Posts Tagged ‘mammals’

Blr-Pollachi-Anamalai-Top Slip, 100717 and part of 110717

July 20, 2017

Adnan and Sarrah, who are two of the most impressive young people, with unbounded talent only matched by their humility about those talent, invited me along on their trip to the places mentioned above, and I jumped at the offer…such great places to visit, and such great company to do the trip with!

I am choosing only a few photos from my Flickr albums of the trip, which are

1. Blr-Pollachi


2. Pollachi-Anamalai-Top Slip


3. Top Slip-Parambikulam-Top Slip (public bus route)


4. Top Slip-Valparai


5. Valparai, and my train journey back (that’s only the last 5 photos)


We started off from Bangalore rather late in the day, as they had to re-do their tickets to return to the US (18th August is their departure date). But though we did not take the “scenic” route, and travelled through Krishnagiri, veering away before Dharmapuri, on the Pollachi road, there was enough to keep us interested and excited all the way.

I told Sarrah I’d get her chai at one of the “copper boiler chai shops” on the way, and we stopped at Tiruppur, where Lily runs her chai shop. These copper boilers are slowly being replaced by more efficient,but less quaint, stainless steel ones.


Lily’s mother lives with her, and she has two daughters. One is married and living in Coimbatore; the younger one works as a teacher in the school near the airport, just a few kilometres away.

Against the monsoon sky, these village guardian deities, called


sit in conference…alas, the car hit a particularly bad pothole as I clicked!


Saradha sat outside her biscuits/snacks stall, looking over her little daughter’s homework.


We reached our hotel in Pollachi (Ratna Square, the building in the centre…the one on the left is a movie theatre called “Shanthi”, and don’t miss the amazing architecture of the bakery on the right!)


The next morning, we had a superb brefus at Amutha Surabhi, just a few doors away,


We stopped for a while at Aliyar on the outskirts,


looked at the temples,


the scenery,


the fishes,


the butterflies and flowers,


the insects,


Mating Damselflies


and the people eking out their livelihoods


at some cost to the environment


We had to wait around until 9.30 am, when the Tamil Nadu Forest Dept office at Pollachi opened.


We wanted to book accommodation at Top Slip, but could not book accommodation online, and had to wait to talk to the young lady in charge at the Forest Dept office. She did give us a lot of information, but did not even give us an acknowledgement slip; all she did was talk to the Forest Guest House in Top Slip. I do wish the booking could be streamlined…we found the morning enjoyable, but would have preferred spending it in the

Anamalai Tiger Reserve


I’ll write about the trip through the Reserve and into Top Slip tomorrow…but will tease you with the largest butterfly in south India, which we sighted (amongst many other Interesting Things) on our drive!



Creatures, and verse….

July 24, 2014

I got a well-meaning email saying that my photography was getting "worse and worse" and explaining all my faults. Now, I am a HCP..Hopelessly Content Photographer, who posts SMS (Shamelessly Mediocre Shots). So…I thought, what if my photography was verse instead of worse? Here goes…I saw all these in Scandinavia.

Tired of flitting.
A little lazy.
Stop a minute.
Upon a Daisy.


“Scratch” the race!
This young hare cries.
Hidden in the high grass
Is the tortoise, slow but wise!


The flower has food in plenty.
The bee, therefore, is rolling.
As he drinks the nectar up
He gathers up the pollen.


This cat was keen upon its hunt.
And did not like being snapped.
Its agenda was very clear:
A mouse, eaten, after getting trapped!


Big Chief One-Feather
Sat upon a pole.
Hoping for a juicy chick,
A shrew, or a vole!


This moth lay on the leaf-litter.
Amongst the drops of rain.
Will it die where it lies now?
Or will it fly again?


Can you see my horns? He asks
While running in the wheat.
He slants a wary eye at us:
Vanishes on graceful feet.


Curling into a fetal ball
Is this hedgehog’s best defense.
I didn’t touch him or trouble him..
But caught him with my lens.


