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bird watchingkuttaNagaraholeSpice gardenthexplorerguide

Naragarhole & Kutta

By September 24, 2010May 10th, 2019No Comments

It was the third day of september 2010 and the plan was to leave Mysore before the first ray of sunlight could hit us. The plan changed because of the program scheduled by the Govt. to get the Royal Elephants to Mysore from Murkal (home for all the Royal Elephants) which is amidst the Nagarahole National Park. I called Naveen who is an active participant in nature conservation events and also a coffee planter in kutta (Adjacent to Nagarahole National Park), Naveen’s property (Spice Garden) has an ancestral house (About 150 yrs old) now a stay for nature lovers and people who want to get away from the concrete jungle and enjoy the tranquility at Nature’s lap. Access to Spice Garden is adventurous and exciting as you will probably come across many trees which are ancient to us and houses thousands of birds and insects. In case you happen to be a birdwatcher or an entomologist then you will enjoy the drive to spice garden.

We finally left Mysore by 10:00 AM and as we passed Hunsur and took the road leading to the park we sighted around 25 Yellow Footed Green Pigeons (Treron phoenicoptera) on a single tree which was astonishing. By 12:00PM we passed the convey of elephants from Nagarahole to Mysore just before hitting the entrance of Nagarahole. We were dumbfound to see the sight at the entrance of the park as we had never seen such a gathering till date on any of our visits. We followed our regular practice of making the entry on to the register and moved on.

The best part of the journey is to drive slowly in the park and try to spot any movement on the trees or in the bushes and to alert the driver to slow down in case of any movement so that we could get a glimpse of whatever comes in our way.

We were greeted by Grey Jungle Fowl (Gallus sonneratii) which I think were accustomed to vehicles passing next to them regularly. As we inched forward we had a nice view of the Greater Racket Tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus). Very close to them were two Black Drongos (Dicrurus macrocercus) making noise and probably having a territorial fight.

As we moved on we could find several Black Rumped Flamebacks (Dinopium benghalense) pecking on barks of trees successfully picking out termites. Several White Cheeked Barbets (Meghalaima viridis) were calling alternatively as though proclaiming their territory.

We reached Spice Garden by 2:30 PM and were craving to have lunch. We got to know from Naveen’s father that Naveen was yet to reach kutta as he had not yet completed the formality at the function held at the Nagarahole gate.

We then started taking photographs of the plants and insects around the house. Mini spotted an arthropod (a spider – yet to be identified). It was fascinating for all of us to see our new found.

Seshu was busy clicking away photographs of all the plants for the website that has been planned for. He got several pictures of plants that are not to be seen in areas near Mysore.

As we settled ourselves near the ancestral property which was ready for our arrival very close to Naveen’s house we all were allured by the new tent that was built and ready for occupancy by Naveen. We had our lunch and by that time Naveen arrived and was happy to see us at his place. We requested Naveen for our accommodation at the tent, our wish was fulfilled and we moved our backpacks to the tent.

We then were ready for a walk around the 10 acre plot which was a private reserve in Naveen’s estate. Here all the living creatures are mosty protected from the evil hands of man as there is no or limited entry into this sector of the plot.

We could hear several Racket Tailed Drongos (Dicrurus paradiseus) as we approached the thicket. We then heard and saw many resident species of the area Malabar Parakeet (Psittacula columboides), they were resting before their flight back home. As we walked further, we came across several colourful spiders, each one of them with distinct patterns and colouration. We returned to the camp site by 5:30 PM through the coffee estate where Naveen has planted two kinds of coffee – Arabica and Robusta. The day ended with all four of us discussing about how to prepare camps for the visitors who would come through TheXplorerGuide.

The next day started with a wake up call from the nightingale of western ghats – Malabar Whistling Thrush (Myophonus horsfieldii) which was inspiring and thrilling. We got ready and left for the walk with Naveen, this time it was a different route but around the 10 acre plot. The walk was exciting with several spiders and various other insects which made the walk much more exciting. As we moved on we noticed a very rare sight of many ant hills which were left untouched by any of the people in and around the estate which made us feel very happy.

