Thursday, September 29, 2016

Birding In Western Ghats (Dandeli WLS, Karnataka) - 27th Oct to 30th Oct, 2016

Every Dandeli trip has always been special, be it Black Panther sighting or mix-hunting parties or dust bath of Malabar Pied Hornbills or exciting night trails... Dandeli is always thrilling.... take a glimpse of how the birding here is from an excellent article published in jetwings magazine

Nature India announces the eagerly awaited, ever green Dandeli trip. Date: 27th October, 2016 morning 8.00 am to 30th October, 2016 eve 8.00 pm (travel dates excluded). The bookings for Dandeli WLS bird-watching trip are on… your seats now (to know complete details of the trip please read till the end)..... Bird-watch in one of bird-rich Western Ghat hot spot with Nature India


Early in the morning, if you are awaken by the “Weet Weiu" calls of the Indian Pitta just a few feet away and you come out to stretch your legs, you see Puff-throated Babblers creating a raucous, a racquet tailed drongo whizzing past as if followed by a pair of bumble bees, an Indian lorikeet saluting you in its typical upside down “Bat” like posture, a  shy Malabar Whistling Thrush greeting you with its melodious call or a party of Plum-headed Parakeets passing over your head…..then, in reality you are in Kulgi Nature Camp situated in Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka…..

Dandeli has always been hot favorite with Nature India, simply because, an inveritable paradise for forest birds, this sanctuary is respected for its variety and abundance of birdlife especially the Hornbills. The Dandeli Wildlife sanctuary is spread over 866.41 and is the second largest in Karnataka, contiguous with the Anshi National Park (Karnataka) & Bhagwan Mahaveer sanctuary in Goa. This Sanctuary abounds with a richness of Flora and Fauna. Its richness and diversity offers ample opportunities to nature lovers to enjoy the captivating landscape. The sanctuary is generally undulating with steep slopes, picturesque deep river valleys and rich hilly forest terrain. The breathtaking valleys, regal looking meandering rivers and the splendid scenic beauty of the syntheri rock make it an awe inspiring experience. The forest in Dandeli is typical moist deciduous and semi evergreen types, with pockets of evergreen trees.

The myriad streams that flow through this sanctuary empty in the mighty Kali river and its tributaries, Kaneri and Nagazhari that offers one of the most breathtaking white water rapids in south India. The forest is home to numerous plants, mammals, reptiles, insects, butterflies and is especially rich in birds with plenty of western ghat endemics……It is here that the "Mixed-hunting-party" is best seen.

The town has got a curious history behind its name. There is a strong belief that the city is named as "Dandeli" after Dandelappa, a loyal servant of the Mirashi landlords who lost his life because of his loyalty. Even today we can find people worshiping him in the temples, which memories his existence.

Some of the bird star attractions to be found in Dandeli sanctuary include Indian Lorikeet & Malabar Parakeets; Malabar Pied, Malabar grey and Indian Pied Hornbills; Hill Myna; Blue-bearded & Chestnut headed bee-eaters; Ruby-throated & Yellow-browed Bulbul; Fairy Blue Bird; Velvet-fronted & Chestnut-bellied Nuthatches; Little Spiderhunter; Black-throated and White-rumped Munias; Crested Tree Swifts; Dark-fronted Babblers; Heartspotted, White-bellied and Brown-capped Pygmy woodpeckers; Malabar Trogon; Ceylon Frogmouth; Brown Fish, Jungle, Spot-bellied and Brown Wood Owl; Crested Goshawk; Speckled Piculet; Gold-fronted & Blue-winged Leafbirds etc etc…..

Nature India announces an exclusive Bird-watching trip to this birding paradise - Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary from 27th Oct to 30th Oct’16 ……

Some of the areas that will be covered during this trip are as follows:

1) Kulgi Nature Camp environs: The area surrounding this beautiful camp abounds in bird activity early in the morning. The campus itself provide Brown-cheeked fulvetta, Malabar Parakeets, Grey Nightjar, Black-rumped Flameback, Greater Coucal, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Little Spiderhunter, Vernal hanging parakeets, Racquet-tailed Drongos, White-cheeked and coppersmith barbets, leaf warblers, White-rumped Shama and many more……

The Camp site consists of 2 parts....the 1st part with about 10 fully furnished tents (Basic; Deluxe) and the 2nd part with about 10 wonderful Wood-houses, a small museum, a large dormitory, 2 dinning halls surrounded on all sides by wilderness. A newly constructed Nature information center has added value to this wonderful place. The food prepared by the local cook is simple, but mouth-watering and is particularly favorite amongst the visitors.

