Kaiga Bird Marathon visit, 13,140215

February 18, 2015

LJ has not been opening up at all for me for the past few days…but just now…I must have said the LJ equivalent of “Open Sesame”….

Let me post quickly before the door closes!

Email to the bngbirds egroup:

I’ve been wanting to participate in the Kaiga Bird Marathon for a while. I must say, it intrigued me that there was a birding event in a place where there is a nuclear reactor; one’s image of the triple-leaf radiation “fan” symbol doesn’t go with any thoughts on the environment or “good” ecology. Recent nuclear meltdown events haven’t helped this mental image, either. For this very reason, I determined to go to Kaiga and “see for myself”.

Harish Chandra and I decided to go a day earlier and get in a little more birding in this town set in the Western Ghats.We decided to take the scenic route and chugged along the Konkan coast to Karwar,


Maritime Museum, Karwar. IMG_2154 from where we took a bus to Kaiga. IMG_2414 Even along the way, there were good bird sightings...the "plateau of the south", which has got anglicized from "Dakshin" to "Deccan", showed itself its myriad different habitats. When we checked into Subhadra Hotel, IMG_2272 we were met by Mr Mohandas IMG_2190 of NPCL (Nuclear Power Corporation Ltd.). He has been one of the untiring organizers of the event. He gave us a tour of Kaiga township... Old Ramalingeshwara temple, Kaiga Township. IMG_2172 Kadra Dam. IMG_2178 so green and fresh, even at the end of the winter season. He then took us to the Kaiga Timber Depot, where, amongst other beauties, the Malabar (Crimson-fronted) Barbet IMG_2209 the Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, tick-tocking its body on the branches IMG_2217 and an in-the-dark duet between two Brown Hawk Owls (one of which I clicked in the dark) IMG_2226 thrilled us...not forgetting the Malabar Giant Squirrel. IMG_2212 the Kadra Dam was beautiful to see, by night, IMG_2237 as we headed back to Mohandas' home, where we met his talented wife Manjula, and bright children, Anshu and Dhriti. IMG_2247 Here's a video of 2-year-old Dhriti id'ing the birds in her father's book!She's the youngest birder I've ever met. here is an album of Manjula's creations (I don't know if everyone can see this) I saw this plaque of the Kaiga Atomic Power Plant, Unit 2 (we didn't have permission, or the time, to visit!) IMG_2248 For dinner, we picked up some fresh seawater and freshwater fish (Katla and Pedi) for Harish. IMG_2252 and then went to the only eatery that was open, but where the proprietor kept a very clean kitchen IMG_2262 and affectionately served us a great dinner. IMG_2256 The next morning, we set off to walk along the road that leads to the Nisarga Guest House (of NPCL). IMG_2281 This cow, feeding her calf, typifies rural India to me...great family values, and a lot of cleanliness issues! IMG_2274 We stopped for breakfast at the same eatery, and saw this emerald-eyed cat, which reminded me of the Black Panther that had been sighted last year after the same event. IMG_2261 Here's the owner with the cat...the cat is named, Rama and the owner is Lakshmana! IMG_2269 A Shikra sat, looking for breakfast. IMG_2276 We went past the Day Sellers' Market, IMG_2278 noticed a Strangler Fig in convoluted designs, IMG_2279 went past a little shrine. IMG_2308 As we crossed over a dry ditch, what should entrance us (pun intended, this was our 'entrance' to birding that morning!) but a perfectly quiet, but blue-as-magic Malabar non-Whistling Thrush! IMG_2300 Our birding began in earnest, and we spotted these Chestnut-tailed Starlings: IMG_2282 A flock of Wire-tailed Swallows swooped and occasionally sat on the ground: IMG_2315 A White-throated Kingfisher sat around: IMG_2320 A Black-headed Cuckoo-shrike lady delighted us IMG_2321 as did several Common Ioras IMG_2323 This one was feasting on the flowers of a tree that I could not identify IMG_2404 lots of Bulbuls IMG_2327 many Munias IMG_2331 Orange Minivets IMG_2406 Two Black-hooded Orioles had a loud difference of opinion in the golden bamboo thicket. IMG_2347 So many birds have ruby eyes! IMG_2350 These Green Bee-eaters have them, too: IMG_2356 The golden, van-Gogh-looking grassland/field area near C-5 buildings IMG_2362 was most productive. We saw the Eursasian Blackbird (I think eBird calls it the Indian Blackbird now?) IMG_2365 IMG_2372 I got the tubular tongue of the Purple Sunbird: IMG_2400 A Pale-billed Flowerpecker posed for us. IMG_2401 The mango trees were in full bloom everywhere. IMG_2381 I saw the architectural marvel of a pasted-together Weaver Ants' nest: IMG_2402 Kaveri and Soumya posed for me as they went to school. IMG_2384 We had a masal dosa lunch IMG_2390 at Mr Bhatt's eatery, which is hidden next to a plastic goods store. This young man, deaf and dumb, is totally self-reliant; Mr Bhatt communicates easily with him, and he serves the customers with a smile. IMG_2388 It was nice to see my portrait adorning a shop: IMG_2397 The evening was spent in meeting other birders who gathered for the event on the morrow; we did feel that we could have gone off for a birding trail! But it was still very enjoyable, meeting old friends and making new ones. We admired Puttaraju's wonderful photographs (we'd already seen a collection in Subhadra Hotel), and sightings of the White-bellied Sea Eagle, flying low to the Kali river backwaters,behind the guest house, as well as Mani's dusk sighting of the Indian Pitta in the bushes, added to the happiness we felt.

My eBird list for the 14th is


I’ve put up photos from the 13th and 14th on separate FB albums (as usual,not only the birds; the local food and customs are very interesting too!)

The journey to Kaiga and the 13th evening:

click here

The 13th and 14th of February:

click here

Next up, the actual Bird Marathon on the 15th, and the evening gathering!