Posts Tagged ‘tumkur’

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….

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

May 2, 2014

I’ve been lucky enough to spot the

SLENDER LORIS

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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.

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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.

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An arm and a leg show themselves:

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

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

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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:

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Gundappa Master takes out the little primate on a twig.

Here it is, climbing around on the twig:

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

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

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

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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:

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

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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.

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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:

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

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

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The moon and the star

May 2, 2014

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If you were the moon and I was a star,
We would have a home in the sky
People would see you from afar
I’d have the right to look on you from close by!

Tumkur visit, 010514

Sunset, Fire, and Outer Space, 050414

April 8, 2014

As we waited for dusk, so that the Slender Lorises would become active, we were treated to the sight of a beautiful sunset.

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However, as the sun sank, I watched a villager set fire to the edges of his field:

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When I asked him, he said he was burning the Lantana bushes.

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I am still not sure why he had to burn them, but the sun and the flames seemed to compete.

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It seemed that, along with the fires, the whole sky was aflame:

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I watched the fires rage…

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I walked away, down the trail, and watched the moon and stars come into their own:

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Lovely to see out into space, while waiting to see something in our little world!

When trees shade the roads..

April 8, 2014

As I boarded the bus to go and meet my friends (we were going to Nagavalli, in Tumkur District, to sight the Slender Loris, aka kAdupApA), I saw this artwork silhouette of a tree on the bus:

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As we drove into Tumkur district, it struck me more, and more, how beautiful roads look when they are avenues, that is, shaded by trees. So…here are some shots of roads with trees, showing how inviting they can be…you can also see the variety of transport vehicles that we use in our country, which makes our traffic so haphazard and difficult to negotiate!

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Why do we not think of trees as living beings who share this earth with us, and must not be murdered to make more room for us?

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!

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

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

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The region is so beautiful, with plenty of trees:

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We stopped at Nagavalli village:

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

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We had pAni pUri and masAl pUri at this pushcart:

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

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

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This villager looked at us curiously, as we passed:

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Here’s Gundappa Master with us:

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

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The area was beautiful and I walked along the road:

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

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

ORIENTAL MAGPIE ROBIN:

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In one field, a scarecrow guarded the crops:

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The sun sank westwards:

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

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

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He told me that he was burning Lantana bushes:

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The sun and the fire made a good counterpoint:

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

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

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It seemed the whole sky was aflame:

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

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

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

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

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

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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:

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This brick cottage looked beautiful in the dim moonlight:

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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:

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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.

Manchanabele Reservoir, 291211,and other nature trails near Bangalore….

December 30, 2011

It’s been quite a hectic time, as I’ve been doing some amount of volunteering and some amount of for-me nature trails, too. Last Sunday, 18 (yes!) of us went to

Maidanahalli

as several people in the UGS (Usual Gang of Suspects, our group of friends who like to go for nature trails), and had a wonderful time, that included an awesome sunset.

The pictures of the birds are on my FB album

here

the scenery and general photographs are

here

and that technicolour sunset is

here

On Saturday last, I took 15 children from Sindhi School, Malleswaram, to the Bannerghatta forest (zoo area) and the pictures from that are

here

On Thursday, just 5 of us (it’s a working day for many, and this time, the children didn’t want to come) went to

Manchanabele Dam and Reservoir

All these were wonderful outings…and let me just show you a few sights from yesterday’s outing…

This is what the sky looked like just before sunrise….

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And this

INDIAN SILVERBILL

was one of the delightful little birds around…

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Some of the birds…

RIVER TERNS

preening on the water, after finishing their fish breakfast:

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A

BRAHMINY STARLING

showed off a cool hairstyle!

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A

BLACK DRONGO

showed off its glossy feathers:

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A

BOOTED EAGLE

soared above, delighting us:

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So did a

BRAHMINY KITE

much more common, but still, a beauty.

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Some

RIVER TERNS

behind a rock gave me a funny photograph!
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The terns then took off:

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We enjoyed watching the

LOCAL GEESE

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This

PIED WAGTAIL

and its companion wagged their tails along the shore:

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We watched this

ASIAN OPEN-BILLED STORK

and its companion, too:

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The stork made a lovely picture against the water:

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Liked the takeoff!

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A lone

ASHY-CROWNED SPARROW LARK

sat on a granite slab:

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One of the hightlights of the morning was seeing three of the

HOOPOES

together, I got this one on the shore:

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This little

PLAIN PRINIA

tried to hide in the Lantatna bushes:

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this

LAUGHING DOVE

posed for us on the rocks:

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A

BAY-BACKED SHRIKE

also sat helpfully on the bush:

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A

SMALL GREEN BEE-EATER

was actually eating a bee!

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I loved the sight of this old pavilion:

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And some distance away were people working in a field of marigolds:

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I completely enjoyed the sight of this

PIED BUSHCHAT

apparently visiting us to sit on the car!

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Hope you can see my photographs of the other trips, too…

Places in Devarayanadurga

April 9, 2008

I am truly struggling with an internet connection that is like the Sardarji’s car turn-indicator (someone asked him, “I will switch on the indicator, let me know if it’s working,” and his reply was, “It’s working,it’s not working, it’s working, it’s not working….)..it comes and goes and comes and goes and a post that should take a few minutes has taken HOURS. But I *will* be victorious and make the post yet….

This is all about the non-birding and wildlifing part of the trip to Devarayanadurga, which I have already posted about. I want to put on record the places that we went to. Here’s the first place on this Karnataka signboard:

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all about the places in Devarayanadurga, and our TV appearance, under the cut

Sights, sounds,smells, and sightings at Devarayanadurga 050408

April 9, 2008

It was a day where all the senses were fully engaged, at Devarayana Durga (Phonetically, dEvarAyana durgA…durgA means ‘fort’.) The Devarayanadurga State Forest (DDSF) area is one of the most beautiful I have seen, in the District of Tumkur, which is also home to the the endangered Slender Loris and the Blackbuck . The awe-inspiring rock formation, and the variety of fauna and flora that can be found, made me decide to visit the place.

I have already talked about the macaque antics, and will be describing the places and the landmarks of Devarayanadurga in a later post. Here is what Nature shared with us that day:

As we walked along the track into the forest area, Seshadri, who is a good tracker, spotted these marks at our feet:

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lots more pictures (including the sandals, Mamta!) if you click here

The macaques of Devarayanadurga

April 7, 2008

One of the fauna that kept us endlessly entertained at Devarayanadurga was the Bonnet Macaque, which we call the common monkey….

We started by seeing them with their fur aglow in the early morning light….

the halo before the yawn

Even a sleepy yawn looked beautiful:

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several monkey tricks if you click