Ranganthitoo Bird Sanctuary is near Srirangapatna, 18 kms before Mysore just off the Bangalore highway. Ranganathitoo is set on a group of islets in the middle of the Cauvery River, in south-east Karnataka.
Ranganathittoo is a delightful tiny sanctuary and is a paradise for birdwatchers. The sanctuary was declared a bird sanctuary in 1940, when the noted ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali accidentally stumbled upon the sanctuary while surveying the birds for the Government of Mysore and persuaded the erstwhile ruler of the region to declare it as a sanctuary.
The best (only) way to access the islands where the birds roost / nest is by boat. It is not possible to disembark, but one can enjoy amazingly close views of birds. The oarsmen serve as experienced guides and take you to some popular spots where you can spot birds at close quarters. This makes photography extremely productive compared to Vedanthangal (near Chennai) where there is no access to the islands by boat and all shooting is done from the banks.
The sanctuary attracts huge crowds daily, so it is recommended that wildlife and bird enthusiasts get there early before the crowds arrive - it is possible to enter the sanctuary at 6 am with a boat all for yourself. The sanctuary is magical at this hour!
Ranganthitoo harbours numbers of River Terns, Oriental Darters, Purple Herons, Little Egrets, Black-crowned Night Herons, Asian Openbills and Eurasian Spoonbills. Wire-tailed and Streak-throated Swallows, Dusky Crag Martin, White-throated Fantail and White-browed Wagtail, Little Cormorant and Painted Stork are also here. This is a reliable location for Great Thick-knees. There is a huge roost of Indian Flying Foxes. The Indian Marsh Crocodile or mugger is easy to photograph here.
For accomodation, the Hotel Mayura River View is your best bet in Srirangapatna. The bungalows offer great value and sit literally a few metres away from the Cauvery!
We have been to Ranganthitoo several times due to its proximity to Bangalore. It also conveniently falls enroute to the other popular wildlife sanctuaries of BRT, Bandipur and Nagarhole and a quick stop at Ranganthitoo is always welcome and rewarding.
Some of these images go back several years and are from my film camera-bad scanning days. Please bear :-)