2) Ganeshgudi: This small village on the outskirts of Supa Dam about 24 kms from Kulgi boosts of huge congregations of Malabar Pied Hornbills and it is an experience to watch these magnificent birds when they come here to roost in the evening on the huge trees along the banks of Kali river.

This area also has an abundant birdlife and offers sure sightings of Malabar Pied and Malabar grey hornbills, Fairy Blue Birds, White-bellied Blue-flycatcher, Malabar White-bellied woodpeckers, Chestnut-headed bee-eaters etc. ..... However, please note, that we shall not be visiting the JLR Campus during our trip. It is a private resort/property.

3) Dandeli Timber Depot: If you want to see the Malabar Giant Squirrels and Hornbills, then this is the place. The depot is situated close to the Dandeli forest office near the town and easily accessible by road. The birds come here for evening roost and is particularly favorite amongst the bird photographers for the opportunity it gives. The Kali river that passes by also adds Grey headed fishing eagle or a White-bellied Sea Eagle if you are lucky. This is also a great place to look out for the Pompadour Green Pigeons and various species of Woodpeckers.

4) Abandoned Mines: There were once several open mines of bauxite and Iron ore that operated many years ago, however they are abandoned now since the inception of this sanctuary. However the resultant forest clearings (though many have overgrown bushes now), serve as excellent birding spots now. You can just sit and relax on one side and keep your eyes open. You may come across Chestnut-headed & Blue-bearded bee-eaters, Ruby-throated & Black Bulbuls, Pompadour green pigeons, White-rumped and Brown-backed Needletail, Crimson-fronted & White-cheeked Barbets, Malabar & Plum-headed Parakeets, Speckled piculet and a vast variety……It is amazing how a forest clearing produces a myriad of species.

5) Bomanahalli Intke: “Intke” means dam and we go for birding along the periphery of the back waters of this dam. It is a nice place to see some water birds including Grey-headed Fish Eagle and Osprey sometimes. This area is also surrounded by good forest and if you come across any “mixed hunting party” then it’s a huge lottery (Usually it’s a win-win situation) …… a good place to see many waterbirds including Egrets, Jacanas, Kingfishers, Ducks, as also Blue-tailed and Small Green bee-eaters, Rufous and Flameback woodpeckers, Common Ioras, Shamas, Orange and Small minivets, Booted and Blyth’s reed warblers, Pied flycatcher shrike, various species of Drongos etc….. On the way you can also stop and watch birds along the road for sure sightings of Ashy-wood Swallow and maybe a Red-breasted flycatcher & Forest Wagtail amongst the Bamboo clumps.

6) Sanctuary Safari: There are permissions and charges required to enter the core area of the sanctuary, which can be obtained from Kulgi along with a guide. Private vehicles are allowed by paying some charges. Not much to see in the sanctuary from a closed jeep and where no one is allowed to get down from the vehicle (rightly so), though you may come across an occasional Spotted Deer or (Rarely) Indian Gaur and Barking Deers.... so if you are on a birding tour, then it is best recommended to avoid the sanctuary visit and spend the time outside the sanctuary instead, but if you are on a family tour, then children may enjoy a ride (once).... we generally avoid going inside the sanctuary.

7) Syntheri Rocks: About 25 kms from Kulgi and on the way to Ulvi shrine this place is famous for its monolithic rock formation. The river "Kaneri" passes through the terrain. A good place to watch Large wood-shrike, White-bellied Flycatcher, Yellow-browed Bulbuls, Blue-bearded bee-eaters, Woodpeckers etc. The flying lizard or “Draco” is found in good nos. here and one looks in awe as they float from one stem to another like a leaf gliding away.....however this is more of an interesting place of visit, rather than a birding hot-spot. The road that leads towards Syntheri is more productive, but comes under sanctuary boundaries, hence walking is restricted. One has to be careful here, as Elephants are known to occur on this route in healthy nos.

Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is also rich in butterflies, and the star attractions here are the Southern Bird-wing (largest butterfly of India) and Malabar tree Nymph butterflies that flutter and glide effortlessly over the canopy. One may also come across the Malabar-banded Peacock, Crimson Rose, Cruiser, Laskar, Blue Oak-leaf, Nawab, Commander, Sailor, Monkey Puzzle, Grey Count, Great Orange-tip, Common Imperial and several such beautiful Butterfly species. The flying lizards (Draco) are in good numbers even inside the campus and you should not be shocked to expect a lizard or two gliding over your head or crossing your path, while taking a stroll. The reptiles are plentiful too and you should not be surprised if an occasional King Cobra cuts your path.

