‘Footlooseinme’ brings you the new birding post on Hampi with a focus on some lifers and some common yet attractive avian species and the adorable cubs of a furry mammal. The unwinding holiday in the calm natural surroundings of Hampi turned out very rewarding and pleasurable with the birds and animals of Hampi. Stay along to meet the new winged beauties I met during my latest trip to Hampi.
I, being the usual me sometimes drag things and procrastinate things to their extreme level. Now that the monsoon is here and I am publishing my story of the late spring. I hope you will consider this delay of mine and enjoy the moments of Spring in the Monsoon and say ‘Hello’ to the birds and animals of Hampi.
We had a very hectic week and wanted to rest and relax in calm surroundings. So what could be a better place than our quiet and peaceful stay at JLR Hampi? Hampi has become a sort of pilgrimage that we like to visit repeatedly. So again to our regular pilgrimage with some new sets of birds and an extremely re-energising trip.
We climbed the Matanga hill for the sunrise. We started at dark and were on top while it was still twilight. It was so calm there with a few people around. The view was fascinating with the green farms creating a striking contrast within the ‘Boulderscape’ as the sky painted itself in an orange hue. (Read about my first visit to Hampi.) The sun silently peeped through the distant horizon and there was a big cheer from behind.
The tranquillity was broken by this sudden noise and we turned back to see flocks of people climbing up the hill. The peaceful surrounding immediately changed into a chaotic tourist destination. We did not wait any longer and climbed down the Matanga hill. This was the only activity that we did during our stay in Hampi while the rest of the time we did some leisurely bird watching. The birds and animals of Hampi were extremely kind to us like always. 🙂
We did meet our regular Hampi friend – ‘the Indian Eagle Owl’ near the canal. We went to Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary too, to meet the resident Sloth Bears. We heard the news of a couple of new momma bears with tiny cubs in the forest. The forest department has built a hide for the photographers. They also feed the bears with a paste of jaggery and palm oil applied on the rocks in front of the hide.
The bears smell the food and come to lick the rocks giving the photographers in the hide an amazing opportunity to capture them in frames. While we were waiting in the hide for the momma and the cubs, two juveniles appeared and licked the rock floor. It seems this paste is not only a delicacy for the bears, the mongoose and the peacocks too joined the feeding ritual. The mongoose licked the floor while the peacocks picked up the ants and other insects feeding on it.
Meanwhile, there was the call of the Common Iora and then it appeared on the tree adjoining the hide. This female Iora kept us busy when suddenly a comparatively big bird flew into the tree in front of us. We kept looking for it in the foliage. Then it appeared in the open and to our surprise it was a Blue-faced Malkoha. Soon the other one joined but I could not manage to get both in a frame as the previous one flew away. It was a lifer for me.
I could not be happier, just after this moment the momma piggybacking its cubs appeared to savour their favourite treat. Oh! Did I forget to mention the bright and beautiful Painted Spurfowls? These pretty birdies were foraging on the ground just in front of the hide. They looked so gorgeous in the sunlight. There were subjects all around the hide, we were becoming indecisive about which way to point our camera. We had a remarkable time in the hide.
The new hide within the Hampi Heritage and Wilderness Resort of Jungle Lodge and Resorts gave us another opportunity of birding. The birds within the property are the common sighting here. We saw a pretty group of Jungle Bush Quail marching towards the water bath. Then suddenly they changed direction and came towards the hide and entered the hide making burbling sounds. Unperturbed by our presence they marched across the hide and went out through the other end. These cute little birdies looked immensely adorable. Read about my previous birding experience in Hampi.
We did not go to the historical monuments this time. As I mentioned earlier we were here to relax on this tour to Hampi. So we just relaxed. Even if it was the late Spring, the daytime heat was intense and visiting the monuments would have been more of a tiring activity with our already exhausted souls.
But we did not want to miss the charm of Vitthala temple. So before we started our drive back to Pune we thought of an early morning crowd-free visit to the temple. We reached there while it was still dark. The parking gate was not yet open neither did the electric vehicle service start. We parked our vehicle by the side of the road keeping in mind that it does not create any inconvenience to others and walked towards the temple.
We were the first visitor to the temple and it was for the first time we got the whole temple for ourselves. The sun was gradually coming up from behind the horizon and the temple was washed in its golden hues. The cool morning breeze, the mellowed temperature, the calm atmosphere and the golden light – all the components together created a musical morning in the Vitthala temple compound. The birds and the squirrels were the only active creatures in this indolent morning scene. Read about my previous birding experience in Hampi.
After spending some quiet time here, we started to walk back towards the parking. Meanwhile, other visitors started arriving at the temple and the rush hours were just starting. As we approached the parking there was again a pair of Blue-Faced Malkoha. We were so thrilled to see the bird again. As we reached the parking point, we could find our vehicle covered with leaves, twigs, tiny mangoes and all sorts of wild things. It became the play area for the Langurs. They were happily creating a big mess on the car and it was a big group with infants in tow.
Few locals helped us to get rid of the hooliganism. Then we had to clear the mess but the windshield was smeared with all sorts of sticky things that even the wiper fluid could not clear. We decided to return back to our stay with a blurry view and then wash the screen properly before we hit the highways to return back to Pune. Read about the drive to Hampi.
Again another Blue-Faced Malkoha appeared just beside the road bidding us farewell. Although we went to Hampi to relax and refresh, the Blue-faced Malkoha gave us multiple unexpected star sightings to make our relaxing trip, remarkable. With a lot of affection and good wishes for the birds and animals of Hampi, we leave Hampi behind to return back soon. Thus we ended our tour happily and here I end my post with the pictures from Hampi.