Swarna and I spent 3-days at the 'new' Jungle Lodges at Bhadra. We had never visited this resort nor this part of the sanctuary before. This is the latest project of Jungle Lodges & Resorts and the resort opened to visitors in July 2005. Bhadra tiger reserve and wildlife sanctuary is in the Western Ghats of Chikmaglur district in Karnataka (~ 220 kms from Bangalore). It is easily accessible by train and road.
The resort is strategically located on a hillock, at the edge of the picturesque Bhadra River, near Lakkavalli town, adjoining the northern boundaries of the Bhadra Tiger Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary. The resort offers fabulous views of the reservoir from every cottage / log-hut. The reservoir seems to stretch endlessly in every direction. The reservoir was full to its brim, like all reservoirs and water bodies in Karnataka following the very heavy rains this October.
It rained all three days during our stay and the light was bad. I shot all images at ISO 400 or higher using tripod (note the grain in my images!).
The highlights of the trip were - 1) a memorable hour and a half boat ride in the Bhadra reservoir. Great opportunities to photograph common water birds in flight like egrets and cormorants. We also sighted a Brown fish owl along the forest edge mobbed by jungle crows. We also kayaked in the reservoir - a fantastic experience and is a must-do for visitors. 2) Sighting of the endemic Malabar lark at a grass patch just below the resort on consecutive days. You can see the images in the gallery.
This is my first sighting (& image/s) of the Malabar (crested) lark. I have searched for it in the Masinagudi area in Mudumalai WS (TN) in vain and was thrilled when Swarna spotted a pair in Bhadra. I believe it is a Malabar (crested) vs. Syke's or Crested lark because of:
1. Geographical range (the other 2 appear further North / NW)
2. Large bill
3. Prominent crest
4. Rufous-ish with black breast and neck streaks / spots
5. Buffish white belly