Dandeli WLS and Karwar

Been two months since I updated this space. I solely blame it on the pre-occupation to some prior commitments.

Excursion to Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary and Gokarn from 1st November to 6th November 2008.

Dandeli panorama from Kawala Caves with Kali River in view
The visit to Dandeli WLS was proved fruitful in all ways – thanks to our tour operator. The time of the year was excellent and so was my luck with the fauna around. Although I am a layman when it comes to flora, it was in a bloom everywhere.
To expect the unexpected, a sloth bear and a wild elephant was on my wish-list, but no dreams came true. None the less, I saw some large and very small varieties of other life forms that one ought to glance upon down under!

Dandeli WLS, especially the area around Kulgi Nature Camp is a haven for any birder, or rather any nature enthusiast. Its not just birds you look out for at Dandeli if you’re in for larger predators – you ought to look out for leeches and mites too! Along with butterflies, the insect fauna is marvelous. “Some” of my luck paid off as I got to photograph – to my camera standards – pictures of those I really wish to see again!

The Real Thing

We spent three days at Dandeli WLS, and stayed at the dormitory of the Kulgi Nature Camp. I visited this place a second time, and I’m completely impressed with it. The Kulgi Nature Education Camp, run by the Karnataka Forest Department is spread over 10 acres near Kulgi village. It has well furnished tents, dormitories, a herbarium, well stocked library, video film screening etc.
We visited Kawala Caves, Syntheri Rocks and the backwaters.

Syntheri Rock

Backwaters of Dandeli
Kawala Caves is a holy shrine, although I spent my time outside the cave to hunt down birds through my camera! Syntheri Rocks is a single, massive monolithic granite stone with Kaneri River boring its way through the stone. The backwater was a splendid place to spend the evening and night at. Although no luck with the fauna, it is still imprinted on my mind and ever shall be.

Om Beach, Gokarna - Karwar
Later, we visited Gokarn at Karwar. An amazing place I must say. A small village with lots of temples and lovely beaches – a true tourist spot. However, I did some of my hunting as always and came across – although common – yet amusing fauna I’d like to see again and again!
We stayed for two days and got back to Mumbai on the 6th of November.

A short excursion I must say, but with lots of fulfilled satisfaction and unfulfilled dreams!

For more general info on Gokarn: http://www.karnataka.com/tourism/gokarna/
The Even Better Thing

The sightings weren’t bad for a bad birder like me. Here’s the checklist. Pictures will follow in later :)
1. Fairy Blue Bird
2. Malabar Pied Hornbill
3. Malabar Gray Hornbill – pair
4. Purple Rumped Sunbird – pair
5. Crimson Sunbird – male
6. Black Headed Munia
7. Asian Paradise Flycatcher – pair
8. Black Drongo
9. Crested Serpent Eagle
10. Brahmini Kite
11. Gray Jungle Fowl – female
12. Small Green Bee Eater
13. Red Wattled Lapwing – pair
14. Peacock
15. White Throated Kingfisher
16. Spotted Dove
17. Egret
18. Stint (?)
19. White Browed Wagtail – pair
20. White Rumped Shama
21. Oriental Magpie Robin
22. Rose Ringed Parakeet
23. Pond heron
24. Small Minivet – pair
25. Black Naped Monarch

1. Spotted Deer
2. Jackal
3. Malabar Giant Squirrel
4. Indian Gaur
5. Indian Gray Mongoose (?)
6. Rhesus Macaque
7. Hanuman Langoor

Amphibians (Frogs only):
1. Philautus – 3 species, or was it 2?!
2. Fejarvariya sp. – 3 sp.
3. Indian Bull Frog

