Nature Trails

Bhitarkanika: Nature’s Paradise in Odisha

Posted by Alok Kumar Maharana on February 28, 2015

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After fulfilling months of hard work, one definitely wants to take rest away from the din and bustle of city enjoying the beauty of nature in a serene atmosphere.

 

Bhitarkanika with its lush green mangroves, the fiery crocodiles, migrating birds and turtles, water tracks, the ever beautiful nature surely invites the visitors from all walks of life to spend time leisurely as well as think and explore the beauty of nature. Represented by the 3 protected areas “The Bhitarkanika National Park”, The Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary” and “The Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary”, it is always a place for nature lovers, scholars, scientists and tourists.

 

Located in Odisha’s Kendrapara district, Bhitarkanika is surrounded with Mangrove Forests criss-crossed with streams and mud planes. In 1975 Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary (BKWS) was established to conserve the rich biodiversity and the pristine beauty in the Brahmani-Baitarani (Dhamra) deltaic region of coastal Odisha. Later the Sanctuary was designated as Bhitarkanika National Park in the year 1988. Yet again in the year 2002 it was re-designated as the Ramsar site or The Wetland of International importance. Even steps are being taken to include it in the World Heritage Site List.

 

Bhitarkanika river system has few giant saltwater crocodiles. The length of these crocodiles is around 20ft. The nesting behavior of mother Saltwater crocodile is different from other two Indian Crocodilian species. She builds up a small mountain in a secluded place by collecting available nesting material which includes aquatic fern species (Acrostischum aureum), Hental (Phonix paludosa), etc. Then the nesting mother crocodile actively guards her nests for about 70-75 days, till the young crocodiles hatch out for moving into the creeks. The un-disturbed river bank is the favoured basking spot for Saltwater crocodiles. An abode for the highly poisonous snake, King Cobra, Bhitarkanika is one of the few

 

Bhitarkanika mangrove forests provide an abode for the deadly poisonous snake, King cobra. This is one of the few locales in the country where a good population of King cobras are seen.

 

With Monsoon water birds flock Bagagahan, a place closer to the famous Sujhajore creek. It is an amazing view to observe 50,000 birds including the new ones chirping and flying.


Then, one needs to steal his view for the rare spotted deer’s who have got adjusted to the climatic prevailing conditions of this ecosystem. With a increase in their population they can be found around the Crocodile Research Centre at Dangmal as well as along the river banks.


The best times to see these spotted deer’s are either in the morning or in during sunset along the river banks. Though few of them can also be seen the FRH at Dangmal during night hours.


Cor more details about Bhitarkanika and it's accommodation facilities, please visit - http://www.bhitarkanikanationalpark.com/tariff.asp 


 OR INSTANT BOOKING, CONTACT


sales@sandpebblestours.com / info@bhitarkanikanationalpark.com 
Tel: +91 (0) 9937047574, 9238447574 


 

Nature Trails

Greenwoods Nature Camp - Truly a camp within Nature

Posted by Sam on February 27, 2015

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Greenwoods Nature Camp (www.greenwoodsnaturecamp.com)  is located in the boundary of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve Forest. The backyard of the camp is the forest and is situated in a tribal hamlet. 
The camp is eco friendly and provides clean facilities with nice food. (homely).

There is a experienced guide who takes to the nature trails in the mornings and this a experience of lifetime. The staff and people in camp truly respect nature. There is also additional activities like private jeep safari to Mudumalai / Bandipur, barbaque and camp fire.

The camp is surrounded by lush greenery and is located in a rustic ambiance. Do not miss staying the European Tented Cottage which is a customized tent (feels like a room from inside and has attached toilet).

The nature and wildlife lovers would appreciate that loud music / alcohols are not allowed in the camp as this would disturb the wildlife. 


This place is truly for nature and wildlife lovers who respect and appreciate nature. The staff's are very friendly and price is economical. (Greenwoods Nature Camp).

Nature Trails

Butterfly Park

Posted by Dr A P singh on April 01, 2013

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I am compiling lists of butterflies of North India,Sate-wise - Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, J & K and Himachal along with LHP (Larval Host Plants) and Nectar Plants. Anybody having schedule of Plants to be planted for attracting Butterflies and to retain them through generations, please share. You can also e-mail me @ apsingh_60@yahoo.co.in. Credits will be shared

