Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lumbini gardens - Bangalore's own Bird Sanctuary

The destination this past weekend was Lumbini Gardens, Bangalore. A beautiful lake in north Bangalore. This is actually a much better tourist spot than the more famous Ulsoor lake which in reality is a sewage dump. I arrived there with NAL's most famous ornithologist Vasudha. This was the first time she was bird watching outside NAL! But that doesn't matter to someone who cannnot distinguish between a crow and a dove!!

We walked along the banks of the lake. We spotted a black creature in the lake that quickly dove in. I thought it was the Loch Ness monster, or the Hebbal monster to be precise. Vasudha declared that it was a duck! I still think it was a crow because according to me, all black birds are crows. Full stop. The ornithologist also showed me pelicans, eagles and egrets. (Note: egret is not the young one of an eagle!) I was fervently hoping for some crow to show up, so that i also could show some knowledge of birds. Damn those crows. There are never there when you want them! In IISc you don't walk outside after 5:00 pm unless you want the crows to bless you. I even played Sheryl Crow's songs on my cell phone, just in case the crows are attracted to her music [:P]

Vasudha tried to act extra knowledgeable, on realising that I knew nothing about birds. She started giving her own names to those birds whose names she didn't know. Like zebra bird and rock bird. I guess she would call a peacock a rainbow bird. We decided to take a paddle boat so that we could get nearer to the birds. She declared that she was the runners up at the Mayem lake boating competition. I dug a little deeper and found out that only two teams had participated and that she was the non playing captain of her team. So much for her boating expertise!!

The guard told us to wear life jackets as there were no life buoys in the boats. I asked him if Medimix would do!!! (saddest joke ever!!!) We paddled quickly to the birds. But like a mirage, they kept moving farther away from us as we moved towards them. We quickly realised that nature is best seen on the Discovery Channel. We also saw a water snake gliding smoothly along the surface. The pelicans were quite impressive with their graceful flight, while the ducks were expert in catching fish. Quite entertaining.

On the whole its one of the better nature spots in Bangalore. Besides boating there are some games, a water pool, a rose garden and some stalls. For further details, check their site. A wonderful trip and an enlightening lesson on bird watching by Vasudha.

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