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Jungle Lodges – KGudi

We just came back from a short, but nevertheless long-anticipated-with-relish, holiday to Bangalore and the Jungle Lodges Resort at Kyathadevarayangudi – KGudi for short.

The resort itself is right inside the Biligiri Ranganna Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, about 86 kilometres from Mysore. Its setting is quite picturesque – it has its own waterhole, and the tented cottages and log huts blend in perfectly with the surroundings. Since the resort itself is plonked right in the middle of the jungle, quite a bit of animal and bird life can be spotted right from one’s balcony.

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Pics of Chicks!

Heh heh!

Finally, I get to post pics of chicks on my blog. Just my luck – I get a chance to get some fantastic close ups of the two chicks who have been camping out on my balcony for the past few days, and then I realise that Magesh has borrowed my camera. So I have to make do with my pathetic little camera phone. Doesn’t matter, think I, I shall make the most of this opportunity. I go up to them and start clicking – they flinch a little at first, but are comfortable after that. The picture I liked best is a full frontal, and so, ladies and gentlemen, here is, for the first time on Blogocentricity, a picture of two chicks! read more

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Vedanthangal

Sunday before last, I went on a half-day trip to Vedanthangal and Karikili. To the uninitiated, they are two bird sanctuaries located about 60 kilometres south of Chennai. There were three of us: Vasumathi Sankaran, geographer and all round nature specialist, veteran of hundreds of sanctuary visits, the one who, along with Theodore Baskaran, initiated me into the mysteries of birding and wildlife watching. Recently, her age and health have prevented her from visiting as many places as she would like to, but it was a great experience going birding with her again. The other person who made up our party was Deepu, who has proved to be an enthusiastic companion for any birding trip, and a reluctant one for any other! Vidya was too zonked from the previous night’s party to do anything, so she gave it a miss.

Vasumathi, Murugan and Deepu

We made an early start, for a change, leaving home at 5:20 a.m. Deepu had stayed over and that was helpful, and we had picked up Vasumathi and were on our way by 6:00 a.m. The drive was quite enjoyable – good roads and almost no traffic. Crossing the Palar Bridge was quite eerie – there was thick fog and we couldn’t see more than fifteen feet ahead of us. It looked like the bridge across forever, and only when we reached the other side did we breathe easy! We finally reached Vedanthangal at about 7:00 a.m.

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Murugan the Bird Tracker

At Vedanthangal, we met Murugan, the Bird Tracker. He is a local who has been trained by the forest department to be a bird tracker. His combination of local knowledge and scientific ornithology is quite fascinating, and his keen eye was able to spot the single spoonbill out of a forest of herons and storks. He is constantly retrained, the latest sessions focussing on the avian flu and how to spot it.

He told us that this year was extremely good in terms of arrivals, though the painted storks had arrived very late – only on December 21st. That was why they were still incubating, while most other juveniles were already learning to fly. He also pointed out two newly hatched painted storks – the first of the season – to us. read more

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Dirty Dragon

China, for all its spectacular growth, seems to have paid a heavy environmental price. This report on the BBC web site offers a brief glimpse into the situation.

The situation in Harbin:

Benzene levels were 108 times above national safety levels

Some schools and businesses have closed in Harbin, a city of 3.4m people; flights out of the city are sold out.

The Chinese government’s take on the situation.

Makes you wonder how long it will be before India reaches a similar state.

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Blog Quake Day

Today is Blog Quake Day, that day when we all blog for awareness on the earthquake in Kashmir, as well as ask everyone to contribute to the relief efforts.

Awareness about the earthquake and its impact is an important step in helping with relief – going beyond a “it’s-a-big-earthquake-and-lots-of-people-died” awareness is itself a way of understanding what is going on, and what one can do to help.

Read all about the quake and the relief efforts on the BBC’s in depth look at the South Asia Quake. read more

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