Elagiri Hills: A break from the plains!



Location: Elagiri or Yelagiri Hills
Date: Dec 24th to 27th 2010
To get there: [Click here for Google Map].
You can take the train to Jolarpet and hire a taxi from there or Drive on the Hosur Road until Krishnagiri. Take NH 46 from there towards Chennai. Then take SH 18 turnoff towards Elagiri.
Distance: About 150+ kms from Bangalore
Trail type: We did mostly birding from car, stopping at good locations. So, not much trekking as such. I do believe there are a couple of good trails.
Facilities: Several resorts/hotels in all ranges. Food places were plenty but just average, I thought. Lake with boating, nature park with musical fountain show, various temples are the spots to visit.
Misc Links:
http://www.yelagirihills.com/ (has more detailed directions)

It was our annual vacation with relatives during Christmas. We had always noticed these enticing hills from the train and decided to check it out this time. The drive from Bangalore was quite easy. The climb up the hills is similar to Nandi hills maybe a little steeper with 14 hairpin bends. The views were tempting in many places but any idea of stopping was thwarted by the line of monkeys sitting on the parapet looking expectantly at each vehicle passing by!

The place was quite chilly during the nights and morning. Rest of the day was pleasant. The main road through Athanavoor has many resorts and eating places. Most of them were average or just road side dhaba types. The 2 main attractions of the hills, Lake with boating and Nature Park are on this road.

We mostly did bird watching in the morning, starting at 6am until nearly afternoon, taking advantage of free grand-parent baby sitting. :). There were Brahminy starlings, Rufous Treepies and Grey-bellied Drongo's all over the place in addition to the more common Pied Bushchats, Sunbirds, Indian Robin, Tailorbird and Mynas. We had the best outing when we drove on the road towards Neelavur and took breaks near the Murugan Temple where we saw the Verditer Flycatcher, Leafbird and Common Iora. Migrants Grenish Leaf Warbler and Blyths Reed Warbler could be beard all over the place.

Boating was OK, nothing great. The Lake is man-made, so more like a soup bowl. Still Red-rumped Swallows gave us a show drinking water by flying low over the surface. The nature park looked good but we did not check it out properly nor watch the musical fountain show. Lets just say, most of our free time was spent eating, lazing around or playing cards and other games.

Photo albums:
http://picasaweb.google.com/naturerambles/ElagiriHillsBirds#
http://picasaweb.google.com/nanda.ramesh/ElagiriHills#

Check list:
  1. Yellow-billed Babbler(E)
  2. Barbet(E) (call only. Not sure if it is Brown-headed or White-cheeked)
  3. Coppersmith Barbet(E)
  4. Small Green Bee-eater(E)
  5. Blue-tailed Bee-eater(T)
  6. Red-vented Bulbul(E)
  7. Red-whiskered Bulbul(E)
  8. Pied Bushchat(E)
  9. Greater Coucal(E)
  10. House Crow
  11. Asian Koel
  12. Spotted Dove
  13. Little Brown Dove
  14. Black Drongo
  15. White-bellied Drongo(E,plenty)
  16. Short-toed Eagle(E)
  17. Common Kestrel(J)
  18. Black Kite
  19. Tickell's Flowerpecker(E,J)
  20. Verditer Flycatcher(most likely)(E)
  21. Common Iora(E)
  22. White-throated Kingfisher
  23. Tree Pipit(E)
  24. Golden-fronted Leafbird(E)
  25. Small Minivet(E)
  26. Black-headed Munia(J)
  27. Scaly-breasted Munia(E,J)
  28. White-throated(Silverbill) Munia(E)
  29. Common Myna
  30. Jungle Myna
  31. Eurasian Golden Oriole(J)
  32. Spotted Owlet(E)
  33. Rose-ringed Parakeet
  34. Paddy-field Pipit(E)
  35. Ashy Prinia
  36. Plain Prinia
  37. Indian Robin
  38. Oriental Magpie Robin
  39. Indian Roller(T)
  40. Long-tailed Shrike(E)
  41. Brown Shrike(E)
  42. House Sparrow
  43. Brahminy Starling(E, plenty)
  44. Red-rumped Swallow(E)
  45. Common Tailorbird
  46. Rufous Treepie(E)
  47. Grey Wagtail(E)
  48. White-browed Wagtail(E)
  49. Blyths Reed Warbler(E)
  50. Greenish Warbler(E,J)
  51. White-breasted Waterhen(E)
  52. Oriental White-eye(E)
  53. Purple Sunbird
  54. Purple-rumped Sunbird
  55. Shikra(E)
  56. Common Woodshrike(E)

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