Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Birds of BRT

Jungle was pulling and I did not get a slot in Bandipur. What else to do but settle for the next best? BRT is not really on top of my list but if you want solitude there is nothing like this place. Tucked away in the Biligiri Rangan hills is a little resort abutting the jungle below. JLR's, K Gudi Wilderness camp. It wasn't my first visit and will not be the last because this is a place to go when you want to get totally cut off from civilization.

No phones. No TV. No electricity (except for a couple of hours of generator power at dawn and around dinner time). If you are someone used to taking electricity for granted this is not the place for you. No way to charge your phone, laptop or camera batteries. However, if you enjoy sitting in the darkness listening to the sound of the jungle in front of you this is the place to be in. If you are not alarmed by frisky wild boar or an occasional leopard or tiger walking past your tent you will enjoy the night but if it's otherwise you'll never sleep!

This time I went for just that. Some time out in the wilderness, undisturbed. Maybe the animals too understood my need. Nothing appeared except wild boars and an occasional gaur. Even the solitary giant squirrel seemed apologetic as it looked down at me from it's lofty perch.

 The only thing to remind me that the tiger was around was a pile of steaming scat!

But just to set the tone the place was full of birds. I'm no bird person but for a change my eyes were seeing so many. Orioles, barbets, drongos, hoopoes, flycatchers and leafbird. Even a crested serpent eagle and a brown fish owl.

For the first time I noticed the bright colours of a scarlet minivet......

.....a bird that looked like a blue headed rock thrush....

....and saw a pair of birds I'd never seen before, spur fowl
And on the last safari, the icing on the cake. The jungle owlet, a bird I've always wanted to see but it never consented to appear in front of me anywhere. The feeling was like I'd seen a tiger or a leopard!!

BRT was different this time. Maybe the sign of a new dawn breaking.