For once, I am going to describe an outing with only words...my bad
memory this time led to a lack of another memory.. my CF.card, which
I'd left behind at home...so no SMS or Deepa Mohan shots...you will
only be getting good shots from everyone else, with several people
having brought lenses that looked like telescopes; and others taking
great shots with simple cameras. Yet others brought binoculars and
captured their images with the best cameras in the world...their eyes.
About 15 of us got together at Shoppers' Stop, and Geetanjali, having
asked the earlier goup to carry on, waited for us. Today, instead of
birding either at Shivanahalli Ashram or at Ragihalli kola or the
sheet rock area, we followed Ulhas' suggestion of taking the trail
that leads up-and-down to Camp GeeDee. And what a rewarding trail it
Right at the start, before any of us got there, Geetanjali and the
"early birds" had sightings of Nightjars...and after all of us
gathered together, and introductions of first-timers (many of them
today!) were made, we walked off on the trail. Rod, a birder from
Germany, was a welcome addition to our group today. He seems to be
more experienced in local birding than many of us!
We started with the regulars...the Robins, the Bushchats, and a saucy
Oriental Magpie Robin, several Spotted Doves, and Rose-ringed
Parakeets in the bamboo bushes. We stopped to watch Ashy Prinias, and
Bee-eaters, swooping around to hawk insects, like magic, out of the
The trail, in itself, was a path of beauty. After going through the
village and a few fields, we were in the forest area, and the rocky
path wound through stands of Eucalyptus, Teak, and White Cedar..and
then, of course, the various trees and bamboo thickets of the scrub
jungle. We pondered over the id of one tree with fruits, and it seemed
to be one of the three fruits that the Ayurvedic medicine Triphala
Churna (powder of three fruits) is made of. I took the opportunity of
learning the names of a few common plants from the ever-helpful Ulhas.
Then came what I call the Hour of the Raptors. It was as if Ulhas and
Geetanjali had organized a special Raptor show for us. Normally one
expects Raptors only when the sun is on high, and the thermal currents
can be used by the birds of prey; but today, though the sunlight was
weak throughout, and it was cloudy and chilly.... we saw an Indian
Spotted Eagle, A Tawny Eagle, a question-mark Black Eagle (it looked
like one but the yellow beak and legs were not clearly visible...we
spent quite some time poring over the birdbooks on this!) , a
Short-Toed Serpent Eagle, one to four Oriental Honey Buzzards, were
treated to the spectacle of one Spotted Eagle being repeatedly mobbed
by crows...and then, as we sort-of-trespassed into Vishnu Narain's
property (Camp Gee Dee), a Crested Hawk Eagle sat on a tree for quite
twenty minutes, allowing everyone to take the shots they wanted. A
Booted Eagle, too, gave darshan right at the end of the outing. All
this Raptor Rapture was interspersed by sightings of the
Golden-fronted Tree-bird, the Rufous Treepie, various Warblers (I am
wobbly on Warblers!), the Common Iora, Munias, Larks, Orioles,
Drongos, Small Minivets, White-eyes,and other birds that Deepak has
carefully noted down, and the list of which he will be posting soon.
(I've added the butterfly list, so any mistakes in that are mine
The weather, too was beautiful. As I remarked, Geetanjali had even
delayed the sunshine for us, and it started getting brighter only
after 8am. Even then, there was a bracing breeze, and it was very
pleasant indeed, to be walking along the hilly path, looking around,
watching the mist disperse into blue skies and fleecy clouds.... and
overseeing the vistas of the Bannerghatta forest that the crests of
the path afforded us. To have this treasure, literally, in our
backyards, is a stroke of great good fortune for Bangaloreans. It was
so scenic that I would not even have minded if I'd not seen any birds.
Everyone seems to bring along such great snacks, too, that waiting
until 11am to have breakfast was not difficult at all.
The group, too, gelled really well. There was quite a good crowd
today, but we managed to all meet and speak to each other. Rohan and
another little boy (whose name I didn't get, sorry!) were the youngest
among us, but they kept up with us all the way. I do wish more
children would join us!
Vishnu hospitably allowed us to enter the Camp Gee Dee property, and
later, some of us went and said hi to him and his wife, too, at their
home, adjoining the Camp Gee Dee campus. We made our way back to where
we'd left the cars, and off we went to the Lotus restaurant, where we
were still not able to foil Geethanjali's paying of the breakfast bill
for all of us. However, we collected some money and gave it to her and
Subir, to use for the valuable work they do in the area. Geetanjali
and Subir take so much trouble to scout out locations in the
Bannerghatta area for all of us, and they always pay for breakfast for
all of us at the Lotus Restaurant, no matter how many of us are there.
Subir and their daughter, Avantika, joined us for breakfast, and we
exchanged notes, made the bird and butterfly lists, and chattered and
laughed together as we refuelled ourselves.
We bid goodbye and dispersed, having thoroughly enjoyed the morning.
Thank you, Ulhas, for suggesting this trail ( a first for the BWFC as
such, though several of us have done it in individual groups before).
Thank you to every one...you all contributed to making it a lively,
All you DL's (Dodda Lenswallahs) , please post the pictures to the
BWFC page on Facebook; we'd all like to see those birds, and revisit
the happiness of this morning again!
Looking forward already to the next outing.....why can't Saturday
immediately follow Sunday after preceding it!