Went birding in Anantagiri Hills this morning. It is 88 kilometers from my place in Hafeezpet, and Ajith and I drove down. We made an early start, leaving at 5 in the morning. The roads were nearly empty and the drive was comfortable.
Anantagiri Hills is just past Viqarabad, reached from Hyderabad through Moinabad and Chevella. The roads were good, though the ever-changing geography of the way to the airport made it a bit tricky.
As we were driving on the perimeter wall of the Gandipet lake, a sleepy Brahminy kite was startled out of its stupour as it lazily glided in front of us. Further down the road, a peahen flew across the road in front of us. Just outside Viqarabad, we saw a black-winged hawk alight on a treetop in front of us. However, he would not stop for us, and went on his way when we tried to take a picture of him. Just before we reached Anantagiri, a grey hornbill did the same thing to us.
We reached Anantagiri at about 6:30. The Ananta Padmanabha Swamy temple there is thronged by droves of devotees, but not early in the morning. Right in front of the temple is the path leading down into the scrub jungle. This is really good brding territory, and the air was thick with birdsong. A roller greeted us at the entrance to the path, and a hornbill kept taunting us, flying about, but keeping out of even Ajith’s photographic range.
We had a pleasant walk surrounded by birds. Parakeets screamed overhead as they zipped from treetop to distant treetop. Babblers kept up their constant chatter as they moved in a cloud from tree to ground and back to tree again. The disproportionately loud song of numerous sunbirds were all around us. Tree pies and pipits and nuthatches were everywhere. As we ventured deeper into the scrub, we could hear the distant calls of peafowl, but never got to see them. At one point, we scrambled up a little hillock, but found nothing on top. Coming down however, we got a good look at a couple of yellow-toed green pigeons.
When we got back from our walk, we got breakfast at a small restaurant called Saniya at Anantagiri – puri and bhaji served on a piece of newspaper!
On the drive back, we stopped at a largish pond by the roadside, where we spotted a black ibis and a few red-wattled lapwings.
A quick drive back brought us home for lunch.