We are regular visitors to Ganeshgudi, a small village in Dandeli Forests in Karnataka. Our favourite resort here is Old Magazine House run by junglelodges.com. If you love watching birds then this is the place to be. The naturalist here has created bird baths within the campus which attracts forest birds of various species. Recently we visited this place with our friends Renu and Dimpy in third week of February 2020.
Sharing few photos taken during the visit. All pictures were shot with Olympus OMD EM1 MK 2 with 300 mm f4 lens + MC14 tele extender.Enjoy.
It’s fun to watch these creatures playing around. There call sounds like machine gun fire.
This bird is the star of Western Ghats, Often referred to as tiger within birds.
Few words of Caution. Old Magazine House is a unique place where you can do arm chair birding. Do not expect the same in other birding hot spots. Have Fun !!!
Bhigwan has been my most visited destination since last few years for birding. Come November and migratory birds arrive here in thousands. There are two villages neat Bhigwan which you can visit for bird watching namely Diksal and Kumbhargaon. There are boats avaiable here for hire. Kumbhargaon is more organised commercially however I prefer Diksal which is more suited for birding.
You can expect to spot Flamingos, Northern Shovellers, Ruddy Shellducks, Spotbill Ducks, Godwits, Sandpipers, Grey Heron, purple Heron, Ibis, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Sea Gulls, River Terns, Great Egrets and Pintail Ducks here. Occasionally you may be able to spot Barheaded Geese too.
Sharing few snaps taken during our recent visit (14 Jan 2020).
For me in winters, the best past time is to visit Bhigwan for bird watching and bird photography. Come November and migratory birds start arriving at Bhigwan. Bhigwan is about 100 Km from Pune. There are two spots near Bhigwan which are good for bird watching, Diksal and Kumbhargaon. I prefer going to Diksal as you spot more birds here. It is advisable to reach Diksal early morning to witness a spectacular sunrise.
Take a boat, the local guides should be able to guide you to spots where the waders settle down for their morning rituals.
You can expect to site Flamingos, Open Billed Storks, Spoon Billed Storks, Bar Headed Geese, Northern Shovellers. RuddyShell Ducks, Pin Tail Ducks and many more species of birds here.Sharing few photos which I took during my visit in mid Feb 2019.
This Painted Stork was Walking along side our boat. The reflection in the water appealed to me and I clicked. While composing follow rule of thirds and always leave space towards the direction in which the bird is looking.
Spot Billed Duck. While shooting a flying bird use continuous focusing and track the bird till you get the right composition and then click.
Open Billed Stork. Photographed with an Olympus OMD EM 1 MK II Camera with a 300mm lens. Effective focal length comes to 600mm due to 2X crop factor in this camera.
Greater Flamingos. You see them by the hundreds here. Expose for the highlights while photographing Flamingos due white plumage. Thes birds have a comfort zone, the moment you get too close, the will fly off, so be prepared to catch them in the act.
Black Headed Seagulls
Have patience and you will be able to get few action shots like these.
Pintail Ducks are very shy and fly away if you get too close. Keep on taking shots as you approach them, you never know when they will fly away.
Watch the birds. Focus and be ready to click when they get into action. For such shots you will need to set the shutter speed to at least 1/1000.
Wow !!! That was a great morning.
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In February this year we had taken a road trip which included almost all kind of destinations starting with spiritual destinations such as Shirdi , Maheshwar and Ujjain. Our trip also included historic places such as Chittorgarh, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jaipur, Orchha and Ajanta Ellora caves . The destinations also included bird and wildlife sanctuary such as Beed Bird Sanctuary near Bikaner and Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary near Agra. We also visited wildlife destinations such as Bandhavgarh National park and Kanha National Park which are famous for tigers.
We visited Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary on 08 February 2018. We had only one afternoon available but that turned out to be quite an interesting afternoon.
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is very famous and during winter large number of migratory birds come over to Bharatpur to winter here. I had made a number of visits to this sanctuary earlier and my main quest had always been the Sarus Crane and the Black Necked Crane but I had not managed to spot them. This time around I was lucky and we got to see both from quite close.