1. Forest Calotes
2. Draco
3. Marsh Crocodile
4. Gecko unID

Insects (includes Butterflies):
1. Gladeye Bushbrown
2. Common Four ring
3. Restricted Demon
4. Common Bush Hopper
5. Dingy Scrub Hopper
6. Indian Dartlet
7. Southern Birdwing
8. Red Helen
9. Blue Mormon
10. Crimson Rose
11. Common Rose
12. Common Mormon – male and Romulus female
13. Swift – unID
14. Treebrown
15. Tailed Jay
16. Oakblue
17. Pea Blue
18. Plains Cupid
19. Gram Blue
20. Bushbrowns
21. Golden Dartlet – pair
22. Crimson tailed marsh hawk
23. Dusk Hawk
24. Blue Darner
25. Black Stream Glider
26. Ground Skimmer – pair
27. Millipede
28. Emerald Spreadwing
The sightings at Gokarn were very scanty. Here they are:
1. White Bellied Sea Eagle
2. Brahmini Kite
3. Stint (?)
4. Black Kite
5. Malabar Pied Hornbill – pair
6. Indian Roller

1. Wandering Glider
2. Red Marsh Trotter
3. Southern Birdwing
4. Crimson Rose

1. Great Pied Wagtail - a pair

2. Asian Fairy Bluebird
3. Gray Jungle Fowl - female
4. Pond Heron
5. Small Minivet - female
6. Small Green Bee-eater
7. Brahmini Kite
7. Stint Common Sandpiper

8. Indian Gray Mongoose
9. Rhesus Macaque
10. Spotted Deer - stag

11. Malabar Giant Squirrel


12. Gecko unided

13. Marsh Crocodile

14. Forest Calotes

15. Draco

16. Bush Hopper; 17. Gladeye Bushbrown

18. Bushbrown DSF; 19. Restricted Demon

20. Plains Cupid

21. Lime Butterfly

22. Crimson Rose
23. Southern Birdwing Caterpillar

24. Caterpillar of a Butterfly
25. Emerald Spreadwing
26. Giant Wood Spider

27. Ghost Crab

28. Sea Anemone

These are but a few pictures I took on the Excursion. The experience was amazing and I got a lot to learn on the field.
Bon voyage!

Monsoon Trails Check-list

Monsoon Trails as of 5th October 2008

1. Grass Demon
2. Rice Swift
3. Indian Palm Bob
4. Chestnut Bob
5. Brown Awl
6. Common Banded Awl
7. Vindhyan Bob
8. Malabar Spotted Flat
9. Tri color pied flat
10. Golden Angle
11. Common Small Flat
12. Common Spotted Flat
13. Tamil Grass Dart
14. Indian Skipper
15. Dark Palm Dart
16. Unidentified Swift –Small Branded Swift (?)
17. Spotted Small Flat
18. Common Redeye
1. Black Marsh Trotter
2. Black Stream Glider
3. Blue Tailed Green Darner
4. Wandering Glider
5. Crimson Marsh Glider
6. Crimson Tailed Marsh Hawk
7. Common Club tail
8. Ditch Jewel – male and female
9. Green Marsh Hawk/ Slender Skimmer – single and mating pair
10. Granite Ghost
11. Ground Skimmer – male and female
12. Yellow Tailed Ashy Skimmer
13. Unidentified Dragonfly - Yeoor
14. Rusty Darner
15. Ruddy Marsh Skimmer – male and female
16. 2 Unidentified Dragonflies - Yeoor 31st August
17. Asiatic Bloodtail - female
18. Blue Tailed Yellow Skimmer – male and female
19. Rufus Marsh Hawk
20. Coral Tailed Cloud Wing – male and female
21. Trumpet tail – male and female
22. Long Legged Marsh Glider
23. Blue Marsh Hawk - male

24. Emerald Spread-wing
25. Coromandel Marsh Dart – male
26. Damselfly Unknown ID – 7th Sept
27. Senegal Golden Dartlet
28. Yellow Bush Dart – male and female
29. Agriocnemis pygmea – female and a male(?)
30. Aciagrion species
31. Blue grass dart-Psuedagrion microcephalum – female, newly emerged (?)
32. Unknown Damselfly
33. Golden Dartlet – red morph, female/ Pigmy Dartlet – ID unsure
34. Blue Grass Dart - male
35. Blue Bush Dart - male

