After Somanathpura visit I came back to Mysore city. Had lunch and visited Natural history Museum. Close to the museum was the lake which was teeming with birds. This was Karanji Kere. The lake has boating facility and a nice a walk along one side. The walkway around the lake was very nice for photographing birds. I had only taken my Canon EOS 7D fitted with Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM + Canon EF 1.4x III Extender. While my daughter jumped into the boat, I went around searching for birds.
There were plenty of birds. Few were nesting and raising their chicks along the trees in the middle of the lake. Light was also pretty nice for the photography. Even though I clicked over 500 photos. Due to lack of space I present you 20 from that evening.
Karanji Kere is a lake located in the city of Mysore in the state of Karnataka, India. The lake is surrounded by a nature park consisting of a butterfly park and a walk-through aviary. There is also a museum, the Regional Museum of Natural History which is located on the banks of this lake. The total area of Karanji Kere is about 55 hectares. Karanji Kere is owned by the Mysore Zoo Authority. Mysore Zoo gets a revenue of an average of Rs. 50000 per day from ticket sales to enthusiasts who visit this lake.
Karanji Kere was one of the favorite haunts of birds like herons and egrets. The Karanji Kere island was bereft of vegetation or butterflies till Jun 2004 as the inflow of sewage from Siddharthanagar and polluted water from the Mysore Milk Dairy had rendered the lake unfit for any form of aquatic life. This pollution led to the destruction of aquatic life in the lake and with the food-source getting depleted, the migratory birds started to avoid the lake.
In order to prevent the destruction of this lake and to renovate it, help was sought from the Asian Development Bank , Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation and Zoo Authority of Karnataka. The first step undertaken was to stop the sewage from entering the lake. Other restoration activities included removal of polluted silt, de-weeding of the entire lake surface, removing 30 cm of silt from the lake, restoration of feeder channels, construction of a jetty to start boating facility, and the construction of a bridge to the newly created ‘butterfly park’. A watch tower was also constructed to view the birds and study their behavior. A giant fountain which can spew water up to 40 feet has been recently added as an attraction. A nursery of medicinal plants is also present here.
Some of the common migratory birds found here are Grey Pelican, Painted Stork, Ibis, Cormorant, Egret, etc. which nest on trees in the islands present in the lake. Recent survey of birds have indicated 87 species and 12 of them are migratory birds. Herons, Asian open bill storks, Egrets, Red wattle lapwing, Sandpipers, Rose ringed parakeet, Black Drongo, Brown Shrike, Red-whiskered bulbul, Booted warbler, Sunbird and Greenish Warbler are some of the other species of birds found here.
It is also a place for young romantic couple to snatch few quiet moments from the hustle bustle of the city. I could see plenty of such couples hiding in the nooks and corners and frolicking around without caring the beautiful avian species around. My difficulty in photographing the birds was not because of the terrain or light but because of these pairs. I had to be careful to avoid embarrassing these couple while taking the photographs 🙂 .
Still not everything is hunky dory with Karanji Kere. Sewage is still flowing into the lake. There were lot of floating plastic swimming along with sewage debris. The birds are getting their fish for the time being. If the pollution in flow continues the lake will go back to its past. As the George Santayana said in The Life of Reason – “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.