Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

En route to Mysore we stopped at the famous Ranganathittu bird sanctuary which is well hidden from public view. For those really interested in going there, it’s the diversion one takes after the Srirangapatnam town (Bangalore-Mysore road but closer to Mysore) where you see this huge island advertising some Young World or something like that written on it. You go around the island and find an arch leading into a road that's heading to Brindavan gardens. Still not much noise about Ranganthittu. Some 4 kms down the road you find a very subtle board that guides you towards the bird sanctuary.
It's my first in a bird sanctuary so I did not know what to expect. The area is about 40 acres and the six islets are supposed to have formed in the 1648 when the Maharaja Kantirava Narasimharaja Wodeyar built a dam across the Kaveri.
Dr. Salim Ali, the one and only man who made the name onithology fashionable, requested the Wodeyar family in 1940 to declare it a bird sanctuary considering the number of birds that started appearing and nesting there. They agreed.
And so Ranganathitthu came into existence and has become a resort for birds Indian and foreign round the year. Some 170 types of birds are apparently found there - we saw some birds we normally don't see (I forgot their names). We went in the peak heat of May and there were still enough birds so one wonders how the place would be during the October-December times. It must be beautiful.

Late December seems to be the time the birds flock here - same feather or not. Birds apparently come from Siberia, Latin America even and the number then is put at 40, 000. The birds listed in Wikipedia are painted stork, openbill stork, spoonbill, black headed ibis (saw that one), stork billed kingfisher, cormorant, egret, heron, river tern etc.

We made light of the heat. After wandering around and finding birds like crows etc we headed back to the right track.
We braved the crocodile infested waters for a boat ride. You can see the crocodiles swimming along and we wondered why we were doing this. Anyway the boatman was quite confident and he knew his birds so he pointed at a few and named them too. The ride is well worth it so one should take it.
All set
Apparently you can book a whole ride for yourself if you pay some 1000 bucks or so but we weren't feeling so extravagant. We sat about on some benches. There's a small museum like thing there as well which gives some quizzes etc at which we failed miserably. If you're doing that road and have time, must do. You'll see some really nice birds.

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