Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A sight worth TON!!!

We were just about to step on the entrance to Devil’s Canyon in Bhagavan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary when we heard a strong hissing sound from the bushes just 5-10 steps away from us. I initially thought that it must be Langoors but the hidden animal was not arboreal. Ajit & I remained motionless for a second while Saish slowly descended down to see that what it was. He first announced that it was a deer, than Sambar. The herd was rushing on the climb and I could see the horns moving in a rush. At first, I thought it must be a herd of local cattle that must have been in forest for grazing. But I was proved wrong soon by the two faces that exchanged their looks with me. Their horn was glued to white mane and they were in black and brown colour. My heart gave a jerk when I came to know that it was a herd of Indian Gaur, the state animal of Goa.
I didn’t romanticize this sighting because I went 2-3 steps back in fear of this hefty animal, weighing almost a ton. We three remained stunned and watched their pageant silently till they vanished into the forest.
It was one of the moments in my life that I would never forget like my first sight of a Sambar running with a huge speed, Asian Paradise Flycatcher’s aerobic movements with its handsome tail, the jump of Giant Squirrel, the python in hibernation and the community of Pied Hornbills. For past one and half year, whatever sweet memories wildlife has offered to me are the ones that I shall cherish throughout my journey. This sighting was an addition to it, and we returned back from BMWS.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

It never lets you down!

Almost at 5:15 in the evening when sun was about to set, Ankur, Saish and me reached Pachamee sweating in our black nirvana t-shirts and khaki cargos. This visit of ours had no special intention except introducing this place to Ankur. I didn’t expect any bird to show up at this hour of the day. We straightway walked to the small stream, and sat on the giant black rocks for some rest. Malabar Whistling Thrush kept singing in his soothing tone which perfectly served as background music for the surrounding scene. Saish noted the variety of plant species in the surrounding along with Ankur while I preferred resting some more. He waved his hand, telling us to walk back to the lake as he finished his work. He started walking back to the lake on a mud trail, running parallel to a narrow water stream. Ankur & me stopped near a branch of tree bearing a nest. He had his Sony Cyber shot camera and focused on the nest. HIs orange LED lit which lit the nest and gave it an orange ambience.

We hurried to catch up with Saish while he was busy recording a fern plant. The dried leaves below one level from where we standing, suddenly hissed, disturbing the silence. I could see a long tail going deep into those leaves but couldn’t identify it. The movement below the leaves stopped as we stopped. It didn’t move until Saish jumped down to see exactly what it was. The creature suddenly climbed the tree in a breathtaking speed while we three remained motionless. It was a monitor lizard, which I had presumed to be a snake. It was rather thin and pale skinned, compared to the two monitor lizards which I had seen on the front page of Sanctuary Asia magazine, hugging each other. It stopped for a while above my head level on the bark and again climbed and vanished into the branches. I had never seen a monitor lizard with a close look before. This scheduled animal is fighting for its survival in Goa as it is killed for its skin which is used for making a traditional folk instrument named “Ghumat”. Its blood is also consumed, believing that it has some medicinal properties.

We reached the lake when the sun was ready to set, darkening the water of the lake. We than went to the temple which stood beside the lake where a huge ant-hill is worshipped. It is believed that a King Cobra lives in this ant-hill and the villagers offer their prayers to him. Killing any creature in this area is considered as a sin here.

We moved out at about 6:30 as Ankur had to reach early. He was amazed by the beauty of this place. I and Saish were overjoyed with sighting a monitor lizard along with vivid varieties of butterflies and moths. This visit too, didn’t turn into a disappointing one. Anytime you visit here, it reveals some or the other drama behind its green curtains that I have enjoyed ever since my first visit. It has some magic sprinkled on my mind and still continues to grow.

Pachamee has a special place in my heart because unlike other things in my life, it never lets you down, rather it gives me energy to rise up and fight back.