Friday, June 8, 2012

Pre-monsoon Showers.. A treat for the leapers

The monsoons are on their way and the pre-monsoon showers have paved their path.
The beginning of rains is always a treat. For people and for all sorts of life as well. But the ones who are most excited are the frogs. The croaking and leaping starts as soon as the first showers touch the earth.

This time, I saw various species of frogs come out at the first sigh of rains. There were fungoid frogs, cricket frogs, leaping frogs and most importantly, the huge bull frogs. They were nicely hopping around on the roads. It was a pleasure watching them. But it lasted only till I saw the first one get crushed. And then, there was the series.

Then I started thinking that if just in front of me, in a short time of five minutes, so many are crushed, what will be the number in the entire state? Or country for that matter..

Then another thought came to my mind looking at the freely roaming giant bull frogs on the road.
'Jumping chicken' season has started. For those of you who don't know whats jumping chicken, let me tell you.
Its a delicacy in Goa. Any guesses what it is? Ya.. You are right. Frog meat.
Bull frogs are poached extensively for their meat despite of the ban.

Many organisations, individuals and the forest department are working to tackle this issue. But people's participation is most important.

Frogs are very beautiful, harmless (in fact useful as they keep the pest population in check) and important in the ecosystem. Their presence indicates a healthy ecosystem.

If you like consuming frog meat, please reconsider your decision. And not to mention, its not permitted by the law.
The thing you can do very easily these days is drive carefully. Frogs come out during night and are often crushed by speeding vehicles during crossing the road. During the day time, same happens to snakes. Just today, I saved a buff striped keel-back from getting crushed.

So please, Drive Responsibly!
That's the least we can do.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Something about 26/11

My facebook timeline is flooding with all 26/11 msgs from morning.
Someone is planning to wear white, someone has decided to light
candles, someone is moaning on the sad demise of the martyrs.
Those martyrs didn't give away their lives because they were expecting
a word of sympathy. They wanted to set an example to all of us.
If you truly want to give a tribute to them, just look back and try to
remember, what have you done for your country?
Just remembering the martyrs on 26/11 and crying will not change
anything. Did that bring a change in our system? 2 years passed after
the incident, still no full n final hearing.

If we really feel disheartened by the demise of the great heroes, let
us do something for our country and make them proud.
However small it might be, however insignificant it might feel, lets
take one task and for the first time, lets do something exclusively
for our country and not for ourselves.


Rohan Naik
Ponda, Goa

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Nocturnal treat with awesome sightings

Date: 14/08/10

Me and Mandar were planning to go for a night trail, from many days, for conducting the survey for my amphibian documentation project. But due to some or other reason either he or I could not make it. But now it is high time, the season is about to end and again today, I was free but Mandar was not. I was not so keen on going alone. Although I was comfortable roaming around in the wilderness during the night looking for herps, research work involves sitting at one place and observation. As your senses are highly alert during the night, slightest of sound disturbs your concentration. That is why I wanted someone to watch my back while I note the observations and photograph the specimens. But he wasn't available so I decided to go alone and I am glad didn't stay back. My trip was a blast. I got to see lot of things along with my subjects of study.

I reached the place where there is a big lake and most of amphibian activity takes place there. It was around 7:40 pm in the evening and only light available was moonlight. I put off my torch and scanned the area in front of me. Suddenly I felt movement at my side a few feet from me. When I looked in the direction, I was stunned. A porcupine was peacefully walking besides me. I wanted to take a shot so I lit the torch. Seeing the light, It just started running in a zigzag fashion. Due to the uneven terrain, bushes and dark, I just could not focus and even the flash was inadequate. So all I got was this.

You can see the eye shining, and if you increase your brightness, you can see the faint white quills in the back

I just moved a bit further and was examining the peripheri of the lake when I saw something else standing at around 20 feet from me. It was bigger than the porcupine. When I shone my torch in its direction, it sprinted away. I could not make out what it was as I didn't have my spects on. But it was something huge.

Recovering from the two shocks, I gained my breath and moved forward. I was searching for the tree frogs in the area surrounding the lake. The area had ankle deep water and had thick vegetation in it. I just moved forward from a patch and returned back when I saw some leaf like thing sticking out of the vegetation. When I saw closely, I was awestruck. I couldn't believe the fact that what I was looking closely supposing it to be dry accasia leaf, was a baby Cobra. It was there in the same patch of vegetation which I just crossed. I saw the animal at close quarters and got a sudden adrenaline rush in comparison with which the earlier two incidents were nothing. I was just saying "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa" for the next one minute. I recovered when the snake decided to move. I tried to take a shot, I got one record shot too. But before getting a good shot it slithered into the ankle deep water covered with vegetation. I didn't catch it because it was only as long as my forearm and could have easily bitten me. I tried to search it scouting around the area but didn't find it. I was on a high for next 10-15 minutes.

I was overwhelmed by so many sightings in a very short duration. I finally managed to get out of all that and completed my survey.
Here are some shots.

A Skittering Frog (Click to enlarge)

A Skittering Frog along with the tadpole of a Bull Frog (Click to enlarge)

Indian Tree Frog (Click to enlarge)

Indian Tree Frog (Click to enlarge)

Foam nest of an Indian Tree Frog (It is located close to a water body and tadpoles move to water immediately after they hatch)

Friday, June 18, 2010

A glimpse of the monsoon in Mollem

The monsoons are here and I couldn't wait to take the full advantage of this fact. Me and Mandar set out a little late for Mollem on 15th June.
Inspite of all our previous visits to Mollem, it has something new to offer every time I visit and this time was special as this was our first visit to Mollem after this year's monsoon arrived. So we had a lot of expectations and off course, we were not disappointed but in fact got 'Ummeed se Dugnaa'.

We started at around 12:00 in the afternoon (which you can only do during monsoons) and our expedition lasted for around seven hours (which could have been very tiring if it wasn't monsoon).
But unlike other visits, this time we traveled only a small distance i.e. from Mollem to Nandran and back (Around 7 kms). This time, we spent more time in exploring the area, searching, observing and photographing which resulted in more sightings, more joy and more knowledge.

A Fungus (Click to enlarge)

Rufescent Frog (Click to enlarge)

Blue Pansy (Click to Enlarge)

Some kind of Beetle - Lots of these were gathered around two dead females of Rufescent Frog at the same place, strange. (Click to Enlarge)

A beautiful caterpillar - I seriously don't know which butterfly it belongs to. (Click to Enlarge)

Mating Snails (Click to Enlarge)

A stick insect (Click to Enlarge)

Another stick insect which mimics the Praying Mantis (Click to Enlarge)

Monsoon, in Mollem, has to offer some of those life forms which can rarely be seen otherwise. It includes frogs, mushrooms and the legendary Hump nosed pit Viper.
But the sad part of our trip was, our camera's battery got over after reaching Nandaran and some of the major sightings including the Hump nosed pit Viper had to be photographed with my mobile camera. So please bear with the quality. At least, something is better than nothing.

We found a massive Scorpion in a pile of mud. (You can click to Enlarge if you want but won't give you better quality)

This picture is uploaded just to show the sizw and comparison between two differt species. The upper one is the species which I usually see at Mardangad (a hill near my place).
(Click to Enlarge)
NOTE: This photograph doesn't encourage anyone to replicate the above act as it can be dangerous without proper knowledge and experience.

Hump nosed pit viper (This picture doesn't do justice to this animal)

A Gecko - Probably juvenile Brook's Gecko (If any herpetologists reading this, please help). I am sorry for the middle picture of the sequence but I couldn't think of a better way to get it in focus)

To those who are using LCD, my images might appear over sharpened and with extra contrast. Please bear with it as I use a really old CRT for editing my photos.

On the whole, the trip was a blast. This was one of my best trips to the wildtill today and I enjoyed it to the fullest.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Urban Amphibians

Amphibians are said to be one of the most habitat specific organisms. Many of them are known as indicator species as they are found only in certain type of conditions and thus indicate presence of such conditions around them.
But, on the contrary, several other species have adapted themselves to a variety of habitats including areas which are heavily disturbed by human activities.

