Wild In Focus
Things to do for the avid wildlife enthusiast during these monsoon months.
Breeding of Oriental dwarf kingfisher in Mumbai. One of the brilliantly colored birds which can be found during one of the typical monsoon walks in Konkan.
Do not miss the sprouting of Crinum lily and Curculigo after first monsoon showers in Sanjay Gandhi National Park. This lasts for 2-3 weeks and then disappears for one more year till next monsoon.
Visit Amboli, Maharashtra to see a variety of amphibians and reptiles this June. Amboli is a famous hill station and is renowned for its natural beauty and variety of amphibians and reptiles, many of them are recently known to science. A rare and endemic toad Xanthophrynetigerinus is seen in good number at Amboli, Maharashtra.
To see the breeding display of Fan-throated lizard – visit Chalakewadi plateau near Satara or Katyayani plateau near Kolhapur. Fan-throated lizard (Sitanaponticeriana) is one of the common and widely distributed species of lizard in India. They are mostly seen in the open grasslands and during the breeding season, which mostly at its peak in May and early June. During the breeding season the males are engaged in a spectacular display of their brilliantly colored fan like structure on their throat. The throat color is shining blue with reddish and black border. The males sit on rock or small busy and display their fan on throat to attract females and also to warn other males.
You can be almost assured of a sighting at Ranthambore or Tadoba but only if you venture out when summer is at its harshest. This is when water sources dry up compelling the tigresses with their cubs to come out in the open to water holes. Further, the dry vegetation makes camouflaging next to impossible increasing the chances of a memorable sighting.
A whole gamut of caterpillars are visible in the monsoons. They play an important role as food for scores of breeding species of birds. You might see the hawkmoth ,orange underwing or even the best looking one, nawab.
Visit Ultapani in Assam to see exotic butterflies. Ultapani is a small settlement close to the India-Bhutan border in Assam. During May end or June you may see them in good numbers feeding on various flowers and engaged in mudpuddling on road. If you are lucky then you will also get a glimpse of hornbills and Golden langurs.
This article was first published in the May-June 2012 edition of SAEVUS magazine