Back-to-back birding on both days last weekend! After the amazing visit to BM Betta, Vineet and I were totally inspired to do another trip on Sunday. We decided to check out the Bannerghatta area towards Ragihalli. Ragihalli is a small village about 8km from the Bannerghatta-Anekal road.
There are a lot of birding spots on the road to Ragihalli. The first one is a huge empty plot of land that comes very soon after you make the right turn from the Bannerghatta-Anekal road. We spotted a couple of lapwings there which looked somewhat smaller and unusual. Looking through the binoculars gave us a huge lifer. Yellow-wattled lapwings!
Yellow-wattled lapwings don't have the black throat and breast that is present in red-wattled lapwings. Of course, they have yellow wattles and are marginally smaller. I think the pair that we saw had a nest somewhere on that patch. They were relentlessly mobbing crows and kites that were flying overhead and were returning to the same place.
This was lark-land. All around us, larks were calling, running, flying and catching their morning meals. We identified Indian Bush Lark, Singing Bush Lark and Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark. A black kite chased a black-winged kite for a short distance. A Jungle Bush Quail made the briefest of appearances before disappearing into the undergrowth. A pair of red-wattled lapwings were bounding from one place to another screaming their characteristic "Did you do it?".
Proceeding from this place, we came across a crested serpent eagle soaring. A little ahead, the road comes onto a cliff and we thought this would be a promising place to get some raptor action. We got off the bike and walked towards the cliff. Suddenly, we saw a huge swarm of bees flying towards us. We ran back to the bike at full speed hoping for the best. Very luckily, the bees took another route and flew away from us. An attack by a swarm of bees in the middle of nowhere was the last thing on my mind for a beautiful Sunday morning.
Ragihalli lake was very dry compared to a couple of weeks back. A pair of frogs was busy with its mating "song and dance". Pond herons, Paddyfield pipits and White-browed wagtails were everywhere.
This has truly been a weekend of lifers! And great birding even in summer.
Complete list of birds
Photographs from trip
Drive towards Bannerghatta. At the Bannerghatta "circle", instead of driving straight towards the Bio-park, continue on the road towards Jigani-Anekal. Around 3km from the circle, there's a board on the right-side of the road which indicates the road to Ramakrishna mission, Shivanahalli. Take a right turn onto that road and follow it. You'll come across 2 forest department check-posts. At one point, the road forks; take the right fork. At Ragihalli, ask the locals for the lake. The lake is not visible from the main road and the turn is pretty nondescript. Happy birding!