WildZests: Pariah - The messiah who made my day!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pariah - The messiah who made my day!

After a failed attempt on Saturday when I roamed around Kanakpura road and Valley School for some birding, it was a second try again on Sunday. I had to give it a pass in the morning since Gozu wanted to go out and that meant the baby traveled with me. Pozu isnt a problem to go out with, but mornings get busy with her breakfast and other things and her schedule gets a bit upset when she's out on field.

So off I went in the afternoon once Gozu was back, and today's destination was Hesaraghatta Lake. I've been to this place before and had seen the egyptian vulture flying around, so wanted to explore again. The last time I ended up going upto Yeshwantpur and then coming back towards Jalahalli and then take the road through Dodda Byalakere. This time I turned off at BEL circle and directly took the inside road through Byalakere and Silvepura to reach Hesaraghatta.

As I crossed the airforce area and took the left towards Byalakere, I digressed onto the road to the Peacock reserve in Byalakere. I just love Google Maps for the ease of finding your way through such places and the map was fairly accurate until a point where the map showed a road but I could see none. Anyways, I reached the Peacock reserve only to find it looking like an abandoned piece of land with the gate locked and nobody around to ask. Next I thought I'd roam around a bit towards the Avalahalli State Forest and see if there's anything worth seeing there. The road from the Byalakere Peacock reserve to Avalahalli Forest has a particular stink from the waste management project that is in that area. I could see a mountain of garbage from the road and a lot of garbage collection trucks on the road too.

As I reached the Avalahalli Forest, the road on the map through the forest was missing and I had to turn back and proceed towards Aivarakhandapura Lake and then connect back to the Hesaraghatta road. Though the Aivarakhandapura lake looks quite big on the map, it is nothing but an open grassland with a lot of cattle grazing around (very similar to hesaraghatta). Finally, I reached the destination after all these detours, but the good thing to notice was that apart from a few bad patches, the roads were pretty decent otherwise.

At the lake, I drove in and spotted a group of Egyptian vultures sitting on a mound. There were two adults and two juvenile vultures in the group. I parked the car by the track and setup the tripod etc and started closing in slowly. Apparently, they didnt like any movement towards them and flew off quickly. Lesson learnt, be as inconspicuous as possible which obviously can't the case with me carrying the 10kilo rig. The best option is to stay in the car and close in slowly to get a clear shot, surprisingly the birds dont mind the big black car.

I drove around on the tracks through the lake bed for a while, tracking a lot of pipits, bushchats in search of food and then there were common mynas and jungle crows for company. The vultures had lodged themselves on a tree by the far side of the lake and took turns to hover around for a bit and then return back. At one such time, I did manage to get a glimpse of a juvenile Egyptian vulture near a water body. But this wasnt the ideal setting and all I could manage is an okay okay in-flight shot. (more on that in a later post!)

Later, a black kite flew past the car and made itself comfortable on the little mound nearby. I quickly drove up by the track where I could get a clear view of the bird. The lighting was perfect and the bird was very cooperative. It yielded me the best shot I could ask for. I'm sure there will be more shots I'd get of these birds, but this one will always stay special for me.

Tech Specs:
Canon 1D Mark IV + Canon 600mm with 1.4x TC
Shot at 840mm, 1/800s, f8 and ISO 800. Handheld from the car!
Black Kite


  1. If do you do venture into the Avalahalli reserved forest (on cycle or on foot), you might see horned owls and coucals. On some visits there on an MTB, I've heard peacocks too, but never managed to see one.
    That patch of forest is the biggest in the area, sadly a wikimapia comment suggests that the place will make way for a bus stand. Not sure if that is true..

  2. My wife krishna and I have been regular walkers here as we live nearby. No danger of a bus stand coming up. Forest department is making serious attempts to keep the forest alive and spreading by water conservation measures. They are also planting other species and cutting down the water depleting eucalyptus trees. We have often seen peacocks, but shall be looking out for other birds. thx shark8me

  3. Would it be possible to post a GPS fix of lake area?