Glorying in the sunlight
At the prime of his young life.
Grassy paddocks and well-cared ease:
What does he know of strife?


“Life’s a bubble” it seems
When I watch this foraging duck.
He’ll migrate soon, for the winter months
And survive, if he has good luck!


“I have so many back home!” I cried
As we kept seeing European Black Kites.
Then, suddenly an Osprey appeared:
A dream come true in browns and whites!


I just looked at the backyard.
No announcement. No knock.
He arrived…and silently,
This European Peacock.


Rescue and Release: The Slender Loris, Devarayana Durga State Forest, Tumkur District, 010514

May 2, 2014

I’ve been lucky enough to spot the



at several places in Karnataka: the campus of the Indian Institute of Science, the Ramakrishna Mission Ashram at Shivanahalli, and at Nagavalli village, in Tumkur District.

Yesterday, we got a call from

B V Gundappa ,

affectionately called “Gundappa Sir” or “Gundappa Master” (he teaches in Nagavalli village), who has been caring for these shy, elusive creatures, and raising local awareness about them, so that they are not poached or killed.

Here are some facts about Slender Lorises, which are called “thEvAngu” in Tamizh, and “kAdupApA” (baby of the forest) in Kannada, from the wiki:

The gray slender loris (Loris lydekkerianus) is a species of primate in the family Loridae. It is found in India and Sri Lanka. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests and subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. It is threatened by habitat loss.


Despite the slew of studies on their behaviour and ecology in the last decade, they still remain among the least known of all primate species] Like other lorises, they are nocturnal and emerge from their roost cavities only at dusk.

They are mainly insectivorous. In southern India, the nominate race is often found in acacia and tamarind dominated forests or scrubs near cultivations. Males hold larger home ranges than females. They are usually solitary while foraging, and it is rare for them to be seen in pairs or groups. However they may roost in groups of up to 7, that include young of the recent and older litters. Adult males and females have individual home ranges and sleeping group associations are usually composed of a female and her offspring. They communicate with a range of vocalizations and also use urine and scent marking.

Although considered a Least Concern on the IUCN Red List and classified under Schedule I (Part 1) of the Indian Wildlife Act, 1972, the threat to these primates is increasing. Loris is used to make love potions, treat leprosy and eye ailments.Habitat fragmentation is also a threat to the loris population, as well as loss of acacia trees, which is a preferred tree species for the loris.

Well, that’s all the information. We were privileged to be able to see this animal in daylight!

Gundappa Master said that an adult male had been found in the home of a villager in Hebbur, about 11 km from his home. By the time we reached his place, he had rescued the creature and brought it home. It was decided to release the Loris in the heavy-foliage Devarayanadurga State Forest.

We were eager to take a look at the little fellow before we took him to the release area, and Gundappa Sir opened the shoe box in which he’d kept him, ready to be taken on his journey to freedom.


An arm and a leg show themselves:


At last, we could see the little primate. He didn’t seem stressed at all.


Gundappa Sir sets off on the release. The sack contains a Bronzeback Tree Snake, also rescued from a village house, to be released.


We went to the Devarayana Durga State Forest, and went into the interior area, away from the road. Here, in a rocky clearing, Gundappa Master opened the box again:


Gundappa Master takes out the little primate on a twig.

Here it is, climbing around on the twig:


In Tamizh, we say, “thEvAngu mAthiri muzhikkAthEy!” (Don’t stare at me like a Loris!)…now you can understand that!


Yash (in the pic), Gopal and I took photos. Chandu was content to enjoy the moment.


Gundappa Sir has been dealing with these animals for many years now, yet treats them with gentleness.



He shows the animal on the twig; it’s an adult male, about two years old, he says. (I am asking in the video.)

In the video above, you can also see the Loris using its urine to wet its feet. Gundappa Sir said that this was partly territory marking behaviour, and partly to cool its feet. Something else that I learned about this creature!

