Bhadra: A Date With the Quirky River Tern


Picture a calm, surface of water; each subtle wave a reflection of the blue sky above. The quiet of the surroundings are broken suddenly by a ripple caused by a descent from the sky. You look up and spot an orange-beaked bird settle against a stone by the river’s edge. Suddenly, there’s so many more…

Every year, the shimmering backwaters of the Bhadra dam welcome a colossal flock of river terns, who make their way to its small islets for the summer. The dam, situated in western Karnataka, truly witnesses one of nature’s most exquisite spectacles as the birds come to nest and breed by its waters. The entire sighting is an ardent nature lover’s delight and a photography enthusiast’s bonanza!

Riverterns-BhadraCome and experience a trip into nature like never before. The fertile banks of the Bhadra dam embrace a myriad of flora and fauna that truly give the place an eclectic feel of a lush habitat. Head out into the wild on a jeep safari that will truly give you a glimpse into the rich biodiversity of the region. Apart from the famed river tern, if luck has it, you can also spot tigers, leopards, sloth bears, elephants, wild boars, the Indian civet and over 300 species of birds – including the malabar trogon and the emerald dove – all of which call this lush place home. Keep your lens ready for, you never know what you will spot in the thick nestle of jungle that Bhadra encloses.

If it is the water that beckons you, head out on a boat safari to watch the elegant river terns come nest by the welcoming banks of the Bhadra dam. Keep a sharp eye out as you will spot these quaint-little river terns splash about, preen themselves and even take sharp, accurate dives into the water as they catch fish.

The male river terns use their fishing prowess to impress their female counterparts and this makes for an exquisite picture if captured just at the right moment!

Look around and you may suddenly spot a mighty Osprey take rest on a branch nearby, even making stretching moves to your delight or if lucky, a tiger walking along the banks. The clear and calm waters and the rustle of life all around make for truly a sight for city-weary eyes!

With us, on this photography tour to Bhadra, you can enjoy the perfect nature getaway while rejuvenating mind, body and spirit. An eclectic mix of flowering plants serves as a truly exquisite frame work to complement the beauty of the Bhadra dam. The river terns lay their eggs by the banks of the reservoir and these eggs stay sheltered beneath the welcoming shade of yellow spider flowers. Sip on a cup of freshly brewed filter coffee sourced straight from the surrounding hills of Chikmagalur as you delight in the tranquil sights and sounds. Witness the beautiful dance of life, as the rivers terns go about their daily cycle, completely oblivious to everyone around.

The Bhadra river tern sighting experience truly makes for the perfect escape for the traveller who seeks to shed the concrete jungle, in their mind, in favour of a more verdant one.