Muthanallur Lake: Morning of the Booted Eagle, 221115

Email to the bngbirds egroup:

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A few of us took advantage of a slight break in the rain to go to Muthanallur kere.

MCS(Mandatory Chai Stop)at Purple Point:
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At the lake:

L to R: Arun, Anvitha, Kumar, Megha, Thomas, Raghavendra, Arpita, Vignesh, Raghunath

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Though we had quite a variety of sightings, such as this Common Sandpiper,

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we did missing seeing any but the usual Spot-billed Ducks on the water. Watching the cormorants fishing,

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and the kites, too, I felt it was heartening to see so many Brahminy Kites with juveniles,soaring along the waters and overhead.

Chestnut-tailed Starlings

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treated us to a small show of murmuration, and settled down in several Eucalyptus trees. Drongos swooped and hawked insects in the air. As we walked along the banks of the lake, several woodland birds also delighted us, and some warbler visitors
had us arguing about their names.

But more than anything else,it was Booted Eagle day! We saw them at different points on the lake, in both dark and pale morphs, sitting on various tall trees. I have not, before this, seen Booted Eagles upon a perch; and for several of the group, it was a lifer.

Can you see the Booted Eagle?

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Here it is, at half-zoom

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Closer still:

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Was Arpita stumped for bird names? I don’t think so!

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A group of Black-headed Ibis flew overhead, making a Japanese painting in the sky.

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Thanks to the drizzling rain, there were hardly any butterflies; I noticed only the Common Four-ring, and some Grass Yellows. I was glad my “buttering” friends had not come along!

However, we did watch several Giant Wood Spiders

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at their webs, and it was especially riveting to see one GWS lady gently pick a eucalyptus leaf that had become entangled in her web, and drop it to the ground.

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Good Housekeeping at its best! Lynx spiders with their egg-sacs,

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oothecas of other insects,

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grasshoppers, small snails,

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Jewel bugs,

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and tiny frogs,

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kept us occupied as we walked. Raindrops lay on the webs in diamond festoons,

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and jewelled up the very blades of grass.

A skein of Bar-headed Geese, sighted overhead, as we were returning to the car, made the day for all of us, especially for Vignesh, for whom it was a lifer.

It’s all very well to talk poetically about the bejewelled blades of grass, but the rain had also turned the paths to slush, and I joked that this was Coorg, because we were in “muddy kere”. We squished along as best we could, and were caked with mud up to at least our
knees in a while. The mud had a way of catching at one’s shoe, and the next step would involve pulling out of the mud and squelching down one’s foot again! At one point, the sole of Megha’s shoe came right off, and as she carried it back,

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I teased her about keeping body and sole together.

Mushrooms of many kinds…er…mushroomed everywhere, and we wondered if we could take some home to our kitchens…but our ignorance was too much to take a risk!

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I enjoyed seeing the majestic girth of the Mahua tree that Ajit Ampalakkad showed me. I’m looking forward to seeing it flower in season!

There was no sign of the Peregrine falcon, but a Tawny Eagle, quickly sighted at the beginning, a Shikra, a Honey Buzzard, the Kites, and of course, the Booted Eagles, kept our raptor quotient at a satisfactory level.

On the way back, we saw a calf that had just been born, wet and unsteady on its feet,seeking its first meal, while the mother licked it lovingly. A delightful sight!

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We looked at the fields of millet

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and raagi

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as we left.

I’ve put up my SMS on my FB album

here

and the eBird list, put up by Anvitha Rao, is

here

WE finished by about 9.30am but it was too late to join the
Kaikondrahalli Kere outing and so dispersed after having enjoyed a
pleasant morning with good friends.

Climbing Nightshade:

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