Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Monday, November 08, 2004

Awesome alibaug (Nov 6-7)

Dear friends
This is the introductory para of my report on my experience to Alibag this weekend. Its my second trip to alibag. Unlike the first one this trip was actually a camp for the kids called Winter Adventure Camp organized by the Youth Hostel unit-alibaug of which Dr.Vaibhav is a part. Shashank Dalvi was the group leader. We had an exciting time with very enthusiastic kids . Species overall recorded was 65 of which I have seen around 55. It was birds paradise specially the raptors. Thanks to Shashank we got to know plenty of raptors. Thanks to Dr.Vaibhav for also showing us different exciting bird spots and for the great camp.
The day started off pretty well with sightings of many butterflies at the Gateway of India where I and Shashank had been waiting for another nature enthusiast friend Jaya. We saw tiger butterflies, pansies, sailor, common crow, rose butterfly, grassyellow, etc. After boarding the launch we were comfortably seated at the top floor of the launch. Within few minutes we were outside standing near the railings with binocs and grimett in our hands. We saw number of gulls and some terns too. We saw a brown headed gull sitting on the rocks. While chatting about these birds we also kept our eyes scanning in the open sea for any sight of birds. We again saw number of butterflies and dragonflies fluttering in the massive. Some where the common crow, common rose, blue pansy, chocolate pansy, etc. We soon thus reached the docks. We soon hampered fast to get into the bus. ( I was awed by the beautiful picturesque scene of the beach and the gurgling waters.) The bus dropped us at manigaon from where we were received by the ppl to the camp site.
After the pretty bus journey , the car ride was also cool as the the roads were nothing but bumpy, ruddy and stony ribboned roads. It was a typical village roads leading through various lanes with small pretty houses with beautiful gardens around it. Finally we reached the camp site. We saw the tents and pandals set. The children had hust began their lunch. We soon joined them and after lunch we left for bird watching. Since it was pretty hot around we got to see many raptors. We began hiking through the rocky streams and grassy and green patches. We soon seated ourselves comfortably in a patch which was cool and well shaded and promised a lot of birds. On our way til that point we saw some birds. We stayed there for almost three hours had a record of around 45 + birds. We saw Common kestrel, Long billed vulture, green sandpiper, black kite, Shikra, Booted eagle, Blue rock thrush, jungle babbler, yellow wagtail, black Drongo, and many more.
We returned back and went again to another place near the campsite for bird watching. We spent around 40 mins and returned back. We camp to ste up for the slide show. Jaya and Shashank were setting up the slides for the show. After dinner we had the very interesting slide show. This was the first time I was hearing a slide show in marathi. It was amazing. Shashank was pretty good and the children were enthralled. Shashank also added a note about keeping away from snakes when encountered and also never kill them. He had rescued 2 cobras which he had to rescue. He showed one of the beauty and the children and rest of the crew were also awed by it. After the talk when all the kids retired to beds we along with with the Dr.Vaibhav and crew went to find a appropriate place for the release. The night walk was cool and exciting. Shashank released them and wecame back to campsite. On our way Dr.Vaibhav showed us a tree where earlier they had seen an owl. We were unlucky though. At campsite we saw the slides of the mountaineering staff of their trip to Himalayan ranges. Finally we all snuggled into the bedsheets and went off to sleep.
