We spent a day and two nights at ‘stay@matthuga’, a homestay, to visit Jog falls and the old temples near Sagar. Birding was an added bonus. On two mornings we had the opportunity to bird near Talavata – a village about 20km away from Sagar on NH 206 where the homestay is located. It is about 10km before Jog falls. I had read in a few places that localities near Jog have a lot of bird activity. But, with no specific clue on where to go, I decided to find out if there were any water bodies around – there was one about a kilometre and a half towards Sagar, on the left side of the highway.

While walking towards the pond, we heard the loud calls of Malabar Grey Hornbills. There were a few on the trees by the side of the road, but not clearly visible. The excitement created by the whistling of a thrush was short-lived as the source soon showed up – on two legs, but without feathers!

The water body had lovely lotus flowers and water lilies. There were a few water birds moving around, but hard to see as they were near the fenced property nearby. There was one particular fruit bearing tree which was attracting all kinds of birds. It was interesting to see that birds were coming in waves. White cheeked barbets arrived early and stayed on. The others came in groups and left after a feast. Tree looked like a restaurant with guests arriving, having food and moving out !

We observed the following species near the water body :

  • Malabar Grey Hornbill
  • Asian Koel
  • White- cheeked Barbet
  • Crimson-fronted Barbet
  • White-rumped Munia
  • Malabar Lark
  • Black-lored Tit
  • Common Kingfisher
  • White-throated Kingfisher
  • Chestnut- tailed Starling
  • Myna
  • Black Drongo

In and around Matthuga itself is a good place for casual birding. The trees opposite the gate appeared to be hosting many species.

Some of the species which we saw around Matthuga :

  • Purple-rumped sunbird
  • Eurasian Golden Oriole
  • Black-naped Oriole
  • Warblers
  • Golden-fronted leafbird
  • Red whiskered Bulbul