Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I would like to start the New Year with a happy post and with my favourite subject, BIRDS! Have a look at the beautiful birds first, then read about them!

Vedanthangal bird sanctuary! The place where we watched them is  quite far away which is good for them! No disturbance from us, enemies! Click on the picture to have a better view! The white dots are birds!
Entrance to the Vedanthangal bird sanctuary
Pond Heron! This bird mostly stays near the bank of the lake where they can pick insects and worms from the algae.  The stretch their necks nearly a foot long to pick the worms from the water! Looks like snake when they stretch!  We didn't see anyother birds coming near the banks!

Lone Pelican...most of the birds we saw/noticed were pelicans.  These are large birds which mostly come from Australia.  We saw some flying with twigs to form their nests!

Black-headed Ibis! I will forget the name after an hour, but they look so beautiful!
Pelicans...watching the new member landing? Look at their beaks! Their faces look expressive!

Late comer?!
These birds look beautiful...Don't know the name of the birds!
One section of the birds
All these birds are beautiful, though we don't know the names!

Pelicans looked prominent, maybe because of their size!

Open Bill Stork...these are called 'naththai kuththi naarai' in Tamil, means 'snail pricking stork'!  
All these different types of birds stay in separate clusters but they don't seem to disturb others! We can learn a thing or two from them!

We had been planning to visit Vedanthangal Bird sanctuary (near Chennai) for the past many years now.  At last we did it, 10 days back, since we read in the paper that the birds had started coming.

This place is 60 kms. from our house.  I wanted to be there at 6 am itself, since I thought that it would be nice to watch the birds flying in the morning hours.  But somebody at the sanctuary said that the gate would be open at 8 am! But it opens at 6, we came to know after going there!   We were told that we can see birds coming from Australia, Siberia, Sri Lanka and many other places for nesting in the Vedanthangal lake in the months of November to March.  You can see in the first and second picture, how the birds are sitting in groups on tree tops!  A person who works there said that since this years the rains were less and the lake was not filled up properly, only around 30,000 birds have come.  Last year, the water level was high and so around 60,000 birds had come.  They come here, build their nests, hatch eggs and after the birds come out, even teaching to fly takes place here itself.  It will be around March first week and we are planning to go there again to see the baby birds!

Wikipedia says:

Vedanthangal is the oldest water bird sanctuary in the country. Vedanthangal in Tamil language means 'hamlet of the hunter'. This area was a favourite hunting spot for the local landlords in the early 1700s. The region attracted a variety of birds because it was dotted with small lakes that acted as feeding grounds for the birds. Realising its ornithological importance, the British government undertook steps to develop Vedanthangal into a bird sanctuary as early as 1798. This was established in 1858 by the order of the Collector of Chingleput.

Several accounts of the sanctuary were published in the mid-19th Century.Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary is one of the oldest bird sanctuaries in India, and has been fiercely protected by the local population for well over 250 years. In 1936, the park was notified as a sanctuaryand in 1962, the Madras Forest Act legally accorded the status of a reserve forest to Vedanthangal. Ten years later, the place was declared as a wildlife sanctuary.

The area had a compact grove of more than 500 barringtonia trees earlier. An additional 100 trees were planted in 1973 and over 1,000 trees were planted in 1996.

The local people are very protective of the birds.  First, the bird droppings in the water which was also used for irrigation of the nearby fields act as a good fertilizer.  Not only that, the locals think that the birds come there to build their homes depending on their goodwill.  They never shoot any bird here.  They treat them like family.  Some local youngman caught a large fish here, a couple of weeks back.  The local Panchayat people warned him and fined him Rs.10,000/-.  Then after some bargaining, he paid some Rs.3,000/-, it seems! This is a huge amount of money for a lone fish!

The lake is surrounded by a walking tiled path and 3-4 towers for bird-watching.  This was built by the Britishers in the 1800s.   I saw clean toilets and many dustbins with notifications not to throw anything outside the bin or anywhere else in the sanctuary.  Even then I saw a couple of plastic bottles floating in the lake.  But surprisingly, the whole area was clean.  Drinking water also was available and benches were there to relax and watch the atmosphere relaxingly!  I noticed many foreigners with cameras waiting patiently to click a good photograph...children also were fascinated by the birds. 

