Monday, October 26, 2009

MNS nature walk - Adyar Poonga

Last saturday morning turned out to be a real treat for the nature enthusiast in me - the Madras Naturalists Society had organized a nature walk through Adyar Poonga - the 58 acre site along the Adyar estuary that, after years of pollution, garbage dumping and neglect, is being restored to a protected eco-park by the city authorities. Forest consultants from Pondicherry have been tasked with the job and from the looks of it, they are headed the right way. The park will be open to the public on Nov 10, 2010, but MNS was offered a sneak peek in the form of a nature walk led by naturalist Preston Ahimaz.

Much of the prosopis juliflora that had taken over the area and not allowed anything else to grow had been cleared. Only one or two huge clumps (also on the death row) remained. There were many birds, the cormorant included.
(click on the picture of the prosopis juliflora below and peer away at its top branches and see if you can spot the cormorant drying its wings!)

Other than the birds, we were rewarded with much biodiversity right there in the first leg of the walk. Butterflies, newly planted native saplings, wild flowers and painted grasshoppers delighted us with their colors and antics. 
There were many crimson rose butterflies flying around, and we were told that they make themselves inedible for the birds by feeding on the poisonous milkweed plants.

We saw a pair of jewel beetles mating on the candlebush.

A peacock pansy butterfly in the bushes, its marking looking like startled comic character eyes!

Go on, click on the picture and take a closer look.
There was also an exquisite blue pansy butterfly (of which i failed to get a picture) and many a tawny coster.

There was no dirth of flora - pretty passion flowers, bougainvillae and the deadly crown flowers. Here is a Passiflora foetida - commonly called the Love-in-a-mist / Stinking passionflower!! Funny set of names, huh?! :)

And just as i was picking up my pace to join the rest of the group, i noticed a painted grasshopper on a nearby leaf. I simply had to stop and take a picture.
More pictures and words in the days to come.... 

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