Bannerghatta Temple detail
From Google Earth, it looks like a beautiful wilderness of forest, lake and mountain. Sadly, Google Earth does not tell the whole story. Bannerghatta NP quite possibly is a beautiful wilderness, but it is only accessible in a packed, official bus with tiny barred windows which takes passengers through the park and includes the compounds which house the lions and tigers.
By the park boundary is a zoo with the surrounding stalls and paraphernalia associated with tourist attractions. We arrived here in time to see a flock of Chestnut-tailed Starlings passing through. The small party also included an Oriental Magpie Robin and a Black Drongo In the distance, the compounded lions were roaring to greet the day. We tried various ways to access the park, but no entry signs and dead ends frustrated our efforts. Eventually we ended up at the Butterfly Park and stopped to check out some action in a grove by the lake.
Small Minivets were chasing each other through the thick foliage of a mango tree. Purple Sunbirds vied for prime position on the protruding shoots while Purple-rumped Sunbirds seem to prefer lower growth. The bright green of the Golden-fronted Leafbirds showed up through the darker leaves, but nothing would sit still to have its picture taken.
Here I met a couple of locals who told me that private vehicles were not permitted in the park and that walking was prohibited on account of the wild elephants that migrate through. They informed me that the tourist bus ran from 10.00, but I couldn’t get excited about that prospect.
The Butterfly Park opened at 10.00 and I paid IR50 (@ IR66 = £1) to visit the surrounding gardens and domed exhibit. The garden offered the best bird watching of the day with some mammals thrown in to add some extra value. Oriental White-eye was very common here and a White-breasted Kingfisher flushed ahead of me. From a leaf-bare tree a Green Bee-eater hawked for insects.
It was a domesticated elephant I hasten to add and may well have been responsible for the droppings that I had seen earlier. Her mahout had brought her to the lake for a drink and a bathe. She took the opportunity to eat some of the lilies while she was in the water. It was a charming sight and I even got a warm wave as they left, but it was not enough to entice me back to Bannerghatta NP.
To be fair and to put the bird watching into perspective, the list below of 39 birds was seen in a very small area from the lakeside (at Google Earth ref; 12 47' 54"N 77 34' 37E) about 300m to the west along the track opposite and in the gardens of the Butterfly Park. If decent access could be gained into the forest beyond, I am convinced that the list would be much longer and more exciting. Looking back over my records of trips, this is actually the best bag of birds that I have seen in the environs of Bangalore. So if I could find a way to access the park in a way that would be conducive to bird watching, I would return. I look forward to suggestions on a post card please.
Bird species; 39
Little Grebe 1, Little Cormorant 1, Little Egret 1, Cattle Egret 7, Indian Pond Heron 1, Black Kite 100, Brahminy Kite 1, Red-wattled Lapwing 3, Spotted Dove 12, Rose-ringed Parakeet 15, Greater Coucal 1, White-throated Kingfisher 2, Little Green Bee-eater 6, Grey Wagtail 1, Rufous-winged Bushlark 2, Small Minivet 6, Red-whiskered Bulbul 15, Red-vented Bulbul 1, Golden-fronted Leafbird 3, Oriental Magpie Robin 4, Indian Robin 3, Grey-breasted Prinia 4, Ashy Prinia 1, Blyth’s Reed Warbler 2, Common Tailorbird 3, Tickell’s Blue-flycatcher 1, Asian Paradise Flycatcher 1, Great Tit 1, Purple-rumped Sunbird 6, Purple Sunbird 15, Oriental White-eye 40, Brown Shrike 1, Black Drongo 8, White-bellied Drongo 3, Rufous Tree-pie 3, House Crow 300, Large-billed Crow 80, Common Myna 4, Chestnut-tailed Starling 25.