I was up, awake and ready at 5:00 in the morning. It was so unlike me. My family would be pleasantly surprised but I wasn’t because travel always succeeds in getting the best of me. At home, morning sleep is precious to me but for a bird-watching session around the Kabini River (the backwaters reservoir known to be rich in wildlife), it was criminal to even pretend to be lazy. While the memories of the amazing wildlife adventures were still fresh from the evening, the idea of venturing in a unique avian diversity and learning about some birds looked absolutely promising. I was never a passionate bird or wildlife lover but my visit to South Africa changed me forever. Every opportunity to see and learn about other beautiful creatures on Earth looks like a blessing to me. The last time I had seen some interesting birds was during a boat ride on Chambal river in Uttar Pradesh in India and Monte Casino Birds Park in South Africa. The trip to Kuala Lumpur bird park was also a good learning day.
One serene morning and the wilderness…
One cannot think of Kabini Forest Reserve without the Kabini or the Kapila river. This water body happens to be the main source of water for the wildlife and lots of birds. The boat ride on the river is considered to be a bird watchers delight. As a whole Nagarhole National Park has over 200 species of birds including some endangered ones as well, hence the intense bird-watchers often come here. The picturesque setting and the whole experience of looking into a thriving ecosystem of birds is soul-touching. Even if you are not a great bird hobbyist and are not accurate with identifying birds (like me), I bet you will enjoy this.
For the uninitiated, here is a little background on Golden Chariot. It is one-of-its-kind, a luxury train experience of 8 days wherein one gets to explore some of the most beautiful and exciting places in the state of Karnataka. Last month, I was onboard the train and on the second day of the trip, I landed up at Kabini River Lodge. You must read my posts on Golden Chariot to know about the route of the train.
How to Reach Kabini: It takes 5 hours to reach from Bangalore city and 1.5 hours from Mysore by road. Our train had reached Mysore and we had done a road trip for the last leg.
Once you are in the boat, it is a different world out there…
The moment I entered the boat, I wore my life jacket. Next, I settled in my seat. The boat has enough space to accommodate a minimum of twenty passengers. We were accompanied by a guide and a driver. As the sun rose higher, the water in the river shimmered and sizzled in many colours. As the motor of the boat started, I geared up with my camera. The beautiful expanse of the lake looked pretty and peaceful. And soon the lovely birds came calling. I did not recognise the first one that we saw but when the guide said it was an egret, I remembered reading once that an egret is known to be familiar for its S-shaped neck and yellow feet.
The river was not at its best but it was definitely buzzing with life. Our guide was quite knowledgeable and he ensured that he told us about different birds as we spotted them. We definitely saw lots of birds but now I do not remember all the names. A good number of observations were beyond my camera range but I still tried to capture some lovely and delightful moments. It was a treat to capture them in flight. Most of the birds met us on the banks or the edge of the river. They were very few who sat on the branches of the trees in the middle of the river.
While some birds were busy in looking for food in the form of worms, some flew away with the slightest of the noise of our motor boat. The friendly ones stayed and gave us a chance to view them closely. However, it’s my zoom lens (55-250mm from Canon) that helped me bring back memories from the day.
Life and people around Kabini River
Apart from birds, the fishermen were also a great company on the river. I was really attracted towards the shape of their boat. It looked super cute. There were some men who were still throwing the fishing net while some were celebrating over their fresh catch. They also invited us to join their treat. We met these fishermen when the motorboat chugged back towards the jetty.
It was a great day in the company of enthusiastic travellers. I also realised that even if one is not an experienced birder, the joy of exploring the richness of the bird habitats is pure and blissful. We are losing on our protected areas and we must care to do something about it. I would like to thank everyone who is associated with conservation efforts globally.
Moreso, I would love to return to Kabini especially for the leopard sightings and beautiful birds. Until then, do tell me about your birding trip.
If you wish to know more about the birding experience, check this site around Kabini river lodge.
For more on Golden Chariot, click this.
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