Birding in Rampura Lake
I had created this blog with the objective of keeping journals about my travels as well as documenting my kitchen experiments. While it takes me just about an hour to write on a recipe and upload the pictures, the same does not apply to my travel write-ups. I find it much difficult to write about my travels, especially if they are visits to historical places. I am weighed down by the ‘obligation’ that I must report mandatory things such as how to reach the place, what to see, the history of the place and such heavyweight things. There are so many drafts lying incomplete in my folder and I do not know when I shall be able to finish them. Now I have decided to just plunge in headlong into my ‘World of Travel’ and report my day’s findings, in whatever haphazard way. So you are duly warned!
Well, I grew up in a jungle amidst a lot of interesting birds, animals and people. I would be amazed by the work of the researchers, tracking a particular bird or an animal. Although we moved away from the jungle and lost all touch, somewhere a desire remained in me to reconnect with my old life again, in some form. Thankfully, the husband turned out to be a nature enthusiast and a budding photographer at that! My weekends, these days, are interspersed with birding trips, resulting in a very satisfied soul.
Bangalore, with all its faults, has some great birding places. We have been visiting some of these places regularly and they have not disappointed us. In the beginning, we used to travel quite a distance from our home till we discovered the variety of birds in our backyard. Literally, of course. We came to know about Rampura lake from some blogs and found that it was very close to our place, merely some 10 minutes away.
View of Rampura lake
The first sight of Rampura lake took our breath away. The stink was just unbearable. I could see vast tracts of dump-yard, strewn with plastic and rubbish on both sides of the road. Where was the lake? How can any bird survive in this filth? We were about to turn away when we noticed a purple moorhen foraging amidst the dump. It was evening and light was failing fast. As we peered to look at the moorhen, another one popped out. And another, and another. It took us a while to realize that the shallow water of the ‘lake’ was inhabited by hundreds of purple moorhens. While the husband tried to click them at an angle that would not show the rubbish, I stared out across the fields on the opposite side. I vaguely saw a tall bird standing all alone. It looked pinkish. Can it be a …..but it is not supposed to be in Bangalore… I did not disclose my suspicion to my husband and we drove over to that side of the field to have a closer look at the bird. And thus, it was here in Rampura lake that I laid my eyes on my first Greater Flamingo. We walked down the slushy field to have a closer look and got a few low-light pictures of the lone soul. Perhaps it had lost its way and landed up here, I do not know. All I know is that this rare sight of a flamingo in Bangalore, so close to my home, will always remain special.
We also saw a number of cattle egrets, pond herons and grey herons sitting patiently while swallows kept flitting all around. There were a few common sandpiper or stint type birds but we could not be sure about that. The pictures did not help us much in identifying those birds.
After that first ‘flamingo trip’, we have been there a number of times to explore the area. One morning we reached there at around 6.45 am and were disappointed to find only the purple moorhens and egrets. The husband decided to enter a small wooded area across the road in search of the winged creatures while I stayed behind on the main road, the baby strapped to me. At around 7 am I looked up towards the field where we had spotted our flamingo too see a group of birds hovering around. They finally made their landing and turned out to be glossy ibis. Another group arrived a little later and soon the area was dotted with glossy ibis and black-headed ibis. I had to cry myself hoarse to get the husband out of the woods where he was following a coucal. We also spied a lone great cormorant spreading out its wings in the midst of the ibis.
In our subsequent trips, we scouted the area within 2 km radius and came across other birds such as common kingfishers, yellow wagtail, black kites, Indian roller and a Eurasian marsh harrier building his nest. The past week saw the arrival of hundreds of black-winged stilts, much to our delight. I love these long-legged slender beauties. There were also other water birds – common coot, little grebe and Indian spot-billed ducks. We are hoping for more birds in this area in the next few weeks, this being the season for migratory birds.
Black-winged Stilts and Purple Moorhens (or Swamphens)
Indian Spot-billed Ducks
I wish I could keep these birds away from harm’s way. I wish they could breed and multiply without the fear of giving up their land and lakes to the selfish pursuits of us humans. It saddens me to imagine the plight of migratory birds coming to their regular jaunts to find stacked matchboxes of apartment towers where there used to be a grassland or a lake earlier. I can only hope that better sense prevails to leave at least some areas untouched for these birds to come and hearten us with their stay.
Complete list of birds we spotted in and around Rampura lake:
Greater Flamingo, Southern Coucal, Ashy Drongo, Swallow (Red-rumped or Barn?), White-breasted Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Cattle Egret, Great Egret, Eurasian Marsh Harrier, Black Kite, Ashy Prinia, Plain Prinia, Jungle Mynah, Indian Pond Heron, Grey Heron, Great Cormorant, Darter, Jungle Babbler, Little Grebe, Yellow Wagtail, Indian Spot-billed Duck, Glossy Ibis, Black-headed Ibis, Purple Moorhen, Common Coot, White-breasted Waterhen, Common Sandpiper (or Terek Stint?), Wood Sandpiper, Black-winged Kite, Grey-bellied Cuckoo, White Stork, Indian Roller, Paddyfield Pippit.