Located at a distance of 125km from Bangalore, Ranganathittu bird sanctuary is one of the most popular bird sanctuaries in India. Large number of migratory birds arrive here during winter from across the world.
My plan of visiting this place was to shoot a supermodel of Ranganathittu, the Pied Kingfisher. Almost everyone who has been to Ranganathittu in the recent past has come back with a good shot of the resident Pied Kingfisher, which is hard to shoot at other places. Since initial plan to go on 31st Jan didn’t work out, i planned to go on 7th Feb. Most of my friends, who had initially asked me to plan for 7th Feb so that they could join backed out on Friday evening. I somehow convinced Karthik and Chinmay to join me. Dantis confirmed at 11:30pm. Sam sent me a message at 2am expressing his interest to photograph the irresistible supermodel.
I left my home at 5:30am, and picked Sam, Dantis, Karthik and Chinmay from different parts of Bangalore. We were on Mysore road by about 7am. Total disarray of plan. I wanted to reach Ranganathittu by 7:30am, but we weren’t even close. Didn’t stop either for Sam to get cash at an ATM or for Chinmay to have breakfast. Dashed to reach Ranganathittu by 8:45am.
Route: Bangalore -> Ramnagaram -> Bidadi -> Maddur -> Mandya -> Srirangapatta -> Ranganathittu
Distance: 125km or 78 miles
First up, we got very co-operative Red-whiskered Bulbul. As we reached the boating area, we spotted a Stork-Billed Kingfisher. There were hardly any tourists at that time, and could manage to click a decent shot of the bird before it flew away. There were plenty of Cormorants, Painted Storks, Openbill Storks, Spoonbills, Egrets, Ibis, Night Heron, and Spot-billed Pelicans on the islets of the river Cauvery.
We took a boat for 5 of us at Rs.50/- per person. I asked the boatman to head straight to spot where we can find the Pied Kingfisher. It was already 9am and the sun was getting harsh. I didn’t want the sun to come overhead and spoil the good lighting for photography. We clicked few Painted and Openbill storks and also a pair of Stone Plovers before we reached the spot of supermodel.
Since i insisted on clicking the kingfisher, the boatman got little skeptical of finding it, and said Sir sometimes you’ll find them straightaway and at others you don’t get them even when you wait for an hour. Cautiously moved the boat around, but we couldn’t get a sight. I told him, i’ll not leave without clicking the king, with a good tip. Just then, we could spot a Pied Kingfisher under the canopy, near to the shore. Once we spotted, it’s not hard to click the supermodels. They are so used to people here! May be as a challenge, i should click a good shot of Pied Kingfisher elsewhere.
Next target species was River Tern for me and Mugger Crocodile for Sam. Moved around the rocks where Swallows nested. Could spot a croc in water, but that’s not how Sam wanted it. At a distance, we could spot a River Tern. As we got closer, a chic came towards it mom. It was a great sight. The boatman told that there are 3chics around, but we could see only one. It was close to 10am and the sun was getting harsh. Managed to click the River Tern with its chic, but not to my satisfaction. The shadow of its head was on its body and face, covering its eyes at times, and i couldn’t get a sharp eye of the bird.
We left the spot, and clicked few shots of Pelicans. My attempts of getting a good shot of Painted stork in flight went in vain. Tipped the demanding boatman again, and left for breakfast.
River Tern with a chic
Stone Plover couple
Myself and Sam walked along the edge of the river for some time. Sighted an Asian Paradise Flycatcher, and also pied wagtail. Couldn’t reach the place where we sighted the Pied Kingfisher as the fields on the edge of the river were slushy and we hadn’t equipped ourselves for it.
We left for Bangalore by 12:45pm. With an hour break for lunch at the hyped and over crowed Kamat restaurant near Ramnagaram, we reached Bangalore by 4pm.
Couldn’t resist one more image of Pied Kingfisher:
All shots are shot with Canon EOS 450D and Canon 55-250mm IS lens, post processing on Canon DPP and Adobe Photoshop 7.0 (I know i need to upgrade).