Posts Tagged ‘reptiles’

In the water, in the sun, Lalbagh, 090418

April 9, 2018

Put your head out of the water.
Get a bit of sun.
Try to get some breakfast…
Without becoming one!

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Lalbagh, 9 Apr ’18

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Savandurga, 081017

October 11, 2017

It was just four of us: Padma, Ramaswamy, Srini and I… who decided to go to

Savandurga

on a misty monsoon morning.

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Sign in Kannada for our destination:

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The mist in the trees…

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Which slowly cleared up:

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Our activities attracted a lot of attention!

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We did see a lot of birds…here are some.

Black Drongos

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This Ashy Prinia presented a cartoony view.

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Green Bee-eater with dragonfly catch

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Laughing Dove

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The butterflies were out in force, too!

Yellow Orange-tip

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Dark Blue Tiger

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Plain Tiger caterpillar

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Pointed Ciliate Blue

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Common Wanderer

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Dark Grass Blue

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Common Gull

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Here’s Srini, delighted with the way a butterfly trustingly climbed on to his finger (if one wipes one’s perspiration off, they are attracted to the minerals in the fluid)

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That was the Pointed Ciliate Blue again.

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Some of the insects we saw included this White-tailed Damselfly

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and this beautiful Copper Beetle (at least, that’s what I named it!)

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Wildflowers were varied and plentiful.

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Here’s a lovely Balloon Vine:

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Mexican Poppy

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Gossypium sp (Mallow)

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Waterlilies in a pond

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Even seed pods can look stunning

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Mushrooms

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Dabbaguli was one of the places we stopped at

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And just outside the town, we spotted a bonus…the Jungle Nightjar!

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Padma brought her tasty cutlets, and we feasted on them

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Later we also had some local breakfast.

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We stopped near two old temples, the Shaivite sAvaNdi veerabhadraswAmy and bhadrakAlamma temple

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and the Vaishnavite Lakshmi Narasimha temple

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Here’s narasimhA, the man-lion avatAr of Vishnu, with His consort Lakshmi, who is his laptop…

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The deities were being taken out in procession, which was a nice bonus.

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This life-like dog in a vendor’s stall nearly had me fooled.

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Part of this temple seemed lost in dreams of another time….

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Some rather risky rock-climbing was going on.

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The scenery was stunning:

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It was on the rocky outcrop in the centre that we spotted three Egyptian vultures.

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We returned home, well pleased with our morning, stopping to say “bye” to this Oriental Garden Lizard which also seemed to be having a swinging time.

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Looking forward to the next weekend outing…!

The road, the river, the birds, the beings…Galibore trip,221114

December 3, 2014

The road…

It unites so many lives.

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People drive on it

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Some just walk on it

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Some lead their animals on it..

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Sometimes buildings, especially temples, are built right on it..

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Eateries survive near it:

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Several creatures thrive near it:

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My friends discuss their photographs, standing on it:

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There are havens at the end of the road:

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On an urban road is the statue of a bird-lover:

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The River.

The Kaveri is beautiful…

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The birds:

Rose-ringed Parakeet at nest:

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Rosy Starlings and Common Mynas:

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Pied Bushchat:

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Grey Heron:

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Spot-billed Pelican:

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Spot-billed Duck:

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Fish in the water:

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Paddyfield Pipit:

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Painted Stork:

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Short-toed Snake Eagle:

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Red-wattled Lapwing:

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White-throated Kingfisher:

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Oriental Honey Buzzard:

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Plants:

Leo otis, or Lion’s Ear:

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Gall on the leaves:

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A beautiful wildflower:

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the Shankha Pushpi (Shell flower)

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A jewel bug:

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Grass Yellows mud-puddling:

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A tiny, perfect grasshopper:

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A dragonfly:

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If you want to suffer even more photos, see my FB album

here

Let me close with this view of the Kaveri:

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Volunteer Training Program(VTP) , Kudremukh, Day 2-190514 (Monday)

May 31, 2014

Here’s my account of day 2:

Monday, 190514, Day 2

Dr Ramesh, the RFO of the Kudremukh range, made a presentation which started with the general concepts of Protected Areas, National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, and Reserves, such as Community., Tiger, Biosphere and Elephant, and then talked specifically of the Kudremukh, which he lauded as one of the best forest regions in Karnataka, as well as being grassland habitat.

