River Tern Tour – Wildlife Photography at Bhadra

Experience the spectacle of thousands of River Terns nesting at Bhadra. And a lot more. April 20-22, 2018


  • Come summer, a grand spectacle unfolds on the Bhadra Reservoir. As the water level recedes and exposes submerged rocks, thousands of River Terns and Pratincoles flock here to nest. It is chaos on the rocks as the birds struggle for space to breed and raise their young ones. Little fledglings take baby steps on the rock even as the parents fly in with little fish in their beaks for feeding. 

    Join Darter Photography on the exclusive River Tern Tour to Bhadra Tiger Reserve this summer to witness this spectacle. And your safaris by land and water give you ample photography opportunities, with elephants, deer, crocodiles, eagles and many other species of birds seen regularly in the dry months. Possibly, even a chance encounter with a Tiger or a Leopard! Hop on board today!

    Jump to ◆ The Venue ◆ Tour HighlightsIs this tour for you?Tour PriceJoin This TourDetailed ItineraryPhotography MentorTestimonials

  • Tour Dates

    April 20-22, 2018

    Tour Price


    Max Group: 11 Participants


The Venue

The tour will be conducted from River Tern Lodge (run by Jungle Lodges and Resorts) adjoining the Bhadra Tiger Reserve. The location of the lodge is magical – set on 2 islands surrounded by the forests of the Bhadra Tiger Reserve on one side and the waters of the Bhadra Reservoir on the other three sides.

The lodge gets its name from the thousands of River Terns that breed on an island in the reservoir every summer. During the months of March-June, thousands of River Terns flock to a small island in the middle of the reservoir to nest. The scene is one of frenetic activity, with birds flying all around fishing actively, competing for nesting space and mates and chasing away other birds and animals that try to encroach upon their territory. This gives you ample opportunities to hone your wildlife photography skills under the guidance of the Darter Photography Expert.

Bhadra Tiger Reserve is regarded by many as one of the most beautiful forests in Karnataka. The semi-evergreen forest retains its lush green character throughout the year – even during the summer months. The forest is rich in biodiversity –not just the mighty mammals like Elephants, Tigers, Leopards and Gaur but many species of birds (like Malabar Pied Hornbills, Crested Serpent Eagles, Malabar Trogons and many species of Kingfishers), reptiles (Bengal Monitor Lizards, snakes like Russell’s Viper and Spectacled Cobra) and insects (like butterflies, robberflies, cicadas, etc.) call this place their home.

Tour Highlights

  • Photograph one of the biggest congregations of River Terns in the world
  • Explore the forests of Bhadra Tiger Reserve
  • Combination of Boat and Jeep Safaris to maximize photography opportunities and wildlife exploration
  • Photography and natural history mentoring in the field
  • Wildlife photography sessions
  • Daily photography reviews

Is this Tour for You?

River Tern Tour is designed for photographers of all levels of expertise – amateur and serious – who would like to photograph wildlife at Bhadra. As in all our tours, the group size would be limited so that the Darter Photography Expert can interact closely with every participant.

Wildlife enthusiasts who are not photographers, but are keen to see and experience the forests at Bhadra, are also welcome to join this group. This trip will keep you enthralled from start to finish.

Our tour is designed in such a way that we

  • work closely with every participant on both wildlife photography and natural history aspects
  • help photographers understand the nuances of wildlife photography and capture the moment
  • handhold beginners in wildlife photography, and
  • allow wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers to explore the biodiversity of the forest.

A few more FAQ answered:

  • Can I bring my non-photographer partner with me?
    • Yes, you can. This workshop is as much about understanding and appreciating wildlife as it is about photographing it. And River Tern Lodge at Bhadra is one of the most beautiful properties of Jungle Lodges and Resorts.
  • I am not a keen photographer. But I enjoy watching wildlife. Can I still join?
    • Yes. The answer is exactly same as in the case of previous question. This workshop is as much about understanding and appreciating wildlife as it is about photographing it.

