Galibore revisited: A short trip
We made a quick trip to Galibore Fishing Camp once again a few days back and things had just warmed up when we had a great adventure and the birding session had to be cut short. No, we shall not discuss that adventure here. Instead, let me tell you about how amazing that brief birding period was, though there is not enough photographic evidence.
As I had mentioned in my previous post on Galibore, the allure of the area is quite different from Bheemeshwari Fishing Camp, although both have the Cauvery river coursing through them. Its charm lies in the unpaved pebble-strewn jungle road, imposing huge boulders, thick foliage and the hills skulking close by with an almost possessive air. If I had not known about its fauna, I would have imagined a magnificent tiger basking on a huge rock under a shady tree. The last time we had passed through the Bheemeshwari area we were lucky enough to have come across a pair of Indian jackals (South Indian Jackal/Sri Lankan Jackal), which for a long time I thought to be wild dogs, taken in by the reddish tint of their coat.
The jungle road...
Anyhow, the best part is, you can start spotting birds immediately as you turn towards Galibore from Sathanur. The picturesque setting of hills, crop fields and lakes provide a good ground for a variety of birds, ranging from water birds and larks to raptors. We had come across a small group of European Bee-eaters the last time we had visited and we were not disappointed this time either. As a matter of fact, the group had enlarged manifold and there were more than a hundred of these brightly coloured birds perched on electricity lines along the road.
We had just passed the group of bee-eaters when we caught sight of two medium sized raptors atop an electricity pole. “They look like Shik..” I stopped as I craned my neck for a closer look. “Red-necked falcons!” the husband and I cried in unison. Our first sighting of falcons! The falcons flew away, perhaps alarmed by our jubilant reactions and perched on a faraway tree in the middle of the field. We deviated towards a small road winding through the fields and came upon a small puddle of water where a few little grebes and white breasted water hen were taking a swim. Back on the main road, we passed by the water body where we had seen the flock of painted storks the last two times. It was empty this time. Maybe we were early.
Once we were inside the jungle, we were greeted with the sight of frantic bird activity on the right hand side of the road. There were several lesser goldenbacks flitting from tree to tree, trying to choose the right one to tap. A little distance away, a beautiful black-naped oriole fluttered around in the foliage, refusing to pose for us. While the husband trained the camera on the goldenback, I spotted a brown-capped pygmy woodpecker on another tree. It mysteriously disappeared within a minute of its sighting.
Common Hawk Cuckoo
Black-naped Oriole (record shot)
We proceeded toward the fishing camp and saw several of our usual suspects, the babblers, bushchats, robins, drongos and the white browed wagtails. A common hawk cuckoo and common iora also made guest appearance. At one point, near some human settlement, we saw a large number of swallows settled on electricity lines, making a pretty picture. The roads beyond the fishing camp proved to be too much for our little car and we decided not to venture further. (Somebody please gift me a Mahindra Thar!) The grizzled squirrel and brown fish owl will have to be patient and wait for us till our next trip.
Barn Swallows and Red-rumped Swallows
On the return journey, I caught sight of a bird that looked much like the jungle owlet, but it was too fleeting a glance to be sure. We were almost out of the jungle and were driving by the side of the Cauvery when the husband abruptly stopped the car and looked towards his right. We could make out a raptor with its back to us, perched on a low branch some distance away. Perhaps an oriental honey buzzard, the husband and I surmised. We were waiting to get a better view of the bird when it made a sudden movement and flicked its head towards us. That was when we noticed the long tuft of ‘hair’ on its head. This was no OHB, this was our old friend the crested hawk eagle. It did not seem too pleased to see us and flew off the next instant.
Crested Hawk Eagle
Blyth's Reed Warbler (?)
We were super happy with the birds we had seen in just over two hours, and were planning on making another ‘chakkar’ around the fishing camp when an adventure struck us, of which we will not open our mouths now. So, that was it, perhaps our last birding trip for the year 2013. Most definitely our last trip to Galibore for 2013. See you in the New Year then, squirrel and owl!
Indian Grey Hornbill
More posts on Galibore:
Looking for birds around Galibore Fishing Camp
While I was away: Galibore, a photo-essay
List of birds sighted on the way (from Sathanur) and around Galibore Fishing Camp on this trip:
Little cormorant, Eurasian Coot, Purple Moorhen, Common Moorhen, Bronze-winged Jacana, White-breasted Waterhen, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, White-breasted Kingfisher, Little Green Bee-eater, European Bee-eater, Pied Bushchat, Indian Robin, Oriental Magpie Robin, Red-vented Bulbul, Red Whiskered Bulbul, White-browed Bulbul, Indian Hoopoe, Indian Silverbill, Scaly-breasted Munia, Common House Sparrow, Purple-rumped Sunbird, Southern Coucal, Blue-faced Malkoha, Spotted Dove, Laughing Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Red-necked Falcon, Black Kite, Brahminy Kite, Tawny Eagle, Crested Hawk Eagle, Lesser Goldenback, Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Black-naped Oriole, Common Hawk Cuckoo, Common Iora, Jungle Babbler, Large Grey Babbler, Yellow-eyed Babbler, White-browed Wagtail, White-bellied Drongo, Black Drongo, Indian Roller, Common Mynah, Jungle Mynah, Brahminy Starling, Blyth's Reed Warbler (?), Long-tailed Shrike, Brown Shrike, Jungle Owlet (maybe), Indian Grey Hornbill, Rufous Treepie, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Plum-headed Parakeet.