The place where I live is not a part of the main city but has a considerable amount of human interference with the fragmented patches of vegetation. Right from the beginning of the rains, me and Mandar have been conducting surveys along the bypass which passes through my locality. To our astonishment, we documented various species of bush frogs, Beddome's Frog, Ornate narrow mouthed Frog, lots of Cricket frogs, Common Indian Toad etc.

Ornate Narrow mouthed Frog (Click to enlarge)

This list also includes one of the most beautiful frog species of the Western Ghats - The Malabar Gliding Frog.

The Malabar Gliding Frog is a tree frog with beautiful colouration. Its body is green in colour and the webbing in feet (which is used for gliding) is bright red.

Hind limb of Malabar Gliding Frog (Click to enlarge)

This frog can actually glide from one tree to other from higher height to a lower one.
As its name suggests, it is endemic to the Malabar (Region from Western Ghats to the West coast) region. It makes foam nests on trees overhanging pools of water. Few years back, such a nest was located near a building in the Ponda city. These frogs are common in the forests of Western ghats during the monsoon but finding them in the center of a city is a bit uncommon.

Our finding of this frog near my house might sound like a good news at first, but the part of the story is that both the specimens I found were found dead on the road. They might have bumped into a vehicle while gliding as they were not crushed.
There were several such frogs which we saw already been crushed or getting crushed under the wheels of speeding vehicles. But we can't blame the driver as most of the frogs are so small that you can't even see them, forget about avoiding them.
But atleast the bigger ones can be avoided and please see to it that you do your part when you are driving.

As I have mentioned earlier, many species of amphibians which are specific to a particular habitat are pushed into the danger zone due to large scale habitat destruction. Climate change has also threatened the existence of the species which are adaptable to only a narrow temperature range. In Goa, yet another cause for decline in their population is their consumption, especially of the Indian and Jerdon's Bull Frog.

Please don't get involved in Frog poaching and consumption activities. If you find someone else involved, contact the Forest Dept. or call me (9545436161)
Drive responsibly during the night.
Don't use harmful pesticides in your fields or gardens which can affect the surrounding amphibians.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

On the ocassion of the World Environment Day

It has been around seven to eight years now that I have been traveling the unbeaten paths trying to explore more. May it be forests, grasslands, stream side etc. But it was very recently (around 4 years back), I started to look at all this in a different way. Earlier, I used to roam through forests but never used to observe the birds; as I was living on the fringe of a reserve forest, snakes used to come in our house but I used to kill them. 
 With a boost of inspiration from various personalities, I learned to observe my surrounding. Observation and comparison led to increase in knowledge, knowledge led to sense of belonging to my environment. With the bond with the environment and its inhabitants being stronger, the urge to explore grew. These day long or week long explorations brought out some extremely exciting facts. But in addition, there were fact which were not so pleasing and some, which still prick inside my heart.

With advancing urbanization and so called development, people are going far from nature. They say environmentalist are supposed to care of nature. I only ask them a question - "Are environmentalist the only ones who get benefited by nature? Are they the only ones who breath oxygen, drink clean water, use furniture made out of trees, eat food and use other articles directly or indirectly derived from natural resources?"
You can not deny the fact that every single being is dependent on its natural environment for its survival. Then why is it that only few have to bear the task of taking care of the environment? Everyone avails the rights but few perform the duties. Why?

The only reason I can figure out is due to lack of belongingness. People have become so used to a concrete environment that they don't realize the fact that natural forest lie on the same land as that of the concrete jungles. We have started forgetting that we are a part of nature which is existing for millions of years and are becoming part of what we are creating today, which is pushing us towards devastation.
We humans, are not only putting our future into danger but also of those millions of beings which share the planet with us and can't fight on their own for their survival. Several organisms are getting extinct before they are even discovered.

Look around you. You will see various beings living around you. Take out time on a weekend and go to a place which is a bit far from human habitation and experience nature. Enjoy it. 
Thats when you will truly realize that if you are taking something from it, you should give back too.

What you can do?
You can start from your home:

1)The water which comes through your tap is actually harvested from a river which is a source of water for various other life forms. Even lot of money is utilized to harvest the water and channelize it towards you. So use water very carefully. 