He puts it on a small bush, first, and it looks around, getting its bearings:


He finally releases the animal into a tree with plenty of foliage, where it proceeds to promptly hide itself:


Off it goes:

Shortly after its release, the Kadupapa was hidden in the foliage. A pair of huge eyes looked out at us for a while..and then he was gone, the Baby of the Forest, elusive as ever.


Here we are, trying to see whether it might be a leopard that is causing so much of alarm calls amongst the Hanuman Langurs around:


Now we are satisfied (we didn’t see any leopard) and happy!


Here’s a warm salute to Gundappa Sir and the beautiful animal he works to protect.


Four videos from Valparai

April 23, 2014

I got the Orange-headed Thrush singing:

The Dusky Striped Squirrel calling:

The Grey Junglefowl, and his harem, strolling.

And….he life-giving summer rain falling:

Lion-tailed Macaques, Valparai, 18-200414

April 23, 2014

On Good Friday, Anjali, Gopal, Rohan, Tharangini, Yeshoda and I went to


in the aNNAmalai range (Coimbatore district) in Tamil Nadu.




was one of the several creatures we hoped to see on our trip to Valparai. The lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus), or the wanderoo, is an Old World monkey endemic to the Western Ghats of South India.

The hair of the lion-tailed macaque is black. Its outstanding characteristic is the silver-white mane which surrounds the head from the cheeks down to its chin, which gives this monkey its German name Bartaffe – “beard ape”


it lives in hierarchical groups of usually 10 to 20 animals, which consist of few males and many females. It is a territorial animal, defending its area first with loud cries towards the invading troops.

It primarily eats indigenous fruits, leaves, buds, insects and small vertebrates in virgin forest, but can adapt to rapid environmental change in areas of massive selective logging through behavioural modifications and broadening of food choices to include fruits, seeds, shoots, pith, flowers, cones, mesocarp, and other parts of many nonindigenous and pioneer plants.


The lion-tailed macaque ranks among the rarest and most threatened primates. Their range has become increasingly isolated and fragmented by the spread of agriculture and tea, coffee, teak and cinchona, construction of water reservoirs for irrigation and power generation, and human settlements to support such activities. They did not, in the past live, feed or travel through plantations, but this behaviour has changed.

Destruction of their habitat and their avoidance of human proximity have led to the drastic decrease of their population.

Here’s one swinging about on the wire:

It then proceeds to lick the raindrops off the leaves of the plant:

I loved watching this mother and child:





Gestation is approximately six months. The young are nursed for one year. Sexual maturity is reached at four years for females, and six years for males. The life expectancy in the wild is approximately 20 years

Here’s a small, funny incident as a macaque jumps up as something bothers it, and starts running away:

Here’s one eating the seeds from the seed pod of the Spathodea (African Tulip), which is an exotic tree:


I took a little more…

This troop of Macaques did forage and travel through the coffee plantation. They did not disturb us, and we did not disturb them.


Here are a group, enjoying themselves (yes, that’s what I feel!) in the evening:

Visit to Nagavalli to see the Slender Loris, 050414

April 8, 2014

Gopal called me and asked if I’d like to go to Nagavalli village, in Tumkur District, where there is a colony of

Slender Lorises .

So off I went, though I had just returned from Hoskote lake!

As I got into the bus to join Gopal and friends, I saw this beautiful piece of artwork on the window!


Here’s one cyclist, getting a free, if illegal, ride:

DSC01716 free ride,  hoskote outing, 050414

We lost our way and reached Guleharavi, with this beautiful temple:

DSC01734 temple,  hoskote outing, 050414

The region is so beautiful, with plenty of trees:


We stopped at Nagavalli village:


At the High School, a sign about the Slender Loris was put up:


We had pAni pUri and masAl pUri at this pushcart:


Mr Gundappa, affectionately known as “Gundappa Master” (he is a teacher in the High School) came and met us.


He led the way to the place where the Slender Loris could be found.


