Trip List – When Bhadra doled out a Dhole

It was business as usual at Bhadra reservoir this summer. The river tern islands were alive with the incessant calls of its inhabitants. The fish owls, fish eagles, ibises, larks, pipits all seem content, quite contrary to the river terns’ calls of wanting more. There must have been good reason for that. The River Terns (Sterna aurantia) were breeding and they had two apparently uninvited Whiskered Terns (Chlidonias hybrida) as guests, but they were soon lost in a frenzy.

The Whiskered Terns weren’t the only ones whose conspicuous presence was consumed by the expanse of the Bhadra reservoir. Bordering the Lakkavalli range (where Kenneth Anderson had shot a man-eating tiger), Bhadra reservoir, like its namesake Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, holds within its depths many stories which, though inconspicuous within the two Bhadras, would have made headlines on the outside.

While many prefer visiting Bhadra post-monsoon to feast on the lush green vistas, I picked the summer for the chance of better sighting. The rewards were plenty with the cup going to a pack of Dhole (Cuon alpinus) that crossed our track just when I had given up hope of a carnivore sighting on the fourth safari. Then there were others – the Malabar Trogon (Harpactes fasciatus), Blue-bearded Bee-eater (Nyctyornis athertoni), Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus), White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus), Southern Hill Myna (Gracula religiosa), White-bellied Woodpecker (Dryocopus javensis), Great Stone Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus) and a lone tusker (Elephas maximus) by the reservoir that made my visit to Bhadra rich with sightings. I present a compilation of the sights from Bhadra and the list of sightings.

River Terns out fishing
When bee eaters turn bee watchers
Malabar Giant Squirrel frequent the wild neem trees
A sagacious garden lizard – they have been on earth for long
Bhadra doles out a Dhole for visiting
A pachyderm dwarfed by Bhadra
A subadult Brahminy Kite takes stock
A well camouflaged Great Stone Curlew
A well camouflaged Great Stone Curlew

Trip List


Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus)
Grey Junglefowl (Gallus sonneratii)
Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis)
Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis)
Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus)
Common Hawk Cuckoo (Hierococcyx varius)
White-breasted Water Hen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)
Striated Heron (Butorides striata)
Indian Pond Heron (Ardeola grayii)
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Intermediate Egret (Ardea intermedia)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Little Cormorant (Microcarbo niger)
Indian Cormorant (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis)
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Red Wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)
Oriental Honey Buzzard (Pernis ptilorhyncus)
Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela)
Grey Headed Fish Eagle (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus)
Brown Fish Owl (Ketupa zeylonensis)
Malabar Trogon (Harpactes fasciatus)
Indian Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros birostris)
Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros coronatus)
Rufous Woodpecker (Micropternus brachyurus)
White Bellied Woodpecker (Dryocopus javensis)
White Cheeked Barbet (Megalaima viridis)
Green Bee Eater (Merops orientalis)
Blue Tailed Bee Eater (Merops philippinus)
Blue Bearded Bee Eater (Nyctyornis athertoni)
White Throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)
Malabar Parakeet (Psittacula columboides)
Black Hooded Oriole (Oriolis xanthornus)
Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia)
Ashy Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus)
Bronzed Drongo (Dicrurus aeneus)
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus)
Rufous Treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda)
Large Billed Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos)
Golden Fronted Leafbird (Chloropsis aurifrons)
Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
White Browed Wagtail (Motacilla maderaspatensis)
Wire Tailed Swallow (Hirundo smithii)
Streak Throated Swallow (Petrochelidon fluvicola)
Red Whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus)
Red Vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer)
Oriental White Eye (Zosterops palpebrosus)
Rufous Babbler (Turdoides subrufa)
Jungle Babbler (Turdoides striata)
Velvet Fronted Nuthatch (Sitta frontalis)
Jungle Myna (Acridotheres fuscus)
Hill Myna (Gracula religiosa)
Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis)
Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis)
White Rumpled Shama (Copsychus malabaricus)
Orange Headed Thrush (Geokichla citrina)
Black Ibis (Pseudibis papillosa)
Black Headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus)
Woolly Necked Stork (Ciconia episcopus)
Asian Openbill (Anastomus oscitans)
Blue-faced Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus viridirostris)
Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus rufulus)
Malabar Lark (Galerida malabarica)
River Tern (Sterna aurantia)
Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida)
Great Stone Curlew (Esacus recurvirostris)
Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus)


Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus)
Sambar(Cervus unicolor)
Spotted Deer (Axis axis)
Common Grey Mongoose (Herpestes edwardsii)
Gaur (Bos gaurus)
Dhole (Cuon alpinus)
Malabar Giant Squirrel (Ratufa indica)
Grey Langur (Semnopithecus dussumieri)

List of Reptiles:

Russell’s Viper (Daboia russelii)
Garden Lizard (Calotes versicolor)

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