Friday, June 12, 2009

Nature-watching at Ragihalli and Turahalli - May 30 and 31

Saturday morning saw me driving towards Ragihalli. Our first stop was a ground around a kilometer after getting off the Bannerghatta-Jigani road. Just as we turned into the ground, we saw 3 female Indian Peafowls! This was my first sighting of our National Bird in Bangalore. They quickly disappeared into the undergrowth, giving me enough time to get a couple of record shots. We could hear their calls for more than hour after that.

We greeted the resident Yellow-wattled Lapwings with a few photographs and took a walk around the ground. We saw a small brown bird running in the grass ahead. A few record shots showed that it was a Barred Buttonquail (huge lifer for me)! It walked around for a minute before disappearing into a shrub. As we walked closer, we startled and were startled by a hare! This has been my second hare sighting in 3 weeks near Bangalore.

We drove to Ragihalli. The lake is almost dry now. A pair of Red-wattled Lapwings were crying out loud. I tried walking towards one of them when I was mobbed (almost) by its partner! It came flying straight towards me (I've always had lapwings fly away from me!) and turned away around 10 meters from me. I quickly left the area as I had no intention of disturbing them. There were a couple of pipits around. I didn't see the Large Grey Babblers that I had seen only the week before.

Sadly, the light was really bad (overcast skies) and couldn't get good shots. The list of birds from Ragihalli is here.

We were at Turahalli mini-forest on Sunday morning. The moment we got out of the car, we saw what would be the sight of the day for me (pardon me, but I am a hard-core raptor lover :)). A Changeable Hawk Eagle was perched on a tree close-by and was being mobbed by crows. We watched it for quite some time after which it flew away.

Turahalli is really beautiful. We trekked up 2 small hillocks and the sights we were treated to were amazing. All of us were impressed by huge copper-colored millipedes, which moved like miniature tanks over all obstacles in their way. We saw many agamid lizards basking in the sun. And the butterflies were lovely.

Blue Tiger (Tirumala limniace) Baronet (Euthalia nais) Tawny Coster mobbed by bee

But what added most to the beauty of the place (in my opinion) were the flowers everywhere. From small grasses to eye-level flowering plants, they were everywhere at their colorful best.

The beauty of the wild Morning joy Monsoons are here Who says there is no action in the plant world

The biggest regret though is not able to see the nightjar that was (possibly) roosting on the ground. I was less than a foot away when it flew away. We tried following it but its camoflage was too good for us.

As for the birding, the list is here.

1 comment:

molarbear's posts said...

Enjoyed this very much! But don't worry about grouse and nightjars, you will get to see them another time. It's happened that even experienced guides don't see them at their feet!

Thanks for the great photographs, too. I am pretty homesick and it felt as if I had gone on the trip!