Ganeshgudi – The Old Magazine House aka OMH

img-20161226-wa0020Ganesh Gudi has always been special and will always be on top of my bucket list when it comes to birding. Myself and Ganesh planned a visit to the OMH at Ganeshgudi on 22nd and 23rd March 2016. So, all geared up, we reached the railway station on the previous evening only to find that our train had departed 12 hours before our arrival!!! Thanks to Ganesh’s awesome sense of humor, he laughed about it and helped in booking an alternate mode of transportation to Dandeli.

Against all odds, we reached Dandeli, a small industrial town mainly focused on timber yards and saw mills. Last evenings adventure had kept our mind racing and we had completely forgotten all about food. First things first, we had a quick breakfast at one of the nearby hotels and reached the bus station to catch a bus that would take us to Ganesh gudi. As we stood waiting, an Indian Hornbill flew by, this bird has been identified as the flagship bird of Dandeli.

2016-03-29-photo-00000102 The weather was relatively cool. As we got closer to JLR we could hear different kinds of bird activities. This property is situated amongst tall trees and dense forest and a small bird bath within attracts a lot of avian beauties.

Due to renovation of log huts we were given a dormitory for our next 2 days stay, photographers and bird enthusiasts were busy in clicking and observing the bird behavior within no time we checked in and were part of birding.

The place is a paradise for bird watchers. It is also named as armchair birding, for the very reason that one can easily sit on an armchair in the veranda and still can do bird watching while enjoying your hot cup of coffee. Birds throng from all over and to be precise in less than an hour more than 10 different species of birds can be easily spotted.

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The account was opened with first bird white-rumped shama up close but could only enjoy the sighting for a few seconds.

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We humans fight for no reason, these birds set an example to live in harmony a small water source is shared by 4-5 different species to quench their thirst. It was lunch time and we had to take a short break, activities of birds were ongoing. The food at JLR is always appetizing. We had sumptuous meal and were back in action in no time.

Few pics while we were at it 🙂

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As the periodicity of the birds decreased, we decided to take a short walk further ahead from the JLR.A little insight about Ganesh Gudi…it is a small village in Supa taluk with few habitants which also has Supa hydroelectricity dam.

An hour’s walk yielded in spotting Oriental Honey Buzzard, Shikra, Common Kestrel, Indian Grey Hornbill, Indian Malabar Hornbill, minivets and few more.

It was time for us to get back for the evening session at OMH, with hot coffee we witnessed the same set of birds visiting the place, Malabar barbet was a lifer to me though I could not capture a photo… J it is fresh in my memory.

Brown checked fulvetta popped in then came Tickell’s blue flycatcher, Dark fronted Babbler and so on… in fading light we heard a distant call of Malabar Trogan an elusive bird our zeal was high to spot one but our luck did not support us…

We enjoyed the twilight sitting in the chair, sipping hot coffee and watching birds come and go, due to low light the cameras took a back seat …:-)

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Post dinner myself and Ganesh sat outside in the veranda talking and  listening to the chirping of birds while most of our fellow companions at the JLR decided to call it for the day.The lights went out after a while and we decided to take a short stroll in the night. As we started walking, I remembered this exciting story once told by one of the JLR staff about a tiger that frequented this area. Many of the staff members at the JLR claim to have seen it, but we decided not to pursue it any further. It was a full moon night, the cascading of dim light on the forest trail was a thrilling experience and a visual treat for eyes.

Next day early morning we woke up to the unique call of Indian Scimitar babbler. All geared up, we went in search of this elusive bird. It was particularly difficult to spot this one and took us a while to catch a glimpse of the bird. We had only just taken a few snaps while the bird took flight and vanished in no time. We continued looking but could only hear a distant call sometime later.

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A black-lored tit drew our attention, it was lifer for me followed by Dark Fronted babler’s bathing in the tub. It was great to look at these birds playing. Then Little spider hunter made its way into the group, a small bird with long beak. The parade of birds did not stop there, but how could we miss an awesome breakfast at OMH. So, we rushed to the cafeteria on the terrace however we missed few birds nevertheless it was an awesome breakfast.As we were finishing our hurried breakfast, Vinay A JLR staff, informed us that there was a Racket Tailed-Drongo nearby and it could come to water source anytime. Without delay we hurried to the veranda.

After much waiting the Spectacular black bird with long tails finally arrived, it was a real feast to the eyes. It gave us very little time to see through the lens. A Blue Capped Rock Thrush made a visit following Orange Headed Thrush, Oriental white eye and few more.

 

Our last half day was coming to an end, after convincing ourselves to visit this place next time we packed our bags and bid adieu to JLR, and proceeded towards Dandeli town.

It was lunch time when we arrived at Dandeli, the streets were totally devoid of activity and seemed like the whole town was shutdown. We could spot puddles of colored water and the ground was covered with different colors, we then realized that it was Holi, Festival of colors. Luckily, we got to know about Basappa khanavali (hotel like place) coz mouthwatering jowar bhakari was served for lunch with kai hollige (obattu), it was simply superb.

By 4.30 we planned to visit the timber yard, it is the forest department land used to dump wood logs and a saw mills inside with house quarters for employees, it is more than 100 acres of land spread across, lot fig trees around which attracts avians, if you are lucky you can spot all 4 types of hornbills here. Malabar pied hornbills were all over the places with sunbirds, plenty of bulbuls and yellow footed green pigeons.

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The two eventful days spent at Dandeli was fantastic, our bus towards Bengaluru was at 6 pm. We made best use of the last 20 mins,eating kara bhajji & sipping hot coffee…

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