1. Tailed Jay
2. Common Mormon – male and stichius & romulus female; Lifecycle
3. Blue Mormon
4. Common Mime - dissimilis

1. Great Eggfly – female and male
2. Baronet UN and UP
3. Plain Tiger – single and mating pair
4. Glassy Tiger
5. Blue Tiger
6. Common Indian Crow – single and mating pair
7. Blue Oak Leaf – UP and UN
8. Striped Tiger
9. Common Bushbrown – UP and UN
10. Long Branded Bushbrown – UN and UP
11. Grey Pansy
12. Chocolate Pansy
13. Common Sailor – UP and UN
14. Common Leopard – UN and UP
15. Common Four-ring
16. Evening Brown
17. Common Gull
18. Danaid Eggfly – male and female

1. Hedge Blue
2. Angled Pierrot
3. Common Cerulean – single and female laying eggs
4. Common Pierrot
5. Red Pierrot
6. Gram Blue – UN and UP
7. Lime Blue
8. Tiny Grass Blue
9. Dark Grass Blue
10. Rounded Pierrot
11. Angled Sunbeam - female
12. Line Blue

1. Yellow Orange Tip – male – UN and UP, female – UN
2. Common Wanderer – male - UN
3. Common Jezebel
4. Emigrant
5. Common Grass Yellow – single and mating pair
6. Small Salmon Arab
7. Psyche
8. Great Orange Tip - UN
9. Spotless Grass yellow
10. Small Orange Tip male – UN, female UP

1. Plum Judy – UN and UP

1. Spitting Spider
2. Lynx Spider – 5 Species
3. Nursery Web Spider
4. Giant Wood Spider
5. Signature Spider
6. Garden Orb Weaver – 4 species
7. Tunnel-web Spider
8. Long-jawed orb weaver
9. Giant Crab Spider (?)
10. Crab Spider - 3 species
11. Castianeira species - Corinnidae
12. Unidentified Spider – 7th Sept 08
13. Two tailed Spider
14. Unidentified spider – 18th Sept 08
15. Hackled Orb Weaver
16. Venusta Orchard Spider

17. Harvestman

And a hell lot of Hemipterans, Mantids, Beetles and Weevils, Dipterans, Neuropterans, moths and a few other interesting subjects that are yet to be correctly identified.

Post-Monsoon Part I

With the beginning of September, the Monsoon is set to leave with heavy thundering and dangerous lightning. With animals dying of post-monsoon storms, its not just death, but a whole new life that it brings with it. The seeds sown in the pre-monsoon month germinate, mature, and reproduce, we see a lot of mature fauna around along with flowers that find it apt to bloom, for it may be first and the last bloom in their life-time, until the next monsoon that is. And as the flora blooms, the fauna booms. It's about time when the scaly-winged flutterers make it to the sky and come home seeking light! Anyhow, that's pretty distant as of now.

Common Fringed-flower Vine - Trichosanthes cucumerina

This report, is a series written in parts of the Post-Monsoon month. Some pictures, some information I could gather - included here - will be here, and will be updated on and off.
Oriental Sesame - Sesamum orientale

Wild Ladies' finger - Abelmoschus manihot
With all the wild flowers in bloom, all the flower-visitors are in for a treat! With such an abundance of food source, it's not surprizing to see a few eggs of the butterflies around.

Great Orange-tip Egg

Coffee Bee Hawk Moth Egg

Both of 'em laid their eggs in front of me, and spurred past the bushes in a jiffy.

The butterflies were everywhere. Here too.

Common Pierrot

Red Pierrot

Blue Oakleaf
Tri colour pied flat

Owlet Moth
Asiatic Bloodtail
Coromandel Marsh Dart

Pseudagrion microcephalum