Kaiga Bird Marathon14th pre-event, and 15th Feb 2015

February 19, 2015

Let me start with the iconic bird on the area…the Malabar Pied Hornbill.


On the eve of the event, some of us met up at the Nisarga Guest House: IMG_2434 Here we are, admiring the photographs of Mr Puttaraju, the one holding the megaphone. IMG_2430 Here's one of his excellent shots, that was displayed in Subhadra Hotel: IMG_2419 Neha of BNHS spotted this Spotted Deer (Chital) stag on the opposite bank of the Kali river. IMG_2432 The iconic bird of the area, the Malabar Pied Hornbill, made a flypast in the gathering dusk IMG_2440 Mr Raju Kasambe made me see three of them! IMG_2450 We watched some birds in the garden. IMG_2442 This Purple-rumped Sunbird was one. IMG_2447 Good photos of birds are always a draw, too! IMG_2454 We went for a short night walk and clicked this Amboli Dart Frog: IMG_2463 Now, to the actual event! We gathered in the pre-dawn dark, under the crescent moon IMG_2481 on the 15th of February, in the garden of the guest house: IMG_2473 I led team Rufous Treepie on Transect G (the 8th of 8 transects)...which was the Virje area, comprising the Kali river backwaters, some forest and village patches. IMG_2472 (Sudheer Prabhu also joined us.) IMG_2477 Team Rufous Treepie lined up like willing soldiers. IMG_2475 Our starting and ending point (Ganesha Temple) IMG_2548 IMG_2549 Here's team Rufous Treepie! IMG_2485 The scene at the backwaters was very beautiful, in the breaking dawn IMG_2491 IMG_2494 IMG_2497 IMG_2504 IMG_2508 IMG_2509 IMG_2516 IMG_2530 Here we are, looking for birds at various spots. IMG_2514 IMG_2496 IMG_2527 IMG_2578 IMG_2622 We started with the Malabar Pied Hornbill, and then the White-bellied Sea Eagle sailed across the water. IMG_2517 An Oriental Magpie Robin silhouette: IMG_2421 The Stork-billed Kingfisher was unmistakable, even in the distance. IMG_2524 So was the Golden-fronted Leafbird. IMG_2526 A White-throated Kingfisher silhouetted itself against the waters sparkling in the rising sun. IMG_2528 And then it took off... IMG_2531 A Pond Heron: IMG_2425 A White-browed Wagtail: IMG_2426 Asian Fairy Bluebird: IMG_2625 IMG_2629 Chestnut-shouldered Petronia (also called the Yellow-throated Sparrow, why, I don't know) IMG_2536 There was not much trash...but it was there... IMG_2499 A Shikra IMG_2546 Malabar Crested Lark: IMG_2609 White-rumped Munia: IMG_2615 The beautiful eye of a Green Bee-Eater: IMG_2619 Brown Shrike IMG_2575 I also spotted many (28 species!) of butterflies. Here's a Plum Judy: IMG_2551 And that most beautiful bearer of the "Malabar" name, the Malabar Tree Nymph: IMG_2559 They were on some Canthium vines: IMG_2562 IMG_2569 Some un id butterfly eggs: IMG_2599 I got a few wildflowers, plants and trees, too. Un id: IMG_2556 IMG_2601 IMG_2602 Jungli Almond see here IMG_2572 Cashew fruit on the tree: IMG_2633 I got this shot of a flowering mango tree and a Fishtail Palm: IMG_2613 This un id plant was fleshy, and thick with sticky sap IMG_2585 We walked through homes with flowering jasmine: IMG_2591 IMG_2592 I wondered if I would spot a Spiderhunter on this banana flower: IMG_2593 I was told that this is the rAmphal, a relative of the sItAphal (custard apple) IMG_2594 Some homes had pineapples growing, too! IMG_2595 Soumyashree gifted this winged seed to her husband Prashantha Kumar, and he lovingly sported it on his cap for the rest of the transect. IMG_2600 Un id seed: IMG_2604 The girls are looking at some Funnel Web Spiders' homes! IMG_2581 The scenes as we walked through the transect: IMG_2579 We enjoyed our lovely packed brefus! IMG_2533 We also looked at the traditional wooden architecture of storage barns: IMG_2586 The young men from the Forestry College, Sirsi, interacted with village children in a very friendly way. IMG_2588 Children are delightful everywhere! IMG_2590 The young men also pointed out this Civet scat, but without the coffee beans that turn into Kopi Luwak IMG_2603 Unfortunately, the high price of this coffee has resulted in some horrible practices, click here They also showed me their impeccable field notes: IMG_2610 I enjoyed the colourful clothes IMG_2640 and this effigy created for the temple jAthrE: IMG_2641 I don't know what this was! IMG_2644 We came back to the backwaters IMG_2642 Where the elephant God and an elephant looked at us. IMG_2647 The temple had mechanically operated drums. IMG_2648 the hOma kuNdA looked lovely. IMG_2650 There was a navagraha hOmA going on, and I sat peacefully, listening to the mantrAs being chanted. As I sat there, several raptors, including the White-bellied Sea Eagle, soared past. IMG_2653 Here's the representation of the Nuclear Power Plant, which I hope to get permission to visit the next time! IMG_2656 We came back to the guest house and collated our sightings. IMG_2657 And, ofkose, had a great lunch! IMG_2658 The charming young women made a splash of colour as they relaxed. IMG_2663 Here's the list of birders from our data sheet. IMG_2664 In alphabetical order: Isha Prabhu Janhvi Mahadev Poojitha R V Prashantha Kumar Sneha Suresh Sooraj Soumyashree Sudheer Prabhu Suresha Umashankar Vidyavathi Vijay Kumar A sample of our bird list! IMG_2667 (I think we got 75 species of birds.) I was the only person who also submitted a butterfly list :D IMG_2669 We had a nice evening gathering, with the organizers officiating. IMG_2671 We took the overnight sleeper bus back to Bangalore! IMG_2674 MyeBird list for the 15th, the actual event, is here 15th FB album click here

I could not be happy about the event become competitive, with rankings being announced. However…the count of 247 species from the 15th of February, 2015, still indicates that the area in and around Kaiga is good, environmentally. I also counted so many butterflies when I wasn’t even looking for them; so I must agree that Kaiga is a great place for birders to visit!

I’ll close with this beautiful Asian Fairy Bluebird, that lives up to its name.


I hope you enjoyed the Kaiga Bird Marathon as much as we did!