met at the peepal tree where we usually go to see the roosting Alexandrine Parakeets.
I was delighted to find that there were many children present too.
Abir using his binoculars
That morning, however, was cloudy and overcast, and perhaps because of this, the Parakeet numbers were very low...not more than 3 or 4 at at time flew in, and even these did not stay long on the tree as they usually do. However, many people in the group had not seen these birds before, and even the sight of one or two of them, silhouetted against the monsoon gloom, was enough to make them quite happy. We also spotted some Flowerpeckers in the bushes nearby (though the entire area seems to have been cleared for yet more construction) and Ashwin pointed out a Pied Kingfisher flying across, no doubt to an appointment with breakfast.
Having also watched several of what I call "CKMP" (Crows, Kites, Mynas and PIgeons...the most common birds in the Bangalore skies!)
A Brahminy Kite shows its wings and prey.
We once again explained that the common raptors were kites and not "Eagles", we went to the main entrance of the lake, and entered.
Though I was certainly happy at the large turnout, the disadvantage of large numbers was immediately apparent, as the group straggled out, and it was impossible to share information about the birds, trees, insects and plants with any but those who were near me.However, I had already introduced a contingent of very experienced "north Bangalore birders" ...I would like to express my appreciation that so many people associated with eBird (well, OK, Bird Count India!) and some expert naturalists/birders made it for the outing Two birding scopes added to the experience of the participants, many of whom are new to birding.
Suhel shows some young birders how to use the birding scope.
Ashwin, Harsha, Mittal, Payal, Subhadra, Suhel...you are not people I get to go birding with often, and it was a bonus! All of the experienced birders shared sightings and information with whoever was near them.
Instead of a Spotted Owlet, we got a Spotted Dove!
Senegal Golden Dartlet (Damselfly).
We found lots of Spot-billed Pelicans, Black-headed Ibis, and Grey Herons roosting in the central island;
Birds in the central island
Little Grebes, Eurasian Coots (so aptly called "Naamada Pakshi" in Kannada, because of the white "naama"-like mark on their foreheads!) and Purple Swamphens could be seen along the shallows, with Pond Herons punctuating the shore. Little and Great Cormorats, and a couple of Darters, flew overhead. A lone mongoose ran along the opposite shore, disappearing in a trice, Several "Jakkur Lake regulars" like Venkat Mangudi and R Venkatesh, took us to a mango and jamun orchard
The magnificient trees in the orchard reminded me of the avenue at Hulimangala.
adjacent to the lake, where a few more Parakeets, both Rose-ringed and Alexandrine, rewarded us. However, of the Spotted Owlets and the Mottled Wood Owl which are often sighted here...there was no sign! A Rufous Treepie, and our state bird, the Indian Roller
gave us "darshan", and we returned to the lake bund.
Datura, a poisonous plant.
Out came some snacks.
The masala peanuts which I brought, and a variety of biscuits, kept our tummies from growling too loudly. By this time, I realized that I could see very few people from the original group; so I collected some people who were interested, and we went to see the 10th century inscriptions, one mentioning Jakkur,
which have been placed at the
Byre Gowda Ranga Mandira, a public open-air theate space nearby. I explained, as best I could, about the "veera gallu" or hero stone, which depicts the "atma balidaana"
or self-sacrfice by a king, being a ritual beheading with his own sword, as a token of gratitude to the deity.
Musing on both the birds and our history and heritage, some of us adjourned to New Krishna Sagar (another recommendation by Venkat!)
Common Baron mud-puddling in front of New Krishna Sagar.
and then back to daily life.
I've put up my photos on an FB album,
And for the many non-FB users, on a Flickr album,
The eBird list for the morning is at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S58517024
I have shared the list with those whose ids I have; if anyone wants me to share it with them, they can send me their eBird ids or email ids that they use on eBird.
Looking forward to meeting many of you in August...and thank you for the many words of appreciation about my write-ups and blogposts!