Tour Price

The price of the Jungle Tales tour is Rs.23,950 per person (for Indian Nationals). The tour starts and ends at River Tern Lodge.

For foreign nationals, the price of the tour is Rs.33,950 (difference due to additional charges by Jungle Lodges & Resorts).

The cost includes:

  • Accommodation on twin sharing basis in cottages/log-huts at River Tern Lodge (run by Jungle Lodges & Resorts)
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner (starting with lunch on Day 1 and ending with breakfast on Day 3)
  • 4 Safaris (land and boat) into Bhadra Tiger Reserve and Bhadra Reservoir, starting with the afternoon safari on Day 1 and ending with morning safari on Day 3.
  • Forest entry fees
  • Photography sessions, on-field assistance and image reviews
  • All applicable taxes

The cost does not include:

  • Transport from your location to River Tern Lodge and back (we can assist with car-pooling or booking a taxi for participants on request)
  • Camera fees (we’ll advise you on any camera fees levied by the Forest Dept or Jungle Lodges and Resorts before the safari starts)
  • Additional safaris into the park
  • Additional beverages, snacks and mineral water ordered at the resort
  • Medical costs
  • Tips and other expenses not mentioned in the includes list above

Please note that the above is subject to favorable weather and other conditions. In case of any obstacles, we will do our best to make alternate plans. The cost of the tour or any part of it will not be refunded in the event of unfavourable conditions during the tour days.

Cancellation policy for the River Tern Tour of Bhadra is as follows:

– 20% of full tour fee is charged as cancellation fee for cancellation on or before February 28, 2018
– 50% of full tour fee is charged as cancellation fee for cancellation between March 01 and March 31, 2018
– 75% of full tour fee is is charged as cancellation fee for cancellation between April 01 and April 14, 2018
– No refunds for cancellation on or after April 15, 2018 or for no-show

Join This Tour

To register for the tour or for more details, please fill in the form at the end of this page.

Alternatively, you could contact us by either of the following means:

  • Email us at photography@darter.in, or
  • Call us at +91-9740083260 (Shreeram M V) 7022166822 (Sreedevi) .

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 (Friday). Reach the River Tern Lodge at Lakkavalli (run by Jungle Lodges and Resorts) by noon. We check into our cottages/log-huts, relax for a bit and gather for lunch. After lunch, we have a welcome session where we go through a round of introductions (in case we haven’t done that already) followed by an orientation on the tour by the Darter Photography Expert. It is then time for the first safari of the tour. We get into the vehicle allotted to us and head out into the jungle for the evening safari. Bhadra Tiger Reserve is home to lush green forests throughout the year. Mammals encountered here include Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Asian Elephant, Gaur, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Sambhar, Grey Langurs and Malabar Giant Squirrels. We’ll explore this rich forest photographing not only the wildlife we encounter, but also the magnificence of nature’s theatre. After the safari, we gather for a session on wildlife photography followed by reviews of all the photographs clicked on the evening drive. After dinner, we retire for the day.

Day 2 (Saturday). At dawn, we wake up, have a cup of tea and head out on a boat safari on the Bhadra Reservoir. Bhadra Reservoir is home to thousands of River Terns that breed here every summer. By April, the River Terns would have arrived in large numbers and started breeding. Five species of Kingfishers are seen here, as are other birds like Cormorants, Brahminy Kites and Ospreys. Mammals like Spotted Deer, Elephants and Malabar Giant Squirrels are often seen on the edges of the forest by the water. The abundance of wildlife seen on a boat safari would help you understand wildlife-watching and practice wildlife photography with (usually) willing subjects.

After breakfast, we head out on a nature trail around the River Tern Lodge. The islands on which River Tern Lodge is located are thickly forested, offering us a chance to see some beautiful birds and interesting life in the undergrowth. On this walk, we’ll look for the various forms of wildlife – big and small – around us and get practical exposure to field tips like relationship between wildlife and habitat, circle of comfort, quality of light and specialized techniques.

