Sunday, November 14, 2010

Birding in Bhopal

Birding in Bhopal

It was Deepawali holidays and I was in Bhopal after three years, apart from being caught up in preparation of my marriage and being busy meeting my relatives in Bhopal, I ensured that I take out time every morning to explore the avian life in and around Bhopal. My younger brother kept on promising me every evening that he will accompany me the next morning, but the desire to enjoy and explore the warmth offered by the quilt in the early winter morning kept on winning over his desire to go out and explore the nature.

Apart from going back to the road leading to Van Vihar national park from the Bhadbhada side, some where vaguely I remembered a picnic that we enjoyed in my childhood with some of the family friends in Kerwa Dam area. I knew that with my experience of birds that it is going to be a perfect spot to see the bird life in full swing.

As soon as I crossed the bridge of Bhadbhada Dam, the smoke of the vehicles started getting replaced by the smoke of Beedis smoked by elderly sitting squatted on the sides of roads enjoying the warmth of the sun. The narrow road leading to the dam has one more attraction to it apart from natural beauty; it boasts itself of having the magnanimous bungalow “Dev Shree” owned by one of the most infamous CMs of MP, somewhat directly responsible for Bhopal Gas tragedy, Mr. Arjun Singh. The poisonous vapours of deadly Methyl iso Cyanide could have never reached the serene environment of the Kerwa Forests in any conditions. Both the Bhopal Gas tragedy and Mr. Arjun Singh still live today although in entirely different life styles to tell their tales. Anecdote has it that Mr. Singh was in this bungalow only when the gas tragedy struck Bhopal. It was also birth day of Mr. Arjun Singh lying during that time, so the usual anti environment banners printed on flex material sponsored by political sycophants were also gracing the way to the bungalow.

After reaching Kerwa Dam after watching the board at the entrance I realized that there is an eco tourism complex developed in that forest. But there was only a board to welcome me and there was no staff at all in the area. As soon as I started my exploration a couple of “spotted doves” was sitting on the barks of a barren tree.

The chirping of birds was in full flow. And soon there was a young “Shikra” came down on to sit on a eucalyptus tree. It was such a good specimen that I kept on viewing it for a long time.

My focus on the Shikra got broken by constant sounds of Parakeets coming from nearby trees. As I ventured in to the forest trail the voice of Parrots kept on increasing and after some time I realized that the voice is coming from the tree above me. Spotting the green Parakeets amongst the green foliage of trees was a big challenge and tested the muscle strength of my neck to the fullest. Finally I spotted the parrots and got one of the prized catch of this parakeet taking a leap from its perch.

A bit deeper in to the trail I spotted a couple of “ Grey Headed flycatcher “ , busy in arranging the breakfast by taking small but quick leaps in to the air to catch flies and insects in the air and then coming back to the perch after doing a few somersaults in air.

I also spotted a pair of spotted kites, but they were very quick to leave their perches.

It was first time for me that I have spotted a “ Scarlet Minivet”, in the Jungle and I was absolutely delighted by the its Sighting.

A “Pied fly catcher Shrike” was enjoying its breakfast search on the floor of the forest.

I went near the river in search of the some more birds and luckily I found out a colony of “Fan tailed Prinia” and “Sun Birds”. I just sat down there for some time quietly and was blessed with two close up shots of “Prinia” and “Sun Birds”.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Karnala Bird Sanctuary

Karnala Bird Sanctuary

How to Reach: Pune to JNPT Exit via Express way then take the High way to Goa. The sanctuary lies on left hand side about 5 KMs on Goa Highway. 

After reaching Karnala and seeing the entry of the sanctuary the first thing that I felt was that this trip is going to be a waste of time as the sanctuary lies so near to a  busy National highway that its impossible to think of a healthy avian population near. 

We decided to follow the " Hariyal Trail" and eventually the very first steps in the sanctuary made me realize that looks could be deceptive. As soon as we entered under the green canopy of high trees we observd a colony of Black Drongos. 

Drongos were every where with a few surprise sightings of Rufus Woodpecker. 

A Young Black Drongo

A Bronze Drongo

The common red vented Bulbul was a common sight but there were young ones as well with constant chirping in front of their mother for food. 

A Young Bulbul Chic with Mother

It was extremely humid under the trees but the sightings of the birds were creating one mirage after other and making us go from one tree to another, from one place to other. This male Asian Koel was a not vary of our camera and gave us a few shots before leaving for higher canopies. 

Asian Male Koel

There was an entire colony of Sunbirds and by the time we reached there they were active n all the senses and made us adjust our shutter speeds to the maximum. 

A Female Sunbird 

A Male Sunbird (ready for mating)

A Male Purple Sun Bird (Not ready for mating)

For those avian lovers who do not know the difference between a Male sun bird who is ready for mating and the one who is not ready for mating is the black strip on the throat. The ones with these strips are not yet ready for mating.

The Eurasian Golden Oriole is one of the easiest birds to spot in the jungle. The bright yellow body clearly emerges out in the Green Golden Foliage.

 A Eurasian Golden Oriole

Karnala is not all about keeping your necks towards skies, it also has a colorful and vibrant territorial life as well. there are crabs, Lizards, Chameleons and my favorite dragon flies. 

A Signature Spider

A Dragon Fly basking in Sun

One of my cherished moments in photography is going to be the snaps of this Skink Lizard coming our of wet bushes to take a Sun bath. this Skink lizard was full of so many colors and patterns, all this was making her a promising proposition for taking an ultra close up. I also feel that this Lizard was carrying eggs as it is seldom to see such a huge bulge on the belly and such a slow moving Skink Lizard. 

The Skink lizards  are one of the most diverse species of lizards found in different colors and variations. 

In my view Karnala is a must  visit place for every nature lover, and I have promised this place that I will keep on visiting this place as often as possible...