Hence a full resolution picture like this would be a dream-come-true:
or getting so close to a "magar" that you can advise it about maintaining dental hygiene (if only you are ready to forget the age old proverb "pani men rahkar magar se bair nahi lete"):
This is about Ranganthittu, a bird sanctuary unique by itself and Kokkare Bellur – a village about 100 Kms from Bangalore that has adapted itself to a lifestyle to suit annual visits of Pelicans & Storks.
Kaveri river, originating from Kodagu (Coorg), after leaving western ghats forms its first island at Srirangapattnam. Ranganthittu is a series of small islands located just before Srirangapattnam. Here, rather then conquering these islands, Kaveri has created a place that migratory birds find idle for nesting & breeding. Dr Salim Ali, with his foresightedness, was the first one to recognize the potential of this place and it was his efforts that led to conversion of this area in to a sanctuary.
My first visit to Ranganthittu was in October 2006. Those were the initial days of my passion for bird-photography. I was comparatively raw to the hobby and I used a Videocam for still photography. As a result, though we had a great time sighting White Ibis, Black Ibis, Darter, Stone Plover, Cormorant, Night Heron, and Brahminy Kite among other birds, my album had nothing great to show.
Since then, except the darter, I have had chance to see most of these birds in & around Mumbai itself, but in my mind I still could visualize the ones which I had seen 2 years back from such close quarters. Providence provided another opportunity to visit Bangalore and having completed my work decided to stay an extra day to visit Ranganthittu with my cousin brother – a friend, philosopher & guide always but more so through the growing up years of my life. The habits die hard - so off we were for bird-watching (albeit of a different kind) !!
We reached the sanctuary early morning, an ideal time when the the songs of birds can be heard easily - not because they are more vocal but because there are very few human beings around. Kaveri, in the morning light was resembling more like a placid lake, green in appearance, flowing discreetly as if not wanting to disturb the migrants it attracts.
In contrast to the serene river, the islets resembled huge colonies under reconstruction as Painted Storks, Open bill Storks, Spoonbills & Spot-billed Pelicans had staked their claims to various plots. Not at all concerned about the slump in property prices, these creatures were continuously chattering & calling out to their mates while finding suitable construction material to ferry to the site, and yet finding time enough to engage in courtship. The lower parts of these Islets were being occupied by Night Herons largely with few white breasted waterhens, large, little & median egrets also jostling for the space.
The mammals, till homosapiens crowded the sanctuary, were represented by huge colonies of flying foxes. And yes, a few sun-bathing resident muggers, eyes closed & smiling at the memory of the last meal they had devoured, were occupying the smaller rocky outcroppings - oblivious to the floating population gawking at them.
Having feasted our eyes & having exhausted the shutterbug, we moved to Kokkur Bellur via a brief halt at 'Daria Daulat Bagh" - the summer palace of Tipu Sultan. A plain looking monument from far, due to sun-screen all around, hides the history that has been recreated through paintings on the walls of the monument. Situated amidst verdant green lawn hedged with tall trees all around is a single storeyed structure made up largely of wood.
Meanwhile, for us, the day ended with one of the most beautiful sunset.
For more pictures of this trip & of the flwoer show at Bangalore's Lal Bagh, please click on the following link: