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

Mangalajodi! – 21st to 23rd January, 2016

My bird images from this trip ->  click here! (includes Bhitarkanika images from Brown-winged Kingfisher)

Mangalajodi Wetlands
Several months ago during their brief visit to Bengaluru, avid birders from Bhubaneshwar, Panchami Manoo Ukil and Avinash Khemka had extended our informal gathering of bird photographers a very warm welcome to Odisha. They strongly suggested we visit Mangalajodi and Bhitarkanika.

Boats everywhere...
Anantha Murthy took the lead which resulted in the four of us (Ganesh Jayaraman and Aravind Venkatraman from Chennai) landing in Bhubaneshwar on the 21st January 2016 . (Many thanks Anantha for making this trip happen!)

Shortly after landing at Bhubaneshwar, we were treated to a wonderful breakfast at the Mayfair hotel by Panchami and Avanish. (Many thanks folks for all the support!)

We hardly noticed the drive of about 75 kms from Bhubaneshwar. At 1 pm we reached our place of stay “ Mangalajodi Ecotourism ”.  Basic. Neat and Clean. Decent Food.

My room at Mangalajodi Ecotourism Resort
Hot meal!
Over 120 trains pass through this village every day (close to our resort)! Every single train blows its loud horn all through the night and day! If you are a light sleeper, god help you!!
After a quick meal we set out for our first look at Mangalajodi!

Mangalajodi is a “fishermen” village in the Khurda district in Odisha about an hour and a half drive along superb roads from the Bhubaneshwar airport. There is a large marshland (northern side of Chilika lake) adjoining the village. This marshland harbors a large variety of birds. Simple fishermen boats are available for rent to enter these marshlands made up of grasslands and reed beds…

Boats for rent!
Ganesh Jayaraman and Aravind Venkatraman (Front)
At 2.30 pm we were shooting our first bird! Listen! Where else on earth can you see The Greater Painted-Snipe, Common Snipe, Baillon’s Crake, Ruddy-breasted Crake, Slaty-breasted Rail, Yellow, Black and Cinnamon Bitterns, all within an hour of entering the water? Yes, at Mangalajodi! Photographing them from a moving boat is another story!!

Shooting form the boat!
Plenty of bird photographers were around shooting from the boat. It was nice to bump into Vinod CL and his brother.

We spent two wonderful days at Mangalajodi. Four sessions in the boat. Plenty of birds, plenty of images.. alas the bitterns did not come out in the open!

Everyone is fishing!!

Long nets across water ...
Just for a meal...
Just for a meal...
Traping fish...
Every small bit...
Everything from a boat!
This man takes grass for his fish pond!
Thousands of buffaloes keep the grass trimmed!

Travelling in India is always fun. We now drive to Bhitarkanika!

Vijay Cavale
January 2016