Sunday, 23 October 2016

Birds and Bears of Daroji.

This is from the parts of Karnataka where mining industry rules. Bellary district is known for land and mining mafia which has shaken the whole country in recent years. But at the same time, this part of our state also has abundant wildlife culture.

Hampi, is a world heritage site. It is a treat to watch big temples and forts in between rocky hills.
A small town Kamalapura is equidistant to Hampi and Daroji Sloth bear sanctuary. This small town that resides on the banks of the river Tunga, is an amazing place for woodland birds, particularly Sandgrouse and yellow throated bulbuls.

I will have to mention about a humble person who was there with us throughout the trip. Mr. Pompayya Malemath. His skills of spotting birds is amazing.! Born and brought up here, he has thorough knowledge about the terrain and wildlife. He is an avid birder and has set up a small hide in his farm. Birding with him was a sheer joy.

We started off with sandgrouse and Lapwings. I never knew sandgrouses will be attractive until I saw the painted ones. They are extremely elusive too.

Painted Sandgrouse, male.
Painted Sandgrouse--Female. 
Chestnut Bellied Sandgrouse.
Yellow Wattled Lapwing.
We traversed on the edge of Tunga canal looking for Rock Eagle owls which apparently are resident species. The rocky sides of the canal yielded couple of deadly looking owls who evaded for quite sometime, but eventually posed for us nicely. Canal side birding was an absolute experience.

Indian Eagle Owl.
Typical Habitat of a Indian Eagle Owl.
We then moved on to watch the crazy acts of Bhaaloo, the sloth bear. Daroji Sloth Bear sanctuary is an example to the world depicting a conservation model. The shrub level forest patch with numerous hillocks provides shelter to many sloth bears and Indian leopards. We need to appreciate and salute the work of Karnataka Forest department in this case. Truly inspiring.

An adult Sloth Bear with killer claws.
We stood on top of a hill waiting for the bears to show up. It was a scorching hot day. The bears usually come to a certain place in search of Jaggery paste, smeared by KFD guards. 

A sub adult Sloth Bear.  
Black hair of sloth bears shines like anything on a sunny day. 

Pose to paparazzi after sniffing jaggery. 
This tasty paste attracts other species too. A perfect harmony picture on the hills.

Indian Peafowl.
Painted Spurfowl.
Mongoose.
A grey Francolin family.
We stayed there till dusk and returned to our stay. The following morning was meant for Yellow Throated Bulbul, evidently found in Hampi. Actually, it wasn't just about them, much more were waiting for us.

Yellow Throated Bulbul--usually found on the rocky patches area.
Yellow throat can be seen in this pic.
Blue Tailed Bee Eater.
A Male Red Munia with nesting material. He was collecting the raw materials, while his partner was building the nest. 
Amazing show of birds came to an end with a comprehensive check list. Whether it is rock structures of Hampi temples or Tunga canal birding or Daroji's joyful bunch of Sloth bears, this part of our state never disappoints the visitors. Make sometime to experience the rustic feel, it's worth it.


Destination: Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary.
Nearby Places: Hampi, Kamalapur.
Accommodation: Karanataka Forest Dept Guest house, Kamalapur.
Hampi Heritage centre, Jungle Lodges and Resorts, Kamalapur.
Pompayya Malemath's Home stay: 094491 36252
Distance from Bengaluru: 380 kms.