Last weekend of 2018, we decided to spend the sunday morning closer to nature. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is very close to Mysuru and easily reachable from Bengaluru by road. We drove down early in the morning. The park opens at 9 am. Inside the park, to see the birds around Cauvery river, you have to hire a boat. Shared boats are more economical, only INR 70 per seat. However, anyone interested in bird photography may want to consider private boats, which is much more expensive. Official rule states that each private boat can carry 4 passengers for 30-40 mins and would charge INR 1,500 per boat. We hired 2 such boats since we were 7 people. The boatman agreed to take us around for about an hour if we all get in the same boat. He also agreed to extend the time in case we want in exchange for more money. Please note that camera (lenses of more than 200mm) costs INR 500 each. There are a lot of birds around the river and lots of crocodile too. It was a feast to the eyes and mind and good practice of photography skills. The biggest advantage of being on the boat is that you get bird photos from its eye level most of the times. For nature and bird lovers around Bangalore, this place is a must visit.
On the way from Bengaluru to Mysuru is a beautiful spot that serves as a rejoice for any nature lover, wildlife enthusiast, photographer, traveller and certainly for a biker (thanks to the refined route); the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. Formed haphazardly through a group of six islets, the bird sanctuary is a retreat for bird lovers. Outlined with sugarcane fields and paddy pastures with canals playing peek-a-boo, the bird sanctuary not just offers the sight of some of the most exquisite birds but also a picturesque set up that has only enhanced since its declaration in 1940. Home to a thousand of migratory birds, the bird sanctuary is an important nesting and breeding ground. The islands host numerous mammals and migratory behind about Bonnet Macaque, colonies of Flying Fox and common small mammals like Indian Gray Mongoose, the monitor lizard and Civet. The Marsh Crocodile also called the Mugger Crocodile is a common inhabitant of the river reed beds. Migratory water birds include Painted Stork, Asian Open bill Stork, Common Spoonbill, Woolly-necked Stork, Black-headed Ibis, White Ibis, Lesser Whistling Duck, Indian Shag, Stork-billed Kingfisher and other common birds like egrets, cormorants, Oriental Darter, and herons. The Great Stone Plover, and River Tern also nest here. It is home to a large flock of Streak-throated Swallows.
We departed early morning at about 7 am by personal car and reached Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary (open 9 am - 6 pm) around 11 am, having stopped for breakfast on the way. One can also stop at Srirangapatna Temple on the way. It was little sunny by then and we didn't really see any birds, but we had stroll amidst greenery, clicked few pictures, visited the museum there, and spent around 1.5 hours. Museum is fairly decent, even though it's government museum, and had working exhibits, sample of birds and birds' body parts, and games and maps to learn about ecology of area and life cycle of birds. It's quick detour on the way to Mysore, but can be skipped as well at no loss.
We all got freshed up and left to Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary which was 10km away from the place where we were staying. As soon as we started our bikes, it started to drizzle, so we all wore our rain gears and left. On our way we stopped for breakfast and reached Bird Sanctuary. We were welcomed by the green trees in both sides of the road, after paying for all those passes we parked our bikes and went for boating. We could witness many birds like Stork, Spoonbill, Pelican, etc and there were some Crocodiles too in the lake where we were boating. With the drizzles falling on our face and the birds flying in and across the lake, we enjoyed the calm nature of the sanctuary.