Trip report: Galibore/Cauvery WLS, Sep 2014

Trip Report:          Galibore/Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary

Dates:                   13-14 Sep 2014

Camp:                   JLR’s Galibore Nature Camp

Who:                     Dr. M, Dr. R, SS, VJ and three kids Vh, Vv & P

All photographs used in this post were clicked by Dr. M

A quick weekend trip to the Galibore camp, 100 kms away. The second summer was here, so the weather was warmish.

En route we made crawling progress after Kanakapura, owing to the birding. The doctor couple being sharp spotters necessitated plenty of slow-downs and stops. We saw a solitary Black-shouldered kite, White-headed babbler (Yellow-billed, to the punctilious), Small minivet, Baya weaver bird, Black ibis and Scaly-breasted munia amongst other avifauna. Beyond the new check-post and before the hairpin bends, we ran into flocks of European bee-eaters on the wires. And past Sangam, in the forest, there was a tree laden heavy with Red-rumped swallows.

European bee-eater:

European B eater

In the camp were plenty of White-browed wagtails, foraging on the ground. And an occasional Forest wagtail. In addition we spotted Black-hooded oriole (plentiful, these), Gold-fronted leaf bird, Tawny-bellied babbler, a female Asian paradise flycatcher, White-bellied drongo and Asian brown flycatcher. And the Grizzled giant squirrels of course. These have built nests at this time of year, and Thomraj – our new-found friend and competent birder – explained that the squirrels build multiple nests as decoys to evade Changeable hawk eagles and other predators. My old favorite Govind was there too, and accompanied us on all outings as well.

Grizzled giant squirrel:

Grizzled giant squirrel

Tawny-bellied babbler:

Tawny bellied babbler

The evening coracle ride turned up Wire-tailed swallow, darter, Green imperial pigeon, Common kestrel, Asian paradise flycatcher, Lesser fish eagle, Grey hornbill, Stork-billed kingfisher and a bird we later surmised to be the Yellow bittern. While the ladies and kids jeeped back from the Coracle alighting point five or six kilometers downstream, SS, Dr. R and I walked back to the camp in the gathering darkness. We flushed a flock of sandgrouse in the fading light, most likely Chestnut-bellied. Painted and Black-bellied sandgrouse also occur here although they are rarer. Elephants had been sighted on the road the previous day, but this encounter continues to elude me at Galibore.

Green imperial pigeon:

GIP

Yellow bittern:

Yellow bittern

Additions sighted in the next morning’s walk included Puff-throated babbler, Sirkeer malkoha, Common babbler, Common wood-shrike, Brown-capped pygmy woodpecker, Large wood-shrike and Cinereous tit. And a bird we later identified as the Yellow-crowned pygmy woodpecker. As a completely unnecessary aside, the Cinerous tit turns up occasionally outside the kitchen window in Bangalore too, on an Inga dulcis tree. Along with Purple-rumped sunbird, White-cheeked barbet, Ashy prinia, Tailor bird, Rose-ringed parakeet, Red-whiskered bulbul and Jungle myna. And crows.

Puff-throated babbler:

Puff throated babbler

I had to forego the rafting owing to junior P’s terror of it, but went along with the jeep to drop the others off. On the way back I saw Black eagle, Grey francolin and Jungle bush quail.

Before and at lunch, there was this tall, dark, grey-haired, hatted gentleman sitting around. Suspecting I knew who he was, I asked one of the boys manning the counter and was told that he was a ‘retired forest officer’. But my suspicions proved right and Sundar, the manager and a very amiable gentleman, was kind enough to introduce me to Dr. AJT Johnsingh a short while later. This was a pleasant surprise and a privilege of sorts.

We sat on plastic chairs by the riverside, Dr. Johnsingh, Sundar, Dr. R and I, and chatted. I told Dr. Johnsingh I had thoroughly enjoyed Field days (see my review) and he said an extended version was in the pipeline. He also talked about having traced Corbett’s footsteps in the lower Himalayas (On Jim Corbett’s Trail, Orient Blackswan). And also about how elephants in Africa communicate with each other over great distances, about ancient practices of preserving ragi stocks in vast underground caverns, and about why elephants don’t stay in a confined area even if food and water is plentiful. The badagas in Bandipur evidently believed that the smell of the dung was distasteful to them and compelled them to move on. And considering elephants eat 200 kgs of vegetation a day and defecate over fifteen times, there is a lot of dung lying around. This theory he heard during his dhole research days in 1976. He also strongly recommended Lawrence Anthony’s books to us – The Elephant Whisperer and The Last Rhino.

