To the place where feathers belong...

Kundapura birds

We reached Kundapura Railway Station in Udupi district at the early hours of dawn. My friend Harish who would not stop talking about the birds that ‘reside’ in Gangolli village. Enticed by the description, I embarked on this birdwatching venture with my friends, all the way from Karwar. Armed with camouflages, long lenses and tripods, we were ready to capture the feathered friends of this village.

We decided to take a 20-minute walk to the Panchagangavali river bank because it was close to the station. The Panchagangavali river flows from Kundapura to Gangolli before merging with the Arabian Sea.

As the name suggests, the river accommodates five small rivers, Souparnika, Varahi, Kedaka, Chakra and Kubja, along its flow. It is also said that Gangolli earned its name because of the presence of this river. This village has a rich variety of flora and fauna. Not only does it attract tourists because of its scenery, but also birds, which come here to feed on the fish from the river. So, if you’re a birdwatcher, photographer and a tourist then this is just the place to be in. 

Since we arrived early, before sunrise, we decided to set up our gadgets first. We took our positions and waited for the first guest of the day. And, it was an osprey,  majestically flying at a low elevation along the river. It would just dip and pick its meal and move towards a fallen branch to savour it. 

Soon, river terns, fish eagles joined the party. And, as time went by, we were delighted with the sight of more birds, it was a feast for our cameras. 

Meanwhile, the oystercatchers had arrived on the banks, watching and capturing them in action was an exciting task and we didn’t realise that we spent three hours just viewing the birds and taking their pictures. Narayan, the local fisherman and guide, who made all the arrangements, explained how this place has become a birdwatcher’s favourite destination. Five years ago, a group of people visited the place to view and photograph birds They popularised this spot, and after that the location has been seeing a regular footfall of birdwatchers and photographers. 
Apart from local visitors, tourists from faraway places like Bengaluru and Mysuru also come to Gangolli . They coordinate with Narayan for boat rides and meals. Also, by now, he is well aware of the names and timings of the birds. 

That said, the beauty of this area lies in its location and it is endearing to see that the area is tranquil and clean, making it an ideal location for the birds.

However, after witnessing the damage done by development to our scenic locales, we hope that the same does not happen to this place, and it continues to be an abode of our feathered friends. 

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To the place where feathers belong...

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