Some winter visitors – Mallathahalli Lake

After a long time, I stopped by Mallathahalli lake for some birding. It’s a place I was using for running, but that stopped 4 years back as the path had become overgrown. Even though most of the 2.5 Km track is cobblestones, it’s amazing how much Parthenium can grow out of the gaps!

This time I was looking specifically for one kind of bird – the rosy starling. They are winter visitors and found in huge numbers and I was inspired by this photo from zenrainman on his lovely twitter feed.

In case you are wondering where those birds are, that ‘cloud’ near the middle is what you are looking for.

I remember seeing these birds a few times on earlier walks around the lake. So this time, I carried the camera to see what I can get.

The first thing I saw on getting off the car was that the yellow tabebuia tree was in bloom, and amidst those flowers was a flock of rosy starlings. Talk about beginner’s luck!
Rosy starling

Rosy starling

The next thing I noticed was the the path was clear of any kind of growth! As in really clear! I asked the cop on duty nearby if this was true of the whole path, and he nodded. I decided to walk the whole lake and see what I can manage. Turned out there was a surprising lot!

A few minutes down the path, I saw this red-wattled lapwing. These are pretty skittish birds, and it hadn’t yet noticed my presence. These are not visitors though, and are residents.
Red-wattled lapwing

The lake water was as dirty as I remember from the last time, but unlike other lakes this has a flow, from North to South. There’s a Sewage Treatment Plant, some sewage comes untreated, and there’s an outlet for water above a particular height. This is necessary as the layout nearby is at a lower level than the lake. You can walk by the lake, and notice the water at 5 ft below you on one side, and the layout some 20 ft below you on the other. You can imagine how the lake was “developed”.

Anyway, further on I noticed a warbler. Warblers are very difficult to identify exactly, so my best guess based on other birders is that this is a booted warbler, which is a winter visitor.
Booted warbler

Further on, there was a longer bird flying around. Thankfully, it perched by the shore for a while, and I could take a good shot without getting too close. This is a Grey Wagtail, male, which is also a winter visitor.
Grey Wagtail, male

There were a lot of small birds flying all over the path. I saw a bunch sitting on overheard power cables. These turned out to be barn swallows, winter visitors.
Barn swallows

As I walked on, most of the birds kept flying away from me to farther locations. They clearly weren’t used to humans walking by. Further on, I noticed a sandpiper. This is a wood sandpiper, again a winter visitor.
Wood sandpiper

Wood sandpiper

Purple swamphens are usually seen all over the lake. These are residents, and stand out for their bright colours.
Purple swamphens

Standing at the shallow ends, were these black and white waders. These are black-winged stilts, which are winter visitors.
Black winged stilts and one intermediate egret

Among the innumerous coots that were all over the lake, I noticed one distinct kind of duck. As always, I shot first and asked questions later, which revealed that these were Garganeys. Again, winter visitors.
Garganey, Male

The surroundings of the lake were pretty green, given that this is spring, and most of the flowering trees were in full bloom. Hopefully can start running there again, soon!

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2 thoughts on “Some winter visitors – Mallathahalli Lake

  1. Great photos. Saw rosy starlings on a silver Oak in bloom in our apartment. Balcony bird watching 😊. This I got a video of. Few days ago saw a couple of golden Orioles( I think), couldn’t get a photo/video.

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