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Posts Tagged ‘Wildlife’

Reverse monsoon (November rain) is not a pleasant thing anymore. Moreover as it was accompanied with storms, cyclone Phyan and what not. Rains made the days dull and lazy. Weekdays were spent in the office and then came weekend.

My friend wanted to capture clouds/fog for time lapse in Mulashi-Tamhini and I decided to accompany him. (Don’t ask me about time lapse stuff, i dont know any technicalities of it but i can now understand and identify it visually. )

‘Mulashi+Tamhini+rains’ equation is always delightful and also we both didn’t meet for quite some time. These reasons were good enough to catch up. We started at 5:30 AM. Plan was to reach there before sunrise but we couldn’t speed up much, many thanks to worst road condition.

 Somewhere near Mulashi, we found a wild cat crossing the road. We slowed down to watch it. It stood up to see how are we to focus lights in its eye, it gave us a dirty look and walked away. It was still dark morning. As darkness began to vanish slowly we found the road to be foggy and road-side puddles gave us evidences of rains. Few miles later, we stopped the car and my friend showed me 1st new bird of the trip. It was ‘Pied Crested Cuckoo’ (मराठी: ‘चातक’). It was busy enjoying its morning breakfast. It is said that Pied-crested Cuckoo sights are sign that monsoon are in. This is migratory bird which travels from South Africa to India. He waited for while and proceeded ahead.

We halted in Tamhini ghat for sunrise. Lord Sun slowly rose from back of the mountains, generously spreading its rays on the earth, fading away all the darkness and making the morning pleasant and worth while. We took some snaps and drove till Plus valley. There was no fog and clouds rising from valley so my friend was not able to capture time lapse. There were few rain showers in the mid.

We came across an animal which was killed by the road vehicles. The animal was ‘Small Indian Civet’. It was sad to see this rare-cited animal  getting killed in such inhuman way. 😦

We traveled some more and waited at a spot.  We did hear some calls of birds and giant squirrel ‘Shekru‘. And also tremendously beautiful pair of Scarlet Minivets had caught our attention. He parked our car at road side and went to woods. The pair also had their baby with them. I must say Scarlet Minivet male with its red and black color is one of the most colourful birds I have seen in India. The female is none less and is yellow-black with some patches of grey on wings. We silently stood at trees. I was seeing them for first time and all I wanted to do is watch them. Needless to say, thanks to my wildlife expert friend who knows all about birds, wildlife and immediately identifies them.

Another attraction was loads and loads of colourful butterflies. I enjoyed seeing and clicking them too. We started our return journey at 11:30 and took a ‘Quick bite’ break while returning.

Mulashi-Tamhini and its wildlife treat is full of many such surprises and too irresistible to miss.

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Fossil Rim Wildlife Centre, Glen Rose, TXFossil Rim wildlife center was on my hot list since I came to know about it. Last weekend we decided to end this much-awaited wait. We made a plan and started at 9:30 AM for Glen Rose. The approx distance is around 65 miles from Irving.

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center is dedicated to conservation of endangered species, scientific research, training of professionals, creative management of natural resources, and impactable public education about environment and wildlife. This is the ~1700 acres of open spaces which lets us interact with deer, rhinos, giraffes and other wildlife. We can drive our own vehicle through the 9.5 miles tour. We can see long distance views of Savannah-like pastures, forested areas and hillsides for the animals to roam.

Some thing about the place, ‘Fossil Rim’ – One hundred million or so years ago, the Fossil Rim area was covered by the saltwater Comanche Sea. Tidal flats and lagoons characterized the region and are memorialized now in the abundant fossils one finds. Hence the name. It is said that dinosaur’s fossils were found in Glen Rose.

Ostrich - Ramp walkOkay…coming back to my visit – We reached Fossil Rim wildlife center at 11:30. We went to information center/office and got our tickets. We also purchased an animal feed bag. This feed is restricted to one bag per car in order to avoid over feeding to the animals. At the office door, there was a interesting coin machine, which accepts one cent copper coin (with some 2 quarter coins as charge) and embosses the Fossil Rim emblem the copper coin which we entered. We tried it and I got ostrich emblem copper memento.

We took our car inside. First to welcome us was huge and equally curious Ostrich. It came near the car and rubbed its neck with our car. We didn’t feed it with our hands as they may bite. We poured some feed on ground and it allowed us to enter its territory. Further, I found an exceptionally beautiful bird. It was snow white with black wings and long scissor shape tail. Its back and tail appeared scarlet pink in flight. Later I found its name to be Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. I clicked its snaps. In mean time, another bird caught my eye. It was none other than red colored Cardinal. Unfortunately I couldn’t click its snaps.

GiraffeWe headed more to find cranes, blackbucks, wildebeest, bison, zebras, red deer, bongos, greater kudu, addax, sable antelopes, zebras, and gazelle. We found another beautiful white gazelle called “Addra Gazelle“. Its name didn’t appear in the animal guide pamphlet provided by the center (Later on I mailed them and they replied with its name). In the afternoon, we halted at food joint in the sanctuary. It was located on the hilltop and we could see picturesque view of entire sanctuary from here. To our astonishment, we got veggie burger here. We were on cloud 9 then. As this place was on great height, I could see some eagles and turkey vultures hovering in the sky. Outside the food joint, there were ocelot and blue-and-gold macaws in cage.

