In the process of coming out from my agonizing life, I often look for the opportunity to go into the wild in search for solace. One such opportunity came to me when Dr Kalesh Sadasivan invited me to attend the three day long Butterfly and Bird Survey at Shendurney Wild Life Sanctuary, Kerala.
I happily agreed to attend the survey and boarded a bus from Bangalore to Thenkasi, Tamilnadu in the evening of 26-02-2015. With me there were three more participants, viz. Nitin, Rama and Firoz, who also were invited for the survey. We reached Thenkasi in the early morning of 27-02-2015 and hired a cab to Thenmala Dam, kerala, 35km away and reach there by 10:00am.
I was too excited to accompany Dr Kalesh in the team of for members including Kiran and Firoz. We boarded a Kerala forest department jeep and headed for Umaiyar, deep into the wilderness of Shendurney WLS. The jeep left us about 3km away from our camp and we trekked upto the camp negotiating narrow forest path and river streams.
The camp was beautifully placed on the extreme tip of the catchment area of Thenmala Dam giving some eye-catching scenes to the viewers. I was fortunate to click many photographs depicting the various moods of nature.
We stayed there for two nights and trekked the area during day time. We recorded about 60 species of birds and 104 species of butterflies. My encounter to the legendary Travancore Evening brown early stages was amazing. We found many caterpillars of the butterfly in the Ochlandra leaves and photographed them. Dr Kalesh also showed the leaf cut patterns of the caterpillar.
I was fortune to see the Hump nosed pit viper in the wild for the first time in my life. There is a saying that they are often found in pairs and for us that held true.
We also encountered few caterpillars of Orange Awlet and Wax dart on Thottea siliquosa and Combretum albidum leaves.
Some butterflies photographed by me are displayed below.
We returned back to Thenmala on 1st Mar 2015 where we gave a brief description about our findings. The team returned to Bangalore on 2nd Mar 2015. I sincerely thank Kerala Forest department and TNHS to give me this opportunity after quite a few years.