When Uday asked me if I was joining him for a visit to one of my favourite lakes (er, they are all my favourite lakes!), how could I say no? Off we went, in the foggy pre-dawn darkness, through roads that actually felt worse than Bannerghatta Road...we decided to stop and have a chai while waiting for the light to get better.
Jithu joined us at the ex-pig farm (thankfully, the porcine element is now removed, along with their smell and noise!) and having walked down to the bund of the lake, we decided to turn left instead of to the right, as we usually do.
This was very productive, indeed, as immediately, we sighted a couple of Booted Eagles along with Brahminy and Black Kites, their colours slowly resolving from a misty grey to normal as the morning progressed. Muthanallur Lake, for some reason, seems to be a favourite "adda" for the Booted Eagles, I wonder if the experts can give a reason? Well, we are not complaining, we saw six of them this morning, and we watched the last one preening on an Eucalyptus branch, and then watching us!
The Grey Heron remained grey, but the Purple Heron soon showed the colours that give it the name. A White-breasted Waterhen foraged along the path, and several Purple Swamphens bickered with one another in the swathes of Water Hyacinth that extend along the shore of the lake.
We were delighted to see a Marsh Harrier (or Harsh Marrier, as Dr Spooner would say) floating low over the water, as it hunted. This, however, did not seem to bother the Little and Great Cormorants. The latter had many nests in the dead trees, and we watched the feeding and courting behaviour for a while.
Great Cormorant offering nesting material to mate.
We moved back along the regular "route" and a flock of Chestnut-tailed Starlings delighted us by settling on a tree;
several Rose-ringed Parakeets followed suit, added touches of parrot-green here and there. Several Rosy Starlings flew past in formation. On we walked, past the ancient Mahua tree and the temple next to it. A Darter sat with the Cormorants, snaking its head and extending those gorgeous wings.
The woodland birds could also now be seen. Warblers darted through the undergrowth, frustrating the photographers; some, like the Blyth's Reed or the Clamorous Reed Warblers, gave us audio as well as video! Scaly-breasted Munias hopped around, as did Yellow-billed Babblers, in their "seven sisters" group. We found an abandoned Baya Weaver nest and the only two birds we saw were nowhere near it.
Intermediate and Little Egret fished in the water lifting gracefully into the air even when we were quite far off. A Small Blue Kingfisher sat patiently, with its eye alert and that sharp beak at the ready...but we couldn't see it in action.
Though we traipsed through the Eucalyptus trees hoping to see Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters as we sometimes do, today we were not fated to do so; but certain the Green Bee-eaters were beautiful, as always.
Coming back through the fields, we sighted Tailorbirds, Ashy Prinias, several Ashy Drongos and a few Black Drongos, busily taking insects from the fields and bushes. This reminded us of breakfast, and we slowly made our way back...and near the parking area, I spotted two Paradise Flycatchers, and a Verditer, which resulted in a big smile on my face! Uday chased a few more Warblers in the undergrowth, and then we went off for breakfast at Electronics City ( I am not mentioning the place, there was a hair in my thatte iddi!) and returned home, happy with the morning we had spent.
(I must mention the several spiders, insects
Un id fly
"Sandpaper leaf" plant
Tiny Grass Blue
and even Dammer Bees
that we observed along the way!)
The eBird list (a whopping 86 species!) is
I have put up an album on FB
But since FB does not accept my captions when I upload,
The Flickr album (with captions and ids) is
Looking forward to the weekend of the Great Backyard Bird Count and the Campus Bird Count,
Asclepia curassavica, Tropical Milkweed