An amazing weekend trip to Chilika (Odisha), for the Annual Bird census.
It’s quite a time, I have been a member of a virtual group called ‘Birds of Orissa’ on facebook. Fellow members informed about the Bird Census program which happens yearly for study & research on migratory birds and for developmental purposes of the wetland eco-system. Me and Udayan jumped out for it and planned a bike tour to Chilika.
7.30 am: Started our bike journey towards Chilika. The weather was perfect for a ride. Foggy and pleasing with cold air. To re-energise, we snacked up on the highway, tea with hot aloo-chops (potato chops) and Baras (Vada) with green chilli :D. We then continued our journey towards Chilika passing through Balugaon. The meeting was supposed to start at 10.00am.
|The briefing by Dr.U.N.Dev|
2.30 pm: We were in the Bolero with the associate members, discussing and talking by. We reached at the place and took our assigned rooms. After getting freshened up and little rest all decided to look around the near by places. :) I was super excited to look up more of the place and specially the water.
4.15 pm: Rambha, of what we saw was a beautiful place. It comes under the famous District Ganjam in the Indian state of Odisha. We traveled along the lake side with the forest official and also went through beautiful villages. There were mountains and greenery everywhere, with boats and humpy roads, cool wind and people looking at us strangely. We halted at a place to view and click some birds, then proceeded to more interior places. Mountains all had round smooth stones, that looked as if they'll just make a fall. We reached at a place which looked like greasy water. There the forest official Mr. Jena spotted a small turtle in the fishing nets. He called the fishermen, rescued and carried it to drop him to better water resource. The turtle was super cute and its head and body went inside the cover when turned upside down. :D :)
|The beautiful 'Rambha'|
Went more alongside the lake, inside villages, visited some ponds, photographed, watched various birds and at a place even saw and clicked a peacock roaming inside the fields. What a beautiful sight. I had never seen a peacock like this :) Mr. Jena dropped the turtle in a fresh water pond there. By evening all were back to the guest house at Rambha and chilled out :P We had little discussion over the birds findings and then roamed in the village markets for some snacks. I was little tired and wanted to rest for tomorrow.
10.00 pm: Having dinner at the forest official place, I was knocked out for the main day aka Tomorrow.
5.00am: Early morning we were ready to be packed in the Bolero and reach the Chilika Lake. It was super cold and chilly. We waited ....
|The Dramatic Dawn|
All got into the boat, except Aditya who hadn't accompanied the team. The journey towards the deep, red-dish, blueish water and sky started... All got seated with notebooks, cameras, binoculars and breakfast. We started our journey of bird counting by getting deep inside the lake...water and water all around. In comparison to my visit to Mangalajodi, wet-land birds were less here. Expecting to spot some interesting species, we got deeper and started spotting birds like Black Winged Stilts, Tufted Ducks and Brahminy kites.
|Black Winged Stilts|
The place was such a beauty. I was mesmerized by the beauty of the vast lake...nothing but water...everywhere...flocks of birds flying by, staying by, posing by.....
Then came places where we were near the mighty mountains. What a view! The mountains, all full of round sloppy stones, beautiful brown shiny bushes, trees of green and red and gold...the feeling was simply amazing. There were beautiful fields also marking human habitation. Found Brown Headed Gulls, Cormorants and so on.. nearby the mountain places. Hoping for some decent photos :) The boat was a power driven one and didnt actually stay to view the bird flocks when asked to..as a result of which the the birds flew away making the bird counting task difficult. We even saw one lighthouse, made by the Raja of there, followed an island with a life size sculpture of a dinosaur :P
|Brown Headed Gulls|
Birds...so many. Tern and Ducks, Kites, Cormorants, Kites, Gulls, Kingfishers and who not :) And of so many varied colors, whites, greys, glossy blacks, bushy browns, spotted, printed and with the primary colors too :) I shall include a list of birds in the end...
and Hey did I forget to mention we saw Dolphins too ? yeah, we sighted some Dolphins. They played hide and seek, yet we spotted them when they jumped outta the water.
|The moody weather|
We left the Island and then again the tour on water started. Again the routine of spotting, recognizing and counting birds started with the same excitement. A little later tiredness gripped us and I started feeling sleepy in between. I guess others silently slept too :D After around 6 hours of ride on the boat we landed on land. :D
As we had carried all our luggage, we were directly exported to Chandraput from where we had started. There we had our lunch and everybody sat down in circles for counting. Uma and Akash bhai started on the given list of birds and Mr. Mohapatra held his written down list to mark it. One by one, species by species all got counted. Birds who couldn't been recognized were dealt with the help of photos. Other troupes also started arriving and after lunch started counting. :)
Counting was done, copied to various sheets with list of birds, team information and the task was done, of course majorly by the senior members,we were just a little help. :) We bid goodbye to bhai manes, other senior members and the DFO and started out journey back to Bhubaneswar, Our home. I reached by 7.20 pm. :)
List of Birds spotted: As per the final census record
- Little Grebe
- Little Cormorant
- Cattle Egrets
- Little Egrets
- Intermediate Egrets
- Grey Heron
- Tufted Duck
- Water Rail
- White-Breasted Water Hen
- Bronze-Winged Jacana
- Black Winged Stilt
- Little Pratincole
- Yellow-Wattled Lapwing
- Kentish Plover
- Marsh Sandpiper
- Wood Sandpiper
- Common Sandpiper
- Little Stint
- Brown-Headed Gull
- Whiskered Tern
- Little Tern
- Small Bee Eater
- House Crow
- Jungle Crow
- Black Drongo
- Brahminy Kite
- Common Hoopoe
- Lesser Pied Kingfisher
- Small Blue Kingfisher
- White Breasted Kingfisher
Few more photos from the trip. My camera couldn't capture many birds :(
Flickr link :)
With my obvious and old interest in Birds, I have always loved watching and capturing them whenever I could. In fact taking out time for them. :) I hope we create a good living place for them with our any little effort.