Posts Tagged ‘ranganathittu’

Birds and brains! IISc students trip to Ranganathittu, 180120

January 23, 2020

It was a new experience for me…taking 27 students of IISc(from undergrad level to Ph.D. students) along with a professor and his young daughter, to Ranganathittu, on the 18th of Jan, 2020. Arun Kaulige also guided the group. Kiran and Ambarish organized the trip extremely well.

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The group. Photo: a passing tourist!

It was a first for me as I have never before taken such a large group which does not hail from Karnataka! Naturally, since the group consisted of people who have secured admission into various programs at IISc, they were from various parts of the country.

I was also a little doubtful about our later-than-usual start…we left Bangalore at 7.15 am, stopped for breakfast at Kumbalgodu, and then proceeded to Ranganathittu…but I need not have worried.

Flycatchers of three kinds…the Tickell’s Blue, the White-breasted Fantail, and a beautiful Verditer flitted around even as we entered the sanctuary. We were able to spot both Purple and Purple-rumped Sunbirds.

Since almost everyone was new to birding, and the group’s budget was not very big, we decided on the short boat trip for everyone, in two boats, Arun going in one and myself in the other. However, since our boatman, Manjunath, recognized me from the Ranganathittu bird census, he kindly gave us a little extra time!

We enjoyed watching the Spot-billed Pelicans, and the Painted Storks (they are so plentiful here that it’s difficult to remember that they are near-threatened) and Openbills

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flying and perching; Several Grey Herons stood quite nonchalantly, next to rocks that, our group realized in surprised (and vocal!) dismay, were not rocks at all, but glided through the water, showing their deadly scales!

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We saw several “crocs on the rocks”, too, basking in the sunshine. Prof Chandra pointed out one saurian on the island, crunching up a fallen egg; I was able to talk about the diet of eggs and nestlings that the crocodiles enjoy, apart from fish. Manjunath gave a brief history and account of the sanctuary, which I translated for the others.

It was good to see that several Spoonbills have arrived at the sanctuary,

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and were displaying their lacy breeding plumage; Little and Great Cormorants, and one Indian Cormorant, gave diving and drying displays. River Terns made their floating, graceful forays and spectacular aerobatics as they sought fish in the water.

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Stream Glory damselflies mating

After the boat ride, we walked along the bank of the river, and the presence of several tourists did not prevent us from seeing Scaly-breasted Munias, Tricolored Munias

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and Silverbills feeding off the bamboo flowers and seeds. Rose-ringed Parakeets called from above our heads, as did White-cheeked and Coppersmith Barbets. Black and Brahminy Kites floated overhead, mixing with the waterfowl. Arun and I also talked about the various flora in the area

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Mucuna monosperma, Negro Bean, a native climber.

We adjourned to the canteen for lunch,

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and I then suggested that we return via Naguvanahalli, trying our luck with the Blue-tailed Bee-eaters. Google maps always takes us to the “wrong” side of the river and asks us to walk through the water to the sanctuary; so I was careful to take the bus through Naguvanahalli village to the “right” side of the river. I was able to show the group the completely non-touristy landscape of the beautiful Kaveri. Clothes, cattle, vehicles, and human beings..everything was getting washed in Her waters! (Oh yes, I use a capital letter because the Kaveri is a revered, life-giving goddess to me!)

We saw a few Indian Grey Hornbills flying into the trees, and a Black-rumped Flameback rat-tatted its presence on a palm tree-trunk. A few Green Bee-eaters had the group asking me if they were the birds I had told them about. Even while I was shaking my head negatively, thankfully, a Blue-tailed Bee-eater sailed in and landed on the wire, once again riveting the eyes of the group.

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Farmer washing his cow, Naguvanahalli, 180120

I must sadly add , however, that the Bee-eater sanctuary is in a shambles (For some reason, it is marked on Google maps as a Green Bee-eater sanctuary..that is one bird which, for now at least, does not need protection.). The sign and several of the granite poles with barbed wire strung across them, have fallen to the ground. Since the floods in the monsoon of 2019, the Forest Dept seems to have made no effort to build these up properly again. Instead of the hundreds of Blue-tailed Bee-eaters I have seen here in the past, we were lucky to see just seven of them.

The group seemed to enjoy the serene environs, and many of us walked up to the waters and cooled our feet. The rustling of the leaves of the huge Peepal and other trees, the breeze along the river, and sound of the river water…I most definitely recharged my spiritual batteries in the lap of nature.

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Banks of the Kaveri, Naguvanahalli

On the way home, I decided that I would introduce the group to some of our iconic foods and beverages…so we stopped at Bidadi, and the group tasted the Karnataka filter coffee, the Bidadi thatte iddli, and the Maddur vada. The softness of the iddlis encouraged several initially reluctant people to try one!

