Outing to Doddkere, and Kaggaladu Bird Sanctuary, Sira, Tumkur District, Karnataka, 010215

February 5, 2015


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We have an indefatigable planner in Commander Raghunath, who, after he’d sighted the Egyptian Vulture at Sira Doddkere (Large Lake), wanted to share it with all of us as well.

So 12 of us went to Sira for a very rewarding day’s outing.



It was an "accha din"...a day of good numbers. First off, we sighted hundreds of Streak-throated Swallows, which had built an "apartment complex" under the water treatment tower at the reservoir. IMG_0589 IMG_0577 IMG_0586 IMG_0679 The short video I took... IMG_0681 IMG_0666 IMG_0705 We then went over to the ancient Nayak durga (fort) IMG_0607 IMG_0608 IMG_0612 and watched various "bush birds"...and were also rewarded with the ruby flash of a male Red Avadavat. IMG_0621 IMG_0626 Brahminy Starling: IMG_0632 Laughing Dove: IMG_0634 Blyth's Reed Warbler: IMG_0638 Pied Bushchat female: IMG_0725 Kestrel at full zoom: IMG_0728 Ashy-crowned Sparrow-lark: IMG_0944 Indian Silverbills: IMG_0945 Indian Roller: IMG_0742 Sandpiper: IMG_0961 At the other part of the lake, we sighted "Raghu's Vultures"... IMG_0783 it was a heartening sight to see 12 of the Egyptian Vultures, IMG_0789 including several juveniles and sub-adults, with their dark feathers slowly mottling into adult white .IMG_0775 Cilck,click,click, went several cameras... IMG_0790 and Janhvi, throughout the day, was content to use her binoculars. We do have some eye-birders...and there were times when the cameras were down when the birds were up! The Vultures sat on the edges of the kere, and took off now and then...and what we did with our necks then was..."Crane". Another "number delight" was the sight of a huge flock of Sandpipers in a paddy field across from the kere. I call my picture of them lined up on the bund of the field, "100 Pipers". We did feel on a high when we saw them. IMG_0746 Alas, ducks seemed to be in short supply again, apart from some Spot-billed Ducks and some Grebes and Coots. Black-winged Stilts IMG_0957 at the edges of the lake made us wonder about the water quality.We did not see any Pelicans either. Some of the tech-savvy people had by now found out about Kaggaladu Bird Sanctuary, so post-lunch, we did a bit of off-roading to get there. IMG_0824 IMG_0823 It was a scene similar to Kokkrebellur, and the villagers IMG_0827 told us that the Grey Herons IMG_0825 and the Painted Storks IMG_0910 that dotted the trees had just come in a few days ago. I did see several nests being built. There was a water body nearby, IMG_0874 and though it was uncomfortably hot, we walked around there, too, sighting a large group of Black Ibis. (What's the plural of Ibis?) IMG_0832 IMG_0873 One of the highlights of this area, for me, was a large clump of what looked like delicate twigs on the trunk of a huge tamarind tree... IMG_0887 that turned out to be a tight cluster of Harvestmen. IMG_0884 I took a short video: We came back to the Doddkere for another session, and spent a lot of time as the afternoon shaded into evening. Pied Kingfishers IMG_0943 IMG_0969 and Small Blue (I can't call them Common now) Kingfishers IMG_0954 fished busily, and the sight of two of the latter, sitting side by side, companionably, IMG_0998 IMG_1007 was one of our closing moments at the kere. I've put up photos (not only the birds) on my FB album here Our group never forgets our vitamins as well as our vitamin-B (Bird) so we patronized three Kamat Upachars through the course of the day (some of which had beautiful Sunbirds on the Silk-cotton and Singapore Cherry trees), IMG_0551 IMG_0764 IMG_0804 IMG_0761 as well as eating the fruits and snacks we'd brought along.We also did not forget our chai and coffee stops,and dispersed with all the happiness of a day well-spent. IMG_0568 IMG_1022 The bird list has been compiled by Snehasis and is on eBird at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21629559 The long list will show how productive our birding day was! Birders: Deepa Devadatha Devaiah Harish Chandra Janhvi Raghunath Ruma Sajid Sharmila Snehasis Soham (who id'd at least 20 species) IMG_0766 Sriram Butterflies: Blues, various Cerulean, Common Crow. Common Eggfly, Danaid Emigrant, Common Jezebel, Common Orange-tip, Little Pansy, Blue Pansy, Chocolate Psyche Rose,Common Rose, Crimson Wanderer, Common Yellow, Common Grass Yellow, Spotless Grass Various Dragonflies and Damselflies hovered over us..it was a remarkable sight to see hundreds of dragonflies over a single Ficus at Kaggaladu village. Why do they hover over a tree? They were certainly manna for some of the birds! We were able to also see the old mosque that dates back from Mughal times. Sira Lake is supposed to have been the inspiration for Lalbagh, and it was satisfying to visit such a historic spot. IMG_0564 IMG_0808

Let me wind up with the dawn light on the Allamanda: