all of us at the Lotus Restaurant, no matter how many of us are there. Subir and their daughter, Avantika, joined us for breakfast, and we exchanged notes, made the bird and butterfly lists, and chattered and laughed together as we refuelled ourselves.
We bid goodbye and dispersed, having thoroughly enjoyed the morning. Thank you, Ulhas, for suggesting this trail ( a first for the BWFC as such, though several of us have done it in individual groups before). Thank you to every one…you all contributed to making it a lively, enjoyable outing!
All you DL’s (Dodda Lenswallahs) , please post the pictures to the BWFC page on Facebook; we’d all like to see those birds, and revisit the happiness of this morning again!
Looking forward already to the next outing…..why can’t Saturday immediately follow Sunday after preceding it!