Saturday, January 28, 2012

Senmozhi Poonga Nizhal walk


Nizhal had organized a tree walk at the Senmozhi Poonga a while back; and having really enjoyed these walks in the past, I made my periodic Chennai visit coincide with the date planned for the event.

It was lovely, as always. We started off looking at the Cannon ball tree, which has some incredibly beautiful flowers.

The entrance had some lovely old trees.. there was a Peepal tree - ficus religiosa, under which Buddha attained enlightenment. Unlike the Peepal, the Tamarind is one under which locals do not like to sit long, something to do with the large amount of carbon dioxide it generates, perhaps.

Here is the terminala arjuna, a tree that typically grows by the river. Someone remarked that  this area used to be marsh like many many years back... perhaps there was a river?




A well grown garden lettuce - pisonia alba. The garden lettuce aids digestion.

This next one I missed the english name of. "Yettikai" was the tamil name - if you know it in english, please leave a comment. The fruit was ball like and orange in colour, the seeds were like coins.



All these trees by the entrance looked really old. This area is part of the original horticultural society established during the British rule in 1835.





















By the edge was the java olive, sterculia foetida.



 We took quite some time outside, admiring the trees and then slowly made our way inside. I'll write about the plants and trees within in another post.


Caterpillar

This caterpillar on my ixora plant did not have a chance to grow out into a butterfly. It simply vanished one morning.. prey to the pigeons perhaps?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Images

sangam near mysore

balmuri falls parking

at ranganthithu

at ranganthithu

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wildflower Wednesday - Country Mallow & others


The country mallow (abutilon indicum) has silky soft heart shaped pointed leaves and is a food plant for the caterpillar of the Danaid Eggfly butterfly.


Here are some others that i have not identified yet.



















For many more beautiful wildflowers, visit clay and limestone.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fruit bats

There were a few trees at Ranganathithu that were teeming with bats, all fast asleep perhaps.





Monday, January 9, 2012

The masquerader

This one, the Stone Plover, seemed like it had stepped right out of a masquerade.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Beauty and the beast

The river bed has some menacing marsh crocodiles. They appeared to be in deep slumber but quickly opened their eyes as we drew closer.


And on the branches above was the beautiful night heron.



Saturday, January 7, 2012

Little Miss Dainty

The red wattled Lapwing


And could this be a common sandpiper?


Friday, January 6, 2012

The fearless River Tern


We saw a pair of river terns perched on a bare stone jutting out of the river. I thought them quite fearless - despite our boat pulling up really close, they did not move a wing, but continued to stare back at us. The boatman said that they laid their eggs in the crevices of the very stone block they were sitting on.
Salim Ali's "The book of Indian birds" had quite a few interesting facts about these terns. The glossy black feathers on the top of their heads apparently turn a greyish colour in winter. Fascinating isnt it? Also their tail, which wasn't quite visible at all is deeply forked, much like the swallow. And most of curious of all, for despite their name, I did not take them to be a water loving bird at all, they apparently dive into the water in search of food and can stay submerged for quite some time, resurfacing with a fish between their beaks. That would be quite the sight, wouldn't it. We did see quite a few birds 'fishing' but the river tern sat on, on dry land, and flew away when they had had its share of staring at the tourists.