Kaiga Bird Marathon:14th pre-event, and 15th Feb 2015

Let me start with the iconic bird on the area…the Malabar Pied Hornbill.

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On the eve of the event, some of us met up at the Nisarga Guest House:

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Here we are, admiring the photographs of Mr Puttaraju, the one holding the megaphone.

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Here’s one of his excellent shots, that was displayed in Subhadra Hotel:

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Neha of BNHS spotted this Spotted Deer (Chital) stag on the opposite bank of the Kali river.

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The iconic bird of the area, the Malabar Pied Hornbill, made a flypast in the gathering dusk

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Mr Raju Kasambe made me see three of them!

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We watched some birds in the garden.

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This Purple-rumped Sunbird was one.

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Good photos of birds are always a draw, too!

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We went for a short night walk and clicked this Amboli Dart Frog:

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Now, to the actual event!

We gathered in the pre-dawn dark, under the crescent moon

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on the 15th of February, in the garden of the guest house:

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I led team Rufous Treepie on Transect G (the 8th of 8 transects)…which was the Virje area, comprising the Kali river backwaters, some forest and village patches.

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(Sudheer Prabhu also joined us.)

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Team Rufous Treepie lined up like willing soldiers.

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Our starting and ending point (Ganesha Temple)

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Here’s team Rufous Treepie!

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The scene at the backwaters was very beautiful, in the breaking dawn

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Here we are, looking for birds at various spots.

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We started with the Malabar Pied Hornbill, and then the White-bellied Sea Eagle sailed across the water.

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An Oriental Magpie Robin silhouette:

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The Stork-billed Kingfisher was unmistakable, even in the distance.

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So was the Golden-fronted Leafbird.

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A White-throated Kingfisher silhouetted itself against the waters sparkling in the rising sun.

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And then it took off…

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A Pond Heron:

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A White-browed Wagtail:

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Asian Fairy Bluebird:

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Chestnut-shouldered Petronia (also called the Yellow-throated Sparrow, why, I don’t know)

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There was not much trash…but it was there…

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A Shikra

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Malabar Crested Lark:

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White-rumped Munia:

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The beautiful eye of a Green Bee-Eater:

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Brown Shrike

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I also spotted many (28 species!) of butterflies. Here’s a Plum Judy:

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And that most beautiful bearer of the “Malabar” name, the Malabar Tree Nymph:

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They were on some Canthium vines:

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Some un id butterfly eggs:

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I got a few wildflowers, plants and trees, too.

Un id:

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Jungli Almond

see here

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Cashew fruit on the tree:

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I got this shot of a flowering mango tree and a Fishtail Palm:

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This un id plant was fleshy, and thick with sticky sap

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We walked through homes with flowering jasmine:

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I wondered if I would spot a Spiderhunter on this banana flower:

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I was told that this is the rAmphal, a relative of the sItAphal (custard apple)

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Some homes had pineapples growing, too!

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Soumyashree gifted this winged seed to her husband Prashantha Kumar, and he lovingly sported it on his cap for the rest of the transect.

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Un id seed:

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The girls are looking at some Funnel Web Spiders’ homes!

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The scenes as we walked through the transect:

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We enjoyed our lovely packed brefus!

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We also looked at the traditional wooden architecture of storage barns:

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The young men from the Forestry College, Sirsi, interacted with village children in a very friendly way.

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Children are delightful everywhere!

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The young men also pointed out this Civet scat, but without the coffee beans that turn into

Kopi Luwak

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Unfortunately, the high price of this coffee has resulted in some horrible practices,

click here

They also showed me their impeccable field notes:

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I enjoyed the colourful clothes

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and this effigy created for the temple jAthrE:

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I don’t know what this was!

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We came back to the backwaters

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Where the elephant God and an elephant looked at us.

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The temple had mechanically operated drums.

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the hOma kuNdA looked lovely.

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There was a navagraha hOmA going on, and I sat peacefully, listening to the mantrAs being chanted.

As I sat there, several raptors, including the White-bellied Sea Eagle, soared past.

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Here’s the representation of the Nuclear Power Plant, which I hope to get permission to visit the next time!

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We came back to the guest house and collated our sightings.

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And, ofkose, had a great lunch!

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The charming young women made a splash of colour as they relaxed.

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Here’s the list of birders from our data sheet.

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In alphabetical order:

Isha Prabhu
Janhvi
Mahadev
Poojitha R V
Prashantha Kumar
Sneha Suresh
Sooraj
Soumyashree
Sudheer Prabhu
Suresha
Umashankar
Vidyavathi
Vijay Kumar

A sample of our bird list!

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(I think we got 75 species of birds.)

I was the only person who also submitted a butterfly list😀

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We had a nice evening gathering, with the organizers officiating.

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We took the overnight sleeper bus back to Bangalore!

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MyeBird list for the 15th, the actual event, is

here

15th FB album

click here

I could not be happy about the event become competitive, with rankings being announced. However…the count of 247 species from the 15th of February, 2015, still indicates that the area in and around Kaiga is good, environmentally. I also counted so many butterflies when I wasn’t even looking for them; so I must agree that Kaiga is a great
place for birders to visit!

I’ll close with this beautiful Asian Fairy Bluebird, that lives up to its name.

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I hope you enjoyed the Kaiga Bird Marathon as much as we did!

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