Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Out in the ocean!

It was January and I got a mail from my friend Shivashankar Manjunath from Karkala that he is planning for a pelagic birding off the coast of Mulky. As there was no record of pelagic birding done in Karnataka I was very much excited to be part of it. Shivashankar had done all the arrangements of the boat and there were few more friends who would be joining the trip.


29th morning Anush Shetty and self landed in Udupi. The starting point was Mulky and we reached there by 7:15 or so and Shivashakar was there waiting for all the team members to join. When all gathered the watch clocked 7:45 or so and we headed straight to the place where the boat would be waiting for us.


It was a medium sized motor boat which can accommodate 7-8 people comfortably. After having some good sightings of stork billed kingfisher and small blue king fisher we started our journey into the sea.


The plan was to scout the area of about 8-10kms from the shore. Shivashankar had seen a patch of rocks at about 8 kms from the Kapu shore. So we targeted that place to look out for some pelagic birds. Pelagic birds are also called as Oceanic birds which are mainly confined to the open sea areas and seldom found near the shores. A similar survey done near the coast of Cochin in November was successful in recording some very interesting sightings of few pelagic birds like Flesh footed Shearwaters, Masked Booby, Arctic Skua and few others, which very rarely come near the shores. We were also expecting a few sightings like this. It was just taking a chance!


We reached the place of the group of rocks after about one hour. On the way we sighted quite a number of GreatCrested Terns, Black Headed Gulls, Caspian Terns and groups of Sanderlings and Turnstones. But since all these can be found near the shores as well, we were not keen on them. We had no clue of any pelagic bird yet.


After reaching the place we found quite a good number of white markings on the rocks and few Blue Rock Pigeons! But no signs of any guests which we were expecting. We waited there for about 15 - 20 minutes before we decided to head back as the sun was right above our head and there was not even a small clue as to if we could see any. On the way back we had a good sighting of Dolphins!


We were back at the shore by afternoon and after having our lunch we decided to bird along the coast of Mulky itself. The birding in the afternoon proved useful as we had some good sightings of the flock of Sanderlings, Terns and Gulls and mixed party of Sand Plovers and Turnstones. All were in good numbers and we saw some very nice acrobatic flights of the flock. It was a nice evening with some good photography opportunities.


Though the main purpose of the trip was not fulfilled completely what remained was our effort to find the pelagic birds on the coast of Mulky.


 Shivashankar is planning for another one in the month of April and I am definitely game for it! the main challenge is to coupe with the sea sickness which, if happened, keeps one continuously busy omitting on the open ocean for hours together! :D

I was lucky! :)

Cheers,
Ash



5 comments:

ಡಾ. ಚಂದ್ರಿಕಾ ಹೆಗಡೆ said...

nic.. pics...

Santosh said...

Great effort Ashwini... Wish you all the best for the next endeavour :)

Nagendra S said...

Ashwini, its been an absolute pleasure viewing your clicks. I too have just started learning the nuances of SLR photography and have a lot to learn from you!

Ashwini Kumar Bhat said...

Hay Nagendra! Nice to see you here my friend! Glad that you liked my images. What started as a hobby, has now turned into passion and much more than that.
Good to hear that you too have started the journey!
Wishing you a great light!
Cheers!

S Shivananda Gavalkar said...

Hi Ashwin,
Good collection !!!
I think I know this Shivashankar.

All the best for next trip.