Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary

On Sunday, we drove to the Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary about 75 kms from Chennai, hoping to spot some exotic birds. The road is awesome (NH45) and we made it to the sanctuary in about an hour and a half, including a stop for coffee. But as we got out of the car, we saw a huge 'No Admission' sign across the entrance :( The caretakers told us that the migratory birds that the sanctuary is famous for, hadn't arrived yet because of the delayed rains in these parts. And that visitors aren't allowed until then because it scares the birds away when they start coming in.

Having woken up really early and driven all the way (we should've called and checked!), we were a little disappointed, but the sanctuary is about 10 kms off the highway, and this stretch is FULL of birds of many many many kinds. The route to Vedanthangal was gorgeous too, so it wasn't a wasted trip after all!
Indian Roller Bird
The gorgeous Indian Roller Bird
Indian Roller Bird
The Indian Roller Bird in flight
Yellow Billed Babbler
A bunch of NOISY Yellow Billed Babblers
Red Vented Bulbul
I haven't been able to identify this one yet. Any idea?
Common Myna
Common Myna
I think this one's a Drongo.
We LOVED the route to the sanctuary. There were beautiful lakes (one covered in lilies), train tracks, the sandy bed of an extinct river (River Palar, I believe) and dense woods. When you get off the highway to drive into Vedanthangal, you are greeted by lush green fields dotted with ponds that attract many kinds of birds. 
We stopped at a cute coffee place on the way called Lip Sip! Check out the logo! Funky, no?
The sign says 'Only Coffee', but they had Boost, Horlicks and a few other things. Only no tea :( Ashwin and Ramya (my best friend) had strong filter coffee in pretty brass dabara - tumblers:
Kumbakonam Degree Coffee
Kumbakonam Degree Coffee
We plan to return to Vedanthangal once the migratory birds arrive, but I'd go again and again just for the drive. A few suggestions. The morning was very pleasant with a nice cool breeze, but it progressively got sunnier, so start as early as you can to finish up before it gets too hot. There are TONS of filter coffee shops along the way, so make sure you stop for some, if you are a coffee fan. But most important - find out if the sanctuary is open before you go!! 

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