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Cauvery Fishing Camp, Doddamakkali - 12 / 13 June 2004

My Visit to Doddamakkali camp was decided on the day I visited the Bheemeshwari Fishing camp. Jungle Lodges and Resorts have three camps along the Cauvery river basin. Doddamakkali , Bheemeshwari and Galibore. Doddamakkali was supposed to be more scenic than Galibore and Bheemeshwari. Since the distance from Bangalore was not much (130 Km) I had decided to visit Doddamakkali in the coming weeks.

The timing was just perfect. A few of my friends wanted to getaway from Bangalore and asked me if we could go out somewhere. Doddamakkali was the first thing which struck to my mind. So, on the morning of June 12th, we left Bangalore in two cars (9 of us) and reached Doddamakkali camp at around 12 Noon. The last few kilometers drive, into the forest was amazing. It was a steep drive into the valley, and that too on unmetalled road. We were not sure if our cars would climb back up. We were greeted by the manager who offered some cool drinks at the camp. To my surprise, I met Pushparaju, who was my guide at Bheemeshwari and had helped me to track the Lesser Fish Eagle. On seeing me, he took me to the banks and showed me the Lesser Fish Eagle, which was perched onto the edge of the tree over looking the Cauvery. Without even checking into the tents, I grabbed my camera and hopped onto the coracle along with Pushpa and rowed down to the other bank. It was least bothered with our present. I took some shots and we came back to the camp.


After we checked into the tents and went around exploring the camp, it started to rain. This was expected. We were well aware of the fact that monsoons have arrived and it may rain through our our stay. The greenery all around the camp and valley was a beautiful site. After lunch, I took my camera and trekked up the hill which was behind my tent. I found a perfect hide among the bushes and trees and set up my tripod there. I could hear the chirping and whistling of the birds around me. But was difficult to shoot because of the thick canopy. There were lots of White Bellied Drongs around. Barbets, Rose ringed Parakeets, Iora, Sunbirds, Babblers, Black Hooded Oriole were a few of the birds which I saw. Common Woodshrike was the only one I could capture here. Though not much photography could be done, the experience, being there in the wild amongst the birds, which I like the most , was amazing. By evening I came back to the camp and took some rest in the tent. It again poured down during late evening. Doddamakkali does not have electric supply, nor do they have any gensets. The ambiance was just perfect, like B.R.Hills, my favorite places among the JLR camps. We lazed around after dinner around the Gholgar (where food is served).


The next morning, the weather was cool and luckily no rains. Pushpa could not come with us as he had sprained his back. So, another guide was arranged. While we were waiting for others to join us for the trek, we saw a lot of raptors on top of the cliff. We could see the Brahminy kites, Black Kites, Shikra and a couple of more raptors which could not be id’ed. Pushpa was so enthusiastic about the birds, that he forget about his back ache and started to lead us to the top of the cliff. It was a steep climb to the top of the valley. We sat behind some bushes and watched the Shikra mob the two raptors one after the other. One of them was the Short Toed Snake Eagle and the other looked like the Black Eagle. I managed to take some shots of the STSE.

Later, we explored the near by hills and valley before proceeding back to the camp. On the way, I found some reptiles and butterflies to shoot. We made it in time to the came for breakfast. Later we packed and left the camp. It was quite challenging to climb the hill on the unmetalled road. I had to be in 1st gear all the time so as not to loose power. On top of that, the loose gravel added to the problem. If I accelerated too much, the wheels would start spinning. But my Matiz did well along with a bit of my driving skills, and we managed to climb to the top. Overall, it was a pleasant trip and a nice change for all of us, away from the busy and mechanical life in Bangalore.