White Bellied Blue-Flycatcher
White Bellied Blue-Flycatcher

Birding in Dandeli as a Beginner

Birding in Dandeli as a Beginner

Where do you go when you want to experience the world of Birding? May be as a birder or just want to explore the world of Bird Photography or experience the nature in it’s purest form.

If I tell you our story, we chose Dandeli, and visited this place thrice. So thought, it will be a good idea to give some pointers about this place and share our learnings. It would be absolutely correct to say, Dandeli is the place, which introduced us to the world of Birds.

Hornbill, Dandeli
Hornbill, Dandeli

We even did few documentaries from our Travel to Dandeli, and each visit was special. Will be sharing the link to one of the videos in this blog, so make sure to scroll down and check it out.

Overview

Dandeli, a small town situated in the northern part of Karnataka,  falls under the Western Ghats region. It is home to rich flora and fauna. Along with neighboring Anshi National Park, the sanctuary was declared part of the Anshi Dandeli Tiger Reserve in 2006.

Bird Watching for beginners
Bird Watching

It is home to Black Panthers, Leopards, Tigers and other Wild Animals. With about 200 bird species in the reason, this place is a true paradise for birders and nature lovers. And if you want to see the Hornbills in their natural habitat, Dandeli is your place.

Things to do in Dandeli

While you are in Dandeli, you can do:

  • Bird Watching
  • Nature Walk / Trekking
  • Wildlife Safari in Anshi National Park
  • River Rafting
  • Boating in Kali River

Places to Stay in Dandeli:

There are multiple options available in this region to experience the Wildlife up close. We chose to stay at Old Magazine House and Kali Adventure Camp, both properties by Jungle Lodges and Resorts.

Our Documentary

Documentary Credit and Photography by: Nutan Singh (TheGenteelMind)

Photography and VO: PankajSinghPhotographie

Birds of Dandeli

The first bird that comes to our minds when we think about Dandeli is non-other than Hornbill. It was almost Sunset, we were enjoying Photographing birds at the Resort’s very own bird hide. Then someone brought to our attention, we should give Supa Bridge a visit, if we are interested in photographing Hornbills. We did not want to miss this opportunity, so we decided to head there. It was just a few kms away from the camp (OMH). We drove to the place, and we happened to see a glimpse of two hornbills near by from the car. Without any delay, we parked our car, but it was no easy shot. After a lot of struggle managed to get a Lifer shot through barbed fences, bushes, branches and what not. But clear enough to mark it’s presence in my memory forever.

Hornbill

Hornbill near Supa Bridge

Other Birds that I managed to click in Dandeli:

White Bellied Wood Pecker
White Bellied Wood Pecker

This was another lifer shot, taken from a Jeep on a Canon 600 mm IS I hand held, while I had an Indian Roller in my frame. This was the moment, when I had to decide, if I should click an Indian Roller, Flame Back woodpecker or the White Bellied Woodpecker. Fortunately, ended up getting decent shots of all the birds one after the other.

Indian Roller
Indian Roller
The Flameback Woodpecker
A Paradise Flycatcher
A Paradise Flycatcher

I would be honest, had never seen a bird like this before. That long fairy tail will definitely make you skip a beat.

Oriental White eye - Shutter speed for bird photography
Oriental White eye
Velvet Fronted Nuthatch
Velvet Fronted Nuthatch

Brown Cheeked Fulvetta
Brown Cheeked Fulvetta

Birding places in and around Dandeli

Since we stayed at Old Magazine House (OMH), we had the luxury of witnessing the birds first hand at the in house hide maintained at the resort itself. This was the perfect stage for a non-birder like us back then, where we had little or no such encounter with birds earlier.

Listing few Birding spots for easy reference:

  • Kulgi Nature Camp
  • Old magazine house Ganeshgudi
  • Dandeli Timber Depot
  • Shirali Village
  • Bommanahalli dam
  • Back water Syntheri Rocks
  • Dandeli sanctuary

Our Learnings and other Images from Dandeli

There are so many learnings, but the most important one if I could share, is just go out and experience. Don’t hold yourself back, even though you may not have the right gears. Treat this as any other vacation that you do. This will only bring you close to nature. You will be more appreciative and observant towards the beauty of the nature and will experience the need for preserving what is left.

Gears :

Now this is one thing, where most people get stuck and hesitate to even begin. But the truth is, you don’t always need all those fancy gears. One can start even with a basic 70-300 mm Kit lens that comes with many DSLRs. Other option is to consider using a Bridge Camera which has a zoom range of 10X plus or so, at least.

Tip: Consider upgrading for better glasses and a body which has fast auto focus that you can rely on.

While I was exploring my options, I rented my gears from Toehold.

Bird Photography Techniques:

I recently wrote a blog on How to start Bird Watching? I am sure that will give you a good insight on to get you going in the world of Bird Watching.

Sharing some other pics from our trips to Dandeli.

Shot at OMH – Malabar Giant Squirrel
Malabar Giant Squirrel

Malabar Giant Squirrel

Shot during Coracle Ride in Kali River at Kali Adventure Camp

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Black-naped Monarch
Black-Naped Monarch
Indian Paradise Flycatcher
Indian Paradise Flycatcher
Indian Paradise Flycatcher
Indian Paradise Flycatcher
Pond Heron
Pond Heron
Black-naped Monarch
Black-naped Monarch

 

How to reach Dandeli

Road: Dandeli is about 500 kms from Bangalore and is roughly an eight hour 8 drive.

Train: Nearest Railway Station is Hubbali.

Air: Nearest Airport is Dabolim International Airport

Best Time to Visit

November to March is the best time to visit for Birding.

pankajsinghphotographie

Belong to the world of Aviation. A Birder by Heart! Passionate about Wildlife, Photography and Travel.

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