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VMR gave a presentation to illustrate the value of photography in wildlife conservation:

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Post-lunch, S. Karthikeyan, Chief Naturalist, JLR, introduced the participants to “Lesser” life forms, and showed how interesting they could be. Heavy rain repeatedly interrupted his presentation but it was still an eye-opener to the participants.

The pouring rain brought down the temperature as well as the sheets of rain, and it was beautiful to see this

BICOLORED FROG:

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This ladybird isn’t alive; she’s been predated by a spider, but what remains of her is covered by raindrops:

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I wish I had names for some of the beautiful wildflowers we saw:

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This

JUNGLE PRINIA

hid amongst the rain-dripping leaves:

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A

COMMON PIERROT

delighted us:

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A lot of

GARCINIA GUMMIGATA

trees are being planted around the camp:

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I am unable to get the id of this beautifully flowering tree:

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The rain also brought out many

LEECHES;

here’s one on Basava’s finger:

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We saw the camera traps being taken to be set up (alas, they didn’t get anything much..that’s the way it happens!)

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This

HAWK MOTH

caterpillar had come out, too:

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I wish I had names for all the wildflowers we saw. Some, like this

OSBECKIA,

were provided by friends:

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Others remained unknown:

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I can’t get an id for these fruits and trees, either:

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The ferns looked beautiful, but we learnt later that

PTERIDIUM

(commonly called Bracken)

is an invasive species and is probably harmful for the ecosystem there:

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Karthik helped a participant get a macro shot of a Skipper:

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The landscape, as we went for our walks, continued to be stunning:

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From the distant slopes, a

SAMBHAR

doe looked alertly at us:

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Underfoot, a

FUNNEL WEB SPIDER

guarded her rain-bespangled web:

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A

SLUG

meandered along:

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Since the area is politically unsettled, an Anti-Naxal Unit van was often parked in the camp:

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click here

for my FB album of Day 2.

click here

for my overall account, list of birds and others.

Off we went for a good rest, to be fresh on Day 3….

Rescue and Release: Bronzeback Tree Snake, Devarayana Durga State Forest, Tumkur District, 010514

May 5, 2014

When we went to meet Gundappa Master, at Tumkur, he told us that a

BRONZEBACK TREE SNAKE

had also been rescued from a villager’s house. The villager was very scared and worried that it was a venomous snake, and wanted to kill it, so it was taken away for release in the forest.

We only witnessed the release; we did not want to touch the snake as it was already rather distressed.

Gundappa Master opens the bag, after we reached the interior of the Devarayana Durga State Forest, well away from the road:

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He puts it on a tree:

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While giving the snake a little time to calm down, we take our shots:

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Long, slender, smooth-scales.
Head distinctly broader than neck; snout bluntly rounded.
Large eyes have round pupils.
Tail very long, thin and wire-like.
This species has a dark blue tongue.

The snake’s blue eyes mean that it is at the beginning of ecdysis…the process of shedding its old skin. At this time, the reptile’s vision is not good, and it would like to be undisturbed.

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Behavior
Diurnal. Arboreal; inhabits low bushes, thorn trees, indian date palms, and palmyra.
Feeds on frogs, garden lizards, geckos and small birds, even entering thatched houses to feed.
Extremely fast.
Notched sharply defined edges of belly scales help it climb.
Females lay 6-8 long, thin eggs in tree holes and rotting vegetation.
Nervous disposition, if cornered, some will strike repeatedly while expanding forebody to show light blue/white color at lower edge of each scale.

