The weekend was a great experience, with the new batch of the Naturalists' Training Program that Karthik conducts.
One of the unusual features of this batch was that most of the members were not people coming together for the first time during the course, but were a well-knit group, called Junglescapes. For a nominal yearly fee, members of this organization go on wildlife trips, and are also involved in activities in the Bandipur area.
I got to know about them through my friend Shalini, and it was an added bonus that a young friend of mine (through Avinash) called Rachana Patwardhan, and KM, too, decided to take the course.
I went on Saturday to find the group discussing the differences between various kinds of fauna ( doves/pigeons, frogs/toads, tortoises/turtles, and so on), and we took the Nature trail in the evening; we saw several birds ( I photographed much fewer of them!) during the weekend.
The first sight that met our eyes was this LITTLE CORMORANT sunning itself in typical fashion:
RED-VENTED BULBULS (including the rude fellow who showed me his red vent earlier) were everywhere:
I got this INDIAN ROBIN nestled in the foliage:
We suddenly spotted the ORIENTAL HONEY BUZZARD that I never fail to see at Bannerghatta; it was being mobbed by several RED-WHISKERED BULBULS:
Finally, the bird took off:
The BLUE-FACED MALKOHA is another evil bird which delights in teasing me with half-seen sightings hiding in the foliage of trees. Here's the half-leaves, half-bird shot:
I saw, for the first time, the GREY-BELLIED CUCKOO, sitting near another red-whiskered bulbul:
A GOLDEN ORIOLE made a beautiful sight as it came out of the foliage to sit on a bamboo shoot (probably forgot that I was around!)
Many people in the NTP enjoyed the flash of blue that the WHITE-BREASTED KINGFISHER brought:
Later, a red-vented bulbul decided to sit near the WHITE-BROWED BULBUL, a rarer cousin:
I had just finished wishing for a sighting of the EURASIAN EAGLE OWL when, lo and behold, we saw two on a rock. They (of course) flew away immediately, but not before KM got a foozly shot of one:
Since we managed to sight quite a few mammals, too, I will do a separate post on them, but let me close with this beautiful mushroom that Chandu pointed out to me: