Look back in wonder
Here is a recap of the best of the best from the year gone by. 2018 has been a wonderful journey for us, and we invite you to glance again with fondness for the news, views and pictographic memories of a great year!
The Ransi diary
Nestled in the laps of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand, Ransi presents a strange paradox of natural delight and modernization, as expressed in the travel diaries by Kushal Mookherjee.
Elephants crossing – Roads most travelled
Remember the march of the elephants across jungles in JungleBook? In reality, Asian elephants are now frequently seen crossing highways and railroads, thus posing a grave threat to an already shrunken population.
Dance of love
Keats had said, “Now a soft kiss – Aye, by that kiss, I vow endless bliss”. Lessons in courtship from nature, captured in the frame for posterity.
I was on a trip to the Joypur forest (of West Bengal, India) one lazy summer weekend. Being an avid insect lover and specializing in insect photography, I always look for my subjects in every possible nook and corner of the forest greens. Not necessarily are they found only in the greens; they amaze me even in the browns and blacks with their surprise presence. The month of June seems to be sweltering as I struggle to beat the heat and get my gear ready.
The less sought long-tails
Often ignored by wildlife photographers and enthusiasts, the Nilgiri langur (Trachypithecus johnii) and the Capped langur (Trachypithecus pileatus) are equally vibrant and dynamic as their more famous counterparts, the widely photographed Lion-tailed Macaque and Golden Langur… … a brief glimpse into their vibrant life in the arboreal canopies
Roadkill – the innocent victims of speed
A commentary on the duality of human nature – when men go to the jungles to see animals in their natural habitat, and yet, they destroy said habitat as well as endanger the lives of the animals with their rash driving and inconsiderate behavior.
Speed causes death frequently, and often, it is the innocent who pays the price. Driving ‘mindlessly’ without paying attention to the movements of wildlife on the roads causes major damage. Wildlife often suffers major injuries due to reckless driving. A large number of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians are killed on the world’s roads every day. Almost all the National Parks in India, as well as worldwide nature reserves and sanctuaries which have roads or National highways through the forests often face this problem.
Monsoon Time – Mushroom Time
Toadstools and gnomes can be found in quite a few fairy tales and folktales across the world. While some can be edible or have medicinal properties, most of the wild mushrooms found are harmful for human consumption if ingested…
July / August months are the best monsoon months to observe wild mushrooms. In India, we cultivate only 2/3 varieties of mushrooms, like button and oyster mushrooms. But in Britain and America, there are thousands of varieties of edible mushrooms and there are so many mushroom collectors, who collect the edible mushrooms and prepare different mushroom dishes.
Pouting in the deep
Butterflyfish are a group of colourful tropical marine fish of the family Chaetodontidae. Reminiscent of their butterfly namesake, a majority of the species within this family display bright colourations and striking patterns. Many also have “eyespots” on their sides and dark bands across their eyes, similar to the disruptive patterns seen on many butterfly wings. Additionally, they have uninterrupted dorsal fins and rounded or truncated tail fins which contribute to a distinctive oval or disk-shaped structure.
Musings of a wild kind – in rhyme! Here is the next edition of limerics by the self-proclaimed “Half-mad Know-mad”
Inside the JUNGLE BOOK
Spread over 1,100-odd square kilometres, Pench Tiger Reserve holds not just a healthy tiger population today, but has successfully maintained most of its old charm; thus allowing one to experience Rudyard Kipling’s magical Jungle Book in every possible manner.
A journey through birder’s paradise
Like in other parts of the Himalayas, winter makes the mountains of western Arunachal Pradesh wear a special garb. The ridges and valleys explode in a riot of fall colours, in various shades of rufous, brown, chestnut and greys, contrasted by the azure cloudless sky. Buddhist tribes across the state, living in isolated mountain villages, breathe easy after the conclusion of the harvest season and look forward to a time of colourful festivities, topped by Losar, or the Tibetan New Year celebrations, usually taking place in February-March.
Of Dancing flames and Geese
How a photography trip ended as a lesson on what to avoid in farming
I once happened to visit Dighal wetlands, Haryana for Bird Photography. After spending the entire day on-field, it was late when I started to return. Darkness was slowly spreading over the skies as the sun was setting down on the horizon. Only a few rays were prevailing through the sky, a very pleasant sight to see.
Velavadar – Land of Blackbucks
Wild stretches of grassland, abundant wildlife, enthusiastic guides and amazing photo-opportunities to capture in the frame the stately Blackbuck. Welcome to Velavadar National Park, often ignored by the hordes of tourists and home to the Blackbuck- the Indian antelope.
Velavadar National Park, often known as Blackbuck National park, is situated in the Bhavnagar district of Gujarat state in India and is much less explored by tourists. It is a land of Blackbucks and I am at a loss to account for the reason why Indian travel enthusiasts have not thronged this wildlife sanctuary so much.
An Ode To A Ranger
Anthropocene, an era of the man, for the man, by man. An epoch in which, human, the self-proclaimed ruler of the world has wrecked relentless havoc on the planet in a blink of geological time. With rivers of oil roiling the soil, chopped up heads of trees, museums of deadly weapons, and bloodthirst for horns, skins, and bones, the Anthropocene is an era of unprecedented decimation. Man, caught up in his unfettered greed and salivating for short-term gratification, is playing a dangerous endgame.
Avian party hotspot – Under the Fig tree
A month-long project by the author turned into an amazing opportunity of watching the cross-species interaction of some feathered friends under a single fig tree
The Alaska Chronicles
Take a walk down the memory lane with Dr AJT Johnsingh to travel the wild and majestic grandeur that Alaska has to offer. Come and experience the rush of flying in a Cesna over the tundra to view an Eskimo village near the Arctic Circle, raft in a turbulent river, watching the bears, wolves and caribou go by, fish for prize-sized salmon and walk in paths frequented by panners and miners during the gold-rush.
Off the beaten tracks in Latpanchar, North Bengal
A lot can happen in Latpanchar, reiterates Anindita Das, as she recounts her journey to the sleepy hamlet in remote northern West Bengal in search of avian splendour.
Thirteen kilometres from Siliguri in northern West Bengal, is Sukna, from where begins the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. Many a time while driving up the road to Sukna have my ears been greeted with melodious songs of the white-rumped Shyama. As if this verdant stretch was not enough for my eyes to feast on, even the magnificent Indian peacock hasn’t shied to sashay in all his glory.
In search of the lemurs of Madagascar
Remembering King Julien and his band of merry lemurs in the Disney movie Madagascar. Here is an account of Dr Mita Nandy’s journey to Madagascar, the land of surprises and amazing creatures.
Following the dictates of my passion to explore the unseen, we visited Madagascar in mid-June 2018. The red island of Madagascar is home to many amazing animals found nowhere else on Earth.
Travel Diaries – Kaziranga: A land lost in time
Just imagine a place where extinct species roamed freely and in abundance. With the presence of the Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros and Wild Water Buffalo, whose last major surviving world population can only be seen here, Kaziranga National Park comes quite close.
Kaziranga fascinated me while growing up. A trip here was on the cards for ages, but in the summer of 2017, I finally took the plunge. Our online research had revealed that Kohora is the centre of Kaziranga and this has traditionally been the zone for best wildlife sightings. However, while talking to some wildlife experts on their facebook page, Bagori or the western zone was high on their recommendation list, and hence we decided to explore both.
Ganges boy on the Gangetic spree
The poem is an attempt to put forward the poet’s views on how we treat a river which we call our mother. While showcasing the approach of spring with its burst of colours, processions and birdsongs, the poem highlights the bitter reality of a polluted Ganges.
Leaping in line
Driving down the rural roads near the blackbuck sanctuary provides the author with a photo-oportunity of a lifetime – the chance to capture the great migration.
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