Looks like this year is going to be the year of fulfillment of many of my wishes. Like this Saturday, I finally managed to go to where I wanted to go since the last three years – the Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary – a place close to Srirangapatnam on the way from Bangalore to Mysore. Now, how it materialized could be taken as another proof of the philosophy that when things have to happen, the catalyst will appear. But that’s not important. What’s important is that I was there – and thank goodness I didn’t believe the nonsense websites which had different opinions on the best times to visit the place. The boatman said that January to July is the right time to visit the sanctuary as the birds come here in around January and April-May is the breeding season. By July, they will start back to where they came from with their young ones.
It was a beautiful day. There had been lot of rain there the night before. So the soil was wet, and some weak trees had fallen but the morning looked calm. So after walking a bit, we hopped onto the boat with several other tourists and the boatman started rowing.
The first interesting sight he showed us were the bats hanging from the trees – I’d never seen them in open and in daylight and so many of them!! One interesting thing to note was that these trees were not the typical huge deciduous trees but clusters of bamboo trees (or plants?). I wonder what happens there at night when these bats wake up while it’s time for other birds to go to sleep.
Next on the route were the groups of Open Beak Storks (yes the legendary Stork who brings the baby). (In the picture above, there is also an Egret) and I don’t know if that was the time of the day when everyone starts cleaning their bodies or it was just a coincidence that I caught all three of them doing this. There were so many of them and the all of them seemed to be talking about something. It felt like being in a “bazaar” where the sellers are busy hawking their goods and buyers are busy haggling for the best prices. The birds were in their nests – as the boatman told us that this is the breeding season.
Next came another species of Storks – the Painted Stork – see the pink color near the tail? So it was nicely perched on the Mango tree probably watching us pass by and looking as old people sit in the market square and watch the crowds passing by. It was one of those “a penny for your thoughts” moment (or rather “a fish/worm for your thoughts” could have broken the silence?)
Then came the time to see the pelicans. They were also busy doing some antics with their necks. It would have been a great scene if they were diving into the water and getting the fish into their neck pouch! But probably we’d met them past their breakfast time and too early to start the lunch preparations! Some other time then…
I am so glad for my camera that it captured long shots so well – even though it’s not one of those SLRs.
Oh and how could I forget the crocodiles lazing around on the stone and one of them visible in the water but diving back inside when we were too close.This was the closest I have been to a croc – hardly at a distance of 1 meter! I guess the crocs also had their breakfast before we arrived – or else…
Then there were Egrets – which also visit my office campus sometime from January to March. This year, I got to see them strolling even in April!
See an Egret close to the crocodile in the picture?
Then there was one more bird species called the Carmorant – black in color – look closely in this picture and you’ll see it perched on top of the tree. We also saw another species called the Cattle Egret which was white like the common Egret but had some golden fluff around the neck.
You could feel the buzz of life in the air. So far in my life, I had seen one or two nests in a tree – and been excited about that, but here, I got to see so many of them on every single tree! Says something about the purpose of existence – reproduction – isn’t it? Alright, making the earth vibrant is also an activity but that’s a side-effect and not the primary thing. It’s the propagation of life which is the basic purpose. Before I get into more philosophy, I’d stop. Go for a visit yourself – it’s worth a trip, And I forgot to mention – it smells too because of the by-products generated by “life” – so if you have a sensitive nose, carry a handkerchief!
Go early – it’s open by 8:00 AM, there is an entrance fee for the sanctuary and a separate fee for the boat-ride. You can also have a boat to yourself for a higher charge.