Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Returning to the lake

After a month long break, I went to the lake y/day. The water level had receded considerably and the periphery was looking dry reflecting the harshness of the summer sun. As I walk from South City side to meet my friends at the gazebo, I take mental notes:

'What? The alpinia has grown so much?! The thorn fencing near the picket gate needs repair. The dustbins are not cleared. Thank god, the precious Red Silk Cotton is reviving. Five new leaves....yay! Who's been burning stuff? Surely not the gardeners getting rid of the weeds this way? When will the composting unit come up? So many egrets! Ah, the Garganeys taking off and landing ... what a sight and so many of them .... Wait ... who are these two visitors? Never ever seen them at the lake or ... elsewhere! Definitely a stork. Which one? Blast, didn't bring my camera.' I call Nupur and catch her before she leaves home and request her to bring her camera. 

'These birds ... need to id them.' I call birder Deepa Mohan and describe them. Larger than the egret, perhaps as big as our Purple Heron. Greyish white with black wings and pink legs. The bigger one has a gap between the beak. Deepa says she'll check her books and call back. I spot OPR waiting and with occasional backward glances at the new birds I walk faster. He says birder Srinivas has sent an sms "I just passed by the lake. There's an Asian Openbill Stork there. First time I've seen an Openbill Stork there." Yes! Yes! and Yes!!

My heart is singing and I force myself to pay attention to the updates from OPR and Nupur. Yellappa, the fisherman is coming to discuss the periodic cleaning of the lake, outstanding success of Sapana's story telling session, a tanker of water (to water the plants) to be delivered tomorrow, plans to raise funds to maintain lake, etc...etc...etc...I recall the email updates from Arathi, Prasanna, Sapana, Sangita Agrawal .... Wow! 

Before I can slip in a word, we see birder Srinivas enter with his camera and a wide smile. Seems he saw the Asian Openbill Stork while passing by the lake in a bus. He got off at the next stop, took another bus, rushed home, grabbed his camera and zipped to the lake to take pix of the Asian Openbill Storks! Two minutes later, Deepa Mohan comes rushing. She's identified the bird from my description and wants to see them for herself. They tell us that these storks are not often seen in an urban setting. Later I learn from wikipedia that these storks forage in wetlands. Their beaks facilitate the breaking open of the hard shell of snails. 

The renewed excitement of the new species at our lake takes over from the nitty-gritty details of maintaining the lake and other chores. I return home with my heart singing again this time as much in praise of my friends at PNLIT as for the birds new and old  flocking to our lake. 

Asian Openbill Stork at Puttenahalli Lake, 28-Jan-2013

Pic: Pramit V Rao (a student of The Brigade School)

Pic: SK Srinivas

Pic: Nupur Jain

See more pics taken by Srinivas here, and by Nupur here.
See Deepa's video of the birds on Youtube here. and her blog post/pics here.

Today morning I was told that the newcomers were still chomping at the snails and the fish. If you are as lucky as we were, you'll see them at the lake too!


Friday, January 24, 2014

Nature Trail, Puttenahalli Lake, 25th Jan 2014

Ms Deepa Mohan, keen birder and columnist is leading a Nature Trail at Puttenahalli Lake on Saturday 25th Jan 2014. It will be a small group of about 15. Deepa is not just an expert on birds but also on trees, insects and what have you! If you'd like to join the trail, please contact Deepa and follow her guidelines as given below.

Message from: Deepa Mohan <>

Nature Trail

Date: Jan 25, 2014 Saturday

Time: 7am (one hour approx). Those who are a little late can easily catch up with the group, as we walk around the lake.

Wear: Comfortable shoes, dull-coloured clothes (birds are highly colour-sensitive), and caps and hats.
Everyone  can also wear a layer of warm clothing as it is nippy in the mornings these days.

Bring: Binoculars, if you have them, and cameras, if you wish to take pictures. 
Bird book for reference, if you have one.
Drinking  water and a snack,  for the children, which they can have at the pavilion after the trail. 

We  will start at the gazebo (pavilion) at the western end of the lake. We will walk around the lake, including the huts at one point. There are some dogs there, but they are not aggressive, and you need not fear them.

After the walk, at the gazebo, we will
have an informal discussion about what all of you have seen, and your thoughts.


On Google maps,
you can click on 
Get Directions,
Type your address in "A", and in "B", type
Puttenahalli Lake
or the co-ordinates,

(For those coming from Bannerghatta Road: You can just follow "Main Road" all the way to the lake/parking area, according to the walking direction,  instead of the driving detour that Google maps suggests.)

Park near  the western end of the lake, just near the Brigade Millennium arch. I went on a recce trip yesterday and the cleared patch where we used to park, near the coconut grove,  is now designated as "private property". So please be careful about where you park.

To know what you might see click on this link:

Here's my account of another walk, which I conducted, which was organized by the PNLIT for Children's Day:

If you would like to contribute to the maintenance of the lake, there will be someone from PNLIT (Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust) there, and a receipt will be given immediately. 

