Birds – they were everywhere! Of course, it was a bird sanctuary, so I should have expected it 🙂
Saw more birds and animals on this weekend trip to the Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary than I ever have before. The bus journey took us 3 hours, which was pretty decent considering all the reports I got about the roads and how it would take us 5-6 hours to get there.
The sanctuary is an island on the Cauvery river and is about 3 kilometres from Srirangapatha, which used to be Tipu Sultan’s summer capital. We took a boat ride that lasted for about ½ hour and the boatman helpfully pointed out several different species (I am still getting acquainted with bird types!). The most common bird that was present in thousands was the White Ibis.
Saw an ugly croc sunbathing on a rock and we went really close. Not a pretty sight. Just as we approached it lazily went back into the water. Several times, I heard loud burping noises emanating from these creatures, which was reassuring, because it meant they were full and satisfied. The boatman assured us they were harmless.
Besides the Ibis, were the little Comorrant, Night/Pond Heron, Kingfisher, Egrets, Bats (in large numbers, all asleep!) and other birds I am only just becoming familiar with. The bats looked really cool – hundreds of them enjoying their morning siesta all hanging upside down from the tall trees – looked like a scene out of Harry Potter! After the leisurely boatride, we sat there for a while drinking chai and then left for Mysore.
There was no vehicle handy so we trekked about 3 kms from the sanctuary to the main road. It was sunny, but a pleasant walk and we saw more birds on the way – including some pretty parakeets. Once we reached Srirangapatna, thankfully a bus stopped on the road and from there it was a 12 km ride to Mysore.
We made a trip to the Mysore Palace and then decided not to go in since there was a really huge queue and we had to give up our cameras at the counter (and I did not in the very least like the idea of leaving my precious Nikon with strange people!).
We headed for the Mysore zoo instead. And since it was a public holiday, everyone in Mysore was there, especially the little folk! I must say, the zoo is really impressive. The map came in very handy in finding our way around. Actually, I can’t even remember the last time I’ve gone to a zoo…
It was interesting. We spent about 2 hours (and walked about 3 kilometres) roaming around watching more animals. I was as excited as the kids to spot the giraffes as soon as we entered the gates :). White tigers, zebras, hippos, pythons, giraffes, gorillas, more birds – enough animals to keep me happy for a lifetime, methinks!
At the end of the day, I probably would have screamed if we saw another animal! Finally caught the 6.45 pm bus from Mysore and was back at 10 pm. Crashed and dreamt of what else but – animals!