We then reached the center camp site where we intend to conduct regular camps from TheXplorerGuide. Naveen took leave of us here as he had to prepare for the guests who were arriving that morning at 11:00. We stayed at the camp site and then moved on towards the tent through the coffee estate. The path led us to the road that we had taken the previous day to reach Spice Garden. As we started walking on the road towards the tent we could see intense activity on a very old and big fig tree. The Coppersmith Barbets (Megalaima haemacephala) were having their time of the day. We spotted several small birds on the tree viz. parakeets, sunbirds, Ioras, orioles, small minivets etc. it was a feast to our eyes. After spending several minutes there we moved to the food court where we had our breakfast. We then spent time around the tent to check all the birds around the area.

It was 11:30 AM and we started moving back to the food court and to our surprise we confronted the harmless Striped Keelback (Amphiesma stolatum) which was our prize winning sight of the entire trip. Naveen then let us know that the local people would have immediately exterminated the snake in case they had seen it first. The snake got as lucky as us I suppose. We then rescued the snake and released it near the river (Lakshmanathirtha) which flows within Naveen’s property.

It was lunch time by then, we bid farwell to Naveen and his father and left Spice Garden with unforgettable memories. I hope to conduct camps at Spice Garden as early as possible.

Following is the checklist of birds found around Nagarahole and Kutta:

Sl.No. Name Scientific Name
1 Grey Junglefowl Gallus Sonneratii
2 Indian Peafowl Pavo muticus
3 Lesser Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna javanica
4 Brown-Capped Pygmy Woodpercker Dendrocopos nanus
5 Black-Rumped Flameback Dinopium benghalense
6 White-Cheeked Barbet Megalaima viridis
7 Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima hemacephala
8 White-Throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis
9 Green Bee-Eater Merops orientalis
10 Asian Koel Edynamys scolopacea
11 Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis
12 Rose-Ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri
13 Malabar Parakeet Psittacula columbodies
14 Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis
15 Rock Pigeon Columba livia
16 Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
17 Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis
18 Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
19 Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
20 Yellow-Footed Green Pigeon Treron apicauda
21 Common Coot Fulica atra
22 Black Kite Milvus migrans
23 Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus
24 Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela
25 Black Eagle Lctinaetus malayensis
26 Shikra Accipiter badius
27 Rufous Bellied Eagle Hieraaetus kienerii
28 Golden-Fronted Leaf Bird Chloropsis aurifrons
29 Long-Tailed Shrike Lanius schach
30 Rufous Treepie Dendrocitta vagabunda
31 House Crow Corvus splendens
32 Large-Billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos
33 Black-Hooded Oriole Oriolus xanthornus
34 Ashy Woodswallow Artamus fuscus
35 Small Minivet Pericrocotus cinnamomeus
36 Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus
37 Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus
38 Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus
39 Greater Racket Tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus
40 Common Iora Aegithina tiphia
41 Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis
42 Indian Robin Saxicoloides fulicata
43 Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
44 Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus
45 Hill Myna Gracula religiosa
46 Velvet-Fronted Nuthatch Sitta frontalis
47 Grey Tit Parus major
48 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
49 Red-Whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus
50 Red-Vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer
51 Yellow-Browed Bulbul Lole indica
52 Ashy Prinia Prinia socialis
53 Oriental White-Eye Zosterops palpebrosus
54 Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius
55 Jungle Babbler Turdoides striatus
56 Pale-Billed Flowerpecker Diceaeum erythroynchos
57 Purple-Rumped Sunbird Necterinia zeylonica
58 Loten’s Sunbird Necterinia lotenia
59 White-Browed Wagtail Motacilla maderaspatensis
60 Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus
61 White-Rumped Munia Lonchura striata
62 Scaly-Breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata

Team Members: Seshachalam (Seshu), Mrinalini (Mini) and Rajaram (Raju)

Place: Nagarahole & Kutta (Spice Garden)

Date: 3rd and 4th Sep 2010