This republic day we decided to head to TG Halli, which, going by the rich haul posted on INW, is pretty much Bird-Central. Using directions (see below) from Shivakumar and Ganesh HS, we set out at 5:00am. We got there at dawn, just as the birds were rousing themselves for a hard days work, posing for cameras.
Kestrel on the Rocks
For the first time in 1.5 yrs of birding, we weren’t the only people at our birding site. Our first sighting was the Kestrel, near the rocky area towards the left ride of the lake, just as the sun was rising over the trees.
Paddy Field Pipit
The vegetation is sparse consisting of a few shrubs and dry grasses. At the edge of the lake, we could see two little ringed plovers. After initial the fear, they warmed up to us and we got some photos.
Little Ringed Plover
The birds here are easily spooked, unlike their brave cousins at Manchinbele. The cormorants and herons in particular are the most scared of the lot, taking to flight even when photographers are half a km away. We had to creep up on a lot of birds.
Spooked Egret taking flight
Large portions of the area around the lake looks dug up or quarried and truck tire tracks can be seen everywhere. There are some small constructions happening nearby and rumbling sounds can be heard often. On the far end on the left, there seems to be a camp where laborers seem to have made a makeshift accommodation for themselves. This was our first visit, but it seemed that TG Halli had seen better times.
On the right side of the lake, among the dried grasses we sat down a while to photograph the Sparrow Lark. There was a little brown bird who put up quite a show; flying straight up into the sky, then folding its wings in completely and diving straight down while whistling ( "Twweeeeee" ). It repeated this several times. Couldnt get a good look at it, would be grateful for an ID of it.
Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark
Rufus Tailed Lark
Being Republic Day, some geese/ducks obliged us with a fly by in V formation, we were very grateful.
We used this excellent map provided by Shivakumar of INW to get as far as Magadi road.
Take the Magadi Road toward Magadi.. 4 kms beyond Taverekere (Tavereke is easy to locate - lots of boards) take a diversion to right. Drive slowly, its easy to miss. It is a kuccha road going steeply down. Village is called Nagenhalli.
Once on this road, we headed straight ahead, ignoring a rough road turning left.
Going further, we stopped and asked for directions when the road forked. The man suggested going straight and said that the previous rough road would have also taken us to the lake. We stopped at a huge tree from where we could see the lake.
We got a tad lost since I can’t read Kannada and could not read the Nagenahalli board. Having learnt from this, I have now started to learn to read the language. So far I have learnt all the vowels and 10 consonants (25 more to go). Wish me luck, folks.
Btw, for those interested I’m using a book called “Learn Kannada through English” – part of the National Integration series and easily available in most book stores.
Suggestions and observations
In general drive slowly, invisible speed bumps and sudden crators are in large number. It may be a good idea to secure cameras and lenses in bags with seat belts.
Take along water and food. There is very little shade; a hat and sunglasses are a must; it gets very sunny and increasingly hot as the day progresses. Binoculars would be a good idea since some birds are too far away. We took just one tripod between us.
A Car can be brought till right in front of the lake through a narrow path. A great place to park is under the shade of the big tree near the lake, there are some houses nearby. However, your car won’t be in sight when you wander about.
Local people are very friendly and give good directions (if you can speak broken Kannada), and are very excited when they know you are going to photograph birds.
There is sadly a lot of litter about, plastic bags and bottles. We saw a few stray dogs too.
Egrets (Intermediate Egrets I think - black feet, yellow beak)
Little Ringed Plovers Pair
Parakeets (flew by)
Wire Tailed Swallow (I saw just 1)
Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark (first sighting)
Pied Wagtails (Pair)
Grey Herons - several
Brahminy Kite - 1
Zitting Cisticola - 1
Rufous Tailed Lark -1
Paddy Field Pipit (2)
Drongo – several
River Terns (2)
Several flocks of ducks/geese flew by
Yellow Wagtail (1)
Indian Robin (Male)
Pied Bushchat (Male)
What we missed
Pratincoles, Tawny Eagle, Egyptian Vultures
Does any one know why there seem to be no kingfishers at TG Halli?
Jewel bugs (3)
Rock Agama - several