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Rama Warrier's Blog

Category: wildlife

Common Nawab

Thumboormuzhi Gardens

Thumboormuzhi is a check-dam built across Chalakkudy River for irrigation purpose. This is midway between Chalakkudy and the famous Athirappilly waterfalls. Thumboormuzhi areas provides an ideal habitat for butterflies. Thumboormuzhi Butterfly garden by the side of Chalakkudy river is worth a visit irrespective of whether you are a butterfly watcher or just someone who loves nature.

Garden is spread over multiple levels on a sloping landscape sandwiched between Athirappilly road and Chalakkudy river. Different host plants have been planted to attract various species of butterflies. The park also has some recreational facilities for children.

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December dawned in Wayanad with the news of the tiger, which had kept the region on the boil, being eliminated by the task force. People were rejoicing and television channels reporting that Wayanad would sleep peacefully for the first time in two weeks. The twelve year old tiger had strayed into the plantations of Wayanad two weeks earlier and picked on domestic cattle. There was a huge outcry about the failure of Government to safeguard the life and property of citizens. Political parties were on the road blocking National Highway. People were venting their anger with dead cattle displayed on the roads. The administration sprang into action and declared that the animal will be shot, if needed. A combined team of Karnataka and Kerala forest officials tried to tranquilize the animal and eventually shot it dead. The administration gave an explanation that all efforts were made to take the animal alive, but circumstances warranted the extreme step. There is a raging debate whether ‘death penalty’ for a ‘cattle lifter’ is an excessive punishment. The slain tiger did not harm any human being nor showed any inclination to turn a man-eater.

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Singanallur nature walk

Urban bio-diversity is typically underestimated everywhere. We fail to notice it most of the time, mainly due to the fact that we are pre-occupied. Or we simply do not have the time to look around.

Singanallur is a typical polluted urban lake in the South Indian city of Coimbatore. It has a boathouse which looks abandoned – may be there were no takers for boating in a not so great environment. I checked with a Coimbatore birding enthusiast Gokul Ram about birding spots in the city and he directed me to Singanallur – a lake on Trichy road. I had to meet with a few puzzled glances when leaving early in the morning as Singanallur does not have the reputation of an interesting spot.

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A short trip to Thattekkad

The excitement was palpable when the Nature India trip to Thattekkad/Munnar kick started with the team packing itself into three SUVs at Kochi airport. It was a bright and sunny January morning. The 45km drive from the airport to Thattekkad is a scenic one. There are winding roads and rich vegetation on either side. The route passes through Kaladi (the birthplace of Adi Shankara) and the small town of Kothamangalam. The day we were travelling, it was festival time in a local church and there were colourful processions on the way. It did not delay our progress in any way and we were in Jungle Bird Homestay well in time for lunch. This was our home for the next three days. Gireesh Chandran, Sudha and Sandhya were our hosts, guides and caretakers.

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Birding on Jog – Sagar Road

We spent a day and two nights at ‘stay@matthuga’, a homestay, to visit Jog falls and the old temples near Sagar. Birding was an added bonus. On two mornings we had the opportunity to bird near Talavata – a village about 20km away from Sagar on NH 206 where the homestay is located. It is about 10km before Jog falls. I had read in a few places that localities near Jog have a lot of bird activity. But, with no specific clue on where to go, I decided to find out if there were any water bodies around – there was one about a kilometre and a half towards Sagar, on the left side of the highway.

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On the Sea Eagle’s trail

Devbagh which literally means ‘Celestial Garden’ was the destination we picked for a stop-over during our Coastal Karnataka trip. I had heard about the pristine beauty of the Devbagh Resort from earlier visitors.

Karwar, a small town near the Karnataka-Goa border looks very rustic. It is known to have been a part of the vibrant trade network during the colonial era. Karwar raised the waves of creativity in the mind of a young Tagore inspiring him to put pen on paper and author Prakritir Pratishodha – story of a Sanayasi and a young girl.

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Naturalist Training Program – some random thoughts

I have always had a fascination for nature and the immense variety it offers. Usually the enjoyment that I derive is superficial – a state of ‘ignorant bliss’. It isn’t all that bad, I should say. But the desire to understand more has always been there. May be that would give me a better appreciation of the ways of nature. It was that search which led me to the Naturalist Training Program (NTP) run by Jungle Lodges. I was quick on the trigger to respond to the invite. Later on, I found out that it was good that I did so, for most participants had tried multiple times before getting a slot which goes on a ‘first come first served’ basis !

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Anderson and Corbett

Nine man-eaters and one rogue is the first person account of the captivating adventures of the famed hunter Kenneth Anderson. The stories are set in the 30’s and 40’s when Anderson was active chasing and eliminating man eating tigers and leopards in the erstwhile State of Mysore and Presidency of Madras. This book has not caught the attention of the world as much as Man Eaters of Kumaon written by Anderson’s more well-known counterpart Jim Corbett, whose hunting ground was the Kumaon region on the Himalayan slopes.

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Marine National Park – Narara

The word “National Park” brings to mind pictures of large mammals and tropical forests for most of us. At best it may extend to a bird sanctuary. What we usually forget it that India has a mainland coastline of 6000 km. If we add islands as well it will stretch much more. Coastal regions contribute significantly to India’s bio diversity.

Marine National Park in the Gulf of Kutch is one of the very few of its kind in India. It is located in the southern part of Gulf of Kutch in Jamnagar district (Gujarat). It consists of several islands and is filled with sandy beaches, coral reefs and mangroves. Pirotan island is the best known (relatively speaking !) of the lot.

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wild ass

Asses on the Rann

Our first stop in Gujarat was the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK), a wild life sanctuary about two and a half hours to the north east of Ahmedabad.

The resort : There are a few resorts available in LRK. We decided to opt for the Eco Tour camp run by a local conservationist – Devjibhai Dhamecha – on the edge of LRK (Dhangadhra). The accommodation on offer is ‘kooba’ (huts). These huts have circular mud walls with a thatched roof. Each hut has a veranda. Around the main door we can see beautiful patterns painted in different colours. Eco Tour camp had five huts at the time of our visit. Huts have electricity and neat, attached bathrooms. You could enjoy local delicacies prepared by the friendly team headed by Premjibhai. The resort does not serve or permit alcohol and non-vegetarian dishes.

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