By Rashmi Gopal Rao
It was the end of April and a totally impromptu decision by us as we did not want to miss the river terns that religiously visit Bhadra each year for about three months. Nestled in the midst of the Western Ghats and surrounded by the Baba Budangiri hills of the Chikamangalur district in Karnataka, the place is a perfect weekend getaway from the hustle bustle of the city.
On reaching the river we boarded a fairly large boat along with another group. The waters were calm and the skies were clear. As we approached the tiny islands in the river, we could see buzzing activity of hundreds of birds on them. The grey-dull black colour of the river terns perfectly blended with the soil and rocks of the islands making it rather inconspicuous from a distance.
But as we moved closer, one could not help but wonder at their large numbers. Our boat man cum guide was a friendly chap who explained to us that the numbers peak in May as the young ones hatch. We could see the females busy warming the eggs while the males hovered around and occasionally swooped down into the waters catching a fish or two with their bright yellow beaks. The prey is for the female birds that are stationed to protect the eggs that are likely to be attacked by other species like ibis and herons. I must admit that this kind of coordination and so called ‘division of duties’ between the genders had me awe struck and is definitely worth a lesson or two!
The bird which is a part of the tern family typically visits the island between March and June before flying off to the Himachal. During the monsoons the islands also get submerged making it a lull season for visitors. The ambience is serene and you can also treat yourself to leisure bird watching, trekking and also take nature walks in the serene ambiance.
One can also visit the Bhadra Wildlife sanctuary which is located about a kilometer away. The sanctuary is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna including the tiger, elephants, Gaurs, wild boars, leopards etc. Avian species include the Grey Junglefowl, Painted Bush Quail, Emerald Dove, Southern Green Imperial Pigeon and Great Black Woodpecker among others. The Bhadra dam which has created the Bhadra resorvoir is also worth a visit!
AUTHOR BIO: Rashmi Gopal Rao is a freelance content writer and journalist. She is from Bengaluru and her hobbies include travelling, reading, writing and photography.
She is also passionate about home decor and gardening. You can follow her on her blog https://rashminotes.wordpress.
Have you visited a wildlife destination on your travels recently?