Friday, March 23, 2012

Blissful Anashi Nature Camp

Ah, so I'm finally getting to write here about my latest (a month back already) trip to Anashi Tiger Reserve. That I was longing to go out of Bangalore and eagerly waiting for my first camp with my BNHS Field Botany course members, I now can say that it was doubly worth the wait. And yes, to all those learnings in the field out there and the good times spent with the like-hearted people left me in a serene awe. Hopefully I have captured some of the key highlights here. 

Ravee and I left from Bengaluru and joined the team lead by our Botany teacher Swapna Prabhu (I call her Boss) in Belgaum. She had a good company of her BNHS colleague Mirium as well.  We reached Anashi Nature Camp on the late afternoon of the February 25th, 2012. Strong fragrance of Ixora pulled us to them inside the camp. And hence our 4 blissful days of field botany camp started and ended within a blink. Boss had organized the whole trip so perfectly that the nostalgia has taken over all of us so quickly after coming back from there! 

Following are some nostalgic glimpses of our camp: (the below lists are only based on the key highlights; the rest are updated in my flickr album)

First day after reaching the Anashi camp, we set out for a short walk in the evening. The trail was no longer than 2km and it was a cool and breezy evening. For me, personally, it was a first time experience with the group of Botanists and Botany enthusiasts. I absolutely was thrilled and excited to be with the team and learn loads of stuff. We saw some interesting trees along the trail and took some notes as well. The following are some of the interesting sightings for the day. 

1. Anashi camp was full of Oberonias in bloom.
2. Luisia macrantha
3. Entada rheedii
4. Terminalia trees
5. Dilinia Indica
6. Holigarna arnottiana
7. Cinnamomom trees

Holigarna arnottiana leaf appendages

Luisia sp

Oberonia sp
Second day was a trip to Ulavi which was about 25 km from our camp. As we started from our camp, first stop that we could not miss was when we saw the Flacourtia fruits. They were absolutely delicious and that set the right mood for the day. We had some amazing sightings and a great experience. It also ended in some fun that caused an hour of delay in getting back to the camp. Ulavi forest is very dense with huge evergreen trees reaching to the higher canopies. The tranquility of the place is at its best.  Back in the camp, evening was very pleasant and we all took a walk towards the Anashi village. The moment we saw the huge fig tree, we all tried to hug the same. It took 8 people to hug its trunk completely.  The following are some of the highlights of the day and amazing sightings:

1. Colebrookea sp
2. Artocarpus trees
3. Tree ferns
4. Southern Birdwing butterfly
5. Flying lizard (Draco). Was in trance observing it for a while.
6. Xylia xylocarpa
7. Flacourtia montana fruits
8. Drosera burmannii
9. Rotala sp
10. Wallichia (Palm) sp

Colebrookea sp
A viewpoint at Ulavi
The draco

Asclepias sp

Entada rheedii
Flacourtia montana fruits
Artocarpus fruit
After a serene early morning walk on the third day, we were taken to the place called Syntheri Rocks which was about 30 km from the camp. Kaneri was gorgeously flowing through the rocks and it felt heavenly  just to look at it flowing (although it was very hot). It was a beautiful day and we had a lovely time at the rocks. We returned back to the camp and were soon went into the classroom mode. Boss took us the 'typical' classroom session on different aspects. Leaf morphology was the highlight during the session. We were given some exercises to perform and all of us were very excited and best behaved like good students. After the session, we went out on our usual walk. It was a very long and absolutely enjoyable walk in the dark wood. Some highlights on the day three are as under:

1. Paradise flycatcher early in the morning.
2. We saw honeybees everywhere and it was yellow spots all over every place and everyone of us :)
3. Bombax malabarica and Bombax insigne trees.
4. Red ant nest
5. Fungi with fur like material all over the tree
6. A session on Bryophytes and Epiphytes
7. Sighted many Bulbophyllums on the rocks. Thanks to Ravee, we had some good learning on Orchids as well.

A dried stream behind the Anashi camp

Kaneri river at Syntheri rocks

Bulbophyllums on the rock

Fungi and fur like substance?

Habitat around Syntheri rocks 
Mirium and the honeybees 
It was supposed to be a five day camp; but Ravee and I could not get too many leaves and hence we decided to get back to Bengaluru after the 4th day's trail. We missed out on the morning walk on the fifth day. Fourth day we all reached the Kulgi nature camp and the plan was to do 2 trails around the camp. While we were on the way to Kulgi, we were surprisingly welcomed to a small water body where we sighted many interesting things. It was a beautiful small lake full of Nymphaea lotus and Nymphoides. After a nice short session on the aquatic plants at the lake, we headed out to Kulgi. Here are some of the key highlights of the day:

1. Disappointed to see the ash all over the forest and the leaf litter was burnt out completely because of the fire. 
2. Nymphaea lotus and Nymphoides hydrophylla.
3. Malabar giant squirrels.
4. Greater flame backed woodpecker couple.
5. Cassia grandis
6. Acacia (shikakai)
7. Bracket fungi and Fruticose lichen (small talk about them)
8. Multiple orchids species on every tree. Acampe predominantly on most of the trees.

Silhouette of a giant squirrel 

Nymphaea lotus

Cassia grandis

Paradise flycatcher

Tall trees of Kulgi
It was a blissful Anashi Nature Camp expedition for sure. It was absolutely fun learning for me - mixed with a great fun loving team and the serenity of Anashi - Dandeli forest area. After our second trail in Kulgi, Ravee and I headed back to Bengaluru in the night. 

Tents at the Anashi Nature Camp

Dining hall
Walking in the woods
The energetic team

For more pictures of all the Flora and Fauna sighted, please visit my Flickr link here



Narasim said...

Great photographs as usual. The brief text provides some needed context.

Louisia sp is especially terrific.

Glad that you finally found some spare time to reflect upon your visit.

Raghu said...

Photos are really great!

Anonymous said...

Srikanth, it is really a beautiful blog with excellent photos, which refreshed my memory and again took me in the woods. Thank u for sharing.