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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is nature's way.- Aristotle

What's Nature?

To answer this question is difficult, but to feel it, its never difficult. Its splendid, candid, trivial and jovial.......


"Mother Nature made me the way I am, and I should be happy."


" The path to nature is never lonely !"


Life begins from here; its vast and deep with the fathom of life hidden inside it.



A walk, back & forth between the shores,The waves of The Bay of Bengal.


"Silent is the Valley...", Thats Silent Valley National Park.


"God's own country"(in the midst of the backwaters.)


"Standing tall...."


"Finally got its Solace..."



"Way to The jungle."

"Let us permit nature to have her way. She understands her business better than we do."
-Michel de Montaigne

From the watch tower, In the view of the silent canopies of the valley


( The silent Valley National Park,in May'07)

As a permanent safeguard against human intervention in the ecologically-sensitive Silent Valley National Park, state government decided to declare areas around the place as a 'buffer zone'.
Areas to be included in the buffer zone would be finalized shortly, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan told reporters after the cabinet meeting here.

The zone, covering a total area of nearly 148 sq km, has been conceived as a natural safety-ring around Silent Valley tropical forest.

The forest, in 1970s, faced a serious threat of being destroyed by a big hydro-electric power project, which was later shelved in the wake of the country's first successful environmental campaign.

Spanning an area of 89 sq km thick tropical forest in Mannarghat Taluk in Palakkad district, Silent Valley was declared a national park in 1984.

The declaration of buffer zone comes in the wake of environmentalists voicing concern over the move of the state government to revive the Pathrakkadavu hydel project using the waters of Kunthipuzha river, which flows close to the Silent Valley.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Russell's Viper pairing

If u ever spot a snake with features like "Light brown body,three rows of dark brown or black splotches bordered with white or yellow extending its entire length" be sure that u have encountered a Viper, the commonest venomous snake of Indian subcontinent causing the maximum deaths/year.

Yes, thats none else than the Russell's Viper(Vipera russelli).
Russell's viper(Vipera russelli)is an extremely venomous, brightly colored, viperine snake of southeastern Asia and Indonesia.


(A mating pair of Russell's viper, resting on Aloe vera bush, in the broad day light)


A VIPER is a venomous snake, especially any member of the families Viperidae (true vipers) and Crotalidae (pit vipers).(The viperidae or true vipers usually have thick bodies and heads that are much wider than their necks. However, there are many different sizes, markings, and colorations.)


(**A note on the way vipers deliver their hemotoxic venoms into their prey's body)

This dangerous species,Vipera russelli, is abundant over its entire range. It is responsible for more human fatalities than any other venomous snake. It is irritable. When threatened, it coils tightly, hisses, and strikes with such speed that its victim has little chance of escaping. Its hemotoxic venom is a powerful coagulant, damaging tissue and blood cells.

Distributed predominantly in Sri Lanka, south China, India, Malaysian Peninsula, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, and surrounding islands, this species of viperine snake grows up to an avg. of 1 meter and max up to 1.5 meters. Habitat is variable ranging from farmlands to dense rain forests. Common food is rats, rodents, lizards and frogs, at times may be small passerine birds also. It is commonly found around human settlements, under broken walls, in stores-granaries, in garage, in compound wall's cracks, in all those suspectible places where it can mimic nicely and make a wise man be fooled.

Russell's viper's venom is used as a coagulant in the arrest of hemorrhage from accessible sites in hemophilia.The venom of Russell's viper acts in vitro as an instrinsic thromboplastin and is useful in defining deficiencies of blood clotting factor X.

(** A note on the way Viper's work on their prey)

Over the span of time , as evolution proceeded, this snake group Viperdae's members developed a highly sophisticated means for delivering venom. These true vipers are associated with long, hollow fangs that perform like hypodermic needles,thus delivering the venom deep into the wound.

The fangs of this group of snakes are movable. These snakes fold their fangs into the roof of their mouths. When they strike, their fangs come forward, stabbing the victim. The snake controls the movement of its fangs; fang movement is not automatic. The venom is usually hemotoxic. There are, however, several species that have large quantities of neurotoxic elements, thus making them even more dangerous. The vipers are responsible for many human fatalities around the world.

"Painting death"



"Painting death" : A total of 1254 brushes were recovered from five shops
(Mongoose hair brushes seized in Jodhpur)

Jodhpur, (Rajasthan) October 26: In a major raid on stationery and hardware stores, the Rajasthan police yesterday seized 1254 illegal Mongoose hair brushes and detained five shopkeepers.

Acting on a tip off provided by Dr Sunit Dookia, the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) notified the Jodhpur police. Thereafter following orders from the I nspector General of Police, a team headed by Chain Singh, Inspector Sardarpura police station, raided seven stationery and hardware stores near Jalori Gate. The five shopkeepers were arrested and later released after they gave written statements that they will cooperate with the prosecution. The brush samples will now be sent to the Wildlife Institute of India for confirmation following which legal proceedings would begin. The raid was assisted by Dinesh Pandey, Assistant Programme Officer and Dr Mahendra Singh Kachhawa, Advocate, WTI.

