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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.
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.
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.
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:
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 struggles managed to get a Lifer shot through barbed fences, bushes, branches and what not. But clear enough to mark its presence in my memory forever.
Hornbill near Supa Bridge
Other Birds that I managed to click in Dandeli:
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.
I would be honest, had never seen a bird like this before. That long fairy tail will definitely make you skip a beat.
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.
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.
Malabar Giant Squirrel
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.
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YouTube by Nutan Singh: TheGenteelMind