Birders Paradise – Ganeshgudi

It was my 3rd visit to Dandeli and this time me and my touring group decided to visit Ganeshgudi which is a birder watchers paradise. We stayed in Old Magazine House managed by Jungle Lodges, and we generally prefer JLR for their awesome food and service. Though their charges are more, but you will never regret for the food and great service from their wonderful staff. Old Magazine House is the cheapest staying option compared to all Jungle Lodges Resort’s.

 We started the journey from Mangalore on Friday night and reached there on Saturday morning 7ish.  Ganeshgudi is almost 8-9 hours journey (by car) from Mangalore. We were a group of 9 people and we had booked dormitory for our stay.  After reaching there, we thought of taking rest for a while, but calls of birds and appearance of rare birds made us to explore the place with our camera for a while. We visited this place in the month of April (2015). Visiting this place in winter seasons from November to February  is a great option, but  the place will be full and booked by many birders. Though the summer season starts in this month April, it was not at all a bad season to visit and birds did not disappoint us. During our visit this place was less crowded and we could mount our tripod on the front row of the bird watching area.

As soon as we entered the property, Malabar Grey Hornbill welcomed us with its loud call and clear perch. After a while, a Tickell’s Blue Fly Catcher kept us busy. Malabar Giant Squirrel was jumping around and searching for its breakfast. Meanwhile, we too stopped photography and took a break for breakfast and to save some energy for the whole day. After a small nap actual birding and bird photography started. It was about 11 in the noon and the sun was harsh, there comes an Emerald Dove bathing in the mud bath and gave some nice pose for us. Yellow Naped Wood Pecker and Blue Robin was special and show stoppers, both of them came at the late evening. For me it was my first sighting of these 2 beauties. After using the camera view finder for the entire day, my eyes had blurred vision and strained out.

List of birds and other animal/insects we found within the JLR property:

Tickels Blue Fly Catcher
Puff Throated Babbler
Yellow Naped Wood Pecker
Blue Robin
Oriental White Eye
Brown Cheeked Fulvetta
White Breasted Blue Fly Catcher
Malabar Grey Horn Bill
Pied Hornbill
Black Naped Monarch
White Rumped Munia
White Rumped Shama
Black Heded Babbler
Heart Spotted Wood Pecker
Orange Headed Rock Thrush
Yellow Browed Bulbul
Bulbul
Flamethroated bulbul
Crimson Sun bird
Spotted Dove
Emarald Dove
Blyth’s Starling
Bronz Drongo
Racket Tailed Drongo
Little Spider Hunter
Yellow Lored Tit
Black Lored Tit
Schimitar
Scimitar Babbler

Others:
Banded Ground Gecko
Termite hill gecko
Malabar Giant Squirrel
Tarantula
Few varieties of Spiders
Langur
Forest Lizards

About Dandeli:

Dandeli is a town in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, India, in the Western Ghats region in North Karnataka.

Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary

Dandeli is a natural habitat for wildlife, including tigers, leopards, black panthers, elephants, gaur, deer, antelopes, and bears. It is the second largest wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka and was designated as a tiger reserve in 2007. The jungle is also home to several varieties of reptiles and almost 300 varieties of birds.The rapid expansion of industry has raised fears of ecological damage to the area, and local volunteer groups have formed to address the issue

Other attractions

The sanctuary provides rafting opportunities at the Virnoli Rapids connected to the Kali River. Other tourist activities include nature walks, boating, bird watching, crocodile spotting and angling. Nearby tourist spots include Ulavi, Syntheri Rocks, Anashi National Park, and Moulangi.

How to Reach Ganeshgudi

Ganeshgudi by Air

The nearest International Airport is Dabolim Airport, Goa, roughly three hour drive from Ganeshgudi. Dabolim Airport is well connected to a spectrum of cities such as Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Pune and Lucknow via Air India, Spice Jet, Indigo, Go Air, Jet Airways and Jet Konnect.

Ganeshgudi by railways

The nearest Railway Station is Karwar Railway Station,  roughly 108 Kms from Ganeshgudi which is connected to the major cities of India like New Delhi, Bangalore, Mysore, Lucknow, Chennai, Kanyakumari, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, and Patna.

Ganeshgudi by road

Ganeshgudi is 67 Kms from Dharwad, 75 Kms from Belgaum, 84 Kms from Hubli, 103 Kms from Karwar, 115 Kms from Uttara Kannada, 150 Kms from Gadag, 206 Kms from Bagalkot and is linked via Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and some private travel services.

Distance Charts to Ganeshgudi:
Bagalkot to Ganeshgudi 4 hours 2 mins211 km
Belgaum to Ganeshgudi 1 hour 31 mins75.4 km
Hubli to Ganeshgudi 1 hour 52 mins84.2 km

Apart from birding, you can do short/long hikes, coracle rides or do rafting. Rafting is available even during summer and is closed only during the monsoon season.

Best time to Visit:

For birding activities winter is the best time to visit from Mid November to February.

Tips:

1) Carry a sturdy Tripod
2) Carry Extra Batteries and Memory Cards
3) Drink lot of water to keep yourself hydrated
4) Wear light color or camouflage clothes

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