Ganeshgudi~ A birder’s paradise

What Can I say more about Old Magazine House that hasn’t been already said by the bird
watchers since ages. A birder’s paradise is what we all know this place being called. And its true to its word. You will loose your mind to reach up little close to your soul in the nature that this resort provides. I had very high expectations (I know one shouldn’t have when it comes to our avian friends who have full freedom to fly away wherever they want) when I booked room in here and let me tell you, I wasn’t at all disappointed even for a minute, not only because it was my first birding trip outside Goa but also because you will be so busy listening to the chirps and watching their tantrums on the bird bathes, that you will be forced to forget everything else in the world and just live in the moment. And these moments aren’t limited there. You just need to grab your camera or binoculars(if) and jump into the moment.
In my last post I have already discussed every keen details about the resort including stay options, activities, staff, food etc. You can always go through it from here– Old Magazine House, Ganeshgudi

In today’s session I would be concentrating on the variety of birds that I got to see in the first day of my 2 day trip, mainly that is what we want to know right? Lets jump in then.


We left Goa early in the morning but it took time on the way due to deforestation after entering Karnataka. When we reached at around 1pm, we checked in within minutes, settled in for a few minutes, freshened up took my camera ,binocular, tripod and went straight to explore the place. Just outside our building with rooms, a few old people from England were having their silent time watching birds sitting on the edge on chairs, with whom later I made good of friends and shared some nice evening time. I felt calm looking at this view. Moving on amidst the beautiful jungle resort, we reached where we needed to be. The hide and the food court. As soon as I set up my tripod and camera, it was time to feed our starved stomachs.

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Malabar giant squirrel

By the time I went to have lunch, we had an awesome session by two Malabar giant squirrels. I was immensely happy looking at their activities. They are so naughty and cute that I wanted to bring one of them home 😀

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After having an amazing home cooked veg/non-veg buffet, we were back to the hide by
2.30pm that is when the most activities can be seen. If your are there, don’t miss the evening birding session in the hide between 2.30pm to 5pm or till dusk. There were just a few other birders beside me as it was mid week that we went to avoid the weekend rush, who waited patiently for the birds to come and take bath one by one or all at once sometimes 😀

The first bird that came for me was a yellow browed bulbul and a few oriental white eyes. White eyes are quite common there and gives you poses every now and than. The maximum number I could capture in one frame is 6.

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yellow browed bulbul

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The next bird I would like to talk about is a stunning yellow body with black head and red throat is the flame throated bulbul,the state bird of Goa that I saw for the first time in Ganeshgudi. It was quite the show stopper for the day that I personally loved capturing.

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Flame throated bulbul

The Indian yellow tits were also there peeping once in a while on the bird baths along with other yellow feathered species.

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Indian yellow tit

The dark fronted babblers took their positions on the perches to stare at us and giving angry looks. I say this because whenever I go through the images I clicked of this babbler are all with the almost the same look. They depicts the perfect ‘angry bird image’.

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Dark fronted babbler

Another stunning bird that caught everyones attention was the Indian black bird. It should be named as the ‘Indian black beauty’ with its sharp features and eyes. Here is the image of one such rare moments where the Indian black bird is posing for me on the bath while the background was being designed by the very beautiful and colorful Emerald dove.

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Indian black bird

Here is the close up of Indian black bird after a quick bath.

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Indian black bird

How can I miss the color popping bird out of all. The definition of cuteness Black naped
Monarch who is also a known attraction of OMH.

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Black naped monarch

The monarch came quite a many times to attract our attention but failed to when the majestic Emerald doves arrived. It is said that a maximum of 4 emerald doves come there and I was lucky enough to witness them all together.

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Emerald dove

Now its time for some very pretty flycatchers as they are the highlights this season. The white bellied blue flycatcher to get started with. Here is one pretty male.

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White bellied blue flycatcher-male

Here comes the female with no blue patches on it. She became quite common in sometime for the next two days just like the flame throated bulbul.

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White bellied blue flycatcher-female

When we get to click frames like this with 3 species on a single perch 🙂

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Oriental white eye, black naped monarch,Yellow browed bulbul

Another stunning bird without which  my OMH would not have been accomplished. When I planned for this trip,this bird was on the top of my list which I only got to see in the 3rd day morning before leaving that amazing stay. White rumped shama for you all. I will talk to you about the next two days in my upcoming blogs. So stay connected. Lots of beautiful bird images on the way 🙂

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White rumped shama

We were talking about flycathers, so here is one cute migratory flycatcher. Taiga flycatcher

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Taiga or red breasted flycatcher-female

Other birds that we got to see in the campus but did not give us a perch in light were, racket tailed drongo, leafbirds,munias, a few more flycatchers and the great of all- the trogan couple.( wait for my next post )

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One or many, A dandeli related blog cannot end wihout a hornbill photograph. So here is one Malabar Pied hornbill couple roosting under the sun.

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Malabar Pied horbill couple

A few more images from the same hornbill sighting that we got to witness when we were taken on the jeep by the OMH bird guide to the exact place-the bridge where they come to roost everyday after taking dips in the river kali.

