Spending time with birds is something we love the most. While planning a trip to Mysore, we started our itinerary with Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary because that’s a must visit place for nature enthusiasts. The bird sanctuary is located at a distance of 19 KM from Mysore and 5 KM from Srirangapatna. The place was declared as a protected area by the then Mysore Maharaja after the request by ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali. Resting on the banks of river Cauvery, the place serves as an ideal nesting ground for some beautiful birds.
The sanctuary timings are 9 AM - 5 PM every day and there is an entry fee of Rs.60 INR per person along with parking fee of Rs.30 INR. And one major reason that attracts the tourist is the boating, which takes you a step closer to the birds (per person boating charge is Rs.60 INR). As you enter the sanctuary, there is Dr. Salim Ali information center giving an insight about the flora and fauna population of the region.
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is a breeding ground for a variety of water birds. And the birds we spotted were Black-headed Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Open-billed Stork, Little and Greater Cormorant, Oriental Darter, Egret and Painted Stork. Besides, you can also see Marsh Crocodiles swimming in the water and Flying Foxes hanging on the tree. If you are really lucky, you could see Otters. Unlucky us, we couldn’t spot even one. The tourists were pouring in and the species as sensitive as Otters could have a tough time avoiding us.
Some of the species were at young plumage so they were fed by their mothers. Species like Open-billed Storks, Oriental Darters, Eurasian Spoonbills and Black-headed Ibis were nurturing their young ones. Seeing the black-headed ibis and oriental darter feeding their young ones fanatically is a visual delight. As the mother feeds them one by one, the impatient younger ones started hopping out. They express the anticipation and enthusiasm with a screeching noise.
And suddenly we were interrupted by a loud chorus from a distance. It was the flying fox that was present in huge numbers, dangling on the branches. To spot almost three marsh crocodile up close was a thrilling experience, as one of the crocodiles was swimming, the other was taking a sunbath and another ran away after the noises the humans made. I believe the animals are smarter and aren’t greedy, they don’t bother us until we do, so the only generous thing we can do is stop making noises while taking the boat ride.
Although boating in these sensitive areas disturbs birds and other species, it’s the only cost-effective way to observe birds. Otherwise, you might require expensive equipment like binoculars, spotting scopes or telephoto lens to spot the birds. So if you are planning a trip to Mysore then do not forget to visit this mesmerizing place. And here's my Mysore trip post.
And finally, don’t forget that we are the stakeholders of nature. It’s important that we maintain a sensible behavior while visiting the sanctuary. And we cannot expect someone to monitor us always. Keep calm, enjoy the ride and don’t disturb the species.
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