The blue scales showing on the back also show that it is distressed.

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In this shot, the blue scales on the back (that only show when the snake is in distress) are not showing. The snake is definitely calmer.

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Here we are, photographing it while it collects itself:

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The snake then quickly drops to the ground, once again showing the blue scales of distress:

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The snake then slithers off over the rocks, and is gone.

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Both Gundappa Master, and we (Chandu, Gopal, Yash and I) hope our release is a successful one and that this beautiful, non-venomous snake has a long life….

The Shieldtail…again, 161113

November 18, 2013

Some time ago, in Bannerghatta, I’d sighted the

SHIELDTAIL

which I’d posted about

here

On Saturday evening, I went to Nandi Hills with Naveen Toppo, his wife (and super bird-spotter) Pinky, and Sharmila Abdulpurkar. Walking along the path near Nehru Nilaya, we found some young men gently nudging something from the middle of the road on to the side, so that it would not be trodden or run over.

We went to investigate, and I found that it was, indeed, a Shieldtail.

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The snake moved into some fallen leaves, and put its head into the soil. Ostrich-like, it felt that it was adequately covered, and stopped moving. (So there was no point in taking a video!)

The difficult-sounding name, “Uropeltidae” for these serpents is derived from the Greek words, “Uro” (tail) and “Pelte” (shield). This is because these snakes are characterised by the presence of the large keratinous shield at the tip of the tail. These snakes are not venomous.

They are supposed to have an exclusive diet of earthworms, but I cannot find anything on the net to substantiate this claim. However, they are reviled by farmers because of their alleged diet…earthworms, with their ability to dig through, and aerate, the soil, are farmer’s friends, and any creature that eats them is a farmer’s enemy! However, the wiki says they could also feed on other invertebrates (not specified…there can’t be too many studies on this.

In a way, these are blind snakes, because the eyes are small and dcovered by large polygonal shields.

I would like to id this one as the Elliot’s Shieldtail, because the Wiki entry says:

“They are found in southern India and Sri Lanka.[1] In India, their distribution is mainly along the hills of Western Ghats, and only one species, Elliot’s shieldtail, Uropeltis ellioti, has been reported from other areas such as Eastern Ghats and hills of Central India.”

Ganesh Raghunathan, a friend who was working at B R Hills at the time of my first sighting, told me, “We are seeing quite a few of them here at B.R hills in the past week. they were active and would push their tails hard to prick us when picked up.” So I didn’t try to touch the snake at all; in any case, it must have been distressed after having been handled by the young men, even though they were trying to help it, and probably did save its life from the passing traffic.

Another interesting thing about Shieldtails..they are ovoviviparous….All members of this family retain eggs that hatch within the body of the mother. Whether or not you can pronounce that word fast, this fact is fascinating…a mixture of laying eggs and having the young within the mother’s body!

Here’s a closer look at this not-commonly-found, amazing creation of Nature:

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(You can clearly see the “shield tail” in this photo.)

We left the Shieldtail to the hills and the rainy evening, and came home, marvelling at the wonderful beings that populate our Earth.

Lone Elk Park, 240813, Fenton, Mo.

August 26, 2013

…And here’s the Lone Elk!

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After spending a day at the

Purina Farms Family Day

a paid event to which we went (the pictures are

here on my FB album

I asked if we could drive through

Lone Elk Park

(click on the name above for the post of my first visit there)

Click on the name of each animal, or bird, to get to the Wiki entry and info about it.

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and so we did…we were not supposed to get out of the car, but it was a very productive “car safari”.

This sign kept me in the car more effectively than tigers or lions could have done!

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I’m still digging tick heads out of my skin after each foray into Forest Park, so I had no wish to do more excavation.

Here are the prairie grasses….

