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Old 1st March 2021, 22:10   #1
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Default The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi

The Old Magazine House(OMH) in Ganeshgudi, Karnataka is a bird enthusiasts' paradise and has been on my to do list for a long time. Dandeli is famous for white water rafting, Hornbills and the elusive black panther. Decided to take some time off and head to OMH for some birding and also spend a night along the banks of Kali river, hoping to get a glimpse of the black panther.

4 am start from Bangalore and I was able to make good time on a weekday and reached JLR Kali Adventure Camp, Dandeli at 11 am. Situated on the banks of river Kali, this camp also is a hotspot for a lot of feathered beauties and we spent some time post lunch walking around, listening to bird calls and trying to spot a few. Afternoon, we headed into Kali Tiger Reserve(KTR) with the hope of getting a glimpse of the black panther as well as the Great Hornbill.

The forests of KTR are very different from those of Nagarhole, Bandipur and Kabini that I have visited. I have never been in a forest that is so silent. Ranks of teak trees march along mud trails that we drive on and the terrain in quiet steep with barely any open areas or grasslands. Most wild creatures that survive here have to fight both terrain as well as weather to stay alive, which makes them that much harder to spot. The forest was very silent, as compared to the other forests that I have been to and it was a very different experience to ride through KTR. In the afternoon safari, we managed to spot a few Malabar Pied Hornbills and huge male sambar deer. The next day morning safari was a similar experience, we did not see single mammal but we did spot the majestic Great Hornbill in flight. A few pics of the birds that we spotted in KTR.

Malabar Pied Hornbills
The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi-k1.jpg

Crested Serpent Eagle
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Shikara
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Wolly Neck Stork
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Irresistable
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Reflections - Somewhere in the forest of KTR
The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi-k6.jpg

We headed to OMH Ganeshgudi, which is a 30 min drive from JRL Kali and settled into the room that we had booked. OMH is a small property located in the edge of the forest that surrounds this entire region. The building is a British era structure that was built to house explosives that were needed while building Supa dam over Kali river. Currently run by Jungle Lodges and Resorts (JLR), OMH is a birders paradise as it attracts a lot of migratory birds as well as the beautiful but elusive bird called the Malabar Trogon. As soon as you drive into OMH, you are assaulted by the cacophony of bird calls that echoes through the entire space. Dense trees provide shade, food and shelter for these birds and I was amazed at both the density and variety of bird calls that I able to hear. The next couple of days were spent walking around OMH, listening to bird calls, craning my head to spot a bird, waiting patiently near the bird baths to get a shot of these beautiful creatures.

A lot of people have spent many years without getting a glimpse of the Malabar Trogon, including BHPian Vik0728 who I bumped into at OMH. They have driven many a mile and spent a lot of time patiently waiting for this beautiful bird to show up. As soon as I check into the room, the Trogon decides to pay us a visit and spends 30 quiet minutes in the shade of the tree, waiting and watching. What a start!

Malabar Trogon - Found primarily in Western India around the western ghats in evergreen and deciduous forests. Thattakad Bird Sanctuary in Kerala is the other hotspot where you can find the Trogon. While the male has a black head and pinkish red body, the female is very different and has a dull brown head and yellowish breast.*
The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi-mt1.jpg

Post lunch, I setup camp near the bird baths and wait for the show to begin. A Brown Shrike, which is primarily insectivorous bird but it does tend to attack other smaller birds to prevent them from eating into his share of insects, keeps watch near the bird baths and the other smaller birds stay away. After 40 minutes the Shrike flies away and a plethora of birds descend. It is going to be hard to describe the colors, shapes, size, beauty of these creatures and the experience of watching them in such close quarters. Will let the photographs do the talking.

Flame Throated Bulbul
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Bronze Drongo
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Yellow Browed Bulbul
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Brown Shirke
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Black Naped Monarch
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Indian White Eye
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Emerald Dove - Male & Female
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Orange Rock Thrush
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Brown Cheeked Fulvetta
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Himalayan Black Lored Tit
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Puff Throated Babbler
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Dark Fronted Babbler - Stick em up!
Reminds me of beagle boys from Duck Tales
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Black Throated Munia
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Violet Nuthatch
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Heart Spotted Woodpecker
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Blue Caped Rock Thrush & Violet Nuthatch
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White Rumped Shama
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The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi-g21.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 3rd March 2021 at 07:22. Reason: As requested
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Old 1st March 2021, 22:12   #2
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Default re: The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi

The next day morning was extremely foggy and the morning bird walk was a washout. After breakfast, we decide to drive down to the Dandeli Timber Depot to try our luck. By the time we reached the timber depot, the sun was already beating down on us and we did not have a lot of hope of finding many winged creatures. We managed to spot Hornbills (Pied as well a Grey) hopping around fruit trees, many racket trailed drongos, coppersmith barbets, a pair of Oriental honey buzzards flying around and a female crested goshwak.

