Friday, February 21, 2014

Being at the Puttenahalli Lake Bird Count

Going to the lake at least once every day, we are apt to overlook or take for granted, the birds at the lake. Those in the water may still get a glance but we often miss the ones flying overhead, hiding in the foliage or even sitting still on a branch. Participating in the Bangalore Bird Count on Sunday, 16th February changed all this - at least for a couple of hours! 

Our team consisted of Gopinath Subbarao, Harish Mahendrakar (the two experts), Indrajit Chatterjee (photographer), Vishnu and Siddharth, 9th std. students and me. We began the exercise at 7.15 a.m. by sighting the birds and counting their number which Gopinath and Siddharth noted separately. We were in agreement most of the time except for the number of Garganey Ducks and the identity of one particular bird. 

There were two flocks of Garganeys at different spots but a loud bang by a passing truck sent the flocks flying! They settled down soon enough but became one large crowd which we had to count again. The "stranger" birds flew constantly and were tantalizing. They were quite plump, seemed to wag their tails while on the ground and showed off a bright white rump in flight. Out came the bird guide book and we pored over the sandpipers and stints (it had to be one of them!). We were clueless and decided to shelve its identity for the present and finish counting the others.

Birds sang and chirped among the bushes but refused to show themselves and be counted. We guessed their identities but did not include them in our list. Some of the morning walkers stopped to ask what we were doing and why. Most of them left us alone convinced perhaps that we were a bunch of silly coots!

One round of the lake took more than an hour and a half. We returned to the Gazebo where Gopinath and Siddharth sat down to compare their notes and to tally the count. 

I had hoped that we'd spot at least 12 species but we had seen 26!! The number of individual birds were 140! All these in our lake? Incredible but true!

Returning home and a couple of hours later, Gopinath called to say that he'd identified the mysterious bird as a Green Sandpiper. Well, they are welcome of course but we'd hoped it would be a Temminck's Stint, a winter visitor and not seen at our lake so far. Perhaps next year we'll be able to see this fellow too at our lake!

Gopinath's list of birds can be seen here. Some of Indrajit's photos are below. 
Any day is bird counting day. See how many you spot! 


Green Sandpiper

Indian Pond Heron

Purple Heron

Red-wattled Lapwings

Spot-billed ducks, Eurasian (Common) Coot

White-browed Wagtail 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Do-it-Yourself Mega Science Carnival for 4-13 years

Merry Go Learn, on the occasion of its first anniversary, is organising Mega Science Carnival - an environment awareness initiative, in association with PNLIT, at Puttenahalli Lake. 

Students in the age group 4-13 years and their parents are cordially invited to this never before opportunity to: 
  • Get their hands dirty with science- conduct magnetic races, make colorful light spinners, make slimy goo, play with vibrations to create amazing sounds and much more
  • Embark on magnetic treasure hunt, participate in exciting games and win prizes
  • Interact with other students and learn from one another.
Venue - Puttenahalli Lake, Opp. Brigade School, JP Nagar 7th Phase
Date - Sunday, 23rd February 2014
Time - 3 pm to 6 pm
Entry fee - Rs 10/-

For more information, see poster below or contact Merry Go Learn (Cell: 9900528293) 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Bangalore Bird Count today at Puttenahalli Lake

Our Puttenahalli Lake team consisted of Gopinath Subbarao, Harish Mahendrakar, Indrajit Chatterjee, Usha Rajagopalan and two Std. IX enthusiasts, Vishnu Sreenivas and Siddharth. Counting began at 7:15 a.m. and by 9:00 a.m. 26 species (about 140 nos. of birds) were observed. The species and numbers are given below, and posted in (login may be required). Hoping that both the figures will increase in the coming years!

26 species
6 Indian Spot-billed Duck
32 Garganey
2 Little Grebe
1 Little Cormorant
1 Oriental Darter
1 Purple Heron
3 Intermediate Egret
2 Cattle Egret
10 Indian Pond-Heron
11 Black Kite
1 Brahminy Kite
11 Purple Swamphen
7 Eurasian Coot
6 Red-wattled Lapwing
5 Green Sandpiper
2 Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
1 Greater Coucal
1 Spotted Owlet
2 White-throated Kingfisher
4 Rose-ringed Parakeet
7 House Crow
10 Barn Swallow
1 Red-whiskered Bulbul
1 Ashy Prinia
4 Common Myna
2 White-browed Wagtail

Read a related post about Bird Counts here.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Bangalore Bird Count and Bird Logs

Bird Count at Puttenahalli Lake

Mr Gopinath Subbarao is coordinating the Bangalore Bird Count for Puttenahalli Lake.  
Event details
16th Feb 2014 (Sunday)
7:00 a.m. onwards 
Assemble at the Gazebo at Puttenahalli Lake

Bring the following if possible, but not compulsory
- A small notebook and pencil or pen
- A cap 
- Camera or Binoculars or any other additional gadgets that you have and wish to carry with you during the spotting of birds.
Spot as many birds as possible and have a good time together for a good cause.
For more details and clarifications, please contact Gopinath 
(9845030726 /
About the Bird Counts

16th February is the day of the Bangalore Bird Count (BBC) 2014. 

