Kaiga Bird Marathon visit, 13,140215

Email to the bngbirds egroup:

I’ve been wanting to participate in the Kaiga Bird Marathon for a
while. I must say, it intrigued me that there was a birding event in a
place where there is a nuclear reactor; one’s image of the triple-leaf
radiation “fan” symbol doesn’t go with any thoughts on the environment
or “good” ecology. Recent nuclear meltdown events haven’t helped this
mental image, either. For this very reason, I determined to go to
Kaiga and “see for myself”.

Harish Chandra and I decided to go a day earlier and get in a little
more birding in this town set in the Western Ghats.We decided to take
the scenic route and chugged along the Konkan coast to Karwar,

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Maritime Museum, Karwar.

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from where we took a bus to Kaiga.

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Even along the way, there were good bird
sightings…the “plateau of the south”, which has got anglicized from
“Dakshin” to “Deccan”, showed itself its myriad different habitats.

When we checked into Subhadra Hotel,

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we were met by Mr Mohandas

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of NPCL (Nuclear Power Corporation Ltd.). He has been one of the untiring organizers of the event. He gave us a tour of Kaiga township…

Old Ramalingeshwara temple, Kaiga Township.

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Kadra Dam.

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so green and fresh, even at the end of the winter season. He then took us to the Kaiga Timber Depot, where, amongst other beauties,
the

Malabar (Crimson-fronted) Barbet

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the Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, tick-tocking its body on the branches

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and an in-the-dark duet between two Brown Hawk Owls (one of which I clicked in the dark)

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thrilled us…not forgetting the Malabar Giant Squirrel.

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the Kadra Dam was beautiful to see, by night,

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as we headed back to Mohandas’ home, where we met his talented wife Manjula, and bright children, Anshu and Dhriti.

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Here’s a video of 2-year-old Dhriti id’ing the birds in her father’s book!She’s the youngest birder I’ve ever met.

here is an album of Manjula’s creations

(I don’t know if everyone can see this)

I saw this plaque of the Kaiga Atomic Power Plant, Unit 2 (we didn’t have permission, or the time, to visit!)

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For dinner, we picked up some fresh seawater and freshwater fish (Katla and Pedi) for Harish.

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and then went to the only eatery that was open, but where the proprietor kept a very clean kitchen

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and affectionately served us a great dinner.

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The next morning, we set off to walk along the road that leads to the
Nisarga Guest House (of NPCL).

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This cow, feeding her calf, typifies rural India to me…great family values, and a lot of cleanliness issues!

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We stopped for breakfast at the same eatery, and saw this emerald-eyed cat, which reminded me of the Black Panther that had been sighted last year after the same event.

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Here’s the owner with the cat…the cat is named, Rama and the owner is Lakshmana!

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A Shikra sat, looking for breakfast.

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We went past the Day Sellers’ Market,

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noticed a Strangler Fig in convoluted designs,

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went past a little shrine.

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As we crossed over a dry ditch, what should entrance us (pun intended, this was our ‘entrance’ to birding that morning!) but a perfectly quiet, but blue-as-magic Malabar
non-Whistling Thrush!

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Our birding began in earnest, and we spotted these Chestnut-tailed Starlings:

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A flock of Wire-tailed Swallows swooped and occasionally sat on the ground:

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A White-throated Kingfisher sat around:

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A Black-headed Cuckoo-shrike lady delighted us

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as did several Common Ioras

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This one was feasting on the flowers of a tree that I could not identify

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lots of Bulbuls

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many Munias

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Orange Minivets

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Two Black-hooded Orioles had a loud difference of opinion in the golden bamboo thicket.

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So many birds have ruby eyes!

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These Green Bee-eaters have them, too:

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The golden, van-Gogh-looking grassland/field area near C-5 buildings

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was most productive. We saw the Eursasian Blackbird (I think eBird calls it the Indian
Blackbird now?)

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I got the tubular tongue of the Purple Sunbird:

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A Pale-billed Flowerpecker posed for us.

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The mango trees were in full bloom everywhere.

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I saw the architectural marvel of a pasted-together Weaver Ants’ nest:

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Kaveri and Soumya posed for me as they went to school.

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We had a masal dosa lunch

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at Mr Bhatt’s eatery, which is hidden next to a plastic goods store. This young man, deaf and dumb, is totally self-reliant; Mr Bhatt communicates easily with him, and he serves the customers with a smile.

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It was nice to see my portrait adorning a shop:

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The evening was spent in meeting other birders who gathered for the
event on the morrow; we did feel that we could have gone off for a
birding trail! But it was still very enjoyable, meeting old friends
and making new ones. We admired Puttaraju’s wonderful photographs
(we’d already seen a collection in Subhadra Hotel), and sightings of
the White-bellied Sea Eagle, flying low to the Kali river
backwaters,behind the guest house, as well as Mani’s dusk sighting of
the Indian Pitta in the bushes, added to the happiness we felt.

My eBird list for the 14th is

here

I’ve put up photos from the 13th and 14th on separate FB albums (as usual,not only the
birds; the local food and customs are very interesting too!)

The journey to Kaiga and the 13th evening:

click here

The 13th and 14th of February:

click here

Next up, the actual Bird Marathon on the 15th, and the evening gathering!

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