Snack time - Indian Grey Hornbill
The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi-t1.jpg

Oriental Honey Buzzard
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Crested Goshawk - Female
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Cuckoo Shrike
The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi-t4.jpg

In the evening, we drove down to the banks of Kali river and trekked to a spot where Pied Hornbills could be found taking a mud bath. Birds use a Mud/Dust bath to absorb excess oil/moisture from their feathers, keeping them clean and light for flight. We waited for 90 minutes for the hornbills to descend to the ground but they refused to oblige. Guru, our guide to the mud bath spot, mentioned that in Jan end there were close to 50 hornbills flying around and taking mud baths all over the place. By Feb end mating season starts and the hornbills disappear till the chicks are hatched and ready to fly, which is close to June.

Lets get this started!
The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi-m1.jpg

Hornbill Foraging
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Bramhini Kite
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The flying lizard
The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi-m4.jpg

The next day morning was spent at the bird baths, trying to spend the last few minutes with these beautiful creatures. We did drive up to Supa Dam view point and managed to get a glimpse of a Heart shaped woodpecker busily digging away for breakfast.

There were so many types of flycatchers and the most beautiful was the Veridter from the lower reaches of Himalayas.

Verditer Flycatcher - Male
The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi-f5.jpg

Verditer Flycatcher - Female
The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi-f1.jpg

Tickell's Blue Flycatcher - Male
The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi-f4.jpg

Tickell's Blue Flycatcher - Female
The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi-f6.jpg

White Breasted Blue Flycatcher - Male
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White Breasted Blue Flycatcher - Female
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Rusty Tailed Flycatcher - Male
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Rusty Tailed Flycatcher -Female
The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi-f7.jpg

On the whole, OMH was an amazing experience and I am definitely planning to go back again in Oct to spend some time with Malabar Whistling Thrush and many other feathered beauties.

Last edited by procrj : 1st March 2021 at 22:36.
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Old 2nd March 2021, 07:25   #3
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Default Re: The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Travelogues section. Thanks for sharing!

Will go to our homepage today
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Old 2nd March 2021, 11:29   #4
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Default Re: The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi

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Originally Posted by procrj View Post

On the whole, OMH was an amazing experience and I am definitely planning to go back again in Oct to spend some time with Malabar Whistling Thrush and many other feathered beauties.
Awesome writeup Ravi and an impressive lineup of snaps you got there too bro.

Guess you had garnered all the luck there was to snap the Trogon, as nobody else spotted this beauty again through the weekend. Trogon has been evading me for over 5 years now, and so has the elusive Black leopard in Kabini.

But all said and done, OMH is just so peaceful and just the kind of place I can spend the best days of my life at. I am also planning another visit sometime in Oct/Nov and will surely be for a much longer duration.
Really hoping that I get to snap the Trogon, Nuthatch and the Frogmouth this time around!
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Old 2nd March 2021, 14:34   #5
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Default Re: The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi

Oh damn, so many Lifers for me above! Thattekad has been in the planning stage for me for so long now. Brilliant photos and thanks for sharing.
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Old 2nd March 2021, 14:53   #6
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Default Re: The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi

Thats a great variety of birds. Absolutely loved the pictures.

I thought the flying lizard was a myth (ಹಾರುವಾ ಓತಿ, from the novel Karvalho)
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Old 2nd March 2021, 18:41   #7
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Default Re: The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi

The Pics are wornderful and i did attended the Hornbill festival in dandeli somewhere in 2018 with my UK manager and i had been to the old magzine house and had pictured some good pics. currently i have couple of pics in my laptop. I would say that the location of Old Magzine house is wonderful and the support they give to spot the birds. We even spotted the Great Hornbill near the Dam(name i forgot though).
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Old 2nd March 2021, 23:40   #8
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Awesome photographs, thoroughly enjoyed them. I had been to OMH as well in 2008, liked the place. Got an exposure to birding through the event called HSBC Bird race and had a liking and some knowledge of the feathered varieties. Had also been to Thattekad Bird Sanctuary too and had liked the bird calls more at that location more. Heard that at Thirunelli also they have a day trek to a place called Pakshi Pathalam.
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Old 3rd March 2021, 00:00   #9
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Default Re: The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi

Quote:
Originally Posted by procrj View Post
T

On the whole, OMH was an amazing experience and I am definitely planning to go back again in Oct to spend some time with Malabar Whistling Thrush and many other feathered beauties.
Amazing photographs ! I am a learner in this space and can imagine the challenges to get this quality of photographs.