This is a synchronous bird-watch that covers all important birding sites in Bangalore, in an attempt to come up with an informally vetted list of birds seen around Bangalore on a single day. 

According to the organisers of BBC Praveen and Prashanth (email ids below), the locations that will be monitored on Feb 16 by confirmed teams include:  
Cubbon Park, Hoskote, Kaikondrahalli, Hebbal, Rampura-Kalkare, Nandi Hills, GKVK Campus, Madhure, Hesseraghatta, Hulimangala, Ramnagara, Shivanahalli, Jaipurdodi, Kanakapura, Savandurga, Yellamallappa Chetty, Bellandur, Muthanallur, Jakkur, IISc Campus, Anekal Area, Byramangala, Nelligudda, Valley School Area, Puttenahalli Lake.

BBC overlaps with two other pan-India events, the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) (Feb 14-17) and the Big Bird Day (BBD) (Feb 16). (Check the links for more info)
All these events will use eBird ( as the platform for data entry and collation, and hence data sharing will be quite easy. So you can participate in one (the local event) and ensure you participate in all.

All the GBBC lists done from Bangalore on Feb 16 shall automatically be collected for BBC. All eBird lists from India made during those four days will be considered for GBBC  - hence, it will also include the BBC submissions.

If you would like participate in BBD from Bangalore, just inform the organisers of BBC by email after the birding session - they will consider your BBC list in eBird as a submission towards BBD under your name. Hence, when you participate in BBC, this means you can participate in BBD also by a simple confirmation email sent offline.
Praveen J:    
Prashanth MB:

Bird Logs

Abhijith Rao has created a log entry for Puttakere at the ebird website, where all birders can enter the data of the birds that they've spotted at the lake. 

"Puttenahalli Lake, Nataraja Layout, Arakere, Bangalore, Karnataka, India"

You'll see the BIRDING HOTSPOT icon floating over the lake, click on it
"Puttenhalli Lake (Puttakere)".
Once you've selected that and submitted the page, you'll be taken to the submissions page at this location -
Fill in the details of the birds you see and over time, this will form a great repository of data.
Go to these links to see how the data can be used - 
eBird itself is created by © Audubon and Cornell Lab of Ornithology. So all this data will be saved for some time to come.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Neralu - Bengaluru TREE Festival: 8-9 Feb 2014

Celebrate trees today, tomorrow, everyday!
For details and schedule, do check out:
Inline image 1
Bengaluru Tree Festival
Feb 8-9 2014, Bal Bhavan & Venkatappa Art Gallery, Cubbon Park

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Get your children interested in Nature

Our lake is attracting more and more children from the neighbourhood to birding. 
Needless to say, it hones their observation and photography skill as well. Vishnu Sreenivas, one of the first children to get associated with PNLIT, started a group called PNLIT Birders on Facebook and he has got several of his friends to join it. One of them is Pramit, his 9th Std classmate. See his post on Facebook below. The boys visit the lake regularly with some others of their age, all of them passionate about birds! Get your children interested in Nature. Bring them to the lake. 
Pramit V Rao posted iPNLIT Birders
Pramit V Rao
Pramit V Rao 9:32pm Feb 4
Spotted Owlets

At the Coconut Groove

I found these of 19-Jan-2014. It was just luck that the owlets moved, making it able for me to stop them. Ill consider myself lucky to find then in the open, especially two! The tree that i found them is right next to a cement structure, very close to the footpath of the lake, just beyond the coconut groove fence.

The Owlets are still there, not in the open where i found them, but in one of the trees in the vicinity. Its protected inside the branches of the coconut tree, but still visible with some good binoculars or a long telephoto lens. - at Puttenahalli Lake.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

World Wetlands Day

February 2nd is World Wetlands Day.
Every year, this day marks the signing of the Ramsar Convention, an “intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources”, in 1971 at Ramsar, Iran.  
What is a wetland? A wetland is an area that holds water either permanently or seasonally. The Convention uses a broad definition of the types of wetlands covered in its mission, including lakes and rivers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands and peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, near-shore marine areas, mangroves and coral reefs, and human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs, and salt pans.
For India, the Convention on Wetlands came into force on Feb 1, 1982. Currently 26 sites in India (with a surface area of 689,131 hectares) are designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with 5 located in the south 
- Kolleru Lake, Andhra Pradesh
- Ashtamudi Wetland, Sasthamkotta Lake, Vembanad-Kol Wetland, Kerala 
- Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu.
(Source: The Annotated Ramsar List, Sep 2012)
2014 is the UN International Year of Family Farming – so the Ramsar Convention has chosen “Wetlands & Agriculture” as the World Wetlands Day theme for 2014. This comic strip suggests the way forward when wetlands come under threat.
Click the pic to enlarge
Free download courtesy:

In Bangalore, wetlands occupy about 5% of the city’s area. (Source: Conservation And Management Of Wetland Ecosystems In Karnataka, IISc paper).  If you would like to know more about wetlands, please visit the Ramsar Convention website here.