After a fairly long gap, I went (with Prayut Mandal, Rajesh Reddy, and Srinath Reddy)
to the zoo area. Prayut is from Jabalpur, and this was his first birding trip in Bangalore. He proved to be knowledgeable about butterflies, too, and we had fun observing and clicking.
As usual, it was a colourful experience!
The Blues (Ok, you want scientific terms? Polyommatinae) were particularly beautiful, settling down and opening up their wings in the morning sunshine. Of course there were several other colours, too,and we looked and clicked...my observation is that the only thing morevfrustrating than bird photography is butterfly photography.
Prayut had been very sceptical when I mentioned the zoo area, and I hoped to able to show him how one can bird there....in fact, as it turned out, it was 4 hours after we started birding that we entered the actual zoo premises!
We went around the rock pond and orchard area behind the parking lot,
where a Bay-backed Shrike,
several Yellow-eyed Babblers,
a singing-its-heart-out Jerdon's Bushlark
and even a couple of Red Avadavats rewarded us. A Rock Bush Quail was a fairly rare sighting.
We then entered the ticketed area, where I was happy to introduce them to my Flycatcher Avenue. True to the name I've accorded it, it provided sightings of five Flycatchers...Asian Brown, Asian Paradise,
Grey-headed Canary, Tickell's Blue, and White-browed Fantail. Small Minivets, some Barbets, and the lone Blue-bearded Bee-eater that's seen now, were also sources of delight.
We watched a Small Blue Kingfisher at the Kingfisher pond;
the boating at the pond
seemed to be in a slump as it was a weekday, and the boating costs Rs. 60 over and above the zoo entry ticket, which itself is Rs 80 for adults. I must say the zoo seems to have sharply
increased the rates!
The butterflies all around us were great to watch too. In the early morning sunshine, we were happy to see so many Blues (you want scientific terms? Polyommatinae!)
Wanderer on Bougainvillea
In between visiting the two areas, we had some tasty thattE iddli
at a small eatery opposite the BMTC bus terminus, and went into the zoo area, if
not fully fortified, at least quite thirtified.
We then entered the actual zoo via the rear gate, looking at some superb architecture:
and it was the usual mixed feelings, as we watched a young female elephant practically dancing, swaying with the joy of life, with flowers scattered over her head, and threshing some grass to eat, for good measure. It was obvious that this zoo-born young lady was a happy animal indeed. It seemed as if she was using her leg chains like anklets!
However, I still could not bear to look at creatures like leopards, macaws, and eagle owls held in cages far too small for them, and we walked rather quickly through. The night-heron
feasting on the fish meant for the Caymans,
and the jungle crows which mobbed it off and called more of their own to the feast, entertained us for a bit.
The Paradise Flycatcher that is resident in the bamboo thicket near
the hippo enclosure just showed himself but was not around long enough
for anyone to click. We realized when we came out, that we'd still
not birded in the Butterfly Park area, and it was already noon!
Reluctantly, we turned our steps back to the parking lot, and drove
back home, looking at visitors from other States
and feeling happy about the morning's outing.
I also enjoyed clicking slices of life. This sugar-cane juice machine had been worshipped on Ayudha Puja day:
Laundry was being passed across the wall of the Zoo, for some reason:
This couple held their creation between them:
This man, in charge of boating, took advantage of the lull to enjoy some music:
I have put up the eBird checklist
and my SMS are on my FB album
So, the moral of the story is, never go on a birding/nature outing
with the idea of coming back early!