Close the taps while brushing teeth or shaving. Don't use a hosepipe to wash a car but use a bucket and mug.

When using flush, only flush out required amount of water

Immediately fix leaking taps and tanks. Use floaters in tanks.

Report immediately if you see a broken public pipeline.

2)Garbage is a major problem which leads to pollution of our ecosystem and on top of the list is plastic.

Don't accept new plastic bags. Carry one which you already have at home while going for shopping.

Try to use those articles which are recyclable or those which can decompose over a period of time.

The best way is to minimise your requirements. Don't keep on buying unnesessary things.

Dispose the garbage at proper places like municipality garbage bins and not into streams and other such locations.

Don't throw around wrappers of candies, chips or such things anywhere. Keep them with you and throw them when you come across a dustbin.

3)Bear compassion towards living beings.

Keep in mind that there are also other creatures living with us on this planet with an equal right to live. And off course our future depends on their survival.

So please do your part and don't get involved in activities like consumption of meat of wild animals. If you stop eating, there will be decline in demand and hence decline in poaching.

Please don't kill animals like snakes if they enter your house. There are many wildlife rescue volunteers in Goa. Call the one who is nearer to you and he will rescue the snake and release in a suitable natural habitat.
Call me if there's a snake in your house on: 9545436161

Here's is a list of other snake rescuers listed out by Nirmal Kulkarni on his blog:

Snake Rescue Volunteers In Goa

If you abide by the above things, you can help in the cause of protection of environment. Be a responsible citizen and always think how your actions affect your surrounding and always try to minimise the effect.
Lets join hands and make an attempt to safeguard our environment.

If you want to join our group MITRA and take part in activities like awareness regarding environment and wildlife, tree plantation, trekking, birdwatching etc,
then contact me at:

                        or on: 9545436161

Happy World Environment Day to all

Click above to view the Photograph


Friday, May 28, 2010

The Kind of Trip I usually don't go for

My recent trip turned out to be totally different than I had planned.
I set out on the journey early in the morning hoping to catch a train
to Dudhsagar from Collem. But I got a carriage train which directly
stops at Castlerock, a village in Karnataka. My actual plan was to go
to Dudhsagar, explore the area and then go to Castlerock. I wanted to
go to Castlerock since long as I had heard a lot about it.

I then decided to go to Castlerock first in the carriage train and
then to Dudhsagar and back.

I saw a glimpse of the Dudhsagar waterfall while going. I had seen the
area till Dudhsagar Railway station but this time I got to see beyond
that. It is amazing, a paradise. I got to explore some of the area
when train had stopped at the Caranzol station. I was eagerly waiting
for Castlerock to come and it finally came.

Much to my dissappointment, Castlerock appears to be like a ghost
town at first. I started wondering, is this the same Castlerock I had
heard about? I gave up the thought of seeing any wildlife and decided
to explore the village. As I entered the actual village, my views
about the place started changing. Nestled into the greens, the villge
was not familiar with so called 'development'. That is what I liked
most about the village.
I reached the 'market' through the greenery in search of a drink (Soft
drink).There I found out the best thing about the village, the people.
They are very friendly and to my astonishment, they were speaking
Konkani. Most of them are supposed to be Goans who came there in
search of jobs when the railway station was built. And to speak about
wildlife, I saw many Malabar Pied Hornbills flying all around.

I think the actual Castlerock, talked about by wildlifers, is the
patch between Caranzol to Castlerock which is sure to house a variety
of wildlife. I am planning to go there as well in few days.

My next station was supposed to be Dudhsagar. But I got a bad news
that there is only one train remaining which can take me to Collem. If
I get down from that at Dudhsagar, I will either have to stay (which
was not possible because I didn't have enough food supply) or walk
back 12 kms (for which I had no stamina left). I boarded the train and
came back to Collem and then to Ponda. All my plans of exploration
were devastated due to train schedules. But I got to learn so much
about the Castlerock village. Not a good wildlife trip. But I will
return. I will return to fulfill my destiny.

Links to my previous trip report from Dudhsagar

Part 1

Part 2

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Apefly in Cotigao

Thanks to Omkar for identification

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Checklist of Birds in Carmali

In all these years of my visits to Carmali, I have prepared a checklist of around 70-75 birds in and around the lake area. I am uploading a checklist of a single day which dates back to 23rd march 2010.

Time: 8:15 – 10:45

01) Ashy Prinia

02) Magpie robin

03) Indian Robin

04) Jungle Myna

05) White throated kingfisher

06) Red whiskered Bulbul

07) Asia Koel

08) Brahminy Kite

09) House Crow

10) Blue Rock Pigeon

11) Golden fronted Chloropsis

12) Spotted Dove

13) Small Sunbird

14) Black hooded Oriole

15) Jungle babbler

16) Cattle Egret

17) Little Egret

18) Red Wattled Lapwing

19) Little Cormorant

20) Purple Moorhen/Swamphen

21) Bronze winged Jacana

22) Pied Kingfisher

23) Purple heron

24) Small Green Bee-eater

25) Red vented Bulbul

26) Greenish warbler

27) Pond Heron

28) Wire-tailed Swallow

29) Large Egret

30) Tawny Eagle

31) Lesser Whistling Duck

32) Common Coot

33) Pheasant tailed Jacana

34) White breasted Waterhen

35) Baya weaverbird

36) White rumped Munia

37) Glossy Ibis

38) Long tailed Shrike

39) Open billed Stork/ Asian Openbill

40) Woolly-necked/White-necked Stork

41) Wood Sandpiper

42) Common Sandpiper

43) Common Redshank

44) Black-Winged Stilt

45) River Tern

46) Shikra

47) Common Greenshank

48) Plain Prinia

49) Barn Swallow

50) Red rumped swallow

51) Common Moorhen

52) Common Hawk Cuckoo

53) Western Marsh Harrier

54) Blue tailed Bee eater

55) Small Blue kingfisher

56) White Ibis

57) Gull billed tern

58) Osprey

59) Ruddy Shellduck

Purple Moorhen

Red rumped Swallow

Tern (Can anyone say which one?)

Wood Sandpiper

If anyone planning to visit the spot, you can

mail me at :


Call me on: +919545436161

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Man and his Environment

This picture simply shows how humans and other creatures coexist. Hope they coexist the same way forever.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Recent Trip to Carmali

Presently, I have got holidays (for preparation for the semester examination) but as expected, I have spent them by travelling to various places.
I recently visited Carmali which is famous for its variety of migratorey as well as local water birds and even other bird species.
Out of my two visits, during the first on 23rd, I saw and recorded around 50+ different bird species. Due to the restricted vegetative cover on the lake during this season, birds are concentratedin a small area which makes it easier to spot them.
The best part for me, was not the lake but the fields adjacent to it. There, I saw a variety of local as well as migratory birds like open-billed storks, wood sandpiper, black-winged stilt, Common Redshank, Woolly necked/white necked Stork etc from a very close distance. Even the light was very good for photography, but guess what, I had not carried the camera.

On 26th, I made another trip exclusively for photography. but luck is not always on your side. This time, I didn't get to see the birds from a close distance neither the light was very good for photography. I was about to end my trip in disappointment when I just spotted the Western Marsh Harrier, a beautiful raptor which I saw for almost 15 minutes. It was hovering over the fields, taking a sudden dip and then rising.
Could not get any decent snaps though. These are some record shots.

Marsh Harrier 1

Marsh harrier 2

Harrier in flight 1

Harrier in flight 2

This is the closest I could get. But the bird must have felt shy and must have hidden its head. No problem though because the mere sighting of the bird was superb.

Some photographs of other birds sighted

Bronze-winged Jacana

Purple Heron

Brahminy kite

Ruddy Shelducks

Purple Moorhens

Whistling Ducks

Monday, March 8, 2010

A disappointing incident

I was coming back home when i saw a few people throwing something out with a stick. I strongly felt that it was a snake. I rushed to the spot but in vain. I was awestruck. They had just killed it and throwing it into the gutter. I was blank. All around me were the sounds of people murmuring about all the misconceptions. I looked at the dead snake, didn't even dare to find out which snake it was. I was traumatized from within. I, who always tells people not to kill snakes and why not, was silently watching those elderly guys. Suddenly I felt so insignificant. So all those rescues and awareness programs were useless? All that growing confidence with each snake rescue and awareness programs shattered in a moment. I remembered the incident when a guy killed a snake in front of me and i couldn't do anything. Thats from when I had started rescuing snakes. Today, the same feeling haunted me. Although I reached there after they killed it, I consider it as a defeat because despite of a huge number of people being involved in reptile conservation today, people still do this kind of stuff. Why do they have such an attitude? Won't they ever change? If not, why are we doing this? I should complete my eduction, get a good job, salary, a good wife, children and thats it. Why all this bull shit????