After lunch, the Darter Photography Expert will review your photographs and give you constructive feedback. It’s time for the third safari. And another safari by boat, this time to experience the reservoir in the evening. And another opportunity to capture the River Terns and Small Pratincoles in action as they get busy looking for supper before nightfall. The setting sun plays out an elaborate drama over the reservoir and we’ll photograph different perspectives of the forest at sunset.

After the safari, we have a discussion about the observations of the past two days and photography learning/experiences of all the participants. A long activity-filled day comes to an end with sumptuous dinner.

Day 3 (Sunday). The last morning of the tour is here. This morning, you have a choice of trying your luck on either the boat or the jeep safari. We head out on one more foray to photography the magnificence of this beautiful natural spectacle. After breakfast, its time to bid goodbye to the amazing forest, with many memories and (hopefully) full memory cards.

In addition to the above, the accompanying Darter Photography Expert would help you with:

  • On-field assistance during the safaris from a photography as well as a naturalist’s perspective
  • Sessions on photography that would help you get good photographs during the tour
  • Photography review sessions to give you feedback on your photographs

Please note that the itinerary above is subject to fair weather and other factors. Darter Photography reserves the right to make changes to the above itinerary at any point of time. Also, please note that photographing the wildlife mentioned above and pictured in the slideshow is indicative and dependent on various external factors, including weather and the wildlife being spotted during our safaris.

Photography Mentor

Shreeram M V

Shreeram M V is a professional outdoor photographer, specializing in travel and wildlife photography. He is the co-founder of Darter Photography that specializes in providing photography services such as workshops and outdoor photography tours. He lives in Bangalore, India.

What started off as a fascination for birds in a lake behind his house turned into a journey to different parts of India. For this IIM Bangalore graduate, the passion for travel and wildlife enabled him to charter his own course outside the corporate world. He has explored places as diverse as the rainforests of the Western Ghats, the salt marshes of Kutch, the grasslands of Tal Chapar, the deciduous forests of South and Central India, the high-altitude plateau of Ladakh, the coasts of peninsular India, the forests of North-east India and the islands of Andaman.

Shreeram has spent a lot of time amidst the scenic splendor of Ladakh, photographing the magic of the vast openness, the colourful traditions, the expressive people and the unique wilderness. Along with the experience, his photography expertise spanning across different aspects of travel photography would help you capture the finest of Ladakh with your camera.
See some of his work at Visual Quotient


Carefully planned workshop and ideal for amateur wild life photographers.

Nitin VyasBangalore

This was a truly immersive photography experience. When we were not out photographing birds and animals, we were learning about various aspects of wildlife–almost a wildlife appreciation course that reminded us of the beauty of the natural world. Almost every photography tip and technique was illustrated using examples, both good and bad. And just being able to see Shreeram and Radha’s brilliant, brilliant photos with a more learned eye made us realise the possibilities that lay ahead of us. It’s sometimes difficult for experts to understand what amateurs and beginners are struggling with, but Shreeram and Radha were able to empathise with us and guide us both in the classroom and while out taking pictures. They were also informal, approachable, patient, and, might I add, great company! We also learnt a lot from other participants’ questions and approaches to photography. At the end of the nearly three days, we came away with more confidence in our abilities and a renewed enthusiasm for nature and wildlife. We’d also made many new friends.

Suchi GovindarajanBangalore

It was simply fabulous!! Thanks to Shreeram and Radha for this great experience..

Uday RamakrishnaBangalore

Registration Details

You can register by making a payment using the gateway below. For alternate payment options or for more information, please fill in the form below. You may also email us at photography@darter.in or call Sreedevi (+91-7022166822) / Shreeram (+91-9740083260).

Alternately, fill in the following form to get in touch with us regarding the tour.

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