This villager looked at us curiously, as we passed:


Here’s Gundappa Master with us:


We had arrived too early, and had to wait until dusk. Here we are: Davis, Gopal, Gundappa Master, Samrat and Tharangini:


The area was beautiful and I walked along the road:


Gundappa Master had a word or two with the villagers as they passed, including this man bringing his cattle green fodder:


Meanwhile, I was looking at the birds, and got this



In one field, a scarecrow guarded the crops:


The sun sank westwards:


It was gO dhUli lagna…the “hour of cowdust”..when the grazing cattle are brought home:


As I walked further, I found a farmer setting fire to the area along the road:


He told me that he was burning Lantana bushes:


The sun and the fire made a good counterpoint:


I was a little intrigued about why Lantana bushes should be set fire to at this time, but did not ask further.


The sun set, shimmering in the heat waves from the fire:


It seemed the whole sky was aflame:


Manu, one of Gundappa Master’s assistants, brought us fresh cucumbers to crunch on!


Meanwhile, Samrat entertained us with various amazing wildlife videos on his mobile:


We began the walk into the fields to try and sight the “kAdupApA” as it is known locally:


A half-moon shone overhead, along with the first few stars:


We followed Gundappa Master as he went around, looking for the elusive mammals:


We did manage to find two, but the shy creatures immediately retreated into the foliage, so photography was just not possible. We decided not to disturb them too much, and ended the trip into the fields.

On our way back, we saw this Russell’s Viper disappearing into the bushes:


This brick cottage looked beautiful in the dim moonlight:


We were happy with our sightings of the kAdupApA (baby of the forest), but decided that trying to see them was certainly causing them some disturbance and distress. So another trip is not likely!

click here

for my first visit to Nagavalli, on Oct 12, 2007, when I got a shot of this beautiful creature:

Kadupapa in the bushes 121007

For more photos of the evening,

click here

for my FaceBook album.

Gundappa master says that the group has increased in numbers. I will be talking to Ameen Ahmed,of Wildlife And Nature Conservation (WANC) and will find out the facts of this conservation effort.

Birds and other beings at Ganeshgudi :a video by Rana and Sugandhi

March 9, 2014

Something I’d like to share with all of you is this wonderful video by a couple who are good friends, Raghunath Belur and Sugandhi Gadadhar. The audio for this is a percussion “conversation” between different south Indian musical instruments that often form a part of a classical Carnatic music concert. Apart from the great visuals, they have very creatively incorporated this percussion passage, which, in my language (Tamizh) we call a “thani Avarthanam”.

After the flute,you hear the

MRIDANGAM , a south Indian classical music percussion instrument

alternating with the

TABLA , a north Indian pair of drums used in all forms of music.

They alternate to a diminuendo and then join in and build to a crescendo, after which the flute picks up the melody again and brings the thani Avarthanam to a conclusion that the creatures dance to!

It’s 3’14” long.

Ganeshgudi, in Karnataka, lies in the Western Ghats, with is a World Biodiversity hotspot, and all these birds can be seen in just a day or two.

Here’s a detailed list of what you see:

The opening music is that of the Malabar Whistling Thrush, which our foremost birder, Dr. Salim Ali, has dubbed the “Whistling Schoolboy”.