But backing off is not the solution. I get disappointed by one bad incident. but then, I remember about all the good once. All the snakes I have rescued, all the people who are inspired by my awareness talks and lot others. But we have to find some concrete solutions for this. Can anyone suggest solutions for tackling this problem other than the conventional ones? Please do reply.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A close encounter with an elusive Cobra

I was walking back from college today as I heard a soft rustel in the
roadside bushes. When I looked towards that direction, I was stunned
to see a huge snake. Not sure whether it was a Cobra or Rat Snake, I
went into the bushes to have a closer look. It sensed my presence and
started inflating its hood. I was mesmerised as this was my first very
close encounter with a wild Cobra in the open. I was so astonished to
see it that I forgot the fact that I had a cellphone with me and could
have captured a snap. All the snakes I have seen in the wild,
including other Cobras, give priority to running away. But this guy
was coming towards me. I was in a dilema whether to catch it or let it
go. The reason for the latter thought coming into my mind is that I
didn't want to do any roadside stunts and the animal was huge. But my
first thought was more realistic as it was very close to the road and
if, by chance it had come on the road, it would have got crushed for
sure as it is a very busy street.

The problem was with the size. Putting a 5 feet Cobra in a college bag
was near to impossible. I opened my bag to check how much space I had
to accomodate it. When I looked into my bag, the Cobra was infront of
me, not even at a meter distance. I looked in the bag for a second and
turned my head up to find out the astonishing fact that the snake had
disappeared. There was no sound or movement an how could it escape so
fast? At first, I thought it would be its amazing camouflage that is
allowing it to be undiscovered but I searched the whole area to find
out that it was actually gone. How can an animal disappear from
infront of you within a fraction of a second without making any sound
or leaving any trail? This was the most elusive creature I have ever
seen. I hope it would have gone into the deeper bushes and not towards
the road.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Trek to Mollem

It's not that I've been away from the wild for so long but I've been staying away from writing down and publishing my experiences for very long. But today, I felt like doing it and so I did.

Me and Mandar planned to go to 'Tambdi Surla' waterfall yesterday, but due to odd schedules of the buses, we finally ended up in Mollem (Bhagwah Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary). Travelling through Nandaran, we reached the Vasant Bandhara which is a spot we usually don't miss when at Mollem. We traced the flow of water and went up the stream, halted at few places and finally reached a waterfall. (you can actually call it a waterfall only in the rainy days).

Me on the top of a rocky structure


A natural structure which looks like a properly engineered canal

The trip was full of adventure. It involved vine hanging, rock climbing, slipping and falling (ooops!).

Vine Hanging/Balancing

A very close encounter with a male jungle fowl and a flock of large number of parakeets from Nandaran watchtower and Giant squirel were remarkable sights.

Mandar gazing curiously at the Giant Squirel

Sightings of Butterflies and Odonates (Dragonflies and Damselflies) in the stream area were awesome.

Red Spot Duke

Common Jezebel

A dead spider or probably a moult

Wonders of nature - Small ants taking down a big one


Unidentified Butterfly

A Damselfly

We observed a strange mating behaviour of Damselflies where the male was pricking the female with some white structures in flight (Looked like some sort of some aerial attack.) Got some good shots.

Aerial Attack 1

Aerial Attack 2

Apart from all the observation and adventure, we also had a nice bath, first in a pool of water formed by the rocks and then under a small waterfall.

Gown of Water

A closer look

We witnessed a beautiful sunset while coming back.

Altogether, it was complete fun and informative experience and 100% satisfaction.