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Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dandeli - Goa - Gokarna

Before sunset, from this famous Syke's Point, we could see close to 50 Great Hornbills!
September 2013. I got a call from Dr. Sanjay Mohan IFS, APCCF, inviting me over to Dandeli  for a workshop on “Horbill Conservation” – 28th and 29th September. What better place than Dandeli for Hornbills!

 27th September. A trip was due and I decided to drive down from Bangalore. My wife and son joined me (we) for what turned out to be a longish outing…


B.B. Mallesha I.F.S., the Director of “DANDELI-ANSHI TIGER RESERVE”  was the main force behind the event. He had planned each and every part of the event with lot of passion and over fifty of us participants from all over India thoroughly enjoyed the two days we spent at the “Kulgi Nature Camp” while we debated every aspect of “Hornbill Conservation”!

After the Registration formalities at 9am on the 28th, and the Inauguration of the workshop at 10 am, we all gathered in the “Nagzari Hall” at Kulgi for several very interesting sessions focused on “How to Conserve the Hornbills”. Presentations of data and experience by stalwarts, group discussions, technical sessions, a wonderful street play on “Hornbill Conservation”, an enlightening documentary on Hornbills, a field visit to watch them live at “Sykes Point, Ambikanagar”, a wonderful early morning safari into the tiger reserve were all thoroughly enjoyed by the enthusiastic participants.

Participants of the workshop enjoying "Great Hornbills" at Syke's Point!

Dandeli is a hub for Hornbills in India, one can see four species of Hornbills here - Great Hornbill, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Malabar Grey Hornbill and Indian Grey Hornbill. The Government of Karnataka has notified about 52 square kilometer of forest area around Dandeli as “Hornbill Conservation Reserve”.

At the end of the interactive sessions several ideas and suggestions on how to help the Hornbills were submitted by the participants of the workshop to the park management for perusal. These inputs would be used to develop a long-term plan for Hornbill Conservation.

On the 29th September, the workshop ended with a fine closing function attended by several top IFS officers, the media and all the participants of the workshop at “ Kali Adventure Camp, JLR, Dandeli, followed by a wonderful lunch!


29th September. After lunch we moved to “Old Magazine House”, Jlr at Ganeshgudi. Mistake!  OMH is about 25 kms from Dandeli and is famous now as a hot-spot for bird photographers. Some time ago a kind soul started keeping a bowl of water for the birds to drink. Several otherwise shy birds of the area now make a brief visit to the water bowl to have a drink, thus offering the photographer a fine chance to photograph them.

Several species of birds come to drink water at OMH!

The mistake I made was in the timing. It was raining, heavily and non-stop. Add a “Malabar Pit Viper”, a Scorpion and hundreds of Leeches – it was a recipe for disaster! However, we had a fine dinner that night with Sanjay Mohan, VMR and gang. With Ashok Mansur and Ganesh H. Shankar showing us some wonderful photographs on demand!

Passionate photographers shooting birds at OMH in the rain!

In the morning (30th) I quickly shifted to the “Hornbill Resort”  run by the ever friendly Umesh. It barely stopped raining! And the next day, though I had plans to spend a week in the area, I shifted to Goa. It was raining there too!


October 1st. Since my bird photography quest got washed out we decided to chill in Goa. We had a wonderful time roaming the beaches! Though it did rain off and on …

Luckily, some of my birding friends had told me about “Rajan Hatiskar’! A great nature lover and an equally great host, Rajan lives in Mumbai and has a farm-house in Goa just outside the toll gate on the Mumbai – Goa road. At this time (October 2013), there is a “Fishtail Palm”  tree in his property that is fruiting. This tree is directly opposite to the balcony of his farm-house and the fruits are at eye-level and not too far away. The Mountain Imperial Pigeon and the Malabar Pied Hornbill among other birds love these fruits! What better setting could a bird photographer ask for?

Rajan Hatiskar and the Fishtail Palm - Goa!

Coincidently, Rajan and his good friend Pradeep were holidaying in Goa and all I had to do was just drive down to their farm-house and sit in their balcony and enjoy their hospitality! And, I did just that, on two occasions! (2nd and 4th October, 2014) Take a bow Raja Sahab! Very many thanks again!


On the 7th of October we left Goa and drove to Gokarna for a two nights stay at the Om Beach Resort, JLR. A very pleasant first visit for us indeed. The location is superb. We enjoyed our visit to the Om Beach and the famous Mahabaleshwara Temple. The JLR property is very comfortable and the food was very good!

Entrance to OM beach...

Om beach at Gokarna!

Om Beach Resort, JLR, Gokarna.

Superb cottages as accomodation at JLR, Gokarna!

Entrance to the temple...

Fish Market - Gokarna!

At Gokarna, I was able to add the “Thick-billed Flowerpecker” to my collection on Indiabirds!

On the 9th of October, we drove back to Bangalore! An enjoyable outing for our family indeed!

Vijay Cavale
October, 2013.