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We drove home in the glowing, golden sunlight of the evening.

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I was very happy to have shown the students, many of whom live and work almost exclusively in the cocoon of the IISc campus, a part of the State that I live in, and love so much. I am not sure how many missed the malls and the tourist spots, though when given a choice between Srirangapatna and Naguvanahalli, the unanimous vote was for the latter!

The eBird list for Ranganathittu is at

https://ebird.org/checklist/S63528082

and for Naguvanahalli, at

https://ebird.org/checklist/S63528408

I have put up my photos on an FB album at

An outing for the students of IISc.

Posted by Deepa Mohan on Monday, January 20, 2020

and on Flickr at

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I will next be sending an announcement about the 4th Sunday walk this month, which is going to be on the 4th Saturday instead. Meanwhile, enjoy “Mittwoch” (in German, the middle of the week is called exactly that!) and look forward to the weekend, with Republic Day falling on Sunday!

Cheers, Deepa.

Three flying beauties….

September 9, 2008

Driving back on Sunday, I realized that I had never gone to Ranganathittu after taking up either birding or photography; but the place would have been crowded,with Sunday trippers and tourists, so we decided to stop the car at the canal area. It was raining, so we used a short break in the showers to explore just a little bit, and were rewarded by the sight of these:

This is the Blacktipped Forest Glory (Vestalis apicalis) Damselfly (Thank you, Karthik!)

Ain’t she a real beauty? And here’s her golden sister:

That, according to Karthik, is the River Heliodor (Libellago lineata) damselfly.

Then Gayathri also showed me this GREY PANSY (thanks for the id, Seshadri!) hiding in the dense greenery:

For confirmation of id, Seshadri sent me these links:

http://www.indianaturewatch.net/displayimage.php?id=12355

http://www.indianaturewatch.net/displayimage.php?id=55052

What beauties lurk in our bushes!

Ranganathittu

January 10, 2008

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is within easy driving distance of Bangalore, on the highway to Mysore. We decided to visit it briefly on our way back from B R Hills. We did not hire a boat to approach the bird islands, but took all our shots from the shore, as we were getting very late to go back home.

Here are the only animals which pay to gawp at, disturb, and sometimes kill, other animals:

the only animals who pay to gawp at other animals

The new signboard is getting ready, but as of now, seems to be “on the rocks”!

ranganathittu signboard

Also “on the rocks” are some very interesting denizens of this riverine environment…beware of putting your hand in the water, you might need to go to a second-hand shop! refer to the many crocs we saw, in my last post about the B R Temple…

croc...large one ranganathittu 040108

more pics if one clicks

Transportation..the new and the old…

July 21, 2007

A snap of the road leading away from the Ranganathittu river landing…

Transportation...the new and the old

I like the way the CR-V is right next to our age-old form of transportation, the bullock cart, laden with palm fronds which will be used for fuel, to to make a thatched roof….

I love the beauty of the banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis), an ethnic tree, that spreads over the road, casting welcome shade….

It’s a beautiful, calm evening. Somewhere, beyond, the rushing world whizzes past, but here it’s peace and quiet, punctuated only by the cowbells and birdsong.

Sunrise and sunset are, to me, really wonderful times.

Drama of Life and Death…near Ranganathittu, 16 July 07

July 17, 2007

I went to Ranganathittu area to do some birding and while I did have a lovely time, with all the usual birds on display, I also watched this little drama of life and death nearby….

On one of the weeds, I watched a butterfly alight on a flower. But inexplicably, almost as soon as it landed on the flower, the butterfly seemed suddenly to wilt…you can see it just hanging off the flower:

Butterfly drama 2 160707 Ranganathittu area

It then fell off altogether, and lay, dead or dying, on a leaf below. Intrigued, I decided to investigate. I gently held the flower to see what could have caused the death of the butterfly, which you can see lying (by now dead) on the leaf below:

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All was revealed…from under the flower crawled the hunter, the predator, which had been lying in wait for just such an opportunity as the one that happened…

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As soon as the butterfly landed, the spider bit it, and paralyzed the butterfly fatally. Even as I looked at it, it dropped off on to the leaf below to proceed to the meal:

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Here’s a close-up of the predator..incredible, I could swear that was a “happy” face on the back of the spider!

Picture of the predator butterfly drama

I thought it was ironic to see a happy smiley face on the back of a creature which had just dealt a violent death to another…but on second thought, it was just a living creature getting a meal for itself, so I suppose, now that the meal was ready, a smiley wasn’t an inappropriate thing for the spider to have, as it went off for its lunch….