You got to venture out into Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in cycle rickshaws. The rickshaw pullers have really become expert at spotting birds and they also have good knowledge about the bird species. When you spot a bird you need to stop the rickshaw, get down and find a good spot to observe and take photos.
We did manage few nice shots of the avian creatures which flock around here. Sharing these with you.
Come year end and migratory birds start arriving at wetlands around Pune at Kavadi (about 15 kilometers from Pune) and Bhigwan (about 100 kilometers from Pune). This is the time to do some bird watching to see these beautiful creatures. This year towards end of December 2017 I made trips to Bhigwan and Pune and managed to get some nice photos, sharing these with you.
Bhigwan has a large wetland formed from back waters of Ujanni Dam. Here you can see many kinds of ducks, egrets and storks. Flamingos can also be seen here. The best months to do bird watching here is from November to March.
Arrive early at Bhigwan to catch the sun rise and to capture some candid silhouettes of fishermen in their boats.
About 230 species of birds have been spotted at Bhigwan over a period, around 100 of these are migratory which come here to winter during the months of November and March.
Black Winged Stilts
Another place to do some birding is at Kavadi Path about 15 Kilometers from Pune.
White Browed Wag Tail
Northern Shoveler (female)
Black Winged Stilt
Do take your camera and visit these places, you will be happy that you did it.
Each year we visit various bird sanctuaries towards the end of December as this is the best period to sight both migratory and resident birds. In the last week of December 2017 we visited the Western Ghats to include Dandeli in Karnataka and Tamdi Surla and Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary in North Goa. The trip was rewarding as we saw many species of birds from close quarters.
In Dandeli we stayed at The Old Magazine House, a resort run by Karnataka Tourism. This place is a favorite with birders as they have put some bird baths in this area which attracts birds. The birds keep coming through out the day to have a bath and have a sip of water.
Grey Headed Fulvetta
The Old Magazine House has few good rooms and cottages which can be hired online from www.junglelodges.com
This is a place where you can literally do arm chair bird watching and photography.
Oriental White Eye
Grey Headed Fulvetta
Yellow Cheeked Black Lored Tit
You can also observe the Giant Malabar Squirrel feeding and playing around on the trees in this area.
I saw many Blacked Necked Munia here through out my stay.
Also this is place is full of Black Headed Warblers
Asian Paradise Fly Catcher – These are winter visitors to this place.
Grey Horn Bill
The Emerald Dove is a regular visitor here.
Grey Headed Fulvetta
Play this video to see an orange thrush enjoying the bath.
White Bellied Blue Fly Catcher
We spotted this Rock Thrush at the timber depot at Dandeli. The timber depot is about half an hours drive from the Old Magazine House.
A Leaf Bird at the timber depot
We saw many Malabar Pied Horn bills at the timber depot.
An orange minivet (female) at timber depot. While at the timber depot take a walk around and you will get to see many species of birds.
Nut Hatch at timber depot
We also saw many Hill Myna’s
An Oriental Magpie at Ganeshgudi
Black Naped Monarch
Tickell’s Blue Fly Catcher
Oriental White Eye
Emerald Dove (female)
Puff Throated Warbler
Orange Breasted Fly Catcher
Asian Paradise Fly Catcher (female)
White Bellied Blue Fly Catcher
White Rumped Shama at Old Magazine House
For the next phase of our birding we moved on to North Goa. We stayed at Natures Nest Resort near Tambdi Surla.
Mahadev Temple at Tambdi Surla. Most of the birding is done in and around here. We heard the call of Malabar Trogan but could not site it. Next day we went to the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary and did manage few snaps.
Asian Koel (female)
Bay Backed Shryke
Shikra (female) – We spotted this at Bondla Wildlife Sanctury.
Ruby Throated Bulbul – State bird of Goa
White Cheeked Bulbul
Purple Sun Bird
Brown Winged Green Pigeon
….and yet another year end birding session came to an end. God willing we will be there this year end too, looking for more.