Concerned with the declining population of the mongoose species, WTI initiated a campaign to curb the trade on mongoose hair with an award winning film 'A Brush with Death .' The brushes are used largely by school children all over India, who are unaware of the implications of using them.

"Mongoose species help in controlling the population of rats and snakes, and therefore is a friend of man. Considering the threats faced by them, the Government of India upgraded the protection status of the mongoose species from Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act (1972) to Part II of Schedule II ,"Ashok Kumar, Vice-Chairman, WTI, said.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

leks in animal world.

*


"Each organism takes birth on this earth to leave back its genes for a noble cause".
For this noble cause, the cost benefit ratio counts a lot. Mating systems, which describe the way in which individuals of both sexes obtain mates, vary widely in nature. Different animals follow different reproductive strategies out of which lekking is one eminent ethological approach.


(Courtship Lek,Sage Grouse)*

Lekking is a curious variation on promiscuous mating. "Lekking" is derived from Swedish origin, that describes a pattern of mating behavior seen only in a small number of birds around the world. In North America its chief practitioners are Greater and Lesser Prairie-Chickens, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Sage Grouse, and Buff-breasted Sandpipers. although this ethological pattern is very common in birds,its also seen in animals esp some lizards,iguanas, black bucks and deers.


(Buff-breasted sandpiper show off)*

During the mating season, the males of lekking species birds gather into small clusters of territories, called leks, or arenas. Each male defends a territory within the lek although the area may only be a few yards across. Thirty or more males can even gather at a large lek. They display with frantic intensity, sometimes oblivious to everything around them (though their intensity increases when females are present). The display varies from colour display of feathers, dancing patterns , singing(mating calls) to aggressive fights at times.


(Great Snipe lekking)*


(Growth of the horns in fallow deer males, display for lek)*

"Conflict and co-operation in competition over mates" forms the basis of lekking systems, which offers several examples of situations where males share common interests while competing for mates; lower ranking males will, e.g., all benefit from the top male not being able to monopolize matings. Also, kin selection could potentially affect optimal male behaviors and distributions.


(Lekking black buck males beginning a fight)*


(Lekking iguana male)*


Females visit the lek and wander among the displaying males as if comparing their virtues. Eventually a female accepts the advances of a particular male and mates with it. Usually only a few males out of all those present on the lek ever successfully mate. The female then lays its eggs in a nest that may be distant from the lek and that will never be visited by the chosen male.


(A Prairie Chicken in its lek with the display; bigger size:better display)*

The evolution of lekking is as interesting as the phenomenon itself. Factors determining degree of male clustering are still not well explained. A large number of different hypotheses have been suggested for explaining the distribution of males in lekking species. Some of the models involved in proposing the evolution of lekking are the female preference model, the hotspot model and the hotshot model.There may be social as well as ecological factors involved in determining male and female distribution patterns and hence the lekking patterns seen in the animal kingdom. Whatever may be the fact, but the evolution of lekking is to ensure the transfer of better, healthy and well competent genes to the next generation so that the "clan" continues in the future.


(* All pictures are uploaded from net in reference to the article.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Kuu...Koooo....Kuu....Kooo...Kuuu... Its Koel !!




The word KOEL also means "nightingale" in India because of the Indian Koel's melodious call. It is also colloquially known as the "Rainbird or Stormbird" in eastern Australia, as its call is supposed to foreshadow rain.

Formerly also Common Koel, the Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea), is a member of the cuckoo order of birds, the Cuculiformes, which also includes such birds as the roadrunners, the anis, and couas. It is found from southern Asia, China, and into Australia. Like many cuckoos, it lays its eggs in other birds' nests and efficiently shows "brood parasitism".




The male is bluish-black, with a pale green bill, rich red eyes, and grey legs and feet. The female is brownish above and whitish below, but is heavily striped and spotted brown on the underparts and white on the upperparts. She has an olive or green beak and red eyes.



Koels are very vocal, with a number of different calls.Though Asian Koel is omnivorous, consuming a variety of insects, caterpillars, eggs and small vertebrates, the adults predominantly feed on fruits and hence are mostly frugivores, easily spotted on trees of Psidium, Michelia, Mangifera. It has occasionally been known to take eggs of small birds.



The Asian Koel is a bird of light woodland and cultivation. It is a mainly resident breeder in tropical southern Asia from India and Sri Lanka to south China and Australasia. Birds at the fringes of the range, such as much of Eastern Australia, and on high ground are summer visitors, migrating to warmer areas in winter. They have great potential in colonizing new areas. They first arrived in Singapore in the 1980s and became very common birds.

Associated with typical ethology,Koels are brood parasites, and lay their single egg in the nests of a variety of birds, including the Jungle Crow,House Crow and various species of honeyeaters. They may also parasitize Black-headed Orioles.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

Flower of August; The Gladiolis



(The tiny droplets on the petals well reflected back; gifted to Chai)



Also called as the "Flower of August", the name "Gladiolus" is derived from the Latin word "gladius", meaning "sword", for the shape of its leaves. An ancient name for the gladiolus was "xiphium," from the Greek word "xiphos", also meaning sword.

