Valley Outing 021017
Gandhiji said India lives in her villages, but today, on the anniversary of his birth, we decided that she also lives in the variety of life forms that she has!
Aishwary, Ajit, Kumar, Padma, Prem, Ramaswamy, Venkatesh and I
tarried a little on our way to the Valley as the mist hung heavy in the air. However, by the time we signed in the register at the gate and walked along the path, the weather had cleared up a little.
Whether or not we sighted any moving creature…the sheer burst of greenery had us mesmerized! Everywhere was a clean, washed green, with diamonds sparkling wherever we looked. Raindrops stood on everything…blades of grass, tiny insects and butterflies, and on the wildflowers too.
I always feel that one of the best times to go for a nature walk is when the rain is about to stop. The insects and butterflies come out to make the most of the sun, and the birds come out to make the most of the insects…a lot of action happens at every level, on the ground, in the air…on a small and large scale. This was what happened this morning.
Spiders lay in wait for unwary flies or butterflies;
dragonflies, visiting us from Africa,
Globe Skimmer aka Wandering Glider….this has migrated from Africa. It takes four generations to complete the migratory cycle.
zipped along in the air, looking for food.
Birds breakfasted on whatever they could find, on the trees, under the leaves, and in the air.
An unusual visitor for the Valley was an Oriental Darter flying overhead, which “opened our account.” A greedy Red-whiskered Barbet,
A Black Drongo mobbing a White-cheeked Barbet, several Green Bee-eaters,a dancing Fantail Flycatcher
(why it’s called a Fantail Flycatcher)
a preening Spotted Dove,
with Ashy Prinias singing,
and a Brahminy Skink (the only reptile we saw)
a White-browed Bulbul
made us wait in the area before the first banyan tree for a while; but then we went further down the path. With so much to observe and enjoy, from different kinds of spiders and their webs, dragonflies, plants of all kinds, a couple of Blue-faced Malkohas(giving Prem his first sighting of these skulky birds),
How we usually see Malkohas!
Occasionally,when they can be seen better…
by the time we reached the abandoned house, it was past 9am! Well-rewarded, we stopped to share our snacks, and then went further to the bamboo thicket.
For the first time in many years, I saw the stream of the Valley in good force, with a lot of water gushing over the stones and along the gully in the bamboo thicket.
The song of the Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher and a brief hello from the White-rumped Shama filled in the audio part of our outing.
By now, the butterflies were out, too, making the most of the weak sunshine to recharge themselves, or mud-puddling along the path.
Pointed Ciliate Blue
Danaid Eggfly female
Common Line Blue on Tephrosia purpurea
The Common Crows were out in full force, and we managed to catch sight of one Double-branded one as well. Emigrant numbers were lower than in the past weeks, but a Dark Blue Tiger appeared too. It was easy to show our friends why a butterly was called the Pale Grass Blue when it had its wings open to the sunlight!
Common Hedge Blues also flashed their bright upper wings for us instead of sitting folded up as usual. Aishwary was a great help in singing the Blues!
Aishwary (left) helping out.
I saw the unusual sight of a Chocolate and a Lemon Pansy executing a pas de deux as they mud puddled together. Some of the butterflies were fresh and colourful specimens, some were tattered, dull survivors of battles with predators.
Ichneumon (parasitoid) wasp. Look at that ovipositor! I wouldn’t like that wasp positing any ova on (or in) me!
We noticed some beautiful plants and wildflowers
(what a long name for a very tiny flower)
We returned to our regular lives, much refreshed and energized by the sights and sound, the touch of different kinds of leaves, the taste of ripe Passion fruit, and the aroma of several flowers. Truly, a treat for the senses!
Beginning my morning chores, reminiscing about the wonderful outing, and already looking forward to what the next weekend may bring!
The eBird list, compiled by Ajit, is
Butterflies: Blue, Common Hedge Blue, Pale Grass Blue, Pointed Ciliate Blue, Zebra Bush Brown Castor, Common Cerulean, Common Crow, Common Crow, Double-branded Eggfly, Danaid Emigrant, Common Gull, Common Jezebel, Common Lime, Common Orange-tip, Plain Orange-tip, White Orange-tip, Yellow Pansy, Chocolate Pansy, Lemon Pansy, Yellow Pierrot, Common Pioneer Psyche Rose, Common Rose, Crimson Silverline, Common Skipper, Indian Tiger, Dark Blue Tiger, Plain Tiger, Striped Wanderer, Common Yellow, Common Grass Yellow, Spotless Grass Yellow, Three-spot Grass
I’ve put up the photos of the birds, butterflies, insects, plants, a single reptile and us mammals,