Bheemasandra kere - A haven for waterbirds in Tumkur city

Although forests cover just about 4% of the district's geographical area, Tumkur District is host to a wide variety of wildlife and some picturesque landscapes.  The jheels of old Mysore region hold an amazing array of waterfowl diversity and Tumkur is lucky to have many such wetlands like Tumkur Amanikere and Bheemasandra Kere-Malekote Kere (in Tumkur city), Kunigal Doddakere and Chikkakere (in Kunigal town along Bangalore - Hassan National Highway) and backwaters of Markonahalli Reservoir (just off Bangalore - Hassan National Highway). The birdlife, both the resident and migratory, of these wetlands has been documented by Tumkur's NGO Wildlife Aware Nature Club (WANC) since early 1990s.

Apx boundary of Bheemsandra kere - Malekote kere wetlands, Tumkur city marked on a screenshot from Google earth map (seen from west towards Tumkur city) dated 15 Jul 2014. 
The twin wetlands of Bheemasandra Kere-Malekote kere are located on the western periphery of Tumkur city. Better known simply as Bheemsandra kere this wetland complex attracts rare water birds due to the perennial presence of water which in turn is due the treated sewage water being let into it. This year round water ensures birds come here even in the dry summer season when water is usually scarce in this rain shadow region of south-interior Karnataka state. Birdwatchers from WANC regularly visit this wetland not only to enjoy its birdlife but also monitor any threats to it and report it to the forest department.

Here are some pictures taken by me at this beautiful haven of birds.

Common name: Pond heron or Paddy bird
Common name: Cattle egret
Common name: Grey heron
Common name: Paddyfield pipit
Common name: Large pied wagtail or Whitebrowed wagtail
Common name: Barn swallow
Common name: Large cormorant
Common name: Painted stork
Common name: Spotbilled duck
Common name: Brahminy kite
Common name: Blackheaded munia
Here are a few tips to visit Bheemasandra Kere wetland:
Best season: Though the place is good to be visited through out the year, winter is the time when a lot of migratory birds throng the place. During monsoons many birds use the vicinity of the wetland to breed.

Best time: Be at the place just after dawn which is usually at 6:15 AM in winters.

What to take?: Binoculars, birdwatching guide, notebook, pen, camera, WATER, light breakfast, NO DISPOSABLE PLASTIC PLEASE.

What to wear?: Dull/ neutral colour clothes (khakhi, brown, green, grey, cement etc). A warm jacket or sweater; dark/ dull coloured cap/ hat; dull coloured walking shoes/ sneakers. AVOID WEARING BRIGHT COLOURS (yellow, red, white etc).

How to go?: There is no public transport to the place, although you can take a public transport to Bheemsandra bus stop along the Bangalore-Honnavar National Highway (BH Road) and walk to the northern periphery of the lake.

Click here for a google map of this wetland

Related links:
For more information on the wildlife areas of Tumkur District, please click here

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