Shivanahalli trip, 230116

January 23, 2016


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Just 6 of us, Mallika, Prem, Raghavendra, Snehasis, Soham and I, decided to take a late morning trip to Shivanahalli. We actually started past 9am, and were sure that we would enjoy whatever we saw and observed.

Well, certainly the Banyan tree at the entrance to the apartment building where I waited for the others, was a delight. I sat there, quite riveted, as the red figs attracted White-cheeked and Coppersmith Barbets, Asian Koels, Jungle Mynas


and Common Mynahs, some warblers at the top of the tree where I could barely see them, a couple of Cinerous Tits, several Rose-ringed Parakeets (some of whom were romancing each other in true Bollywood fashion!)


…and then a flock of Rosy Starlings flew in, only to be promptly chased out by their orange-eyed, and blue-eyed cousins. Could anyone ask for a better “opening over” for a morning? This was on the arterial Bannerghatta Road, and though I was rather dusty by the time I met my friends, I was pretty happy!

We had heard that the Ramakrishna Ashram at Shivanahalli was not open for birding any more, and wanted to see if this were really so. Any group that I belong to takes its vittles seriously, and we stopped at Bannerghatta Circle at an "outstanding" darshini (meaning one has to stand outside and eat the food!).This was one occasion when the white-breasted iddlies, rufous sambar, speckled chutney, and chestnut vadais were not our closing, but our opening, sightings! IMG_7160 We drove through the Reserve Forest and the Ragihalli area, and though we didn't see too many birds, except ones like the Jerdon's Bushlark: IMG_7163 and a Black-winged Kite: IMG_7165 The scenery we were driving through was quite beaufiul.. The mild morning sunshine and the slight nip in the air made the warmth of our camaraderie all the better. We were blocked for a while at Ragihalli village, where the road isbeing widened; a van was unloading material. IMG_7173 However, we finally crossed, and wound along the beautiful valleys of the Bannerghatta forest, to the Ashram. There, we found Swamiji very busy overseeing some earth excavation and clearance personally (hands on is always his style.) He told us that at 11 am, we could not go birding, but luckily for us, Sreeja and her family also arrived at the same time. She'd emailed the Ashram a weekago, so Swamiji gave us all permission to bird for just a bit beyond the Ashram back gate (up to his house and back.) IMG_7191 As we ambled along, enjoying the fresh air and the planted series of chandan, jamun, jackfruit and other trees, several interesting birdsdid make their appearance. A Puff-throated Babbler had us scrabbling to see it better; an Orang-headed Thrush teased us with a quick darshan, and at two different places, an Asian (ooops, sorry, Indian) Paradise Flycatcher delighted us with its half-rufous, half-white tail, flaunted ribbon-like as it flew. As we returned, mindful of our word given to Swamiji, a Blue-Bearded Bee-eater (or the 3-B eater!) sat on top of a tree, allowing us to get a good look...but only silhouette shots. IMG_7189 The calls of Gray Francolins also accompanied us as we returned to the gate. A lot of construction is now going on in the Ashram, and the trees towards the front gate have been thinned down. IMG_7195 We missed seeing the usual Tickell's Blue and Asian Brown Flycatchers that were once fixtures there. The sound of the earth-moving equipment was,probably, too loud for them to stay around. A Shikra was the only other raptor we saw, but a beautiful Praying Mantis (I need a more precise id) IMG_7176 on the steps to the Sharada Mandir kept us all clicking away, proving that the new mobile phones truly produce stunning macro images. A few butterflies on the ramble also kept us busy. Plain Tiger: IMG_7168 Common Sailer: IMG_7188 Pea Blue: IMG_7172 Pioneer: IMG_7181 Some beautiful flowers and plants caught my eye, too. IMG_7185 Kalanchoe pinnata IMG_7193 Very happy with the mornings spent amidst the greenery of Bannerghatta, we returned home, trying to avoid the usual heavy traffic on the arterial roads by taking the side roads...and hoping that they were not dug up! So folks..even if you get up late, it's not too late for go for a birding or nature outing in this gentle'll have a great time! We were also celebrating the new vehicle that one of us had bought, and it was with a lot of joy that we spent the morning together. My photos are on my FB album at Oh, yes, I need to describe my visit to Kaiga for the Bird Marathon, and the side trip to Kulgi to meet people at the Karnataka Bird Festival...both very well-attended events, which took place at the same time...and the Bangalore bird race last Sunday too. I've been rather caught up and have not been able to post about them on time...but will do so!

Let me close with two beauties now: