Having heard and read so much about and after seeing the excellent photos that Manchinbele seemed to yield. I decided that I must see this place for myself.
Fortunately, Keshav was ahead of me on this. He visited it with friends, scouted out the location of the weaver birds nesting area and photographed a Red Munia (Avadavat). Obviously, having seen his photos, wild horses could not have stopped me from going there myself.
Birds can be sighted all along the road. Almost immediately we saw an Indian Roller and Indian Robin (Male). It is difficult to stop to take photos since the narrow road is frequented by huge recklessly driven trucks and BMTC buses.
It took quite a while to reach the dam, the road at first is carpeted with potholes and finally deteriorates to only potholes, with a bit of road in between.
The dam is quite lovely to see, with bluer skies, it would have made a more picturesque site. The terrain is dry with thorny shrubs and grasses and quite a few wildflowers were in bloom.
Our first stop was the lake. A Pariah Kite was kind enough to pose for over 20 min at ground level. Also saw a Pied Kingfisher for the first time, it disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. A Red wattled lapwing also was cooperative. There were also a large number of Large Pied wagtails.
Red Wattled Lapwing
There is a rocky out crop near the lake on the side of the road. We parked there; the rocks harbour a number of lizards and rock agama. Click on the picture to view a bigger size.
Id help pls.
A large number of sunbirds can be found here, as fearless, as they are small. This was my first sighting of a purple sunbird male in Eclipse (non breeding) plumage.
Observe the stripe down the front of the neck.
Our second stop was the weaver colony, further along the road to our right. The gregarious birds were busy in nest construction and constantly fought among themselves. They were oblivious to our presence. Sadly we didnt see the Red Munia again. Perhaps a question of timing.
Male at Nest.
There were a large number of butterflies all around, and one particular plant near the weaver colony had a great many red black bugs - one in each flower.
Plain Tigers in conference
ID help pls
Peacock Pansy Peeking
On the drive back, we saw several bee eaters, bush chats, plain prinias and one Barn swallow ( sitting on the road). Also saw a little brown dove and a Brahmini Kite.
We had set out on the road to mysore, on a mildly overcast day at 5:45am and quickly reached Kengeri. There after, we took the road to the Great Banyan Tree. Many confusing (for me) turns later we could see the dam. There after, there is just one very bad road.
Things to remember:
1. Fill fuel enough for a round trip. Not too many petrol pumps along the way
You'll need A/C on for the drive back
2. Take water and stuff to eat ( dont litter pls )
Small Shops can be found at the Great Banyan tree but nothing beyond that.
3. Its very sunny there and there is no shade. Take sunglasses, hat, sunscreen
4. If you cant read kannada make sure you know the way, else you may get lost
5. Go in a group if you plan to stay there for later in the day.
Place didnt look too safe to me
6. Take spare batteries and memory cards, photo opportunities are many.
I needed 2 cards.
7. There is NO MOBILE NETWORK beyond the dam.
8. Go very early. The distances may be short but unless you're in a four wheel drive, you'll be taking a long time to get there.