So when the birders of Kasargod announced the second Kidoor Bird Fest, to celebrate both the first sighting of the
Orange-breasted Green Pigeon
Photo credit: Sarala Jeevanthi Gamage
and the birthday of
Dr Salim Ali, the noted ornithologist,
it was clear that this would be a productive birding weekend.
The participants and the organizers.
The festival was a bigger event than it was in 2017, because this time, birders from all over Karnataka and Kerala attended. 65+ birders made a strong show at the fest, which was held in the hamlet of Kuntangeradka, in Kidoor.
Kidoor Post Office sign.
The festival began with everyone gathering and registering.
Beautiful palm-frond birds adorning the hall.
and the entire team, including Maxim and Lavina
worked very hard to make the event a success.
The birders of Kasargod, and some from Mangalore, brought the following local luminaries on the dais: Sri Pundarikaksha K L, President, and Smt Aruna Manjunatha Alva, Ward Member, both from the Grama Panchayath, Kumbla; Sri Biju P, ACF, and Sri Sunil Kumar, SFO, Social Forestry Division, Kasargod; Sri Chikkayya Rai,a practitioner of traditional herbal medicine; and Sri Radhakrishna, an eco-friendly businessman of Kidoor who eschewed plastic.
Dignitaries on podium:
Sri Pundarikaksha inaugurated the event, and the dignitaries from the Social Forestry Division spoke about the valuable sighting of the Orange-breasted Green Pigeon in Kidoor, on 10th Nov 2016, and the decision to celebrate the birthday of Dr Salim Ali, noted ornithologist, on 11th November as well. Kidoor has proved a birding hotspot, with sightings of several birds endemic to the Western Ghats.
Sri Chikkaya Rai, Sri Radhakrishna, and Chi. Praveen (a young student who has spearheaded several ecological initiatives in his school) were felicitated.
The local birders took the visitors for an evening walk in the nearby laterite/grassland area.
Sunlight on the grasses.
and a pond that they are protecting for the birds.
Participants on the evening walk.
Children at the evening walk.
They organized a cultural program, with many people, including these ladies who sang folk songs, taking part.
Untiringly, they also conducted a night walk along the village roads.
Lavina, a doctoral student, explains about pond life on the night walk.
Next morning,in the dawn light, they took the visitors on a morning walk, along a scenic trail.
Apart from many endemic birds , several trees also endemic to the Western Ghats, butterflies, wildflowers, insects and other creatures were sighted (see photos below). The ladies were put up in the homes of the local residents, who were very hospitable.
The family who put up visitors at Kasargod, when they alighted from the overnight bus, on their way to Kidoor
The family who put up the ladies at Kidoor
Photo credit: Padma Ramaswamy
One of the impressive features of the fest was that not only was it conducted on a tight budget, but there was no sense of heirarchy amongst the organizers. Every one pitched in to do whatever tasks were required, whether it was setting up a screen, serving the food, or arranging the chairs in the hall. It made for a very homely, pleasant atmosphere, and the visitors also were able to do their bit. Another great feature was that no plastic was used in the course of the meals; each person washed the stainless steel plate, glass or cup that s/he used.
The meals were traditional and were delicious.
Breakfast of iddlis, sambhar and chai.
Lunch in traditional vessels.
After breakfast, the gathering settled down to watch some presentations on Odonates (Dragonflies and Damselflies), and Butterflies.
Murali's presentation on butterflies:
After this the participants were treated to lunch at the Gram Panchayat President's home.
Plantain leaf lunch.
Full of the wonderful sightings they had enjoyed, and the new friendships they had formed, the birders dispersed.
The District Collector, Dr Sajith Babu, participated enthusiastically in the Fest.
He promised to spare the laterite/grassland from human-centric "development". This makes it possible that from next year, the Kidoor Bird Fest will become a larger, well-sponsored event, attracting birders from further afield.
Participants at the end of the fest:
Birds and other living beings observed during the event:
Yellow-footed Green Pigeon.
Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker.
Chestnut-headed and Blyth's Starlings:
Curved flower or Woody Chassilia.
Porcupine quill found on the ground.
Blue Tiger Moth.
Nag Kuda Tree (Tabernaemontana alternifolia).
Beauty of the laterite rock.
All photographs by the author, unless otherwise credited.