Bangalore Dairies : On the bird trail

I have been in B’lore a month and was itching to go for a shoot; missing my PS group so much. I started a diligent search on flickr and connected with the Bangalore Weekend Shoot group and they were headed to Ranganathittu Bird sanctuary in the mandaya district.

 This sanctuary plays host to a variety of birds, especially some migratory ones like the painted storks, Eurasian Spoonbill, Purple Heron, etc. Fruit bats, popeye, kingfishers, wagtails, etc are the local stars here.

 Our outing started early morning where everyone was picked up like clockwork, thanks to a well-co-ordinated effort of our group co-ordinator. By 7.15 a.m. we were enroute on the nice road and made a quick stop an hour later at Bidadi for some deadly idlis (place suggested by Pradeep) which were an instant hit with all of us. The sanctuary is about 100 odd kms from Bangalore and we made it by about 10.a.m.

We ran into Bhaskar at the entrance, accompanied by some friends; apparently they had come in early at about 7 in the morning and were finished for the day. Following their suggestion, we headed to the boating point and were lucky enough to commandeer a single boat for all nine of us.

We were lucky enough to spot a number of crocs basking in the sun, lots of Painted storks up in the trees or swooping around with weeds/ branches in their beaks for nest building,

spoonbills- one of which postured and preened for us to no end while we could shoot it at leisure,

a few pelicans,

night herons, coromants, wagtails, egrets and even a lonely river tern…. all shot diligently by each one of us as we spun around in the boat to catch them all.

We spotted a kingfisher flying around too; unfortunately it didn’t sit still enough for us to get a shot. But we did spot a lovely blue flycatcher which obliged us by flitting in the bamboo thickets and posturing.

We spotted a huge colony of the fruit bats which got into a bit of activity towards the evening.

We did another boat trip at 4 in the evening which turned out to be a better one as most of the birds were out and gave us a great opportunity to get some good shots. We even spotted 3-4 crocs with their mouths open and just lying still as stone.

Finally, departed at around 5.30 p.m. to head back, replete with memory cards bursting to capacity, batteries run down – both the camera’s and ours.

It was a great shoot; even greater group of enthusiasts. Hope to get together for another shoot soon.

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