Friday, 18 April 2014

Dense Dandeli.

I had been to Dandeli several times as a kid while travelling to Kadra (15kms from Kaiga project) where my uncle used to stay. I can recall the forest area then, it used to be wild and more dense. Roads were small and only one big vehicle could pass through. Now everything has changed, big roads and big resorts has attracted tourists from all parts of the country.
Dandeli--Land of Hornbills, Butterflies and Black panthers was in my wishlist for many years. Since my uncle left Kadra, I did not get a chance to go there and explore. Main attraction was Kali white water rafting; a must do-thing. Bookings were done accordingly and we headed towards Dandeli.
White water Rafting.
We had only 2 days to cover Dandeli. I knew that I would not be able to give my complete concentration
towards birding. We checked into our stay, freshened up ourselves, had delicious food and then started towards Syntheri Rocks. A place where huge monolithic rock stands underneath flows Kali. The best place to hang out and enjoy, as it was not a rainy season the water level had come down. This place also hosts different types of Mining Rocks and also good amount of Hornbills. 
Syntheri Rocks-water source.
Huge Monolithic Rock @ Syntheri.
After good amount of trek filled with enjoyment we came to our stay and retired. Next day plan was to go birding and this had to be done early morning. 
One special thing about Dandeli-Anshi forest region is tall trees, that makes birds a perfect hide out to avoid human interaction. 
Spider weaving a web.
Misty walk in the woods.
Gram Nivas.

 I woke by 5:30 in the morning but it was still dark outside, however; I could hear parakeets screaming, bulbuls tweeting already. Following the birding trail I observed absolute silence, lots of butterflies and fresh air. Aah ! it was an amazing feel. A reward was soon waiting; Crested Serpent Eagle was top of a tall tree carefully watching its surroundings. 
Crested Serpent Eagle.
And then heard a call from a nearby thick foliage. With an absolute camouflage; heart spotted woodpecker was hunting for insects.
Heart Spotted Woodpecker.
After a quick refreshing breakfast, the next destination was Ulavi Caves.  A historic place where Guru Channabasava attained divinity. According to the history, he meditated inside these caves for a long time; during this time he created several Lingas. Our guide took us inside each caves and with the help of flashlight we could see GOD.
Ulavi Caves--Linga.
Kallu Karagua Samaya.
 Trek to the caves was tiring but it was good. I could see hornbills and several Plum Headed Parakeets. Post lunch we headed towards SUPA dam backwaters for more birding. On the way to backwaters, Jackals showed up themselves. It was my first ever sighting of Indian Jackals, they looked active.
Indian Jackal.
Plum Headed Parakeet.
 It was an amazing scene when we entered the backwater shore. Water was still with lots of birds around. Egrets, White Throated Kingfishers, Herons ruled the waters. A pleasant serene environment and I started enjoying it to the core.
Night Heron.
Serene scape.
Then came the moment for which I was eagerly waiting. Pair of Pied Hornbills were feasting on a fruit tree. I had done my homework about these species; they are elusive and very sensitive. For more than 10 mins, I watched them play; but small movement disturbed them and they flew away.
Malabar Pied Hornbill. (Glimpse).
White Throated KingFisher.
SUPA reservoir.
Sunset @ SUPA.
 After watching the sun go down, it was time for all of us to pack up and head towards Bangalore. We realized how much we were missing the place already. With loads of fun and thoughts about next trip we departed from Dandeli.
Homestay we stayed: Amara Homestay. 10/10.
Nearby places to Dandeli: Attiveri Birding Sanctuary: 70kms.
Kulgi Nature Camp: 20 kms.
Ganeshgudi : Old Magazine house (Jungle Lodges and Resorts): 40 kms.
                     SUPA Dam: 40  kms.
Karwar: Beach and Devbagh beach resort : 100 kms.

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