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Bird Census – Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary

The very first Bird Census for the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS) was held from the 10th to the 12th of January, 2014. This census was jointly organised by the Karnataka Forest Department (KFD) and Jungle Lodges and Resorts Ltd (JLR), to cover various areas of forests that fall under the CWS. Volunteers consisted of both those who had taken the Volunteer Training Program (VTP), as well as keen birders from Karnataka's birding community.I was very happy to be accepted as a volunteer; the CWS has long been one of my favourite wilderness areas, the short distance from Bangalore making it easy to access, and the variety of wildlife sighted always being a fresh thrill each time.

19 different areas with a total of 76 transects were identified, and teams were allocated to each, to carry out the census. The areas selected ranged from Madivala to Gopinatham. Vans were organized to ferry the volunteers to all the Forest rest-houses (FRH), Anti-poaching camps (APC) and other accommodation arranged for them.Each team was given two transects, to cover on the 11th and 12th of January, respectively.Both transects my team was assigned to were on tar roads, not in the forests, with Male Mahadeswara as the base. Though we would have preferred some forest area, we participated whole-heartedly, and eventually got some good sightings as a reward.

The organisers and the volunteers gathered at JLR'sBheemeshwariFishing Camp, on the morning of 10th January. Post-breakfast, there was an orientation session, and the various teams were given checklists of birds listed from the region, and aids to walk the transects.I enjoyed meeting everyone, and listened intently to the session, especially the guidelines. 

Each transect was 3kms long and the teams walked one way in the morning, noting down the birds seen and heard, at ten-minute intervals. Post-lunch, they walked back along the transect, once again noting down the names of birds both seen and heard. Volunteers were free to do some more birding apart from the transect times.We did have a time problem on the second day, when we were walking down the main road leading from Male Mahadeswara to Mettupalayam - as we had to return to the Forest guest-house by 4:30pm, we had to start our return transect at 2:30pm, not the best time for any birding activity. Hence, our sightings were rather low and we just had to keep repeating the common birds we saw, at ten-minute intervals.Though our second day was hectic, the forest guard, Mr. Shetty, was very helpful indeed;he walked tirelessly with us even when we wanted to explore a village beyond the end of the transect.

As the results were tabulated and tallied, it was found that species of birds not on the original checklist were found by one or more teams. We were thrilled to know that despite birding on the main road, we had still managed to contribute a few new finds to the existing checklist - nos. 15 and 18, for example.This was no doubt due to some of our team members' excellent ear for bird-calls and good spotting skills.It was a great feeling to be a part of this census and I look forward eagerly to participating in more.

Here's the final tally from the Bird Census: Total number of species sighted – 235

Number of new species added to the existing checklist of 266 species - 20

1. Asian Fairy Bluebird

2. Barred Button Quail 

3. Blue-capped Rock Thrush

4. Blue-tailed Bee-eater

5. Blue-throated Flycatcher

6. Blyth's Pipit

7. Chestnut-tailed Starling

8. Crested Goshawk

9. Great Stone Plover

10. Gull-billed Tern

11. Indian Blue Robin

12. Indian Nuthatch

13. Indian Yellow-cheeked Tit

14. Jerdon's Nightjar

15. Large-billed Leaf Warbler

16. Lesser Yellownape

17. Oriental Turtle Dove

18. Western Crowned Warbler

19. Yellow-browed Bulbul

20. Yellow-throated Bulbul

Re-sighted specialities: Pied Tit & Rufous-bellied Eagle

Deepa Mohan

Deepa Mohan lists her interests (in alphabetical order) as: heritage, music, photography, quizzing, theatre, travel, wildlife and writing. She writes a monthly nature column in The Alternative.



Arun S K
nice to know about the new species added to the list…… thanks DM … cheers !
Posted on 2/26/14 12:58 PM.
Manu
Posted on 2/18/14 2:36 PM.
Raja
nice one deepa
Posted on 2/25/14 8:50 PM.
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