While we were talking, Dr. Johnsingh suddenly drew our attention to chital on the far bank. Dr. R spotted some brief movement, but I could spot nothing even through the binoculars until the deer were completely in the open. A little demonstration of superior spotting skills and visual acuity by a much older man.

I wanted an autograph, but Dr. Johnsingh politely declined to sign as the only book I had to sign on was Satpada – Our world of insects. He however happily agreed to a photograph, which Dr. R then took.

P1010115

On the way back, there is a tamarind tree a short way from the camp, and beside a large boulder. Thomraj had pointed out an Indian scops owl nest’s location on this tree while walking down the previous evening. He said the owls withdrew into the hollow if people approached on foot, but were quite alright with people approaching in cars. He had recommended we check out and photograph the owls the next day on our way back. Accordingly we found an owl peeping out as this species typically does, and both the doctors got some pictures. SS, who was driving the car following could not locate the nest and I sneaked out to show him, only to have the owl disappear. We then decided to turn back to the camp for a quick coffee, to give the bird time to reappear. On the second approach, the owl wasn’t in sight and SS who was now in the lead, moved on. We hung around for a few minutes and the owl made a re-appearance, making for some excellent photographs in mellow evening light.

Indian scops owl:

Scops owl2

I’m referencing a piece I wrote about Galibore many months back in JLRexplore here.

The list

Birds:

  1. Asian brown flycatcher
  2. Asian koel
  3. Asian paradise flycatcher
  4. Ashy prinia (calls)
  5. Baya weaver bird
  6. Bay-backed shrike?
  7. Black drongo
  8. Black eagle
  9. Black-hooded oriole
  10. Black ibis
  11. Black-shouldered kite
  12. Blue-bearded bee eater
  13. Blue-faced malkoha
  14. Brahminy kite
  15. Chestnut-bellied sandgrouse
  16. Cinereous tit
  17. Common babbler
  18. Common kestrel
  19. Common kingfisher
  20. Common woodshrike
  21. Coppersmith barbet
  22. Coucal (calls)
  23. Darter
  24. European bee-eater
  25. Forest wagtail
  26. Gold fronted leaf bird
  27. Greater cormorant?
  28. Green bee-eater
  29. Green imperial pigeon
  30. Grey francolin
  31. Grey heron
  32. Grey junglefowl (calls)
  33. Indian grey hornbill
  34. Indian robin
  35. Indian roller
  36. Indian scops owl
  37. Indian treepie (calls)
  38. Jungle babbler
  39. Jungle bush quail
  40. Jungle owlet (calls)
  41. Large woodshrike
  42. Lark?
  43. Lesser fish eagle
  44. Lesser flameback
  45. Little cormorant
  46. Little brown dove
  47. Magpie robin
  48. Open-billed stork
  49. Oriental white-eye
  50. Pygmy woodpecker (brown-capped)
  51. Plain prinia
  52. Puff-throated babbler
  53. Purple-rumped sunbird
  54. Red-rumped swallow
  55. Scaly-breasted munia
  56. Sirkeer malkoha
  57. Small minivet
  58. Spotted dove
  59. Spotted owlet (Dr. M only)
  60. Stork-billed kingfisher
  61. Tawny-bellied babbler
  62. Unidentified warbler
  63. White-bellied drongo
  64. White-browed wagtail
  65. White-cheeked barbet
  66. White-headed babbler
  67. White-throated kingfisher
  68. Wire-tailed swallow
  69. Yellow bittern
  70. Yellow-crowned pygmy woodpecker

Mammals:

  1. Tufted langur
  2. Chital
  3. Common mongoose
  4. Grizzled giant squirrel

Others:

  1. Monitor lizard
  2. Rock agama
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10 thoughts on “Trip report: Galibore/Cauvery WLS, Sep 2014

  1. Vidya says:

    Very nice blog, giving an overview of how much one can gain even from a quick weekend trip. The piece on the JLR website is very informative too! Images by MR adds to the feel of this place 🙂

  2. gypsyinjeans says:

    Your posts in the form of reports are very useful. Thank you and great photos!

  3. Madhavi Ravindra says:

    Thanks Badri, reading this made me relive that interesting trip again!

  4. Ravindra says:

    Badri nicely written piece on Galibore. Karthik will be mighty pleased with you for religiously noting down all the points of a nature trip:) Waitingg for your Kabini write up!

    • Badri says:

      Thank you, Ravi. We hit 70 on the birdlist largely due to yours and Madhavi’s spotting skills. I would have probably hit only 52 or so on my own. Kabini was great. No tiger, though.

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