Lakes and Environ

Kunthur-Kalluru lakes are situated in Kollegala taluk of Chamrajanagara district. These tanks were dependent on monsoon rain are now getting filled by Kabini dam canals. Water released for winter crop from Kabini dam fills these low lying and shallow tanks. Regularly, these lakes are supporting huge congregation of migratory water birds during winter (the reason behind declaring these lakes as IBA and proposed Ramsar Wetland).

These lakes resemble many other shallow Duggatti, Yelandur, Yeriyur, Kestur, Mullur, Malligehalli, Maddur, Kollegala, Mamballi, Hirekere lakes spread out at the foothills of BR Hills (Biligirirangana Hill), located in Kollegala, Yelandur and Chamarajanagara taluks of Chamarajanagara district. Topo sheet of the year 1910 depicts entire area as marsh. In summer, tanks gets dried up. Extensive growth of Ipomea carnea in all the tanks is noticeable.

Ipomea thicket provides secured shelter for huge congregations of Rosy Starling, Streaked-weaver Bird, and Bunting coinciding with paddy harvesting. Impenetrable vegetation within water body provides most secured foraging and roosting for migratory ducks, may be the reason for higher congregation. Trailing the tanks bunds, backwaters, and fields – covering the tanks one after other whole day for winter waterfowl census in mid-January is really an attainment. One might come across very rare bird species of Mysore area like White-bellied Sea-eagle, White Stork, flocks of great short-Lark, Citrine Wagtail, Gadwall, Brahminy Duck and so on. Last few seasons water bird count tells the best part of the story.

Other than lone sighting of Indian Courser Cursorius coromandelicus at Hirikere, Chamarajanagara by Siddaramaiah & Jayadeva (1992); Bustard, Florican, Sandgrouse and Flamingos mentioned by Sanderson (1879) stationed at Hunsur, Mysore district have not been recorded.

Phythian-Adams (1940) 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).

There is a lone sighting record of Pied Tits Parus nuchalis at Santhemaralli by Tiwari (1999), Chamarajanagar district located in Mysore area. We have not observed the Pied Tit here, probably because Tit is known to move over 5–7 km for foraging. However, Pied Tits Parus nuchalis have been recorded in eastern part of Male Mahadeshwara hills (Sadananda et al. 2010).

Three minor Harrier roosts involving different combination of Pallid Circus macrourus and Montagu's Circus pygargus, Western Marsh Circus aeruginosus, and Pied C. melanoleucos have been recorded (Thejaswi 2004) at Mandakalli grassland, Yedathore and Yelandur.

In order to save Great Indian Bustard Ardeotis nigricepsin, a rare bird in all parts of its habitat at that period, from extinction Phythian-Adams (1940) suggested vehemently for complete protection both from professional snares and sportsmen after three rendezvous with Bustards. Bustard habitats mentioned by Phythian-Adams were investigated thoroughly for remnants in Santhemaralli-Kavalande, and Vadgal plains but failed to find any.

Comb Ducks have been recorded thrice during non-winter in flight; attempts were made to find their possible nesting location in tree holes at Yelandur sector tanks in addition to KRS Backwaters, didn’t yield any positive result. Single largest known congregation of 91 Comb Ducks was recorded in Kallur tank on 21 February 2010.

Fig: Submerged vegetation in tank water

Fig: Close up of Comb Duck

Fig: Local children enjoying bird watching

Fig: Congregation of migratory Ducks in large numbers

Fig: Close up of White Stork, Photo by Shivashankar Naik

References and Additional reading:

  1. Phythian-Adams, E. G. 1940. Small game-shooting in Mysore. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 41: 594-603.
  2. Sadananda, K. B., Tanuja, D. H., Sahana, M., Girija, T., Sharath, A., Vishwanath, M. K., & Shivaprakash, A., 2010. Observations on the White-naped Tit Parus nuchalis in the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka. Indian Birds 6 (1): 12-14
  3. Shivaprakash, A. 2002. Re-occurrence of Demoiselle Crane in Mysore district. Newsletter for Birdwatchers: 42(1):8.
  4. Shivaprakash, A. 2005. Distribution, density and Threats to Barheaded Goose in Mysore, Mandya and Chamaranagar districts, Southern Karnataka. Newsletter for Birdwatchers: 45(5):80.
  5. Siddaramaiah, B. & G. S. Jayadeva. 1992. Indian Coursers in Chamarajanagar Taluk. Newsletter for Birdwatchers 32(3&4): 6-7.
  6. Thejaswi, S. & A. Shivaprakash. 2004. Status of the Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga Pallas in the Wetlands of the Kaveri basin of Karnataka. J. Bombay Nat. Hist.Soc. 101(3): 447-450.
  7. Thejaswi, S. 2001. The year of the Rosy Pastor. Newsletter for Birdwatchers 41(3): 33-34.
  8. Thejaswi, S., A. Shivaprakash & M. Mohan Kumar. 2004. A note on Harrier roosts in the Mysore area. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 101(3): 450-451.
  9. Tiwari, J.K. 1999.