This was our first birding trip to Nandi hills, the last one being just a fun trip with non-birding friends. Expectations ran high, we hoped for a glimpse of the paradise flycatcher and the oriental white eye and prayed for good weather and clear skies.
It was cloudy and drizzled a bit along the way. We made a few stops one to watch some bee-eaters along the highway and another to check-out a small waterbody that turned out to be quite devoid of any life.
When we stopped though, we got a rare chance to meet a lion-hearted purple sun bird male. Bold and unperturbed by the presence of our car or us, it settled down to have breakfast just 2 feet away in a flowering bush.
Purple Sun Bird Male
Our next stop was at a lovely curve in the road where Keshav and I followed a divide and conquer policy. He met a White Browed Bulbul and I met a Jerdon's Bush lark which stood meditating on a little ledge on one leg. I began to get concerned if it was injured, but shortly after, it hopped about quite happily on both legs.
Jerdon's Bush Lark
Nandi hills did not disappoint. The hills were cloaked in mist and it was so refreshing to drive through it, leaving behind all the dust and heat of bangalore.
The road is quite sceanic and one will be tempted to stop all along the way by some breathtaking sights. Dont go by these photos, they are limited by my skill.
We did see a fair number of birds, few unidentified. Possibly scimtar babblers and a lark like bird that taunted us by sitting high up in a tree among leaves and singing at the top of its voice continuously "teee teeee taaaan".
It is difficult to spot and photograph in the dense foliage. The few who consented to pose follow.
Red Whiskered Bulbul
Small Green Barbet
Butterflies were plentiful particularly the crimson rose and chocolate pansy. The ones I photographed, I had never seen before.
Blue Mormon Butterfly
Common Gull butterfly
We were very fortunate to see a Tickell's Blue flycatcher in an obliging mood. Keshav has some splendid pictures owing to superior skill, height and equipment. :)
Tickell's Blue Fly Catcher
Nandi Hills has a parking space and your car can be taken all the way up beyond the ticketing gate. Parking costs - Rs.60 for a car and Rs 10 for a bike.
There are several small eateries near the parking area. There are also some "guides" who will pester you; wanting to show you the nearby temples for a price, so be aware.
There is a Ladies loo, the maintainance of which is left to nature.
Nehru Park is a great place to see butterflies and birds. The tree opposite the statue of Nehru is visited by oriental white eyes. Several of the nearby trees too have a large number of birds visiting them - prinias, bulbuls and barbets.