Ganeshguid is heaven for Bird Watching or Bird Photography. If you love these tiny tots in vivid colours, you must visit Old Magazine House by Jungle Lodges & Resorts in Ganeshgudi once. It is popularly known as OMH. Its a well maintained property always ready to welcome these colourful guests. Even the surrounding area of forest is rich in flora and fauna.
Ganeshgudi is located in the Uttara Kannada district of the karnataka state. It is home to lush green forest ranges of the sahyadris better known as western ghats on the banks of river Kali. Old magazine House is surrounded by thick forest and is considered a paradise for nature lovers, specially bird lovers.
Ganeshgudi Forest is quite a dense and not safe for lone exlporer, you should get into deep jungles with the local guide only. However the surrounding area of OMH can be explored for birding and you can see huge varieties of birds.
How to reach there
Ganeshgudi is easily accessible by road. I drove from Pune to Kolhapur to Belgaum to Dharwad to Ganeshgudi. It is app 486 kms and almost 9 hours travel. However you enjoy the drive since the higway after Kolhapur till you reach Dharwad is very good. Further to Ganeshgudi, the road is narrow but well maintained.
You can also travel by train from Pune to Londa station and from Londa to Ganeshgudi you can book a cab.
Alternatively to reach Ganeshgudi, you can fly to the following airports :
1. Belgaum and then drive to Ganeshgudi about 75 kms.
2. Hubli then drive 95kms
3. Panjim and then drive 120 kms.
Where to Stay
Ganeshgudi has various resorts but the most popular amongst the birders is Old Magazine House which is run by the Karnataka government and is part of Jungle Lodges & Resorts. For bookings you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their official website. http://www.dandeli.com
One aspect of Old Magazine House that never fails to amaze birdwatchers is the ease with which birds can be spotted. As you approach Ganeshgudi you will be greeted by hoards of exotic birds that are otherwise hard to spot. No wonder nature lovers and especially bird watchers consider OMH as Mecca of bird watching.
The entire property sports strategically placed bird baths. Expect birds like emerald dove, orange headed thrush and magpies to pay you a visit and splash around some water in the bird baths.
Actually it is called Armchair birding. You can relax on the armchair and click the bird photographs from the luxury of your armchair sipping a cup of coffee. See the pics below
Bird Photography in OMH & in the surroundings
Old Magazine House is the best place for photography of variety of birds. They have created beautiful perches & water is kept for the birds. There is also a partition created between photographers and birds so that you can click the action of these tiny tots. See below images clicked at OMH.
In the below photographs you see White Rumped Shama, Emerald Dove, White bellied blue Flycatcher and Orange Headed Thrush.
It is fun to watch the visiting birds one after another. Landing slowly on the perch, taking the bath, enjoying in the water and flying away quickly. Within the limited time you have to click the pictures. See the below pics of bathing beauties.
Malabar Giant Squirrel
You can also find Malabar Giant Squirrel flinging around on the high trees alongwith the occasional sounds of the barking deer. It is also State bird of Maharashtra. It is fun to watch this beauty busy in eating the tender leaves. See the pics below.
Birds seen in Ganeshgudi forest
Early morning photowalk to nearby areas of OMH, has lots of bird sightings. Below photographs are clicked in Ganeshgudi forests.
In the frame below you see Fiey Bluebird male, Fairy Bluebird Female, Orange Minivet female and Malabar Trogen female.
Best time to visit
Between the months of October and March, the migrating varieities make their way to Ganeshgudi so your chaces of spotting different species increase dramatically. However resident species of birds can be spotted round the year.
Timber Depot in Dandeli
Ganeshgudi to Dandeli distance is hardly 22 Kms but may take 30 Mins drive with your vehicle. However as I said earlier, Dandeli is famous for Adventure & Hornbill. But since I was more focused on bird photography, we visited Timber Depot. Its a famous place for Hornbill Photography and many other birds mainly barbets.
When we reached the Timber Depot, it was 7.30 AM in the morning and the complete area was covered by thick fog. The visibility was very poor. No chance for bird photography. I am equally interested in Landscape photography and the beautiful Timber Depot covered with thick fog was great composition. Look at few pics clicked a Timber Depot during a foggy morning.
Hornbill Photography in Dandeli
You can sight three varieties of Hornbills in Timber Depot mainly Malabar Pied Hornbill, Malabar Grey Hornbill and Great Indian Hornbill. Sighting of great Indian Hornbill is very difficult and seasonal but other two varieties can be easily sighted and photographed.
In the pics below you see Malabar Pied Horbill.
There is many more to click in Ganeshgudi and Dandeli. Mudbath of Hornbills is famous rituals, which we will see in next blogpost.