Birding in Chennai City

Last weekend we had to be in Chennai for 5 days to attend a wedding. 5 days! Yes, wedding was only for 1 day but the other days were all the receptions which could not be skipped. Now that we were stuck there, birding seemed like a nice way to make it somewhat worthwhile. So, me and my daughter, Nithila, got up at 6am on Friday and headed out to Adyar Theosophical Society, following up on the location as mentioned in a Chennai trip report on bngbirds. Father-in-law gave us a drop in his car so that we could be there before 7am. Unfortunately, only card-carrying members were permitted into the premises from 5am to 7am for walking. No amount of pleading moved the guard. Public Visitors were allowed from 8.30am to 10am. So, we shifted over to IIT Madras campus which was close by. This is also "technically" closed to public. However, one of our relatives is a professor here and using that link we got in.

We started walking along one of the avenues from the main gate and were immediatly greeted by calls from Koels and Mynahs. The vegetation inside the campus is quite thick and almost jungle like. Though vehicles and people movement is heavy the animals/birds seem to have gotten used to it. It was not very long before we came upon several Spotted Deer. We also saw a herd of pigs which from the looks of it were probably domesticated. Our highlight was a Black rumped flameback woodpecker. It gave us views for several minutes moving from one tree to another. Other birds we saw were Oriental magpie robin, Rose ringed parakeet, White breasted kingfisher, White breasted waterhen. and lots of Babblers (not sure of the ID). There were actually 2 parent Waterhens watching over 5 chicks, fully black in colour.

About 8.30am we got out and caught an auto and made it back to Adyar Theosophical Society. Now we were allowed inside and it is indeed a nice place for birding. We managed to walk upto the banyan tree and back. My daughter was quite tired by this time so we did not venture any deeper. Here too we got good views of a Black rumped flameback. All the other birds spotted in IIT were also found here. We also got to see a tree full of huge sized bats making quite a lot of noise. This was just before the banyan tree going from the main gate.

Overall, quite a nice experience for both of us. It was like walking in lalbagh except that here there was vehicular movement also. Hope to do this everytime we go to Chennai!