Friday, 23 January 2015

HSBC--Bangalore Bird Race 2015

I had to skip Dandeli-Yellapur and Nandi bird reports to complete this. Like many others I was a first timer to this event. This event is organized by HSBC in the month of January, every year. A group of 5 members should identify as many bird species as possible between 0530 hours to 1800 hours. At end of the day the bird report will be submitted to the coordinators who will announce the winner. 
Well, although the team names were just for formality, Deepa Mohan accumulated a bunch of birders, the count was 38..!! It was a great congregation of local birders. It was an awesome gathering !! I met so many like minded people. The predefined route was JP Nagar >> Bannerghatta circle >> Gulakamale Lake >> The Valley School area, Kanakapura road >> Bannerghatta zoo area. 

Small Blue Kingfisher @ Gulakamale Lake.
Ashy Crowned Sparrow-Lark @ Gulakamale Lake.
I started jotting down my findings like any others during the trail. I took the photographs of specie which I found was interesting and co-operating. Gulakamale Lake was a bumper hit. Lifers for me at this location were Red Munia, Kestrel, Marsh Harrier, Yellow bittern (flight), grey francolins. After a short breakfast session, we continued our expedition towards infamous Valley school, today we got a chance to get inside the school campus; courtesy Deepa Mohan.

""Pale" Billed Flowerpecker @ Valley School Entrance.

With a cherry fruit.
We entered school arena. It's a paradise for birders. I found better bird activity inside the school campus compared to the outside trail. Scrub forest offered us good entertainment.

OOH's AAH's ABBA's and many other adjectives came out from our mouth when we found colorful and elusive birds. People who missed the shots cursed themselves with AYYAYYO, Darn it ! etc.

Verditer Flycatcher @ Valley School arena.
We then came across a bridge, beneath was a dry patch. Couple of White Spotted Fantails were dancing. Their hops pleased everyone of us.! Am sure rookie photographers would have got amazing fantail shots.

White Spotted  Fantail Flycatcher.
Display of "FAN".
Now it was time for us head towards last but very important birding zone, Bannerghatta zoo area. I was anxious to pass through Flycatcher Avenue & Kingfisher Pond, named by Deepa Mohan.
Flycatcher avenue is where you'd find beautiful flycatchers. The show started with a Blue-Bearded bee eater, uncommon in this area.

Blue Bearded bee eater.
Little that we had traversed, the show of flycatchers started. Almost all of them were lifer to me. First one to show up was Asian Brown Flycatcher. It's typical dive made me stand still for sometime. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Asian Brown Flycatcher.
Another Look.
"Ultramarine Flycatcher !!"..the group found it. A small active bird was on a tree top, absolutely not bothered about what's going-on below. Obviously not knowing how important it was to us. With it's cool blue colored body it hopped from one branch to another. I could'nt catch it through the lens but I have its portrait within me.
Moving on, the bold one turned up and posed nicely.

Tickell's Blue Flycatcher.
Next lifer was a Black Naped Blue Monarch. It was bit shy, refused to pose.
Though I missed to take a shot of Rufous Asian Paradise Flycatcher at the start, I was fortunate enough to get it at the end. I can't explain in words how it danced in front of us. Magical Moment..!

Rufous APFC.
Portrait.
Love this image. Long tail on 2 twigs.
More action at Kingfisher's pond. A pied Kingfisher was waiting for a chance to fill it's belly. It dived into the water hole to get a fish.

Faint image of a Pied Kingfisher.
I observed co-existence between 2 opposite species. A grey heron was standing very near to a marsh crocodile. Just as experts say "Predators attack others only when they are hungry", so true.

Grey Heron, Marsh crocodile.
At the exit gate we found couple of black capped night heron fishing inside a croc's pond. Also many caged birds and animals.

Black Capped Night Heron.
So, I was under team-Black Stork with Deepa Mohan as lead. The total specie count from our team was 134. An unbeatable count, probably.
We then departed to Infantry hotel where our findings were to be submitted. Further, an interaction with  Mr. Sudhir Shivram, a small presentation about Leopard and its habitat from Mr. Sanjay Gubbi and a short but effective speech by Dr. M B Krishna was an icing on cake.

The day started at 0530 hours and ended at 2200 hours, every minute was special. I'd like to thank all the birding enthusiasts. It was an amazing social gathering.
For me it was definitely not about specie count, it was more of knowledge transfer from the experts.

Ebird report :
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21445919
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21489576
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21489616

Event: HSBC Bangalore Bird Race--18 Jan 2015.