Posts Tagged 'maharashtra'

Indian Grey Hornbill—the seed dispersers

Posted by on 07 Aug 2016 | Category: photography, prakriti

There are about 54 species of hornbills in the world, out of which 9 occur in India. The hornbill pictured here is the Indian Grey Hornbill, which is common across the Indian subcontinent, except the wettest (Western Ghats and northeast) and the driest (northwest) parts of the country.

Indian Grey Hornbill, Ocyceros birostris at Pune, Maharashtra

Breeding/Nesting
Hornbills have unique breeding habits, where the female confines herself into a nest cavity in a tree, with only a narrow opening through which the male shares the food throughout the nesting period. For the Indian grey hornbills, the total nesting period is about 87 days, where the female is confined to the nest cavity for an average of 76 days. Most of the grey hornbill nests are in hollows of the Mahagony tree family, located nearby riverine habitats. Deforestation, agriculture and other developmental activities have restricted the range of many species like these hornbills.

Grey hornbills as seed dispersers
Hornbills play a key role in seed dissemination, germination and regeneration of trees. This is because they are mainly frugivores (fruit consuming) and can break up/swallow large fruits, and regurgitate the seeds without damaging, making them the perfect dispersers. Since they travel long distances in search of fruits, they are capable of moving these seeds to distant locations.

Grey hornbills are effective seed dispersers for trees such as Premna tomentosa (a teak like tree), Putranjiva, Fern trees and even Sandalwood trees! Many of these are medicinally and commercially valuable trees but they generate very few seeds and propagation depends on birds like these hornbills.

Mid-air play and fight
Like many other hornbills, the grey hornbill has a long curved bill, which has a casque (helmet) on the top. The male hornbills engage in midair clashes where they jar against each other’s casques to establish their dominance and as part of their social play. This behaviour is known as aerial jousting.

Continue Reading »

PinterestFacebookGoogle+TwitterStumbleUponTumblrRedditGoogle BookmarksEmailPrintFriendlyPrint

olive ridley turtles—and dinosaurs

Posted by on 27 Mar 2016 | Category: prakriti

Watching these Olive Ridley turtle hatchlings making their first steps to the sea is an emotional experience!

Olive Ridley Turtle hatchling, Velas, Maharashtra

Olive Ridley turtles are among the five species of marine turtles which are known to inhabit Indian coastal waters and islands. Odisha on the eastern coast of India hosts one of the largest mass nestings (known as arribadas) of these turtles, supporting a nesting population of probably more than half a million.

There are Olive Ridley turtle populations elsewhere in the Indian Ocean too, scattered around from Sri Lanka to Kerala to Pakistan on the west coast. We went to one of these nesting sites or “rookeries”, snuggled amid a laid-back village called Velas, on the coast of Maharashtra. While half a million turtles nest on the Odisha coast, only a few hundreds visit the Maharashtra coast. Conserving these few turtles are important as they are critically endangered species.

Continue Reading »

PinterestFacebookGoogle+TwitterStumbleUponTumblrRedditGoogle BookmarksEmailPrintFriendlyPrint

oriental plain tiger

Posted by on 11 Apr 2014 | Category: photography, prakriti

The plain tiger enjoys a celebrity status of being the first butterfly in the recorded history. It was depicted in a painting, with its distinct colors and patterns, in the tomb of Nebamun in Egypt, circa 1350 BCE – that’s more than 3300 years before!

oriental plain tiger, male at korlai, maharashtra

It’s a tiger not merely in its stripes and colors. It is a terror to potential predators too! Their bodies contain toxic alkaloids from plants, which they have devoured as a larvae. Birds and predators memorize and associate the unsavoriness of these butterfly species with their patterns and habits, and try to avoid them. This, in turn, is found to have evolutionary consequences in other “edible” butterflies, which ended up mimicing similar colors and patterns in order to escape from the predators.

Continue Reading »

PinterestFacebookGoogle+TwitterStumbleUponTumblrRedditGoogle BookmarksEmailPrintFriendlyPrint

castle curlew and its church

Posted by on 20 Sep 2012 | Category: india, photography

Peeping into the Arabian Sea, nestling between Alibag and Murud, the popular tourist spots of Mumbaikars, is a world much unknown to the most of Maharashtra – Korlai.

Korlai is a 2 faced village, both by its geography and its soul. Both sides of the village are straddled by the sea, with the marathi fisher-folks on one side, and the indo-portuguese speaking villagers on the other side.

Korlai Fishing Village at the foothills of Castle Curlew

Standing prominent on the rocky headland side of the village is the 16th century Korlai fort, built by the Portuguese. Accounts, though hazy, says that it was originally ‘Castle Curlew’, built by Felipe Mascarenhas who was the 26th Viceroy of Portuguese India. When it was functional, the fort was protected on the inland side by a ditch, and accessible only by a drawbridge.

One of the interesting pieces of work inside the Korlai fort is the St Mathew’s church built circa 1630. Though now it is an abandoned, idling edifice, its features still give out the strategies and thoughts gone behind its construction.
Continue Reading »

PinterestFacebookGoogle+TwitterStumbleUponTumblrRedditGoogle BookmarksEmailPrintFriendlyPrint

female figures of ellora

Posted by on 09 Apr 2011 | Category: india, photography

The ancient (5~10th cent. AD) rock-cut caves of Ellora were oblivious to the outside world for several centuries – until they were redisovered in the early 19th century. In these caves are the goddesses, frozen in time, assuming their ultimate postures in the form of sculptures …

Cave 29. Parvati.
The brahminical caves of Ellora are Siva-centric and hence figures of his consort, Parvati, are seen in various forms. When she is with Siva, she appears homely and bashful. As an independent goddess, she is seen slaying the demons.

parvati with siva at cave 29, ellora

The female figures of Ellora – with small faces, firm and full breasts, narrow waist, wide hips and long thighs – are a treat for the eye and the senses. These sculptures follow certain guidelines for body proportions (iconometry). The iconometric texts suggest that the outer corners of the eyes, the breasts and hips should be slightly exaggerated than the actual measurement. The close set breasts should press each other tightly that even a lotus fibre could not pass through them. The vulva should be shaped like the leaf of the sacred fig tree. Most of the female figures, use diaphanous (thin and transparent) drapery which reveals all their charms, the beauty of every curve, even of the genitals.

Continue Reading »

PinterestFacebookGoogle+TwitterStumbleUponTumblrRedditGoogle BookmarksEmailPrintFriendlyPrint

Older Entries »