Watch tower!
Drinking water!
We saw these cows at the back of the seats we sat, at the Vedanthangal park.  Farming and cattle breeding is the main source of income for the local villagers here.  They supply milk to the city. The cows look so clean.  The calves also were not too thin, which is rare here, in the city!
We reached there around 8.30 am.  Had our idlies in our car and then went inside.  We saw people selling fruits and some small shops were there.  So, it is better to carry food with you.  The tickets were just Rs.2 for children and Rs.5 for adults! I couldn't believe! Normal camera charge Rs.25 and Video camera Rs.150. They should charge more and use the money for maintenance, I feel.  It is worth spending more money here!

Our breakfast, Idlies with chutney powder! And then Amul masti (butter milk)!
Let us all, including these birds and other creatures on our earth,  have a happy life in the coming years!



Another village which has got bird-loving people is  here


Renu said...

wow..seems to be a beautiful place..And idlis look so yummy too:)

Can we see the birds early morning only..suppose we are able to reach there late only then?

Sandhya said...

RENU: That was fast, Renu! Thank you!

You can visit the place from 3 to 6 pm too, it seems!

Ramakrishnan said...

Lovely pics from Vedanthangal. My first and last visit to this amazing bird sanctuary was in 1976 :(
The molakapodi smeared idlis are mouth watering.
Wishing you an amazing colorful sizzling and sparkling New Year 2014.Best wishes Ram

வை.கோபாலகிருஷ்ணன் said...

படங்கள் அத்தனையும் அருமை.

கடைசியில் காட்டியுள்ள மிளகாய்ப்பொடி தடவிய இட்லி மிக மிக அருமை.;)

பகிர்வுக்கு நன்றிகள்.

தங்களின் அன்பான வாழ்த்துகளுக்கு மிக்க நன்றி.

தங்களுக்கும் தங்கள் குடும்பத்தினர் அனைவருக்கும் எனது உளங்கனிந்த இனிய ஆங்கிலப்புத்தாண்டு நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்!

அன்புடன் VGK

ashok said...

great post Sandhya...beautiful pictures...and best wishes on the new year!

KParthasarathi said...

That was a great post on the New Year Eve.What a beautiful place.The description and the pictures are very nice.I haven't visited the place.Will do so before March

Happy new year to you and your family

Rama Ananth said...

Lovely pictures Sandhya.
Mouth watering idlies too.
Have a wonderful year!

Rama Ananth said...

Lovely pictures Sandhya.
Mouth watering idlies too.
Have a wonderful year!

Destination Infinity said...

Among all the photos, the Idli photo is the best :P

The photos have come out very well, and the place looks so different from what I remember. I too should plan a trip to this place, sometime.

It's good that this place has been declared a protected forest and the people are caring about birds. Otherwise, the usual poaching, etc. might happen. That's why it's best for birds to nest far away from human interference.

Destination Infinity

SG said...

Happy New Year to you and your family.

Sai Charan said...

Wishing a very Happy 2014 to you and all the family!! :)

Great to read a nice and happy post today and yes birds are your favourite :) Nice photos and description :)

Thanks for sharing, take care :)

Anonymous said...

Woo hoo! WOW what a place to visit and what a co-incidence..We kicked of the new year by a trip to a bird sanctuary on the 1st Jan and hoping in our minds this will be a year for Bharat Bhraman! :D :D

We still await the big birds like the flamingo's, pelicans here, however, we have got a good lot here already :D We do not have as much greenery as you have.

Now that you have started your year with your favourite topic birds... Sandhya I promise to provide you enough bird pictures on my blog this year... and your location for this visit of yours goes down in my memory... I have to do that... what a huge gathering! :D

and those idli's! sigh... you had to post a pic eh! :P

BK Chowla, said...

Thank you for sharing such interesting pictures and information

Sandhya said...

RAMAKRISHNAN RAMANATHAN: Thank you, Ram! Our wishes to you and your family!

VAI GOPALAKRISHNAN: Vaazhththukkalukku migavum nandri, Gopalakrishnan Sir!

ASHOK: Thank you, Ashok and our best wishes to you and your family!

K.PARTHASARATHY: thank you, Partha Sir!

This place is interesting and the main thing is it is very well maintained.