Belonging to the iris family (Iridaceae) and not primarily being Eurasian origin, this genus "Gladiolus" contains about 260 species, of which 250 are native to sub-Saharan Africa, mostly South Africa. About 10 species are native to Eurasia. There are 160 species of Gladiolus endemic in southern Africa and 76 in tropical Africa. The species vary from very small to the spectacular giant flower spikes in commerce.Sometimes called the sword lily, the most widely-used English common name for these plants is simply gladiolus (plural gladioli or gladioluses).

These attractive, perennial herbs are semihardy in temperate climates. They grow from rounded, symmetrical corms, that are enveloped in several layers of brownish, fibrous tunics.






The gladiolus flower is the birth flower for August; it also represented the Roman gladiators. Before the African gladioli became popular in the West, the Mediterranean and British gladiolus flowers were used to treat physical ailments. The English used the gladiolus flower's stem base (corms) as a poultice and for drawing out thorns and splinters; powdered corms mixed with goat's milk was commonly used to soothe the symptoms of colic.

The gladiolus flower signifies remembrance.






It also expresses infatuation, telling the receiver that he or she "pierces the heart."

These flowers are variously colored, pink to reddish or light purple with white, contrasting markings, or white to cream or orange to red.

Primarily the South African species were originally pollinated by long-tongued anthrophorine bees, but some changes in the pollination system have occurred, allowing pollination by sunbirds, noctuid and sphingid moths, long-tongued flies and several others.

Gladioli are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the Large Yellow Underwing.

Gladioli have been extensively hybridized and a wide range of ornamental flower colours are available from the many varieties. The main hybrid groups have been obtained by crossing between four or five species, followed by selection: Grandiflorus, Primulines and Nanus. They make very good cut flowers. However, due to their height, the cultivated forms frequently tend to fall over in the wind if left on the plant.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hoopoe



Spotted in the pondicherry campus, this lovely agile bird is pretty fast and doesnt allow to take the shots of it in such a great way, well posed, well composed and well illustrated. Thanks to my luck for letting me do it with my new camera. It was in April, before the viva, when i was in my room listening to music Raag Darbari in the afternoon and was wondering so many things, looking at the clear sky. All of a sudden, no sooner my eyes went down to the courtyard's ground, behind the hostel's main building, I spotted this gorgeous beauty percging on a branch. after great efforts, I could finally capture it in my camera, sitting on the big stone as if desperately posing for me.

Thats Hoooooppooooeeeee!!!

Shades of the sky



Blue sky,
blue sky...
Thats what we see everytime,
The Conventional "Blue Sky".
Looking at Me;
Of course at you
.... At both of Us, wishing the day by.

Blue sky,purple sky..
Grey sky, black sky
Storm coming in, here it is,
The earth is wailing,the thunder yells ,
and I can hear the clouds cry.
Pouring down the life back to the Earth...!!


black sky... Just black as a tar....

with the twinkling stars and the glittering galaxies..
With the moon that drowned the Sun
Inside the fathom of the sea
For the next day's light to come.

Black sky
Green sky
Orange sky
Burnt sienna tinged, crimson rose scattered rays,
budding yellow tinges of the early sunrays...
Red drenched sky
Pink and blue
Bright and light
mighty and mean sky...
Showing another day of life..!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tiny creature- big task




Early morning in the winters... I did bunk the lab... and was strolling in the cosy sunlit, in my garden. My imaginations grew wild and wilder and I ran inside home to get my new Canon Powershot S3 IS camera to capture one of my all time favorite research interests, that none other than "pollination biology". I observed for a long while, kept clicking the shutter button on my camera, ran behind this tiny creature and after a long time of hard work, did take this lovely shot. Thanks to my lovely mom for presenting me this great camera.

Monday, December 10, 2007

"That gracious capture"



The fine day broke with a great mood.It was late winters and early summer...
I went in the ring road early in the morning after working the whole night for my project write up, planning to refresh my mindset... while i was moving fast on the vechile in the ring road, along river Mahanadi, this sleeping beauty was spotted and the well captured some the nicest moods of the doggie.Lonesome yet happy,getting a nice feel in the nature's lap, warming up in the early rising sunray's and giving me such a terrific pose..!!

"Blue Sapphired Beauty"




During the heights of summer, after the masters course was completed in the campus, the "ECOL" gang decided a trip to Silent Valley, a part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, in Kerala. the day we reached the place, not to say, just to feel the cosy calm and of course the cool atmosphere in the Mukali forest guest house. With Sandy, Sne and Taya, after we were refreshed, went to the near by stream and while comfortably feeling the beauty of the nature that was adored in one of the best spots of The Western Ghats, we spotted this blue sapphired beauty, named "The Malabar Whistling Thrush".... The whislings of it changed our tiresome day diametrically with great joy, vigor and youthful energy for the next day's trip into the national park, 23km from the place of stay.

"The beauty always lies in the eyes of the beholder..!!

"The beauty always lies in the eyes of the beholder..!!"

A multi spotted lime butterfly, Papilio demolous hovering on Ixora flowers.



Again vibrant colored Malabar banded peacock on Ixora flowers.

Rescue Rangers-wild animals rescued

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life of flowers

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