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We started with some

EASTERN BOX TURTLES

sunning themselves on rocks in the water…

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We then saw a

WHITE-TAILED DEER

doe:

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Then we saw herd of

ELK :

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Some of them had been ear-tagged (for safety and tracking, one assumes)

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You can see the ear tag and the lovely liquid eye:

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Others sat around in the grass, not bothered about the passing cars, in much the way our mammals do in Bandipur…

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In fact, some of them did not even raise their heads!

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They were clearly telling us not to come back 🙂

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Such beautiful animals!

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We then entered the Bison area, with repeated warnings not to get out of the car:

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A group of

WILD TURKEYS

delighted me.

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We were lucky to come upon a herd of

AMERICAN BISON :

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During the summer, with food plentifully available, they don’t always come up near the road, so we were lucky! (Yes, I ‘ve gone through the ride sometimes without sighting a single animal.)

I find it hilarious that the scientific name of the American Bison is Bison bison, and that of the the Plains Bison is…Bison bison bison!

Apart from the massive adults, there was a little calf, too:

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The

Lone Elk Park website

says this little bull calf was born on Jan 3, 2013!

Why do young ones always look so adorable?

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“Come along, come along!” the mother said….

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They continued grazing.

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The sheer size of these animals is awesome.

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Here’s a short video of the American Bison:

We then went on, not really hoping for much more…but a marvellous surprise awaited us, as we saw the magnificient antlers of this

Elk Stag:

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He wandered across the road:

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On he went, slowly:

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He stopped to have a good scratching session….

We left Lone Elk Park, very happy with what we’d seen in the short time we’d been there, particularly since I’d not expected to see anything at all in the lush foliage!

Mother and child, The Muny, 030813

August 7, 2013

When the mother turtle
Calls to her offspring…

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Does the little one hurtle
To her side, and bring

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Upon himself, a lecture
As he sinks, mindful of everything?

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Junglescapes Amphibian/Reptiles Excursion, Tambdi Surla, Goa, 12-16 Sept,, 2012

September 25, 2012

Girish, Parimala, Santosh and I visited the Canopy Goa resort for
their Amphibian/Reptilan excursions package. Everything was organized
by Ramesh, who, however, had to drop out at the last minute. It was a
memorable trip. I have put up photos on my Facebook albums, and here
is the creatures list that we have compiled.

I strongly recommend Ramesh Zermakar and Omkar Dharwadkar…their
knowledge is very impressive, and they are very helpful. Ramesh and
Pankaj Lad (along with his brother Gowreesh Lad) run the resort
extremely well. Even our Innova driver, Ali, was very helpful showing
us Monitor Lizards on the side of the road as he was driving, and
showing us pictures of a python that had eaten a macaque and later
regurgitated it.

Er, no, we did not have any Feni. We were drunk on the beauty of the
monsoon, and the wonderful beings that we could see and observe.

Amphibians:

Frogs:

Amboli bush (id yet to be confirmed)
Common Indian Bullfrog
Dobson’s Burrowing
Malabar Gliding
Ornate Narrow-mouthed
Reddish Burrowing
Small-handed
Skittering
Waynad or Marten’s bush frog (id yet to be confirmed)

Fejervarya, Indirana, and Nyctibatrachus species…I do not know the others.

Toads:
Common Indian

Birds:

Babbler, Dark-fronted
Babbler, Jungle
Barbet, Brown-headed
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bulbul, Red-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bulbul, Yellow-browed
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Ashy
Drongo, Black
Eagle, Crested Serpent
Flameback, Common
Flycatcher, Tickell’s Blue
Fulvetta, Brown-cheeked
Hawk-Cuckoo, Common
Hornbill, Malabar Grey
Hornbill, Malabar Pied
Iora, Common
Kite, Brahminy
Kite, Common
Lapwing, Red-wattled
Leafbird, Blue-winged
Leafbird, Golden-fronted
Minivet, Small
Nightjar, Jerdon’s
Oriole, Black-hooded
Oriole,Eurasian Golden
Parakeet, Malabar
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Parrot, Vernal Hanging
Prinia, Ashy
Prinia, Grey-breasted
Robin, Oriental Magpie
Shikra
Spiderhunter, Little
Sunbird, Crimson-backed
Sunbird, Loten’s
Sunbird, Purple
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Tailorbird, Common
Treepie, Indian
Treepie, Rufous
White-eye, Oriental
Woodshrike, Common
Woopecker, Heart-spotted
Woodpecker, White-naped