Cast in order of appearance:
# Malabar Pied Hornbill in flight
# Malabar Pied Hornbill feeding on fig
# Southern Birdwing butterfly – largest butterfly in Southern India
# Blue-eared Kingfisher
# White-rumped Shama
# White-bellied Blue Flycatcher
# Ruby-throated Bulbul and Oriental White-eye (top left)
# Malabar Trogon
# Cruiser butterfly
# Asian Paradise Flycatcher Male
# Black-naped Monarch
# Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher
# Forest Calotes
# Chocolate Pansy butterfly
# Draco (flying lizard)
# Unidentified moth
# Ground Skimmer dragonfly
# Green Bee-eater with dragonfly kill
# Crested Goshawk
# White-bellied Woodpecker
# Blue-capped Rock Thrush
# Yellow-browed Bulbul
# Crested Serpent Eagle
# Grey-headed Fish Eagle
# Grass Funnel Web Spider
# Rat snake
# Cruiser butterfly
# Malabar Barbet
# Oriental Magpie Robin
# Common Emerald Dove
# Unidentified Warbler
# Verditer Flycatcher
# Coppersmith Barbet
# Malabar Pied Hornbill (left: male, right: female)
# Indian Pitta
# Pompadour Green Pigeon
# Malabar Whistling Thrush
# Cruiser butterfly
# White-rumped Shama
# Orange-headed Thrush
# Five-ring butterfly (?)
# Southern Birdwing butterfly
# Blue-capped Rock Thrush
# Coppersmith Barbet
# Blue-capped Rock Thrush (female)
# Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher (female)
# Brown-Cheeked Fulvetta
# Blue-capped Rock Thrush
# White-bellied Blue Flycatcher
# Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher
# Indian Yellow Tit
# Brown-Cheeked Fulvetta
# White-rumped Shama
# Ruby-throated Bulbul
# Indian Yellow Tit
# Asian Paradise Flycatcher
# Indian Yellow Tit
# Purple Sunbird
# Ruby-throated Bulbul
# Forest Calotes
# White-bellied Blue Flycatcher
# Dark-fronted Babbler
# Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher
# Brown-Cheeked Fulvetta
# Blue-capped Rock Thrush
# Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher (female)
# Oriental White-eye
# Asian Paradise Flycatcher
# Yellow-browed Bulbul
# Hanuman Langur
# Malabar Giant Squirrel
# Indian Palm Squirrel
# Unidentied ants
# Malabar Trogon with kill
# Thrush (?)
# Ants – Pachycondyla rufipes
# Gladeye Bushbrown butterfly
# Great Hornbill
# Indian Pitta
# Malabar Pied Hornbill

Three wishes…and no more

February 24, 2014

I wish we were like birds, with the ability to fly.

L mhe dhnti 291011 30D photo IMG_9225-2.jpg

I wish we were like plants , to make food directly from the sun.

backlit rain tree flower bg 280209 photo IMG_5267.jpg

I wish we were like other beings, never questioning why.

doe and fawn bndpr 040212 photo IMG_3263.jpg

But we are just human beings, so my wishing is over, and done!

Big Bird Day, Bannerghatta forest area, 160214

February 17, 2014

18 of us went together to cover the areas of Ragihalli, Bannerghatta Zoo area, Valley School and Vaderahalli Lake, to document the bird species and record their numbers. Here’s the photo that I took:


And here’s one a passerby took of all of us:


L to R: Murali, Anirudh, Saandip, Bhaskar, Mani, Gokul, Sindhu,Amit, Jayashree,YT, Kumuda, Santosh, Raghavendra, Skanda,Anjana,Gaurav,Shijo, Murugan.

Santosh explained the how-to’s to everyone during the MCS (Mandatory Chai Stop):


We fanned out at Ragihalli koLA (pond)


Brefus was after we covered the Zoo area, and at the Mayura, we all had masal dosas:


This basket caught my eye:


So did the birds…a





which was working away at an ant’s nest. We thought it was simple predation, until I saw Prof. Raguram’s blogpost,


about the actual complexity and wonder of what really happens. Nature has such incredible complexities!







a completely unafraid



I loved the affection between these two:


What was the chance that these three were bird-watching? Nun!





My friend Kumuda wore this lovely top, and when she walked, the ladies with their pots of water sashayed along, too!


You can see more photos on my FB album


Let me close with another image of the Bold Bushlark:


Two “mothers” and a baby, Nandi Hills, 070214

February 7, 2014

I often notice that two, and sometimes three, female Bonnet Macaques join together to care for a baby. This morning, at the Nursery area in Nandi Hills, I watched these two females. The one on the right is the “actual” mother; you can see the afterbirth, still, around her tail.

The baby is still wet from the birth and looks quite rat-like. The two seem to be checking him out. Surprisingly, with such a tender little one to care for, they were both sitting on the ground, right out in the open. I must google whether monkeys give birth on trees or on the ground…

The experience awed me…it was one of many wonderful things we saw, Kamal and I, this morning, at Nandi Hills.