Nature Trails

Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, Gurgaon

Posted by Shashi Kant Sharma on January 27, 2013

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Have been visiting the Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary since the late 70's. Today, the 27 January, 2013 we visited it again to spend some time birding in the company of some old colleagues and friends - all retired/semi-retired.
A much anticipated outing since this is the time for many migratories being seen at the sanctuary. Experienced mixed emotions - driving on roads much improved from the old times and getting to the Sanctuary in much less time than in the old times. We noticed how a new Manesar-Dwarka Expressway has resulted in miles and miles of lands being taken over by Colonizers, big and small. Drive to Sultanpur was almost entirely through an already congested/inhabited area. Gone was the romance of driving to the place on muddy roads, raising clouds of dust in the wake of my car as used to be the case in the 70's. Today it felt as if we were in Sultanpur, having hardly got out of the urbanised/much colonized area (an extension of old/new Gurgaon thanks to the Manesar-Dwarka Expressway). 
We were among large groups inside the Sanctuary itself as well and the parking place provided was choc-a-block with the latest models of cars. families inside the sanctuary wielded the latest DSLR cameras (one with each member of the family) .................In the 70's I recollected having gone to Sultanpur from Delhi and stayed in the tourist huts for a weekend...the experience was that of visiting a Sanctuary far from the madding crowd and stay in the hut was in sync with that feeling....................Today things have changed, smoother roads, flyovers providing access, lots of festive tents both sides of the roads (sales/marketing offices put up by Colonizers for prospective buyers).......... So did I expreience the quietitude and peace of old times while driving to the sanctuary or walking  around the lake inside. We did see many more birds and also a Cobra and took many photographs.......our mood fluctuated from happy, relaxed,  worrisome, 'happy-sad' not 'happy-happy' ...............the large groups were too noisy, the walking trail inside had too many plastic wrappers, visitors were all over the place. We remained in touch with the fear that as colonizers construct all the way to the gates of the sanctuary, will it survive? Number of birds coming will surely go down since the fields/trees and vegetation on both sides of the road has nearly disappeared already (with agricultural lands usage having been converted to urbanised area already).....so fewer trees/bushes for them to pearch on and more people engaged in the business of life----more vehicles, lots of electric lights, Mobile Towers.....Radiation...........
Given the pressure of numbers, will it renew and regenerate itself..Have my doubts.  Do we wish to eliminate the probability of our children/grand children having some place to experience Nature and Unspoilt Surroundings at their healthiest and least spoilt state of being......Of course there was plenty of water in the Lake, lots of birds were there but there was also an old/very ill-looking blue-bull. Did it pick up an infection something from the domestic cattle that were roaming around the Sanctuary in plenty. .................I continue to believe that we have to save some islands of peace and quietitude away from constructed areas ----merely designating an area a Sanctuary will not ensure that. We as a society will have to persuade ourselves to not monetise every inch of land that we see around us

Nature Trails

Why birdwatchers watch birds... and other birding thoughts

Posted by Padmaja Parulkar on May 24, 2012

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"There is talk of a lion loose in Langata, so let us stick together in a groupand not stray,” warnsFleur at the start of a birding trail in Ngong Racecourse that willeventually lead into Ngong Forest. Once in a while,Nairobi wakes up to an event of a lion or a hippopotamus dropping by the township causing panic (in the neighbourhood) and amusement (to people in other areas). As an aside, listen to this: the civic authorities in their wisdom put up cages at various places in the neighbourhood to catch the cat, but reported that while no cat was found entrapped, they did bait a few hyenas!) Given that the NairobiNational Parkis close to the City Centre, as the pied crow flies, it should be newsthat these episodes do not occur often. But nothing can deter the ragtag bunch of birdwatchers of theWednesday Birder's Club or keep them from their weekly date with birds. 

What draws birdwatchers to field trips, come rain or riots, week after week over months and years, to more or less the same places? Doesn't it get monotonous viewing the same garden variety of birds of bulbuls and weavers, or that after a few outings even the uncommon birds become commonplace? Mountaineer George Mallory's classic reply on climbing mountains applies to birdwatching, too. He is known to have said: "Why climb a mountain... because it is there." Birdwatchers watch birds because they are there - all around - in our backyard, in neglected niches of our neighbourhood and in urban forests.  People go on African safaris or Indian jungles to see large mammals - the Big Five, the cats, the elephants, the hippopotamuses - but few have the patience to sweep in the smaller avifaunal species that are transitory, hyperactive and that do not wait out our cursory observation skills. That is precisely why birdwatching and its related nature-watch component of observing butterflies and insects becomes a more subtle and sublime venture. It calls for marshalling of almost all sensory faculties to the point of utter concentration bordering on meditation.

Imagine an amorphous painting with hidden images – an illusionary art – which a child has to figure out? The child spots a dog here, a car there, and suddenly million things stare at him and the painting comes alive with all its differential aspects standing out vividly. Birdwatching is something similar. The monochromatic leaves of trees of the woods assume varied shapes and characteristics and become separate species; birds blended in trees and shrubs break free becoming visible entities; and butterflies cleave from self-same-coloured flowers to fill up bare spaces. The singular green of the trees, brown of the soil and blue ofthe sky disperse into multicolour mobile mites that, at first, seem obscure.

And that brings me to the magician birder, Kevin. In my previous blog, I focused on the leading lady of the Wednesday club, Fleur, but Kevin is another of those ardent bird lovers who can unravel images and forms from illusory nature. Without binoculars Kevin spots a fish eagle almost two kilometers across the wetland that we have trouble focussing through binoculars; the white shirt front is unmistakable and though the face is obscure, the upright stance is a dead giveaway.   I have never understood how truly passionate birders are also good imitators of bird calls. Kevin takes us to see the Narina trogon in its territory inside the Ngong forest, but we are a big group treading noisily over dry leaves and twigs, a loud threat for the shy bird. Kevin imitates its call and though it does not make an appearance it responds!

He herds us next to see the nest of an African Crowned eagle. I had seen the female crowned eagle sitting by its unwieldy and twiggy nest that was empty, two years back, and after that was going there only today. Meanwhile, the birders had been checking on it on their intermittent sorties. Imagine the exhilaration of seeing a fledgling sitting like aking comfortably on its home perch; the mother was obviously away hunting for a baboon or a small antelope for the young one.  Kevin fills the gaps for me in the life of this particular eagle. It is a privilege to get a window into the isolated world of a giant aviator predator that resides far from the madding crowd of humans and to witness individual stories unfold.  

A fluty call greets us persistently as we walk back by the edge of the forest; this is the yellow-breasted apalis marking its territory. The apalis descends down from trees to a low perch when it makes that call so that it carries far. You realize then that birding is not about simply identifying birds by their appearance- that is but a first fledgling step. Birdwatching is about observing bird behaviour to understand their nature, their language -  their calls and songs, and their needs. It is befriending them to get to know them intimately, to empathize with them and love them, but from a distance. After all, all creatures, big and small, are but a part of the whole, an indispensable ingredient of the world wide web.

Chick of  an African Crowned Eagle in its nest in Ngong Forest






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