Can you share the equipment used please!
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Old 3rd March 2021, 08:27   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik0728 View Post
Guess you had garnered all the luck there was to snap the Trogon, as nobody else spotted this beauty again through the weekend.
Agreed, it was pure luck to spot the Trogon just as we landed there.
Quote:
OMH is just so peaceful
It was my first time to OMH and I definetly am going back there to just relax and enjoy the surroundings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roy_libran View Post
Thattekad has been in the planning stage for me for so long now. Brilliant photos and thanks for sharing.
Thanks Roy. Thattekad is on the list, waiting for a semblance of pre covid normalcy before I head that way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by srishiva View Post
I thought the flying lizard was a myth (ಹಾರುವಾ ಓತಿ, from the novel Karvalho)
Good one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPEEDY_RACER View Post
I would say that the location of Old Magzine house is wonderful and the support they give to spot the birds. We even spotted the Great Hornbill near the Dam(name i forgot though).
OMH staff are great with birds and extend every support to ensure you spot as many of them as possible. Great Hornbill near Supa dam, you were very lucky. Apparently this year there has been lesser volume of fruits on trees, because of which the number of Great Hornbill have dwindled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by majumon View Post
Heard that at Thirunelli also they have a day trek to a place called Pakshi Pathalam.
Thanks. Pakshi Pathalam is a new name for me, will check.

Quote:
Originally Posted by subbarp View Post
Can you share the equipment used please!
Thanks. My better half should get most of the pic credits as I am still a novice with the camera. We used Nikon Z50 + Tamron 150-600 and Nikon D5600 + Tamron 70-300 combination for the pics.
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Old 3rd March 2021, 12:37   #11
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Default Re: The Birds of Dandeli & Ganeshgudi

Amazing place for bird lovers and birding. I was there last September. Planning to go back soon. The variety of birds is second to none. The fun fact is IBA’s in Karnataka is only second to Assam. This goes on to show the number of species found in Karnataka. Hope to be back there soon. Vinayak in OMH is a knowledgeable birder. One must speak to him while visiting. Great chap and helpful birder.
Keep them pictures coming.
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Old 4th March 2021, 10:53   #12
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Fantastic pictures and an equally brilliant travelogue procrj !
My favourites were -
Malabar Trogon (such a gem of a bird), Pied Hornbill couple, Black-naped Monarch and the Crested Goshawk ! I had initially planned a trip down to OMH during my brief stay in Hyderbad (March 2020) but sadly it didn't happen. Planning to go back as soon as I land back in Hyderabad this year. Would you recommend visiting OMH during the winter months ? Thanks for sharing !
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Old 4th March 2021, 12:50   #13
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Excellent pics and a thanks for identifying and posting all those names. I always find it very difficult to keep track of bird types, even after someone has patiently named them for me! I guess my limit is tigers and leopards
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Old 4th March 2021, 15:41   #14
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Would you recommend visiting OMH during the winter months?
Definetly. Oct - Feb is a very good time to spot a lot of these migratory birds. Plus Dec-Jan is a good time to see all kinds of Hornbills in large numbers.

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Excellent pics and a thanks for identifying and posting all those names. I always find it very difficult to keep track of bird types, even after someone has patiently named them for me! I guess my limit is tigers and leopards
Thanks Stryker. I use the ebird as well a google for identifying a lot of these. OMH has their in house birding experts who are of great help when it comes to spotting, identifying and understanding bird habitat and behaviour.
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Old 5th March 2021, 20:38   #15
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Thanks Stryker. I use the ebird as well a google for identifying a lot of these. OMH has their in house birding experts who are of great help when it comes to spotting, identifying and understanding bird habitat and behaviour.
Brilliant pictures and equally brilliant write-up.
I have been following your birds' pictures in few other posts and I have to say that bringing rare ones into TeamBhp is your forte.
Cornel's - Merlin Bird ID is equally good after downloading the respective bird pack.

I will be following your trail sometime soon when I reach Dandeli. Keep exploring and sharing such remarkable threads with us.
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