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Malabar Pied hornbill pair
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Malabar pied hornbill in flight (low light evening shot)

So, this was almost all about my first day in Old Magazine house. Hope you have enjoyed reading the blog as much I have while curating . Stay connected. Be healthy. Spread love and happiness 🙂

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Me with husband on the River kali bridge after hornbill session

Tell me in comments if you would like to know details of any particular photograph and I would be happy to share 🙂

Until next time

Much love

Riya ❤

 

Old Magazine House, Ganeshgudi

“And into the forest I go, to loose my mind and find my soul”

                                                                            – Charles Baudelaire

Said so beautifully and rightfully by Charles Baudelaire. Forest makes you feel viable, forest let you listen to your heartbeat, forest let you comprehend your existence, forest lets you find your soul. To find my soul a little more, I headed towards this amazing forest resort situated in a small place called Ganeshgudi in Karnataka State of India. As I am bird-o-holic in nature, I cant stay away from forest, desert, wetland for longer. So to make the new year most special, I chose to visit and stay in Old Magazine House in the month of January itself. Being around a handful of bird lovers, I have heard enough about this paradise that fall in Ganeshgudi. Dandeli is another place in Karnataka around 20km away from Ganeshgudi. You may hear people saying that they visited Old magazine house in Dandeli or they have visited dandeli for birding when they have actually just stayed in OMH.But that is geographically incorrect. OMH (Old Magazine House) is in Ganeshgudi and not in Dandeli and is one of the BEST places to be.

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I have not been to too many places to be honest, but this surely was the best experience till date. It made a little place in my heart that is going to be like that for long, if not ever….

If I go on and on about this place, this blog will never end and you will feel exaggerated when it is actually not. So not stretching it too much, I will come straight to the point.
We started our journey from North Goa to ganeshgudi via chorla ghat road. It was an amazing  journey till we entered karnataka. We had witnessed that the karnataka government is doing a mass deforestation on the connecting highway to make the lane  much bigger., which is obviously against our eco system. Lots of wild animals and birds are loosing their habitat. And by seeing at it helplessly, my heart ached. Crossing too many road blocks, we reached our destination, OMH, Ganeshgudi on the londa-dandeli road. Old Magazine house is a property owned by Jungle lodges and resorts ltd, govt of karnataka.

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Not a very large area, but this resort is a simple paradise of avian-lovers. They offer one
forest-wodden hut, a few rooms and a dormitory as stay options. We took one of the rooms as the wooden house was not-available, which by-the-way was our first preference. The rooms are real big, clean and well maintained by a superbly friendly and helpful staff.
Manager- Mohan sir
Bird guide- Vinay (bhaiya)
coracle ride bird guide- Pundalik (bhaiya)
Cook- Manju
Jeep driver- Gururaj

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These are the people we conversed with, in our 2 day stay and can’t thank them enough for their cordial and homely service. The whole team of OMH is just awe-inspiring. As I said the rooms are spacious with double beds, sofa with center table, one work table, electric jugs and tea/coffee essentials. A television in the common hall room is also available. They provide buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dinner hall along with morning tea and evening snacks, all included in the room rent that you have already paid. Dormitory is just below the dining hall with bunk beds (mostly preferred by single guys who travel just for birding and photographing).

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There is no wi-fi connection and you will hardly be getting network on your phone too and moreover you are there to connect with forest, so you don’t need one. In simple words, forget about your phone and wallet and enjoy your time in peace and bird chirps. I being a talkative person besides an avid birder, I made quite a few friends from different parts of the world. Some were there to bird like me, and some were just having
a day away from city chaos.

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Once upon a time, someone put a tub of water for the birds to quest their thirst in hot and humid weather. He never knew it would grow into OMH one day. There is this mind blowing hide organized by the property for the birders to set up their tripods and take photographs of birds taking bath and drying up in little branches, just beside the dormitory building where they would organize a bonfire every evening with snacks and soup bowls.

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Timings:
7-7.30 Am- tea biscuit
8.30am onwards-breakfast
1.30pm onwards- lunch
6.30pm- snacks/soup with bonfire
8.30pm onwards- dinner
The food team are cordial enough to call you from your room each time when the food is
ready to be served. The other services that they provide are:
1) Nature walk: After having your morning tea, You can accompany Mr. Vinay, the bird guide for a nature walk just outside the resort, where he would spot birds for you.

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2) Coracle ride: After having your breakfast, you can go for a coracle ride on the kali river, where Mr. pundalik, the bird guide will join you for riding the coracle as well as spotting birds and the Muger.. Coracle is a small, rounded, lightweight boat that floats on water and quite difficult to ride comparing a regular boat.

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3) An evening trek for a sunset view form some point up hill which non of us were interested in as we were all busy birding till late evening until it was completely dark.
Overall the stay is just amazing with delicious home cooked recipes by Mr. Manju.

Overall Highly recommended!! I loved it.

Make your bookings before hand and be ready to loose yourself in nature in order to getting closer to your soul..The only thing that will keep you up is the bird chips-day and night.

Don’t forget to pack your warm clothes along with photography gears and binoculars 🙂
You can book your rooms in http://www.junglelodges.com

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Stay put for my incoming blogs where you will get to see the amazing photograph of the lifers (birds) that I got there in my two-day stay in the Old Magazine House, Ganeshgudi.
Till then, hog on to my other birding blogs:

Migratory Bird Area, North Goa

Birding in Pilerne lake, North Goa

An evening with Asian openbill

Parra – A birding hour

Until next time
Much love,

Riya