The next day morning was as exciting as the previous day noon. We all went to an another interesting spot for bird watching. We saw dusky crag martin, Green bee eater, jungle babbler, White throated kingfisher, Purple rumped sunbird, Cattle egret, Pond Heron, etc. As the children departed, we along with Dr.Vaibhav leading us climbed up a hill which gave beautiful view of the the campsite and the whole place around. We saw green and common sandpipers, while wagtails, Malabar lark, etc.
On our return we had a quick breakfast and went to see the children do the river crossing. Bird watching continued there too. The bird watching was going on in when we came back and were being a part of the children’s session. As and when we used to see a peculiar bird or raptor we indicated to Shashank and Dr.Vaibhav who then after a good observation gave us the names of the birds.
The rest of the day till noon was spent lazily , lying on the mat and eyes were glued to the sky. At any sight of a raptor we jumped up. One of the raptors which I got to see very close was the palemorph of booted eagle. What a marvel!!! Finally after bading bye to the kids and the crew, we left the campsite with heavy heart. We were dropped on the main road from where we were supposed to take a bus to the dock. Rather than waiting for the bus we started walking along the road. The path was beautiful with lots of green around both sides. As my eyes were always focused on the sky and rather less on the ground , my whole attention was on the birds and butterflies, A little on the flowers , though I did notice some flowering plants. We soon boarded the bus and reached the docks. The open sea was much better this time. The waves were bigger and with the tide coming in it was looking fantastic. We wished that we could have stayed at the shores for some more time.
We had a great time at the launch. We seated ourselves at the front side of the boat. With beautiful memories in our hearts and desire for more such outings we returned. The sunset that we got see was beautiful and so were the soaring gulls. Finally we reached the Gateway of India from where we proceeded back home. This is the end of an end of another report.
The lists are as follows,
1. White throated kingfisher
2. Green bee eater
3. Indian Koel
4. Crow pheasant
5. Spotted dove
6. Laughing dove
7. Green Sandpiper
8. Common Sandpiper
9. Red wattled lapwing
10. Black kite
11. Brahminy kite
12. White bellied sea eagle
13. Long billed vulture
14. Short toed snake eagle
15. Eurasian marsh harrier
16. Shikra
17. Long legged buzzard
18. Honey buzzard
19. Booted eagle
20. Common kestrel
21. ? ring tailed harrier
22. 2 unidentified aquila eagles
23. Cattle egret
24. Pond heron
25. Long tailed shrike
26. Eurasian golden oriole
27. Black Drongo
28. Ashy drongo
29. Blue rock thrush
30. Eurasian blackbird
31. Indian robin
32. Magpie Robin
33. Pied bushchat
34. Common myna
35. Dusky crag martin
36. Red vented bulbul
37. Red whiskered bulbul
38. White browed bulbul
39. Ashy Prinia
40. Plain Prinia
41. Grey breasted Prinia
42. Common tailor bird
43. Jungle Babbler
44. Puff throated babbler
45. Scimittar babbler
46. greenish warbler
47. Booted warbler
48. Red rumped swallow
49. Barn swallow
50. Common chiffchaff
51. White throated fantail flycatcher
52. Malabar lark
53. Crimson sunbird
54. Purple rumped sunbird
55. White wagtail
56. Yellow wagtail
57. Brown headed gull
58. ?? Large gulls
59. Dapchick
60. Little cormorant
61. Grey heron
62. House crow
63. Large billed crow
64. Pale billed Flowerpecker
65. Common grass yellow
66. 3 spotted grassyellow
67. Plain tiger
68. Common wanderer
69. Cerulean
70. Common gull
71. Common jazebelle
72. Choclate pansy
73. Danaid egg fly male
74. Common crow
75. Peacock pansy
76. Common rose
77. Crimson rose
78. Striped tiger
79. Glassy tiger
80. Blue tiger
81. Clouded grass yellow
82. Blue pansy
83. Grey pansy
84. lemon pansy
85. Sailor
86. Urena lobata
87. Lantana camara
88. Sphenostylis bractreatus
89. Ipomea hederifolia
90. Evolvulus alsinoides
91. Hygrophila auriculata

