Narasambudhi Lake (Nanjanagudu Sector)
Normally, our migratory birds ‘search - count’ during mid-winter migratory birds census, itinerary reaches Narasambudhi kere (Kere=Lake) after covering Dalavayi & Mandakalli tanks located right after the Mysore city in Nanjanagudu-Ooty Road; on the way -Undubuthi kere, Devirammana Kere, Kalale katte, Kalalale kere, Sindhuvalli kere and finally reach Narasambudhi. On return, if time permits visit Dadadalli kere and back home; if not, visit Dadadalli on some other day along with Hadinaru Kere. In both diversity and density Narasambudhi kere stands first in Nanjanagudu sector, followed by Hadinaru, Dalavayi, Kalale and Dadadalli. But trend is not so hopeful, as the presence of ducks and waders in Dalavayi, Kalale and Dadadalli have reduced drastically. Even now, fairly good population of Bar-headed Goose are roosting in Narasambudhi and Hadinaru tanks every year in mid-winter.
Since Dalavay and Mandakalli are attached to Nanjanagudu-Ooty Road, many birders/nature lovers have recorded migratory birds and reported in Newsletter for Birdwatchers; in websites- bngbirds and Indianaturewatch. Specially, Dalavayi tank used to support large congregation of Shovellers and Garganey; and, these ducks hop between other nearby tanks using Dalavayi tanks as centre-point. The trend is now slightly upset. Mandakalli tank was famous for ever present Darter and Spot-billed Pelican; photographers used to click the birds within 10 Mtr distance, sitting on the edge of busy road was a common sight.
A small water body Devirammana Kere used to support few Comb ducks, Garganeys and Common Teals. Kalale tank is preferred foraging ground for all the three local Storks –Painted, white-necked and Open-bill. Red-headed Merlin used to breed in Terminalia bellarica tree on tank bund. Greater Spotted Eagle visits the water body regularly in winter. An interior tank at Sindhuvalli had once hosted Flemingos in good numbers as per village farmer Sri Mahadevaswamy (good at identifying birds) residing on the banks of tank. Dadadalli tank is most preferred by Pelicans, Cormorants and Darters, but extensive fishing has driven away these birds.
Fig : Brahminy Duck in midst of White Ibis
Minor harrier roost has been recorded in grasslands between Mandakalli- Dadadalli tanks, now transformed as Mysore Airport. Sporadically Lesser Kestrel, Northern Goshawk and Amur Falcons have been recorded here. Region covering Hadinaru tank, Hulimavu hills and River Kapila is another better bird habitat in Nanjanagudu sector, that supports breeding population of Cormorants and Darters, Tawny Eagle and Shaheen Falcon. There is a single record of Greylag Goose & Lesser Flemingo sighting in Hadinaru Tank on ?.1.1993 & 28.01.1994 respectively during mid-winter waterfowl census.
If one takes the route to Chamarajanagar from Nanjanagudu, right after Chinnadagudi hundi village, agricultural fields on either side of road looks like vast stretches of plain grasslands till Konanur. In fact all these area was plain grassland until recently. Similar transformation could be seen on either side of the road from Kavalande to Umattur. A small resident population of Blackbucks exists here. This is one of the locations where Great Indian Bustard was chanced upon by British era naturalists.
Phythian-Adams observes that during 1925 to 1939, congregation of Demoiselle Cranes Grus virgo in 1000s at Kapila river near Nanjanagudu, Yelandur Tanks, and at confluence of River Kapila, Cauvery at T.Narasipura was a common feature during winter; and were flying over Mysore city regularly is a mirage now. In recent years few individual Demoiselle Cranes were recorded twice at Maddur kere (Yelandur) and KRS backwaters (Shivaprakash 2002).
Saplings planted under social forestry scheme have grown well and covering almost half the area of Narasambudhi lake bed. Narasambudhi is a mini reservoir constructed on River Gundal, a tributary of Kapila River exists only during heavy rains or good monsoon. Now a day, farmers are not dependent on this tank water for irrigation, since a Kabini(Kapila) canal is taking care of irrigation. Whenever water recedes to lowest level, villagers grow short duration crops in the tank; entire tank transforms into meadow. Local and migratory birds efficiently make use of all the habitats (tank water, tank bed forest & field) persists within lake. Western part of the bund-pebbled, denuded grassland is preferential foraging ground for Harrier, Lark and Pipits. Large congregation of Bar-headed Goose, Glossy Ibis, and Whiskered Terns is a common feature every year. A walk from Gemini distrilleries or Vidyapeeta located on Nanjanagudu-Chamarajanagar road, to tank bund and return, spending 4-5 hours will fetch you minimum 100+ species of birds and 50+ species of butterflies in winter season. Rare species like Brahminy duck, Pied Avocet, and Grey Bushchat have been sighted here. During summer entire lake dries up. Shallow water during winter supports migrants as well as local species of water birds. During March-April at the time of migrants departure one can witness waders attaining breeding dress. Pompadour Green Pigeon was sighted near Narasambudhi Lake far away from known habitat in mid-summer. Green Pigeons visiting the swamps in hot weather is documented by Phythian-Adamas(1943) & Frend(1948).
Solitary Sand Martin has been sighted among Common Swallows on 17.02.2008 near Nanjanagudu. Mss. Vijayalaxmi Rao has recorded un-successful breeding of White-necked Stork from here for the first time in Mysore Area. Indian Blue Robin is photographed here under the bushes & herbs.
Fig: Bar-Headed Geese
Live fences are familiar landmark in agricultural landscapes across Southern Karnataka. Worldwide live fences were raised to divide and mark the agriculture fields, as well as barriers to animal movement. Live fences were sources of fodder, firewood, and fencing material. Live fences play substantial ecological roles providing habitat, and resources for many forms of living beings, including –birds, butterflies and plants. Botanical composition and structure have been studied in Mysore area. More than 60 species of birds and butterflies are dependent upon live fences. Local knowledge about live fences is still open for study. Live fences are important features of agricultural landscapes that merit much greater attention in sustainable land management policy.
Approach routes to Narasambudhi, Kalale, Sindhuvalli, Dadadalli had wonderful live hedges supporting better diversity and density of plants, birds and butterflies species; but vanished hedges has taken toll. This familiar landmark in rural habitat has almost disappeared in this part, probably in the entire southern Karnataka.
Elaborative birds checklist with 202 species in Narasambudhi and surroundings is enlisted; however, species of entire Nanjanagudu sector is discussed above, but not listed.
As area under cultivation is highest (rain fed as well as irrigated), species mainly dependent on cultivated host plants are generally found. Totally 83 species of butterflies have been recorded so far.
As in other locations of Mysore area, Danaid family butterfly migration has been recorded here twice a year i.e, during pre-monsoon and post monsoon. Rice Swift, Branded Swift and Joker butterflies are some interesting species recorded. Western Ghat species Red Helen has been sighted twice crossing Nanjanagudu-Ooty road from west to east near Devirammana Kere.