Cattle Egret in all its finery
Truth be told, it was to see the Paradise flycatchers that we once again headed out to Ranganathittu. Surprisingly, for the first time, we didnt see a single flycatcher, not even the Tickles Blue Flycatcher.
We had been in April and my Blog is sadly delayed by several weeks, being held up with personal commitments and general lethargy.
The cattle egrets were present in large numbers all in breeding plumage, lending colour to an otherwise empty looking Ranganathittu; the Ibis having left their breeding grounds. Also present were the Open bill storks, the Painted storks.
A Pair of Pied Kingfishers put on a stunning display of freestyle diving, and even posed patiently for pictures afterwards.
We were lucky to find a crocodile basking on a rock as well. Though I would have loved for it to have been with jaws open, in the classic croc pose.
The boat man on seeing that we were excited to see birds and seeing Keshav's mighty bazooka took us to see Swallows that were flying in the hundreds in and out of their mud homes along a rock side.
They were completely unconcerned when the boat stopped at a discreet distance and the boat man went on to use this pause to attend phone calls rather loudly.
Red Rumped Swallow
There were a lot of birds that I saw for the very first time, a lone Spoon bill, Grey Hornbill and Night Heron.
The Thick Knees were there as always, ditto for the cormorants and the darters, egrets and the white breasted kingfisher.
The canteen at Ranganathittu opens only after 8am, the man there grumpily provided tea at 7:30am on request. But, that was as far as he was willing to go. The tea wasnt great. Ranganathittu's official timings are 8:30am - 5:30pm. Best time to reach is 7:00am.
The boatman agreed to take 3 of us on a 1 hour boat ride for Rs.500. He was very knowledgable and could speak Hindi, English and Kannada.
Lunch is best had at Mysore, we ate at Royal Orchid. The buffet was fabulous, it starts at 12:30pm and costs around Rs.250 perhead. Locating Royal orchid was a bit of an adventure since no one including cops, auto drivers, drivers of tourist cabs and the good citizens of mysore seemed to know where it was.
Tip: Head to Mysore Railway station, all the hotels are lined one after the other near the railway station. This ensures that one has sufficient choice.