See you on Saturday, and let's enjoy the lake and what it has to offer!

Deepa Mohan

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The story of water, live at Puttenahalli Lake

The winter sun was out, and so were 56 kids along with their little siblings and parents. They all came to Puttenahalli Lake on this pleasant Saturday morning to listen to Gitanjali Sarangan (Geetu) and her team - Anagha, Sasha, Damroo, Akshat, Arun and Manasa (from Snehadhara Foundationspin a yarn based on a story "Who Owns the Water?" by Deepa Balsavar. 
["Who Owns the Water? is one of the stories in the book Water Stories from Around the Worldpublished by Tulika.]

Raj (from Music for Soul) came with his guitar and got everyone in the mood to swing and move. Geetu and team did warm up dances and singing with their musical instruments and the stage was all set to bring the story out.

After a brief real story about Puttenahalli Lake by Sapana, Geetu took the children and the adults along with her into a world of words, songs, enacting, jingles, screaming, jumping, moving, swirling, twirling, and what not. The adults loved Shantaram, Mahalakshmi and Chakarapani, while the children loved making noises of water, frogs, cows, boars, prinias and more!!

The message of the story was that the water of a lake belongs to everyone and not just one person.

Raj and Geetu

Sapana talks about Puttenahalli Lake

The interactive session kept the children busy 

PNLIT's OP Ramaswamy gave a vote of thanks to Snehadhara and everyone and asked if PNLIT should organize more of such sessions. Of course, everyone wanted more.

We sold PNLIT magnets, wristbands and keychains to the kids while the adults wondered why not have these events for adults too!

PNLIT goodies on sale

And we keep the PNLIT boat rowing and moving and hoping that more new faces will join us in these events to spread the idea of taking care of our neighbourhood and its resources.

Reported by Sapana Rawat, PNLIT volunteer
Pics by OP Ramaswamy, Nupur Jain
Special thanks to Sapana for coordinating the event and to the Snehadhara team for conducting it.
More pictures and videos can be seen here and here.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

PNLIT's Story Telling Session on 18th Jan 2014

Click to see larger size
Ashy Prinia @ Puttenahalli Lake (Pic: Kamal Hari Menon)

Once upon a time, near large apartment communities, an Ashy Prinia searched for a place to lay her eggs. 

The land was parched and dry and there wasn't a bush or tree in sight. 

Finally she found a depression in the ground and using her tiny claws she made a hole and laid her eggs. 

The eggs hatched and the Ashy Prinia took care of the babies until they were big enough to fly.

"Is that it?" you will enquire.

To which we will reply,

"No it isn't, dear one
Not by a long shot.
Our story has just begun,

Coots, Swamphens, Purple Herons

and many more, are yet to come."

PNLIT invites all the young ones and their families to a story telling session.

When: Saturday, 18th January 2014, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Where: Puttenahalli Lake, JP Nagar 7th Phase, Bangalore

What: A story based on "Who Owns the Water" by Deepa Balsavar (Tulika Publishers)
By Whom: Geetanjali Sarangan (narration, lyrics and music) and Raj (music)

Why: Because it's a story of our neigbourhood lake, by our neigbourhood residents and for our neigbourhood children!
Who can come: Anyone who likes a good yarn

Entry contribution: Rs. 50/- per child between the ages of 3 and 15 years. Free for others. Contributions will be accepted on the spot on 18th Jan 2014 @10:30 a.m. and will go towards hosting, the artists and PNLIT.
For further information please contact : (9880554136) or (9886629769)

Our aim is to foster a community feeling in the neighbourhood by conducting events such as this. Your support and participation is eagerly awaited.

The PNLIT Team

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Puttenahalli Lake, a not-to-miss destination for Bangalore BirdRace 2014

The India BirdRaces, supported by HSBC, is the largest and most popular birdwatching activity across India. The current season (November 2013 – March 2014), will see the event in 16 cities.

The Bangalore BirdRace 2014 is on Sunday 19th Jan 2014. Registrations, for teams of 4 members, are currently open. To register and for more information, click here

This winter, Puttenahalli Lake has seen the the return of the migratory Garganeys from Europe/ West Asia. Lake visitors were thrilled to see a group of Garganey females at the lake on Christmas Day, and thereafter.

Garganeys at Puttenahalli Lake, Dec 2013 (Pics: Usha Rajagopalan)

The Garganeys were last spotted at Puttenahalli Lake in Nov 2011-Mar 2012. During the BirdRace in 2012, Puttenahalli Lake was one of the few places with Garganeys, so many of the BirdRace teams had made it a point to visit the lake to mark them off, on their checklists. 

With sightings of more than 60 bird species over the last three years, Puttenahalli Lake is surely a not-to-miss destination for this year's BirdRace teams.    

Do support PNLIT's efforts at sustaining Puttenahalli Lake by clicking your support on Gudville. Gudville's Ripple Rewards offer funding every month to NGOs that garner maximum support. Every click is worth upto Rs 50. To support PNLIT, click here to go to the Gudville page. Please check that your click gets registered. Thank you for your support!