Location: Manchinbele lake / reservoir / Dam
Date: Aug 22nd 2009
To get there: [Click here for Google Map]. From Mysore road take a right turn immediately after Raja Rajeshwari Dental college and much before Bidadi. Go past the tourist spot Big Banyan tree or Dodda Alladha Mara. Ask for Manchinbele along the way. There are some yellow direction boards posted when you get near.
Distance: About 30kms from Bangalore until the turn off from Mysore road. Then 10-15kms to reach the reservoir.
Trail type: We didn't find any trails to trek. One option is to walk along the asphalted road along the shore.
Facilities: Not much near the reservoir. There are plenty of shops around Big Banyan tree.
It was a last minute decision that saw us at Machinbele Saturday afternoon. The previous day we just felt like going out somewhere and do some birding, that is as much as is possible with a 5yr old and 9yr old. Still just the thought of getting away from the noise and dust of Bangalore to somewhere quieter and greener was too enticing and picking Machinbele we left around 9.30am with a nice packed lunch and snacks from the Gokulashtami or Krishnastami festival.
Our 9yr old, Nithila, does like to watch birds but as she says not more than 30mins, so she got her set of books to keep herself amused knowing full well that appa would stop every now and then. Swarup, the 5yr old knows his mynas, crows and barbets, but given the choice he made us open the snack box within an hour of our trip! That left Sangavi and me some free time at our stops all along the way to Manchinbele for some good car birding.
The sight of the reservoir is very scenic when we first crest a hill and see it for the first time. We chose to stop there and were rewarded with good sightings of Purple sunbird male in non-breeding plumage and the highlight for us, Yellow-eyed babbler. This is a very beautiful bird and a first time for both us. We drove along until we reached a point from where we could see the dam gates. On the left there was a small pond which had excellent bird activity. Here we got to see the Streaked weaver which was busy collecting things from the roadside most likely for its nest somewhere.
We headed back from that point and took a left on a fairly decent road which took us along the reservoir shore. We could spot some army activity in the middle which looked like some cleaning up or training. At this time, it started drizzling and we could not find any outside picnic spot or trek. So, we ended up parking under a tree with a good view of the water body and enjoyed our sandwiches there. The spot was great because as soon as the rain stopped there was a burst of bird activity in the foliage on the hills. It was a pleasure watching the birds getting out after huddling under some leaves and trees. Tawny-bellied as well as the Yellow-eyed babbler, Long-tailed Shrike, White-browed Wagtail, Purple Sunbird, Oriental White-eye and Red-wattled Lapwings were among the active ones. Only disappointment was that we could not spot any water birds such as storks or ducks, other than a lone Grey Heron.
Reluctantly we headed back to Bangalore unable to keep stopping anymore as we were already behind our schedule. Overall it was a nice outing though we didn't get to do even a small trek. The place is scenic and hopefully it will remain that way in the future. There was some mention of boating being introduced here. Hopefully that's not permanent else we will lose any chance of migratory birds making machinbele their destination. As always if you do plan to visit, try to enjoy the nature and leave it as is for others to enjoy in the future.