Calls:

Bulbul, Grey-headed
Francolin, Grey
Frogmouth, Ceylon
Eagle, Changeable Hawk
Junglefowl, Grey
Myna, Hill
Thrush, Malabar Whistling

Birds sighted from train:

Bee-eater, Small Green
Bushchat, Pied
Crow, House
Crow, Jungle
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Greater Racket-tailed
Egret, Little
Ibis, Black-headed
Kingfisher, Pied
Kingfisher, White-breasted
Kite Black
Mynah, Common
Robin, Indian

Butterflies

Blue. Grass
Blue, Pea
Castor, Angled
Castor, Common
Cerulean, Common
Crow, Common
Crow, Double-banded
Demon, Grass (cat)
Eggfly, Great (Cat also)
Emigrant, Common
Emigrant, Mottled
Gull. Common
Jezebel, Common
Lime, Common
Mormon, Blue (also cat and eggs)
Mormon. Common (also cat)
Oakblue, Common
Pansy, Chocolate
Pansy, Lemon
Pioneer
Psyche, Common
Rose, Common
Rose, Crimson
Rustic
Tiger, Blue
Tiger, Plain
Tiger, Striped
Yellow, Common Grass
Yellow, Spotless Grass
Yellow, Three-spot Grass
Yeoman

Dragonflies

Dart, Malabar Torrent
Glider, Crimson Marsh
Glory, Clear-winged Forest
Skimmer, Ground

Insects and Others

Spiders: Crab, Giant Wood, Jumping, Lynx, Orb-Weaver, Wolf.

Tarantula, Indian

Assassin Bug, Centipede, Grasshoppers, plain and painted, Mayfly,
Millipede, Bark Mantis, Praying Mantis, Robberfly Stick Insect,
and other assorted Moths, Beetles and Insects. One Web Scorpion,
Several crabs of all sizes.

Reptiles

Snakes:

Green Vine
Keelback, Beddome’s
Rat
Viper, Hump-nosed Pit
Viper, Saw-scaled
Wolf, Travancore

Calotes, Forest
Gecko, Banded
Lizard, Garden (Calotes versicolor)
Skink, Brahminy
Skink, un id

I would like help with the id of the Skink, I am sending the pic herewith

Cheers, Deepa.

I’ve put up the photograph on FB:

The Green Vine Snake taking the frog up into the tree canopy:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151084062298878.450608.587058877&type=3

1st day:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151085434713878.450911.587058877&type=3

2nd day:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151085858413878.451017.587058877&type=3

3rd day:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151086602133878.451198.587058877&type=3

4th day:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151088941563878.451735.587058877&type=3

I have put up videos:

Saw-scaled Viper showing why it is so named:

and

Ramesh Zermakar handling a Beddome’s Keelback:

A Hump-nosed Pit Viper:

Two videos of the Green Vine Snake taking a captured frog up into the canopy:

and

We missed Ramesh and Shalini very much, as they had to drop out…Ramesh, literally, on the last day.

Live, laugh, love….

September 17, 2012

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I hope all of you are alive and well….I went to Goa for an amphibian/reptile workshop, little realizing that there would be NO connectivity of any kind. Also, we were in the dripping forests, steering clear (99% successfully) of leeches, sighting various extremely venomous, and non-venomous snakes, and frogs and toads…and trying to dry out our clothes as much as we could before the next trail. So…forgive the long gap…but wait for the photographs of the area that we visited, pics of a Green Vine Snake catching a frog and taking it up high into the tree branches….I’ve been to Goa-the-town before, but the forests of Goa are….a wonderful experience that I want to share with you.