Karjat Farm House - A Monsoon Trails Report

Karjat, at the Lake
Karjat is an extended suburb of Mumbai. It is located on Bhor ghat, Sahyadri, Western Ghats as well as at the end of coastal plains of Konkan region near Deccan. It has an average elevation of 194 metres (636 feet). It lies on the banks of the River Ulhas.
Many farm houses and residential colonies are situated here with all civil amenities and a municipal corporation. People from Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Pune have their Second Home, Farm House or Weekend Home here and regularly celeberate festivals, new year parties, week-end bash here. It is also popular for pleasure visits during MONSOONs. Distance from Chembur to Karjat is 46 kilometers and from Sion it is 49 kilometers. Karjat has an advanced bio-tech institute which has been developing patented hybrid varieties of rice of international repute, apart from other crops and techniques.
For more information, visit - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karjat
I had gone to a friend’s farm house at Karjat, in Wavarle village. It is a serene place with wildlife coming to your doorstep. We stayed here for two days and one night, and explored as much as we could, with photographic details and information.
We devoured the beauty with our eyes, did heaps of wildlife hunting, and cooking! We splashed in the pool, jumped through the fens and fished. We walked the markets and treaded the road at night. We did our best to find out every detail to be captured and stored in our memory.

A Natural Pond
With hopes and dreams we reached Karjat by noon, it is about one hour and fifteen minutes away from Thane Railway Station. Karjat has a lot many resorts upcoming, and slowly, I feel, this place is going to be totally commercialized. With the booming tourism industry encroaching, the threat to the inhabitants (the wildlife, of course) is going to increase. But of course, many of ‘em are the ‘environmental friendly’ types, but I wonder what’s gonna happen to the habitat destruction because of all the concrete construction.

The Countryside

So as soon as we reached, we were welcomed by birds, but the little critters of the undergrowth needed some stimulation, or rather some hunting, to be seen. We saw, at first, a White Throated Kingfisher at the stream that ran through the farm house. We saw Indian Robin at the stream, hunting, and supposedly, it had its nest in that area. We saw Laughing Doves on perches, Large Billed Crows, Pond Herons in breeding plumage, and Egrets.

We saw a variety of others too, after a little research. We saw a Striped Keelback at the stream, crawling through the rocks, and a lot many fishes at the stream. A wide variety of dragonflies, surprisingly low species of butterflies, a massive invasion of moths and beetles, and some flies and bugs.

This place, as a part of the Monsoon Trails Report, will contain most that could be captured through lens, and I tell you it’s gonna be a long, long report.
Instead of dividing the report into two days, I’d like to continue the report as one and we’ll traverse as you shall see what I saw.

The flowers of Karjat are beautiful. With dedicated botanists around, it sure is blooming away to golry, and we loved it as much as the birds do!

Flowers, ID unknown

As soon as we reached, I set on a hunt for a snake, and along the stream, I found one! It was a Striped Keelback, Amphiesma stolatum, a non-venomous snake of the Colubridae family, a non-aggressive snake feeding on toads and frogs. It froze at my glance, and escaped into a hole before I could photograph it properly. Anyhow, here's presenting the Striped Keelback
Striped Keelback - Amphiesma stolatum
Our luck wasn't with us, so we didnt see any more snakes, that were alive. Yes, we saw eight DEAD Chequered Keelbacks at a stagnant pond along with all the dead fishes. The reason was then found out to be poisoning of the pond. We couldn't do a thing.


Dead Chequered Keelbacks
We caught a lot many fishes at the stream too, and jewels at that! There were many, many of 'em escaping the net on it's approach. We saw Pencil fishes, Danio, a barb, and a Loach! We captured a few of'em and released later on.

Loach, a Barb and Danio - fishes from the stream
The birds we saw were not uncommon, but the Black Shouldered Kites did their best to amuse us. The Red-wattled Lapwings flew o'er, asking us "did-you-do-it". We saw a River Tern making its rounds at the dam, Ashy Prinia was omnipresent, the Indian Robins paired at the stream, a White Throated Kingfisher visited the stream often, Sunbirds, Oriental Magpie Robins, Collared Doves, Laughing Doves gave us a glance, and a green coloured pigeon, which Ithought was a Yellow Footed Green Pigeon, and a Shrike.

Indian Robin, male

Laughing Dove

Pond Heron, breeding plumage

On a night trail, we spotted a Fungoid Frog - Hydrophylax malabaricus sitting on a boulder, and it gave us a pretty shot! It is a colourful frog found on the forest floor and lower vegetation of the Western Ghats.

Fungoid Frog - Hydrophylax malabaricus
Now, the insects that we saw were amazing. With so many different types of Dragonflies (Odonata). They are superb aerial predators and are fond of ponds and streams. I could capture all of 'em through the lens, and here they are!
Black Marsh Trotter - Tramea limbata

Blue Tailed Green Darner - Anax guttatus

Crimson Marsh Glider, male - Trithemis aurora



Ditch Jewel, female - Brachythemis contaminata

Potamarcha congener, female
Yellow Tailed Ashy Skimmer - Potamarcha congener, male


Green Marsh Hawk - Orthetrum sabina

Other than the superb fliers, we saw very few Butterflies, the Plain Tiger, a Nymphalid; Gram Blue and a Grass Blue, both Lycaenids; and Rice Swift, a Heisperiid. The number of butterflies was surprizingly less, for we had seen a lot many butterflies last year, I'd blame it on the early onset of rains, perhaps.

Rice Swift - Birbo cinnara

At night, there was a massive invasion, literally, of the insect world, and we saw many Mayflies, a relative of the Dragonflies, belonging to Ephemeroptera, literally meaning the Short-lived Wings! They live upto a few hours to a few days. Seeing one Mayfly is not as amusing as seeing 'em swarm over a tranquil lake. It feels like seeing fairies dancing o'er the calm waters in the morning mist, but, it sure was good to see 'em. Mayfly - Hexagenia sps.

Other than that, we saw a Scorpion Fly (Mecoptera), female, species unknown. Although not evident in the female, but the male has a scorpion-like tail at the abdomen, and hence the name.

Scorpionfly, female

And yet another predator, of the small world, but a master hunter that we saw was a Bark Mantis. There were many of these, masters of disguise, presenting, the Bark Mantis.

Bark Mantis

We also saw a Grasshopper, but a different one at that. It was highly colourful, a nymph. There is no common name to this one, and it feeds on Calotropis.

Poekilocerus pictus
While strolling through the garden, we saw yet another jewel of the macro world, a Beetle, most probably a Blister Beetle (Meloidae), further ID help is appreciated

Blister Beetle, ID unknown
Lastly, one of the finest predators of the macro world ever, the Arachnid, a Signature Spider, common yet uncommon, for this one was huge! Signature Spider
To sum it all, we had a lot of fun and an amazing monsoon trail!
Flowers, ID unknown
Thank y'all for the patience!

4 comments:

  1. too good yaar.....i really wonder hw do u find such gems in such 'most-often-visited-places'!!

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  2. This was wonderful sir. Would be great if you could take a look at my blog as well.Its about the travel company that I run, you might find something interesting..

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  3. Nice Blog and some beautiful images you have here.
    That's an excellent shot of the Blue Tiger beetle (Neocollyris bonelli) and the female dragon is a Potamarcha Congener and not L.Asiatica.

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    1. Thank you Rahul! Yes, I did have some doubts about P. congener

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