Rapid industrialisation and unending pollution has meant that nature lovers, in the city, have to look elsewhere for their share of happiness. But, wait, all hope is not lost yet. Bangalore still has a handful of spots that bring joy to nature lovers and bird watchers. Lakes, gardens, national parks and hills that are at the heart of the city or surround it, are ideal for when you want to explore the beauty of winged creatures. LBB tracks down the bird-watching spots in (and around) Bangalore that you can fly by.
Owls, Herons and Falcons: Bird Watching Paradises In And Around The City
Yep, we know Nandi Hills is not technically part of Bangalore. But considering that is just a short drive from our faraway Airport we’ve included it in the list. Especially, since it’s such a treasure trove for bird watchers. The first stop on your adventure should be the vast gardens maintained by Department of Horticulture. The plantation, that includes exotic trees, is a great place to spot Indian Blue Robins, Booted Warblers, Malabar Whistling Thrushes, and Blue Capped Rock Thrushes. You can explore the area around the Guest House before hitting the cliffs that are covered by shrubs. Here, keep your eyes peeled for the rare Yellow-Throated Bulbuls and soaring falcons.
Bannerghatta National Park
Home to over 150 species of birds, the Bannerghatta National Park won’t disappoint. It’s best to sign up with local guides or birding clubs (like Bangalore Birding) that organises regular trips to the park. Surrounded by a thick forest area and lakes, you can hike your way through the park while spotting Asian Paradise Flycatchers, Jungle Owls, Coppersmith Barbets, Oriental White Eyes, and Indian Pond Herons. Again, if you are lucky the rarely seen Yellow Throated Bulbul may fly by.
One of the few surviving waterbodies in the city, Madiwala Lake makes for a tranquil spot for your bird spotting endeavours. Plan a visit during November and December and you’ll be treated to the sight of winged creatures of all sorts. Across the serene waters, you’ll see Spotted Bill Pelicans and Spotted Bill Ducks noiselessly float about. While in the grassy shrubs around, your binoculars or camera lens can catch everything from egrets to Ashy Prinias, Common Coots, Pariah Kites, Pond Herons, and Parakeets.
If you have packed in enough experience in bird watching, Lalbagh can be the ideal test of your skills. But newbies will need help in spotting and recognising the winged beauties at one of Bangalore’s most frequented tourist spots. To make the most of your experience head here in the mornings (birding clubs like BNGBirds host regular trips here). The lake area especially is a hotbed for birding activities. Here, you can watch out for Black Pelicans, Purple Herons, Brahminy Kites, and White-Breasted Kingfishers.
Located in North Bangalore, Hebbal Lake has always been a favourite with bird watchers. A walk around the massive lake and you’ll come face to face with Kingfishers, Spot Billed Ducks, Spot Billed Pelicans, Grey Herons, Median Egrets, Painted Storks, and Yellow-Tailed Wagtails. In the last few months of the year (from September onwards). Hebbal Lake welcomes flocks of migratory birds, from as far away as Siberia. The lake is a must visit then.
There are two Puttenahalli Lakes in the city – one in JP Nagar and other in Yelahanka. Both are popular with bird watchers. At the Yelahanka lake, you can watch darters, painted storks, Eurasian spoonbills, purple moorhens, and common sandpipers fly by. Again, come by during the later months to spot migratory birds. The JP Nagar Lake, which is a rejuvenated water body also sees a massive variety of winged creatures. Swing by and spend time spotting cormorants, Lesser Whistling Ducks, Little Grebes, Black Crowned Night Herons, Pied Kingfishers, Black Winged Stilts, and a host of wagtails, storks, and swallows.