RAMA ANANTH; Thank you, Rama!

DESTINATION INFINITY: I knew that the idlies' photo will be appreciated by many!

Please visit this place in first week of March! The babies also can be seen then!

Yes, this area is still surviving because of the concern of the local people, I feel too!

SG: Thank you, SG!

SAI CHARAN: Thank you, Sai! All the best to you!

HITCHWRITER: I love your pictures of birds. I am not an expert photographer like you, though!

I think action was taken long back to preserve this area and so this is surviving even now. We noticed many new buildings on our way to the sanctuary. Hope new people do not disturb this area.

Waiting to see more and more pictures of yours of birds, Dhiren!

Idlies soaked in chutney powder mixed with oil tastes better after a couple of hours. It stays tasty until the next day too! This is our preferred tiffin for our train journeys!

Avada Kedavra said...

Lovely pics Sandhya. Lucky you got to see so many birds.
Yeah just Rs.5 is too less in this age. They should probably charge more.
Happy new year to you as well!

Anonymous said...

Ok, if you had said there were those delicious looking idli molaga podi, I would have hopped on uninvited :D

Happy New Year

Sandhya said...

AVADA KEDAVARA: Thank you, Ash!

Nothing is there for complaining...the place is clean and well maintained. When we were sitting on the bench, a man came with a couple of towels and started wiping the dust from other benches, which were not very unclean! You can see from the pictures that the path also is well maintained. But I was guilty of paying only Rs.5/- for watching such exotic birds and people come here from Nov. to March every year, that is all! We are used to paying a lot for everything and get nothing or less in return!

DEBUM: Welcome back, Dharma after a long long time! Happy to see you here!

Just give a hint and I will inform you when we go for trips like this with idlies next time!

Happy New year to you and your family!

Onkar said...

Excellent pictures

sm said...

happy new year

R. Ramesh said...

hey thanks ya...eppadi irrukingo? happy new year and good wishes to u too..cya

Crafty Shines said...

Happy New Year SandhyaMa! Hugs!

I love that powdered chutney on Idlis. My friends used to call it 'Gun Powder' :D

The pictures are wonderful!

Not sure if I have duplicated comments! Please delete one if I have.

Sandhya said...

ONKAR: Thank you, Onkar!

sm: Thank you and our wishes to you and your families too!

R.RAMESH: Thank you, Ramesh and our wishes to you and your family!

CRAFTY SHINES: Thank you, Crafty and our whole hearted wishes to you too!

Idly milagaappodi is our family's favourite esp. while travelling! Gun powder?! Hahaha!

Shail said...

Lovely post, and beautiful pictures, Sandhya. I see Egrets too.
Care for another trip there with me? ;)

Sandhya said...

SHAIL MOHAN: Sure, Shail! End of Feb and beginning of March means, we can see the babies too, an employee of the sanctuary said. Come anytime and I don't mind visiting this place again!

Deepak Raghuraman said...

A wonderful start to a new year. I have gone there last year and it's a wonderful place, to my surprise unlike other spots, this one is well maintained. SO neat and clean all the way. The support of localites should be appreciated. Nice pictures and neatly described!

Sandhya said...

DEEPAK RAGHURAMAN: Welcome to my space, Deepak!

We never see clean public places like this anywhere here, in India. This was unbelievably well maintained.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Lovely pics and a great write-up for the place :)
Esp, the foodie in me is more interested in the idly + milagai podi :P

Sandhya said...

UMSREFLECTIONS: Welcome here, Uma!

Many people have favoured the idly more than the birds, here!

Thank you, Uma!

TTS said...

Nice photo essay!
- TTS (http://thirtytwoandsingle.blogspot.in/)

Shail said...

I have come back to read the post again after our trip together. Gosh, I can't believe it actually happened! Now your post is all the more interesting to read after visiting the place :)
When we went there weren't so many Egrets. And there were a lot of Cormorants.
Sigh, it was a great trip! I will do it again next year may be! :D

Sandhya said...

TTS: Welcome to my space, TTS!

Thanks for the comment! So, you too are an animal/bird lover! Will visit your space!

SHAIL: I will never get bored even if I visited the place everyday when the visitors are there! Your pictures are great!

Please feel free to come here anytime, Shail!

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