Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
Small can be beautiful, and that aptly describes the 0.67 Sq.Km Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary which is located in Srirangapatna taluk of Mandya district of the state of Karnataka in India.
The sanctuary comprises of 6 Islands and 6 Islets in the river Kaveri which attract nearly 40,000 birds in winter. The Islets are surrounded by water of a reservoir formed by the construction of a weir across River Kaveri. In 1940 the area was declared as a wildlife sanctuary based on the initiative of Salim Ali who wanted to protect this important nesting site of many species.
While the extent of the protected area is small, it is more than made up by the rich bird density, ease of access and observation, and commendable management. It is a must visit for novice birders and those developing an interest in birdwatching.
The area consists of Deciduous Scrub Forests of two types : 1) Thorny Scrub Jungle in the central part of the islands and 2) Broadleaved deciduous forest in the margins. The scrubby vegetation is made up of thorny plants such as Capparis sp., Dichrostachys cinerea, Pterolobium hexapetalum, Flacourtia indica, Plecospermum spinosum, Zizyphus sp., Toddalia asiatica, and Acacia sp. Several types of climbers such as Ichnocarpus frutescens, Gymnema sylvestre, Cocculus hirsutus, Passiflora foetida, Secamone emetica, Marsdenia volubilis, Argyreia speciosa, Ipomea sp., etc. are also present. The braodleaved forest area harbours trees like Bauhinia racemosa, Syzigium cumini, Pithecellobium dulce, Barringtonia racemosa, Terminalia arjuna, Vitex leucoxylon, Commiphora caudata, Acacia sp., etc. Pandanus fascicularis and bamboo groves are found along the water margins. Inlets contain plants like Cryptocoryne retrospiralis, Alternanthera sessilis, Centella asiatica, Eclipta alba, Spilanthes calva, Aeschynomeme aspera, Enicostemma hyssopifolium, olygonum sp., Rotala sp., etc. while the dominat water plant species are Hydrilla verticillata, Ottelia alismoides, Vallisneria spiralis, Lemna perpusilla and Najas graminea. Ferns include Equisetum ramosissimum, Pteris sp. Azolla pinnata, and Marsilea minuta.
The checklist contains over 200 bird species. But the sanctuary is primarily a large nesting heronary where birds like cormorants, egrets, herons, darters, storks, ibis and pelicans dominate the landscape. Key birds include Spot-billed Pelican, Painted Stork, Black-headed Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Great Thick-knee, River Tern and Asian Openbill. Raptors are regular and consist of Brahminy Kite, Marsh Harrier, Changeable Hawk Eagle and some others. Woodland species like Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Indian Pitta, Rosy Starling, Forest Wagtail, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher and Golden Orioles can be found on the water edges.
The other attraction of Ranganathittu is a large and thriving population of the threatened marsh crocodile.
How to reach
The sanctuary is located 18 Kms away from Mysuru (Mysore) City which is very well connected with the rest of India.
Address: Near Brindavan gardens, Krishnarajasagar Dam Road, Mandya, Karnataka, 571401, India
Air: Bengaluru (Bangalore) International Airport (125km)
Rail: Srirangapatna or Mysuru.
Road: Off the Bangalore-Mysore Highway (NH 275/150A)
Where to stay
Mysore offers a variety of accomodtaion to suit every pocket. In case you want to stay closer, you can stay at the nearby Mayura River View Hotel.
Address: SH17, Srirangapatna, Karnataka 571438
Phone: 082362 52114
Season: November to April/May. The sanctuary remains open round the year.
Sanctuary timings: 09:00 am - 06:00 pm
Climate: Pleasant. The temperature varies from 15º C to 30º C through the year.
Location: 12°24′N 76°39′E