We descended and resumed our trail. Next members were giraffe, wolves, axis deer, axis fallow, giraffe, rhinos, and emu.

Feeding the animalsI was experiencing and enjoying the wilderness very closely. Watching was more fun than clicking. I don’t use (read – don’t have) DSLR and along with limitations of my dear P&S cam, I did dare to click wildlife snaps (all wildlife photographers please excuse/ignore/spare/bear with me and my snaps).

It was a great fun altogether. All other visitors were having equally good time. There were families with kids, teens, also there were school picnics. I am short of words to describe the happiness on the children’s faces while feeding the animals. Everyone was busy in enjoying the god’s gift in the form of nature, wildlife, and wilderness. I wished if time could just wait here forever but as they say “all good things come to an end”, our trail too came to an end. We started our return journey and reached home in the evening.

Note: You can also club Fossil rim tour with Dinosaur Valley State park in Glen Rose. The park is great place to view the fossilized dinosaur footprints, as well as to hike, camp, picnic, fish, swim, and enjoy beautiful scenery and wildlife. The world-famous dinosaur tracks in the park occur in a branch of the Brazos River called the ‘Paluxy’ which flows through this park.

For more snaps you can visit – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruhiclicks/sets/72157616520487694/detail/

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My friend Prasad asked me whether I would like to join them for Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary and it was instant “yes” from me. We gathered at 5:45 AM near Swargate and took Pune-Solapur Highway.

To reach Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary:

  1. Start from Swargate and take Solapur highway.
  2. Cross Hadapsar, Manjri etc. Get return receipt of  Rs. 22.50/- at “Loni Kalbhor” Toll plaza.
  3. Cross village “Yavat” and travel straight till you reach village called “Chowphule”.
  4. From this junction, take right turn to go to village “Supe”. Drive approx 5-6 Kms. After crossing a small ghat you will reach “Supe”
  5. “Supe” falls on this road i.e. “Chowphule-Morgaon” road. If you get confuse, ask villagers for “Mayureshwar Sanctuary”.
  6. From “Supe”. Take right hand road and drive more 2 Kms, we can see small tea stalls on left side and on right side there is entrance for sanctuary.
  7. You can park your vehicle at check post as vehicles are not allowed inside.
  8. Total distance is approx 70 Kms.

Mayureshwar Wildlife SanctuaryWe saw beautiful sunrise as we drove. We also found few birds – Indian Roller, Black-winged Kite, Grey Hornbill, and most pretty and equally shy Grey Patridges. On the way, we had a tea-break. We enjoyed delicious Idli-chutney got by Prasad.

We made entry of our name and check-in time at check-post. The person showed us the 1000-feet view of “Machaan” and we started walking in that direction.

Things to remember:

  1. Binocular, cap, scarf (if).
  2. We were told that camera is not allowed inside so better don’t display your cameras. Keep them in backpacks till you walk for while.
  3. Wear good shoes (no chappals, floaters, sandals) as the path is rocky.
  4. Water bottles, snacks, fruits (are best options as you can have them while trailing).
  5. Don’t talk/laugh/shout loudly as wildlife creatures will become alert and run away from you.
  6. Do NOT throw plastic bags, papers, things in sanctuary. It can be hazardous to Chinkaras.
  7. PLEASE don’t take your vehicle inside. It is best to walk in woods and enjoy being with wildlife than creating nuisance to them.

As we explored the sanctuary, we saw varieties of birds like Eurasian Collared Dove, White-throated Kingfisher, Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark, Shrike, Laughing Dove, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Indian Silverbills, Eagle, Babblers, etc. We waited at few places to capture them. The landscapes too were beautiful.

Indian Gazelle (Chinkara)Finally Indian Gazelle a.k.a. Chinkara gave us its first glimpse. I took out my binos and watched them. Then we found few more herds of Chinkaras. They were very shy and fast-runners, and we could not click much satisfactory snaps. After walk of 3-4 Kms we reached ‘Machaan’. We climbed up and the view from top was awesome. We did spot few more herds from top and enjoyed watching them. We rested there for half an hour and munched apples. We decided to take different route while returning.

And our wise decision paid-off, a Chinkara itself came on the hilltop to check us out. It was really wonderful experience. We clicked few snaps. Later on, we found many Chinkara herds on the way back.

I was really happy to see Indian Gazelle in wild. Their glimpses themselves are rare and we could see them in numbers. Thanks to my dear Bino!:)

We started back before 12 noon and had fruit jam-sandwiches (thanks Sachin for getting them) while returning.

It was indeed an amazing wildlife wander!!! 😀

For more pictures – http://flickr.com/photos/ruhiclicks/sets/72157613433903509/detail/

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