It was a cloudy, overcast morning as we all set out for the 3rd Sunday outing to Shivanahalli, organized by Geetanjali and Subir Dhar. But, as if to reward us for our diligence, the rainclouds slowly broke up, and we did have some superb weather for our trek across the slopes of the Bannerghatta forest area, behind the Ramakrishna Ashram.
By the time our group (it consisted of people coming from as far away as Hebbal!) reached the Ashram after the MCS (Mandatory Chai Stop) and another stop at the Ragihalli sheet rock to admire the superb view, the rest of the group had started the trail. But they had not gone too far, and we managed to catch up.
There are occasions when it's not just the birds,but everything as a whole, makes the trail enjoyable, and this was one of them. The overcast conditions, perhaps, contributed to a lack of bird sightings, but this was more than made up by the several interesting things we saw on the way.
Resin on tree-bark
Sri Shankar, appointed by Swamji at the Ashram, was our guide. He showed us so many marvels...seeds that slowly sink into the ground so that even in a fire, their top part perishes but the seed remains underground to sprout another day;
the "Minda" plant whose flowers attract birds;
something that we might have passed by, thinking it was offal, but which, he told us, was the umblical cord shed by a Chital doe after giving birth to a fawn..
.and so on.
We also saw a few unpleasant things like the granite quarrying which is resulting in ulcers on the slopes of the forest:
We were a lively group,
Katydids on Purabi's trousers being photographed
though there were no children (indeed, the trail is not one for young children, and Geetanjali emphasizes that in her emails every month.) But several young people were there, and it was nice to see one father-son duo!
Reflections in a water body
Oriental Honey Buzzard silhouette:
Ashy Woodswallows (er, all the birds were looking ashy when the sky was overcast!)
Photographing the Antlion:
The beauty of the trail:
Looking at the birds:
A little snail, rushing past:
Golden-fronted Leafbird silhouette:
Common Tree Frog
The mammals list starts out with a Black-naped Hare, but includes our group. Please let me know if I have left out any names....
Geetanjali and Subir Dhar
Sri Shankar, our guide
and Yours Truly.
(at least, these were all the names that I'd written down.)
The bird list was put up by Purabi, and it doesn't seem so meagre, after all:
Bee-eater, Small Green
Flycatcher, Asian Brown
Flycatcher, Asian Paradise
Heron, Indian Pond
Honey Buzzard, Oriental
Martin, Dusky Crag
Thrush, Blue-capped Rock
Warbler, Blyth's Reed
Butterflies...the list is incomplete because my knowledge is so limited.
Blue, Common Hedge
Yellow, Common Grass
Yellow, Three-spot Grass
Antlion, Bees,Beetles, Bugs, Damselflies, Dragonflies, Spiders, Stick Insects, and Wasps
I have to tender an apology to the people above. I wrongly identified the Antlion as a Cranefly. I just don't know what I was thinking (or smoking). I came home and realized when looking at the photos, what I had done! I guess I was thinking of the Craneflies I've seen recently in the US. Here's the wiki about the interesting Antlion:
I have put up some photos on my FB album,here:
With thanks to Swamji of the Shivanahalli Ashram, Sri Shankar, the Dhars, and the company of the group that made it such an enjoyable trail for me,
For my FB album about the trail, look