as the sun rose behind the hillocks of the beautiful scrub jungle. It is getting more and more difficult to find forest patches which are not walled off and where prior permission (often not given) is required. I do envy the birders and naturalists who could range freely over so many areas in the 60's and 70's! The population pressure is telling on the patches we have left, and I cannot blame the Karnataka Forest Department for being very wary of visitors, but definitely for students, research scholars and low-budget enthusiasts like me, the wilderness is increasingly either out of reach or inaccessible.
We started the walk with a kind of Coppersmith Barbet convocation, as large numbers of them flew in and settled on the tops of the trees nearby.
Monet-esque waterlilies at the pond
So it was a while before we could move on. Already, before I arrived, the others had seen quite a few Indian Grey Hornbills flying past, and this continued on our walk.
Even when we were not sighting birds, the beauty of the rocky area and the path was delightful. We had been warned by a local farmer about the leopardess in the area (we had seen her pugmarks on the last 4th Sunday outing in July '18) which had given birth to two cubs, but we saw no sign of her this time. Other footprints were there, though...the peafowl, and some other tracks which Mayur tried to identify.
As we went on, we sighted birds like the Sunbirds, Flowerpeckers and other woodland inhabitants. The Bulbuls called, as did Tailorbirds...the calls of the Warblers, our winter visitors, were harder to identify. Even the call of the Drongos sounded very different when they imitated other birds! I explained to some of the others about "birding by ear".
One of the highlights of the walk was the sighting of a Yellow-throated Bulbul, clearly if not sharply, caught on camera by one of the group. Later, Tej was certain that he'd sighted a Black-crested Bulbul, but since none of us had seen it with him, I decided to leave that out of the bird list. My apologies to Tej for caving in on this one! Another interesting sighting was that of the rarely-seen Marshall's Iora.
The white in the tail that marks the Marshall's Iora
At the pond, which still has a good amount of water, we sighted some of the waterfowl...a Little Cormorant, a Common Sandpiper, and both the Common
as well as the White-throated Kingfisher, looking for their breakfasts. Several birds, such as Swallows, flying overhead, were also noted.
Several unusual trees and plants also caught our attention, and I must thank Subbu for pointing out some of them when I was chatting to the others about the birds. Wildlfowers are stunningly beautiful!
Now you know why they are called Bottle Gourds!
Cochlospermum religiosum, Buttercup tree
Indian elm (Holoptelia integrifolia)
The inverted parachutes of Aristolochia indica, Eshwaramooli,or Indian Birthwort; critical for the Southern Birdwing butterfly
Gmelina asiatica,Asian Bushbeech
A Pond Terrapin that we spotted
We stopped at the end of the trail for our variety of snacks, and both Vidhya's "mangai thengai pattani sundal" and the masala buttermilk I brought, went down well with an assortment of biscuits and crunchy snacks. Why can't all the vitamins be in the tasty nachos, I wonder!
The only child in the group, Sanchana,
proved to be very curious about everything she saw..and she quizzed me a lot, too! I am not sure if I answered her questions to her satisfaction...but it was very nice indeed to spend time with her. I do wish more parents would bring their children along, though I know the early start is a bit tough...our wildernesses are fast disappearing into residential layouts!
We dispersed at the end of the walk with some of us stopping at the Davangere Benne Dose eatery and others at Thavaru Mane (Mother's home)Thindi,
and went home with our hearts...and tummies...full, to face whatever the week ahead would bring.
The eBird list, compiled by Vidhya, is at
Blue, Tiny Grass
Yellow, Common Grass
Yellow, Three-spot Grass
A quick video of the participants , with each one announcing his/her name, is at
I have put up my photos on my FB album
and on a Flickr album,
Monet-esque waterlilies in the pond