Have a look at these links to see some trip reports and trip experiences by participants


Trip Details &  Itinerary

Date: 27th October, 2016 morning 8.00 am to 30th October , 2016 eve 8.00 pm (Thursday to Sunday)

Travel Options to & fro Dharwad: Overnight AC Volvo buses ply regularly between Mumbai & Dharwad and bookings are easily available (Bus is the best option for this destination)........Participants have to do their own bookings upto Dharwad .....  Nature India can only assist in bookings if required.

Local Travel: Non AC Trax Cruiser Jeep (The best travel option to move around the places quickly)

Rough Tour Itinerary: (Dharwad to Dharwad)

Day 1 - Thursday 27th Oct, 2016: Pick-up from Dharwad at 8:00 am – Breakfast at Hotel Hoysala or Karnataka Bhavan – Proceed to Kulgi Nature Camp, Dandeli - Lunch -Proceed to Ganeshgudi to see the Malabar Pied Hornbills and other birds  (However, we will not be visiting JLR Campus)– dinner – Overnight stay at KNC (Kulgi Nature Camp).

Day 2 - Friday 28th Oct, 2016: Early birding from Kulgi Nature Camp to Kulgi Village (a 1.5 kms stretch) on foot to see forest birds  - Breakfast at local restaurant - continue birding - Lunch - Continue birding along the Ganeshgudi road... birding along the way - Return to KNC for Dinner and  stay

Day 3 - Saturday 29th Oct, 2016: - Early morning visit to Syntheri Rocks to see the monolithic rock along with birdwatching – Return to Kulgi Nature Camp for lunch – Birdwatch in Kulagi Timber depot and surrounding areas – return to KNC for dinner and night trail.

Day 4 - Sunday 30th Oct, 2016: Early morning birding around Kulagi Nature Camp - Checkout - Lunch - pack up and proceed to Dandeli Timber Depot for birding  and then to  Dharwad to catch bus at 9 pm.

Trip charges (Dharwad to Dharwad) : Rs.13900/- (Includes Stay in newly built Wood-Houses in Kulgi Nature Camp on twin sharing basis in non-AC rooms (woodhouses), Local travel by Trax cruiser, Park entry charges, food , Information articles & on board snacks and mineral water)…….

These charges are Dharwad to Dharwad and participants has to make their own travel arrangement upto Dharwad and Back . This does not include any charges other than the above. Regular Volvo buses ply from Mumbai & Pune to Dharwad & there is a convenient train from Bangalore too.

Group Size : 12 persons only

Registration: You can register by sending a detailed mail to and by paying non-refundable advance of Rs.8000/- (and only after our registration confirmation by return mail .....) as per the payment guidelines given below…...

Stay Arrangement: Kulgi Nature Camp. These are well furnished, but basic non AC wood-houses. The Stay arrangement is on a twin sharing basis. The Camp Premises and toilets are clean and the food is simple, but very good……The camp is situated right inside the forest and offers plenty of Bird-watching inside the campus.

Resource Person: Mr.Adesh Shivkar and Mr. Mandar Khadilkar

Mode of Payment: You can either
1) Courier a cheque in favour of "Adesh Shivkar"of Rs.8000/- to the following address:
Name: Mr. Adesh Shivkar
Address: D-8, The Adi Janata Soc. Behind HP Petrol Pump, Near Sion Signal, Sion-East, Mumbai-400022

2) Transfer the money directly to HDFC A/c (Please email us for the account no.).. please mention your name, date and other details….

Please Note:

1) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 8000/- is strictly non-refundable
2) The seats will be confirmed only against the advance amount on first come basis and after our email confirmation
3) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours
4) There is weak (Mtnl) / no mobile coverage in Kulgi Nature Camp, but you can get a good network coverage about a km from the campsite
5) Nest Photography or any collection of specimens is prohibited
6) Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with Nature India's rules and policies

Please revert on ID, in case you need any clarification …..

For any other queries we are available on 9869071091 or 9820455713 (Adesh) or 9930318665 or 9967518665(Mandar)

Thanks for your patience.

Looking forward for a very rewarding trip with you all !!

Warm Regards,

Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India
Appreciate, Respect and Conserve

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