Having realized that the Bar-headed Geese, our winter visitors from
When we birders realized that the
(click on the bird’s name to see my blogpost from last year)
which visit us each year (flying over the Himalaya, all the way from Mongolia!)are here,
we decided to go and try our luck at Kaggalipura Kere, in Mysore Taluk (near Somnathpura). On the first day, it was a group of 13, and the next day, I went with friends who could not make it the previous day…we were 6 in all.
Part of the group on Saturday, watching the geese.
It is always nice to meet friends and spend time at the bar. Why was Kaggalipura Kere a bar? Because.... if these are Bar-headed Geese, and they've arrived at their destination, then that place is obviously a bar!
The kere is a large waterbody, and on the other side of the lake bund are both fields under cultivation, and a water canal snaking its way through the landscape. In this respect, my friend Prem Prakash Garg pointed out to me, the place is similar to Hadinaru Kere, near
Nanjangud, where we had seen the birds last time.
When we reached the bund of the kere, there were no birds to be seen, and we hung around, hoping that a longer trip to Nugu (where the geese have been sighted) would not be necessary.
Our hopes were justified. These geese, from my limited experience of their arrival, both in Hadinaru Kere and here, should be renamed the "9 o'clock " Geese! Just my watch clicked over to 9.03, a group of them arrived, floating down overhead, and settled down on the lake after a few spectacular aerobatics, sometimes.
They were then followed by others, first in groups, and in ones and twos. On Saturday the 6th, we also saw several birds flying out to some unknown destination, westwards. We then titled the incoming birds "andar-headed geese" and the outgoing ones, "baahar-headed geese".
The number of birds floating around on the water, occasionally taking a sip, or more likely tucking their heads into their wings to have a nap, approximated 100. On the 7th, they kept coming in till 11am...they numbered 600+ (I used the 10-bird unit form of estimate,
and it was easy to add as the birds arrived.) On the 7th, we paid a return visit in the afternoon, and found that the birds were dotted all over the lake. Perhaps fewer in numbers, but it was hard to make a count.
On the lake, and on the other side of road, we also got several other birds...Indian Grey Hornbills,
warblers, a Blue-faced Malkoha,
and other woodland birds.
(White or Black-headed Ibis, also called "Sacred" Ibis in Africa.)
A Brahminy Kite, on the 7th, took its large fish across the road to the harvested field, sat on it with its feathers spread across the fish, hiding it. Only after fifteen minutes did it start feeding, when it ensured that there would be no competition for the food.
I've not seen this kind of "hiding" behaviour before...this will be a separate blogpost!
We enjoyed several other things too, like a pair of mongoose playing in the haystacks:
Blooming waterlilies, with pollinators:
(Purple Heron in Eucalyptus)
On both days, Bannur Kere was also a dream come true. A large lake with good quality of water, hardly any trash (this might change as a recreation area is being built on one side, and a road leading to it is being laid.) Pelicans, Eurasian Wigeons,
Whiskered Terns, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails,
Little Ringed Plovers, and the usual gang of waterfowl suspects...how lovely to watch three kinds of Kingfishers working the water at once! Peaceful was the word to describe this beautiful spot.
(Short-toed Snake Eagle with nesting material)
On the second visit, when I found that the Wigeons had flown off to the far end of the lake, I sat under the huge Peepal tree,
enjoying the cool breeze off the water, watching two Pied Kingfishers mate, soaking in the serenity. Three young boys frolicked in the water. Truly, this was an example of humans being one with Nature. In all innocence, the youngsters jumped in,
pulled each other out of the water...
without disturbing the birds which were at a distance.
We wound up on each day with a look at Harohalli kere in the evening, where we found Garganeys, Lesser Whistling Ducks,
Jacanas, Purple Herons,
and other fowl. Of course, the edge of the lake, abutting the kere was foul...with trash of all kinds. The contrast with Bannur kere could
not be more pronounced.
We came home tired but with our eyes, hearts (and memory cards) full!
I have put up photos from the first day's visit,
and from the second day,
6th Feb: Aravind, Harish, Honnegowda, Mallika, Nitin, Mansi,
Manjula, Pavitrakumar, Prem, Raghavendra, Sharmila, Shilpa, and I.
7th Feb: Anuradha, Mohit, Devadatha, Raghunath, Tarachand and I.
Here are the lists on eBird, meticulously made by Mohit on the 7th.
The list from SH209 (Southern Highway) are
Kaggalipura kere list
Bannur kere list
Harohalli kere list
Let me close with two more images..