A flock of Grey Hornbills flew across, their calls echoing over the surface of the calm lake. A pair of Cormorants perched on the dried branch of a tree, stretching their wings, trying to dry them before the sun set. On the lake, a bunch of spot billed ducks swam peacefully, quacking to each other every now and then. On the other side of the lake, more birds – egrets, herons, and cormorants, returned to their nests, calling out eagerly to announce their arrival. Every now and then, a peacock screeched, its harshness muffled by the thick foliage around. Sitting on a bench placed conveniently near the lake, we simply sat and watched the birds, enjoying the peace here, in this oasis of birdlife in the heart of a city.
Spread over 90 acres, Karanji Lake in Mysore was once a haven for migratory birds. Rapid urbanization and neglect led to it becoming a garbage dump. However, timely intervention managed to save the lake, and turn it once more into a birdwatchers’ delight. A walk-in aviary, a butterfly park, a bird watching tower, and lots of place to just sit and relax, show just how effective this transformation has been.
|Spot Billed Duck|
Maybe it was just the summer heat, or probably this lake is not really a tourist destination yet, but it was practically deserted when we visited. There are no boards here, just a path running around the periphery of the lake, surrounded with dense vegetation. Wandering over the path, we found the aviary without any difficulty.
|A portion of the walk in Aviary|
Like at the zoo, we were greeted by dancing peacocks!
We wondered why the peacocks were dancing in this searing heat, but got our answer when the skies clouded over and brought us rains that very evening!
The peacocks seemed to be least bothered by us, and continued to dance, or perch on trees. They were probably used to cameras by now!
What an experience it was, to be so close to these birds, especially the peacocks...
Most of the birds here were pheasants. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to capture all of them on camera, mostly because I had to keep an eye on Samhith, who was completely excited by all the birds around him. Here are those I did manage….
|Lady Amherst's Pheasant|
|I am not quite sure about what this is... all puffed up as it was, I couldn't help clicking, and it looks more like a jungle fowl than a pheasant|
There aren't just pheasants though... We saw other birds too... such as this Grey Hornbill...
and these white doves...
Tearing ourselves from the aviary, we walked along the path, hoping to walk all the way to the butterfly garden. On the way, we stopped at the tower built for birdwatching, and were enthralled at the sight of ducks, herons and cormorants.
|Grey Heron, with Purple Morrhen in the background|
|Another Grey Heron|
|I wonder if this is also a Grey heron?|
Unfortunately, that was when my camera gave up and the battery died, probably exhausted from all the clicking. This made Samhith very happy, since he always complains I pay more attention to the camera than to him!
We did think of going to the butterfly garden, but were so happy watching the birds, that we elected not to. Instead, we simply sat on a bench, and watched the birds, for the next hour or so, before finally heading back home. After all, we should keep something in Mysore for our next visit, right? Incidentally, there is also a Natural History Museum nearby. We didn't have time to visit that either, but if you are in Mysore, give it a try too.