Sunday, December 30, 2012

Blackbuck at Mydanhalli

Seasons Greetings and a Happy New Year!

It appears that Im running quite behind on my blog posts. So much so, that Im now exactly one year behind! Last year around this time, K and I did a little impromptu road trip with an unsuspecting friend - we'll call him B.
We drove to Hyderabad from Bangalore, spent a whole day wandering about museums, gardens, taking in the sights, gorging ourselves on yummy biryani and drinking endless cups of heavenly Irani chai. We stayed at the excellently located Golkonda Hotel ( which I would highly recommend ).

We got back home and decided that some camping would be the perfect thing to do in such excellent weather. So, we made some phone calls, packed and decided to head to Mydanhalli. This was now our third trip and Keshav ( and even me to some extent ) had become familiar with the route.


Who should stay at Mydanhalli?

Do you have a passionate urge to photograph blackbuck and winter migrants? Do you consider sleeping bags the ultimate luxury? Do you have a car with a cavernous boot ?  Do you think that 4am is the perfect time to get up? Does your car have high ground clearance? Do you believe the best way to spend a holiday is on your belly, crawling up stealthily on an dis-interested bird?

If you answered no to any of these questions, you probably want to skip this.

Additionally, do note that electricity is not available at all times ( carry candles - and dont forget the matches ). No food or water is available either, these too need to be carried along with your sleeping bags etc. Your garbage also needs to be carted back home with you. ( Now you know why the big boot is essential ).

Montague's Harrier
But the rewards for those who endure are great. We opted against walks ( the grass seeds really can get into your socks, shoes and can get very annoying , choosing to use the car instead. The low ground clearance and the difficult terrain ensured that we broke one of our suspension parts. But one cannot make omelettes without breaking a few eggs.

The ladies

Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark

Top Survival tips: 

1. Permission is needed from the Forest department to stay. Carry your own sleeping bags.
2. Carry food - nature photography is hungry work -  ( 2 breakfasts, one lunch and dinner ) - I recommend sandwiches for breakfast ( carry the sliced veggies, lettuce separately in a box to avoid soggy sandwiches ) Butter the bread before hand. Sauce and mustard sachets are handy here. Sliced cheese is an excellent addition.
3. Caffeine addicts should be aware that tea is not available. Carry cold coffee / iced tea cans ( we did this). Or hot water in a Thermos and tea bags and sugar sachets.
Shrike2 Bay backed Shrike

4. For lunch and dinner we recommend packed biryani - chill it in the fridge before packing it in the icebox. If you dont have an icebox - now is a good time to buy one. Never use actual ice in the box, buy the little blue IceBricks instead to avoid a watery mess.
5. Carry sturdy styrofoam plates or the leaf plates. Carry paper cups, plastic spoons, forks. Paper towels.
6. Hand sanitiser and facial wipes are essential.


7. Carry large seal-able garbage bags and dont leave any litter behind.
8. Be sure to pack powerful rechargeable torches.
9. Take along mosquito coils and a pack or 2 of cards. Theres not much to do after sun-set. 10. Fruit is an excellent dessert, as is chocolate. Carry a knife for the fruit.

BEater Small Green Bee eater

If you have one of those folding chair-table things that fold down to a tidy suitcase, this is a great place for it.


Keshav's photos can be seen at his site. He made friends with the Montagues Harrier and was able to crawl up close to get some nice shots.

Theres not much else to be said, my previous posts :
in 2008
in 2009
provide all the information on getting there etc.

K and I just got back from a 5 day l-o-n-g road-trip ( around 3400kms ) to the Little Rann of Kutch and back. More on that soon. Leaving you with my favourite shot of the series:

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