The naturelover signing off now .
Love nature

Monday, August 02, 2004

Camping at Lonavla( 31st july-1st aug)

Here goes my next report. I had been with the BNHS Navi Mumbai Group to Lonavla for a nature camp organized so as to commemorate the 1st anniversary of the formation of the group.
Date- 31st july and 1st august
Mode of transport- BNHS van
Stay- NUSI
Members- 35+ ( including Isaac sir and Nandini, Milind and Deepa Soman, Jacob and neena, Joanna and Vinay, Vijaya mam and Adarsh, Adesh, etc)
It is always exciting and refreshing to visit a hill station on a weekend when the whole week becomes tiring and frustrating. Lonavla is gem of a place and extremely lively when it is monsoon season. I was pretty lucky to be there with people of high knowledge on various aspects of nature like flowers, insects, butterflies and birds like Isaac sir, Vijaya mam, Adesh etc. it was a great feeling to enjoy the beauty of mountains, loveliness of nature and grandeur of streams and waterfalls on the way to and in Lonavla. The highway was pretty exciting too as the path was green and smooth. The fun was seeing plenty of small and large waterfalls. The waterfall count could have been a pretty good timepass u know. In the lap of nature, far from the maddening crowd and pollution of the cities, such a visit is a great boon and blessing. Saw a brahminy kite, Black shouldered kite on the way.
I, my friend Vivek, Adesh and Mr.Nelson were the first ones to board the bus from sion then followed by the rest of people from Vashi and Nerul. We had Deepa’s car along too. The next pitstop was directly Lonavla for breakfast. After a tasty breakfast of Pohe and Scrambled egg( I didn’t taste _ veggy !!!) we left for a short walk to the Tata gardens which was just mindd blowing. The place was so picturesque and mesmerizing that anyone dreaming of going to Switzerland would mistaken this place to be it. With Mhasir fishes in the ponds, Gerbera cultures, various plants of exotic beauties and waterfalls, birds, fish cultures our hearts leaped with joy. I personally being a botany student was awed by that place. It was a pretty good walk as we recorded more than 25 birds. Saw nests of Black birds, Red rumped swallow, etc. We came back for lunch and then after it we proceeded to another place for nature study. We watched plenty of birds. Special ones were brahminy starling, jungle myna. Etc. The path was exhilarating as both the sides of the road was just mind blowing. On one side was the green mountains with gushing streams and waterfalls whereas on the other side was green meadows. They all looked like carpets of green. We even checked out a orphanage.
On return we had a slide show on insects and butterflies by Isaac sir that was indeed appetizing, increasing the need to know about them. The slides of butterflies and moths were indeed enchanting and so was the talk. It was dinner after it that followed talk on birds by Adesh. I am just short of words to describe it . Knowing about birds, their migration, their behavior is very exciting. We all called it a day after that. The next morning we left for the Tunri dam ( I hope I am naming it right) . This was the gem of an experience as the place was a paradise. This was a place of magic as the place lost visibility regularly. It looked as if the place was wrapped by some invisibity cloak. Well what was most exciting was the green paths along the lake. The place was calendar photo spot. With small elevated islands kind of joining the mainland with rocks, with plenty of fog and mist to play with , the fairyland had lots to deliver. With no wish to return back from that paradise we did finally managed to move out. Tasty idlis were waiting for us. Finishing those we assembled to talk with the MAMA’s on their expeditions to Sri Lanka and Pakistan and their excellent Documentations. It was just great. The documentation was made on the basis of photos, texts, newpaper cuttings, etc. After that we went to a school where we saw the Big Dane Dog. Was pretty handsome and huge. Again we retreated back to the hotel to pack our stuff and assemble for the talk by the person Incharge – NUSI . After a interesting session there which ended with everyone being given a packet of CHIKI. That was really nice of them. A few points that I would have missed here was that it rained pretty much there. We all were going to our rooms very regularly to change into dry clothes till our stock got over. It was very chilly and windy and our bones rattled and so did our teeth. With lot of ppl capturing the moments in camera and Adesh in his Cam-corder it is nice too know that all those funfilled happy moments would be cherished for the lifetime. Thanks to adesh for capturing some scenes of mine enjoying the rain and doing cranky stuff.
Overall it was a mind blowing, enchanting, exciting, exhilarating, mesmerizing, fantastic, marvelous, superbous, fultu Zhakkas trip. Thanks to Deepa, Milind, Jacob, Isaac sir, et al for their efforts for such an result. Last but not the least thanks a million to Sagar who pioneered the whole group. Thanks a lot for everything. We all missed u a lot and more than eager to have another trip with u . What say ppl?
N.B- Plant list will be put by me
Bird list by Adesh

Terminalia tomentosa ( Ain) Fruit
Saraca indica ( Ashoka tree)
Dendrocalamus sp. ( Bamboo)
Bottle palm
Date Palm
Couroupita guianensis ( Kailashpati) Flower and Fruit
Bauhinia purpurea ( Camel foot )
Bauhinia variegata ( Camel foot )
Anthocepalus kadamba ( Kadamba) Fruit
Butea monosperma ( Palas)
Calotropis gigantean ( Rui) Flower
Ficus glomerata Fruit
Adina cordifolia ( Haldu) Fruit
Syzygium cuminii ( Jamun)
Sterculia foetida
Carissa carandas ( Karvanda)
Pongamia pinnata ( Karanj)
Mangifera indica ( Mango)
Thespesia populnea ( Wild bhindi) FLower
Bombax malabaricum
Putranjiva roxburghii ( Putranjiva) Flower
Lagerstromia speciosa ( Jarul/ State tree of Maharashtra/ pride of India) Fruit
Taubebia rosea
Tectona grandis ( Teak)
Cochlospermum religiosum ( Yellow silk cotton)
Habenaria grandiflora ( white coloured ground orchid) FLower
Habenaria species (2) FLowers
Kali musli Flowers
Begonia concanensis Flowers
Impatiens balsaminae FLowers
Impatiens ( chinese) Flowers
Justicia sp Flower
Cyanotis cristata FLower
Heptis sevaveolus
Callistemon lanceolatus ( Bottle brush tree) Flower
Argemone mexicana ( Mexican poppy)
Vitex nigundo ( Nirgudi) Flower
Vanda sp.
Verbena venosa FLower
Carvia callosa (karvi)
Asteracantha longifolia ( talim khana)(life cycle completed)
Solanum xanthocarpum
Carica papaya
Ceiba pentandra
Mimosa pudica Flower
Smithia sensitiva ( Lajatu/touch me not)
Mussanda frondos
Ocimum sanctum ( Tulsi)
Lantana camara ( Ghaneri) flowers and fruits
Heliconia angustifolia Flower
Asclepias curassavica FLower
Sida acuta Flower
cup and saucer plant
Urena lobata Flower
Sanciveria trifasiata ( Motherinlaw’s tongue)
Hibiscus rosasinensis Flower
Neuracanthus sphaerostachyus
Cassia tora