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Wordless Wednesday: Masinagudi View Point

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Masinagudi Diary: Day #2 – Bird Watching and Trekking

After a fun-filled day #1, we retired early as we had to start our bird watching and trekking in the morning. By 6am, we left our resort and drove to a small village, from where we were to start our trek.

We saw some deer on the way.

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While we were waiting for our guide, I managed to capture a photo or two of a sparrow and a bulbul. There was also a stray dog and a donkey nearby but they were not ready for an early morning photo shoot.

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sparrow
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red-vented bulbul

As we started with our trek, we saw a woodpecker. The sun was just above the clouds so this was the only shot of the woodpecker that I could get.

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black-rumped flame back woodpecker

A tree on a tree. The one that is attached is a parasitic tree.

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As we walked into the shrub forest, we saw a lot of birds – bee-eaters, mynas, bulbuls, parrots, babblers, starlings, and shrikes.

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A starling
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Babbler
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Minivet

We were surrounded by rocky mountains and trees.

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From shrub forest, we walked towards the dense forest. The dense forest is not open for trekking unless you want to pitch in for Mr. and Mrs. Tiger’s dinner plans …

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Not just tigers, there are bears and dhole dogs in the forest. Dholes are wild dogs, and it seems that a pack of dholes can even kill a tiger!

We found these two sweethearts when we just started with our trek. They were guarding a huge house nearby. The one on the right is the dhole, while the one on the left is a stray. They jumped the fence and came near us, wagging their tail. No petting, they said, in doggy language and we nodded.

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koochikoo and koochikoo 😉

As we walked further, we saw a plum-headed parakeet perched on a tree.

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plum-headed parakeet

And as we walked further… shhhh!!!!

We saw a herd of deer. There were around 250-300 in the group. As we saw them, we stood still. And so did they, on seeing us. The young un’s were in the middle of the group, protected from danger.

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herd of deer

Then.. .two brave fellas came forward.

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“Oh! humans! “, they said.

And as these two started running, the whole group followed. And whoosh, they all disappeared into the dense jungle.

Ah ha! They left us some gifts…

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deer droppings

Then we saw a rare bird( as told by our guide), a white-browed wagtail.

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white-browed wagtail

We finally reached this place. I was so tired, walking and climbing, I was like “Ooh, did we reach our resort?” and the guide was like sshhh, no talking. In the picture below, on the left, you can see a bamboo thicket. We went inside this dense bamboo thicket. It was dark, scary and it smelled of wild animals. The soil was trampled, we could see footmarks of elephants. Elephants are fond of young bamboo shoots. This dark and creepy place was full of young bamboo shoots and water.

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We were lucky enough not to encounter any wild animals. Lucky? Yes. Our guide had no gun or stick or anything to scare away the wild animals. I observed that this is practiced all over that Mudumalai. We went on a jeep ride in the evening, and we were deep inside the jungle. It was an open jeep, and the driver had No gun. Wildlife safari in the national park – if you go by their bus, there is a bit of safety. Jeep safari – you are at your own risk. Open jeeps, no guards or guns, it is a pretty risky business, if you ask me.

We asked around as to why so and the answer we got – “Oh those wild animals do not harm us. They are used to the sound of a jeep.” Maybe they should try telling us this when there is a hungry tiger or bear around! The wilderness, spending time with nature and all that is fine. But how far can one compromise on safety?

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Patterns

The theme for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is Patterns.

Pelicans in a lake, somewhere on the Ooty-Bangalore Highway

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Carving on Stone, Belvadi Temple, Hassan

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A beautiful Gaillardia

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Carvings on the wall, Somanathapura Temple.

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The feature image is that of a 200-year old silk-cotton tree, Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, Bangalore.

Thank you, Ann-Christine, for this week’s photo challenge.

A date with nature

I reached masinagudi on the 31st of July and now it is time to leave. I am going to miss the warm hug of the mountains, the cool breeze on my face, the early morning cock-a-doodle-doo of the hens, the chirping of birds and the peacock’s cry. The forests became a part of my life for three days. Forest bathing is refreshing and reviving. I feel so relaxed and free. It is time for me to return back to the hustle-bustle of the city. But I am not going back empty handed – I have cart loads of wonderful memories from here. 🙂

Day 1: (31st July) We left Bangalore at 6 in the morning. After a nice cup of filter coffee in Ramanagara, we pursued our journey further into the lush green forests of Bandipur. The smell of forest was mesmerizing.

Filter coffee

Bandipur

We reached our resort at around 1. We had a nice lunch and then we left for Mayar Dam. We saw a lot of birds, including beautiful peacocks on the roadside. And, on our way back from the dam, we saw an elephant. It came close to our car. It lifted it’s trunk as if to say a hello.

We spent the rest of the evening in the balcony of our room. The view is marvelous. The rocky mountains and green trees, it was heaven on Earth.

Day 2: (1st August) We woke up early in the morning as we had booked a trekking cum bird watching tour. A two hour long walk into the jungle – shrub forest and dense forest, it was a treat for the eyes. We saw a lot of birds, I captured some on my camera. We started our walk from a shrub forest and as we walked further, the forest started getting denser and denser. There was a huge bamboo thicket and I could smell the elephants there. We went inside the thicket – there was water and young bamboo shoots. Elephants love to eat young bamboo shoots. It was a bit scary though – seeing animals in the wild. But we did not see any in the thicket. But, we saw a huge herd of deer. We were so close to them. We just stood still as they ran across the shrubs and into the deep jungle.

After a two and half hour walk, we were hungry, thirsty and tired. We came back to our resort, had a nice breakfast and drove to Mayar Dam again, hoping to spot an elephant or two. But it was a sunny morning and there were no animals in the vicinity. We booked a off-roadie trip in the evening. It was super fun. We went into the jungle on a jeep. There was no road. Just slushy path. It was a bumpy ride. A dense jungle, almost sunset and a herd of elephants – one of a lifetime experience! On our way, we saw a herd of elephants trying to cross the road. We stopped a bit further to watch them. A group of hooligans came out of nowhere and started hooting and cat-calling the elephants. We missed our chance to see the elephants crossing the road.

We spotted herds and herds of deer. We also spotted a papa elephant, mamma elephant and a baby elephant. A perfect family, I suppose.

Day 3: (2nd August) After two days of super fun, we decided to laze around in the morning. We spent the whole morning walking around and drenching in the lush greenery. We went to Mudumalai tiger reserve in the evening for a safari. Almost two hours of safari in a mini-bus and all we could spot was an elephant and herds of deers. We also spotted a few peacocks here and there, and one of them was dancing – a mating ritual.

And here I am, today (3rd August), on my way back to Mysore, where I will spending a day in the royal city, visiting the places of interest.

This is the early-morning view from our balcony.

The clouds were almost touching the ground. 🙂

Mother nature is truly healing. 💗