4th Sunday: Hessarghatta kere, 260317

Email to the bngbirds egroup:

Hi everyone,

I am afraid the 4th Sunday outings are not popular! Last month, apart from my group,

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(at the Mandatory Chai Stop,or MCS)

there were three people, and today, at Hessarghatta,just two people joined the group who had come from south and central Bangalore. But these two people were Prasad and Shyamal, and we
thoroughly enjoyed their company, as we all walked on the bund of the lake, and then back along the edge of the lake bed to the Durgamba temple and so back to the parking area. We were nine in all…in alphabetical order, Aravind, Guhan, Harshith,Neeti (visiting from Bikaner), Padma, Ramaswamy, Seema, Shyamal, Vidhya, and myself.

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Vidhya, Harshith, Padma, Guhan, Aravind, Seema, Nidhi, Ramaswamy, Prasad, Shyamal

A beautiful sunrise greeted us as we climbed up the steps to the temple.

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We began with the felicitious sighting of several Hume’s Whitethroats on one of Acacia trees,

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and a couple of Oriental White-eyes on another. The white gave way to other colours, as we spotted Parakeets,

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Sunbirds,

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Flowerpeckers, Blyth’s Reed and Booted Warblers,Bulbuls,

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White-browed Bulbul

and other woodland birds as we walked.

Shyamal shared some of his knowledge with us.

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He told us how the Hume’s Whitethroat is more likely to be found in Bangalore. I learnt, today, that Indian Robins often nest in the crevices of walls, and we watched one couple building their home in this fashion.

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Indian Robin female with nesting material

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Coming out of the nesting crevice

Bulbuls, Orioles, the jet black of the Jungle (er, sorry, Large-billed) Crow…we certainly did not lack for colour as we walked on.

Nor were birds the only beings of interest. The beauty of several flowers and seed pods

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Aristolochia seed pods

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Aristolochia seeds

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Ramphal(Annona reticulate)

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Solanacae sp.

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Holoptelea integrifolia, Indian Elm

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Neem flowers

along the path had Shyamal explaining to us, for example, that the Ceylon Caper flowers

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changed their colour after pollination. Seema and I tried the taste of some berries we found on a thorny bush (yes, we are both alive!), which a botanist friend, S Kassim, later identified for me as the

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Needle Bush, Azima tetracantha. It’s a medicinal plant, but it’s not the berries which are used that way.

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Needle Bush berries with seeds

There was a magnificient Rain Tree on the path

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which was in full bloom,

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as well as marsh plants like this Marsh Glory:

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We admired some of the milkweed, where seeds hung by shiny,silken threads from the seed pods. Shyamal showed us how the winged shape of several seed pods themselves allowed for dispersal by wind.

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The appearance of Ashy-crowned Skylarks, Paddyfield Pipits, an Indian Roller, several Drongos, and some perky little Silverbills

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as we walked back towards the temple, kept us interested, and at the base of the temple, several butterflies– Plain Tigers,

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Striped Tigers

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Common and Crimson Rose, many Blues…had us watching, and clicking our cameras too.

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Xanthodes moth caterpillar

Mr. Yashwanth, who is doing research on insects under the guidance of Subbu, came up and met me and helped me with the id of the beautiful Salt-and-Pepper-Moth (Utetheisa lotrix, how am I going to remember that?).

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He advised us that the raptors would come in a while to sit on
the lake bed…but we were already feeing the warmth of the sun.The very early start and the need to walk far into the centre of the lake bed to see raptors (not to mention the fact that apart from Black and Brahminy Kites, we only saw two un-id raptors) resulted in our deciding to return.

We climbed back up to the bund of the lake, and there, shared some delicious snacks…such a lot of it that it made a solid breakfast for all of us!

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Aravind baked this delicious, moist cake

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Vidhya celebrated her star birthday with kEsari bAth and stuffed sandwiches.

All that is the good part of the morning…but I cannot refrain from mentioning the other side, too. There were SUVs,

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sedans,two-wheelers, a glider-flying group,a drone-flying group

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all on the lake bed, which seems to be a very popular location now. People walking on the lake bed cannot be as bad a problem as cars driving all over it…but there seems to be no restriction on vehicle movement.

The expansion of the Durgamba temple

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also means a stall selling agarbathies, oil packets, and other snacks, resulting in a lot of plastic litter.

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It seems to be an accepted practice with any temple on the bund of a lake to throw all the litter down the embankment; I’ve found the same thing at Hennagara kere, too. Does a god or goddess not venture beyond the railings of the temple He or She resides in? Certainly, devotees seem to think so.

Since the kumbhabhishekam and the traditional re-opening of the temple after the renovation has not yet been done, the idols of every god had their faces covered up…

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I felt that not even our gods and goddesses want to look upon what we have done to Hessarghatta kere!

Oh well, one takes the bad with the good, and on the whole, it was a very enjoyable morning. It’s my usual grouse that The Experts never join us for the 3rd and 4th Sunday outings, and it was a pleasant change to have India’s biggest contributor for natural history to Wikipaedia, joining us!

The eBird list for today, put up by Harshith, is

here

My photographs are on my FB album

here

Cheers, Deepa.

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