My previous post was on the amazing sunrise and sunset one gets to experience in Hampi. Here is a quick glimpse at a highly rewarding nature activity one can and should do, while there – taking a short drive on a narrow road that runs alongside the canal.
The canal, fed by the mighty Tungabhadra river, forms a deep gorge and the rocky cliffs on either side, along with their scrub growth are home to a multitude of animals and birds. As lovely as it looks, it also is a treasure chest of life, that gets unveiled one after another, as one drives along the road.
On the day we went, it was rather cloudy, even at 8:00 AM. We weren’t very hopeful and didn’t expect much to happen. Started off on a slow pace, by watching a few Grey Francolins calling out vociferously, a Rufous-tailed Lark sitting tight on a boulder, warming itself on a cold morning and couple of Thick knees quickly darting away from sight. After sometime, we came by an Indian Eagle Owl. Only a well accustomed and well trained eye can spot these guys among the rocks, along the opposite bank ! Kudos to the JLR Naturalist ! This one seemed like, it was just back to its roost, from a busy night. Getting ready to sleep and eyes only partially open, it was looking at us, not too bothered by our presence.
A short distance ahead, we saw three Oriental Honey Buzzards. Two here, perched on the same tree ! With no sun in sight yet and the wind, still being quite chill, these two were not very keen on flying away.
We then, came across our second Indian Eagle Owl. Very nicely camouflaged among the dry grass and the rocky terrain, this one was quite wide awake and kept curiously looking at us with those fiery eyes.
We satisfied ourselves by getting a good look at it through our binoculars and also made some good images of this beauty. By then, it was getting quite late for breakfast and we decided to head back. Just when we thought, we were done, a small family of Ruddy Mongooses, came out of the scrub. Moving together, they paused for just a bit, to glance at our vehicle. That was fantastic and was a bonus of sorts !
The gloomy weather and all notwithstanding, this place didn’t dash our expectations, one bit. It was well worth the time.
Next time you are there, never miss a drive along the canal. If you are staying at the Jungle Lodges Resorts, it generally is part of your itinerary. If staying elsewhere, you can still do it in your own vehicle. You surely, will not be disappointed.