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Enigmatic India

This blog captures the life experiences of the Enigmatic India team in the beautiful and enigmatic country of India.We capture our experiences through our writings, photos and products that depict the very essence and fabric of India.Through this platform, we invite you to join us in our journey as we explore.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Birding along Tungabhadra high level canal, Hampi

We had been to Hampi once and the apart from the UNESCO sight, what made us visit this place once more a year later was the drive along the Tungabhadra high level canal. You must be wondering what's the big deal - driving along a canal. Exactly this was thought when the staff at Hampi Wilderness Camp wanted us to join them for this drive. The only motivation was that we were into bird watching and an early morning and late evening drive provided some chance for birding.

view of the canal
Early morning the Sun looked resplendent and glistened on surface of the water. We saw people in couple of tractor collecting sand in the bed of the canal - being a non-monsoon time there was less water quipped our driver. He went on to add that this was the high level canal and there was the low level canal or Tungabhadra right canal.

As we moved along, we spotted a white-throated kingfisher, quite obvious near a water body.
white throated kingfisher
A lot of other resident birds were seen- paddy field pipit, pied myna, collared and laughing doves, Red wattled lapwing and a Long tailed Shrike.
Long tailed Shrike
Deep Gorge

The first time around, we had gone in a Bolero  it was quite noisy, however during the second visit, Jungle lodges had upgraded this to an open jeep designed for wildlife safari. As we drove along the banks, our driver kept looking at the deep gorge walls formed by the water. Over the years the water had probably eaten into the concrete walls and formed the deep gorges. The wall were lined with rocks jutting out and tree & shrubs overhanging the walls. As we were wondering, our driver explained that this is the right terrain for two kinds of Owl - the Indian Eagle Owl and the Brown fishing Owl. While we had seen the Brown Fishing Owl, the earlier one was a first time for us. So, our anxiety grew and suddenly the vehicle stopped and the drive said look.

Indian Eagle Owl
Lo and behold on the other side of the bank there was a huge bird with beautiful orange eyes the Indian Eagle Owl - It was spell binding. During our two visit we saw a lot of them - some with their chicks and juveniles.

Our guide and driver encouraged us to do the evening trip and said something more was in store. Well the morning was a blessing and hence the evening trip was on. The sun was about to set, and our driver went about looking for something. 

He stopped near a spot and asked us to pick up the camera. Struggling to find the bird, he asked us to look at the ground and in front of us was a beautiful bird - the Painted Sandgrouse - golden in colour while black, brown and white plumage.

painted sandgrouse

Indian nightjar

The surprise continued and within a few minutes we saw an Indian Nightjar settled amongst a few rocks - fully camouflaged. As we moved on the green paddy fields below was beautiful to watch.

paddy fields

As we continued we saw a few Indian Silverbill, Grey Francolin, Red Adavat, Thrush, Yellow Wattled Lapwing and Indian bush lark.Our driver said there are chances of the Brown Fishing owl and soon he managed to spot one on the walls of the canal. Beautiful piercing yellow eyes.
Brown fishing Owl
The four trips along the banks of the canal was fulfilling and next time when I am there it definitely warrants another experience. If you are in Hampi, just visit this place - its a stone throw distance from Jungle Lodges and Evolve Back.

(Contributed by Sandip Mishra)

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