Thursday, 26 February 2015

Kaiga Bird Marathon---2015

Situated on the banks of River Kali, Kaiga hosts our country's biggest and advanced power generating station-- Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited. Kaiga is a small town, hardly 40 kms from Karwar has the nuclear plant which is used to generate safe and eco-friendly power. Surrounding Kaiga is the thick western ghats which boasts innumerable amount of flora and fauna.

NPCIL conducts bird marathon as a part of Environment stewardship program (a CSR) to let world know that "greenery" is not affected because of hazardous nuclear radiation. 

I received an email from Mr.MohanDas who apparently is the coordinator of this program. I did not think twice to register myself and confirmed my participation by calling him, after all it's near to Kadra where I spent my beautiful vacations during my school days. Me along with bng_birds friends booked our travel logistics and started counting days. 

The day finally came and we boarded Bangalore-Karwar express. Eagerness to visit the place was on top. I did my homework before visiting this place. Ebird fetched me the results of KBM-2014 for only one area and it had just 53 species recorded. It was strange, Kaiga has untouched bio-diversity; it can't be possible that only 53 species would be found. 
So, though the journey was lengthy I must say that it was fascinating. Konkan railway line is beautiful indeed. We passed through several tunnels and many bridges to reach Karwar where NPCIL van was waiting. 
We were welcomed heartily. The coordinators were very happy that people had come from bangalore. A short briefing gave me more insight about the program. 

Mr Subba Rao--Convenor
Briefing.
Birding inside NPCIL campus was an amazing experience. We saw white-bellied sea eagle soaring above the river, a tickel's blue flycatcher flying around, a royal chital with a fawn, an Indian Pitta, couple of Malabar Pied Hornbills and many white browed wagtails.

We checked into our nice room and rested. Following morning was the big day and we had to assemble by 530 AM.

Feb 15: The team was put up along with region where the census had to be done. I was part of Team Malabar Trogon and was to count birds in the region Hartuga. The program was kicked off by Mr.Bhat, the director of NPCIL. We were dropped near to Hartuga forest by dept bus. So the day started with couple of Malabar Pied Hornbills. 

Malabar Pied Hornbills.
Malabar Pied Hornbill--Male.
Sun was struggling to come out, it was misty. I could not take proper snaps of the hornbills. We continued our trail and started recording all our findings. Lush green forest offered us various endemic species. 

Orange Headed Ground Thrush.
Orange Minivet--Male.
We traversed through the forest streams in search of birds. The trek was refreshing and unpolluted. The team was indulged in counting the species. At the time of breakfast we had recorded many birds.

We took the route which was predefined by the organizers. It was forest in the beginning, then the farm lands, and finally kadra backwaters. It was mesmerizing. There were plenty of butterflies around the reservoir.

Greater Racket Tailed Drongo.
The last subset of our trail turned out to be bumper to us. One of our team member spotted a Malabar Trogon. What a coincidence..! our team bird was spotted. Every team member rejoiced the moment. This beauty had perched on a tree inside deep forest. 

Malabar Trogon--Female.

The team returned to the base where we collated the final findings. Students from Forestry college, Sirsi were enthusiastic and instrumental in spotting birds. Our team had identified 106 species of birds, that's a huge number.!

KBM organizers conducted a small post marathon cum feedback session. Many juvenile birders to experienced birders shared their positive feedback about this event. Personally I felt it was a great initiative by NPCIL. I thoroughly enjoyed the trek, the dust, interacting with fellow birders, watching endemic species closely. Overall experience was mindblowing. NPCIL/KBM took looked after us really well. A small felicitation to all the participants gave a big smile on everyone's face.

KBM certificate.
I'd like to thank Mr.Mohan Das, Mr. Prashanth Nayak, Mr. Harish Kulur, Mr. Puttaraju Kenchappa for their extended friendship. They were cordial with us from start to end. Looking forward to meet them next year during the same event.

Bird list has been uploaded on Ebird and is available at: