Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Trip to Ranganathittu

Ranganathittu is a really small bird sanctuary close to Mysore, a few kilometers off the Bangalore-Mysore route. I had a chance to visit it recently when I was in Bangalore and had a day free. It took about 2.5 hours to reach in the rented Indica (cost me about 1.8 k for the entire day trip) in really hot weather.

Ranganathittu is little more than a lake with multiple tiny islands on which multiple species of rare water birds nest every year. The safari consists of buying a ticket on a rowboat that takes you on a 20 minute trip around the islands so you can look at the birds up close. I thought it worthwhile and rented an entire boat for myself (and my mum, who accompanied me) and tipped the reluctant oarsman to give me a better, longer tour of the lake in an open boat (all other boats had a roof severely limiting the view).

In spite of the time of day (it was mid-afternoon), I was able to see quite a few birds and their young ones in the open. The most prolific species appeared to be the open-billed storks and the painted storks, with the great egrets coming in a close third. Other interesting birds spotted included the ibis, night heron, the cattle egret, the moorhen, darter, and assorted kingfishers.

All in all, it was an excellent experience being able to get so close to these beautiful birds. It'sa pretty nice place to visit when you're around Bangalore or Mysore. And be sure not to put your hand in the water when you're in the boat - there's a large number of marsh crocodiles in there.