The living creatures we saw were quite varied. Though the safari organized by the Forest Department was a little disappointing for the children (who of course had their hearts set on a big cat sighting!) they did enjoy whatever they did see, and were quite curious to know things.
In fact, even as Chandu and I waited for the children to come to the hired bus, we noticed a pair of
INDIAN GREY HORNBILLS
one of which stayed on the tree long enough for me to get a quick shot:
and one of the first birds we were able to show the children when we arrived was the
Some of the other birds we saw included a sighting that was very thrilling for me...the endemic-to-the-Western Ghats
and though it hid in the Lantana bushes, and wouldn't show itself later, I still got a nice video of its call:
At several places, we saw the male
as well as the female, jumping around high up in the tree canopy:
Another little jewel was the
SMALL BLUE KINGFISHER
that often was seen at various lakes, waiting patiently for a fish to come near the surface:
We saw lots of
GREATER FLAMEBACK WOODPECKERS
the children were delighted to see the
EURASIAN GOLDEN ORIOLE
at several places:
I managed to get a video of its call, too:
You can hear the children exclaiming in wonder!
I think that this is a
though it's rather far away and against the light!
I got the call of this bird, too, though I am not sure which kind of Drongo it is:
Coming back after the JLR safari on the motorbike, Jadeswamy and I looked up to see this truly magnificient
soaring overhead; I quickly aimed from the running bike, and got a foozly shot!
also showed its beauty:
Some smaller creatures also delighted the children. Here's a
going about its business:
I was amazed, in the VGKK campus, to see dozens of
in a tree-trunk, moving in the water. What were they doing there? I don't know...
of course, I got a short video of their wavy movement!
on a leaf, looked so beautiful:
this CATERPILLAR slowly came sailing down on to the ground on a strand of silk, at ATREE:
I also got this "river" or "highway" of ants, flowing along the rocks:
I got several butterflies, including some when the trip was over and I was roaming around the Valley School campus, waiting for the school bus to take me home!
BARONET (why was it named so, I wonder?)
Though we were unable to see any elephants, or big cats, we certainly did see a lot of Langurs, and on the way back from the JLR safari, Jadeswamy showed me this
INDIAN POND TERRAPIN:
You can see the head of another one poking up through the water, on the right hand side.
Apart from the
that I posted about earlier,
amphibians included this lovely
Reptiles included this
that we saw swimming in the pond near the Forest Dept office at K.Gudi:
sitting on a granite post:
When it feels threatened, the lizard comes up with a defence mechanism that seems for all the world like a smile!
that the children handled with aplomb:
Amongst the mammals we sighted, apart from the Stripe-necked Mongoose, were
CHITAL OR SPOTTED DEER:
When there are plenty of deer in a forest, that's always a good sign, because it means there's plenty of food for the predators, too, who can thrive. The food chain is in place!
I took a running shot of this
Some of the Forest Department people had rescued this
and the children went ga-ga over it!
They might not have seen wild elephants, but the sight of the camp elephants, Shriram, Kanti, and Kavita, being given a thorough scrubbing in the pond, held them enthralled for quite a while.
Here's Shriram, the magnificient tusker:
In fact, the children really seemed to empathize with animals they could touch; at the Soliga settlement, it was nice to see kids clustered around a (real) kid!
Here's a newborn pup, that we found at the Shivanasamudra Falls, that had the children oohing and aahing:
Jadeswamy showed me a great many trees, this time, and they are on my Picasa Web Album; but I loved seeing the lotuses in the pond:
I showed the children how, from a seed left on a tree by a bird, an epiphyte could spring to life on a tree:
We saw several varieties of mushroom:
But I didn't have to tell me if they were edible:
My last shot is of these unknown caterpillars, looking so beautiful on the underside of a leaf: