Month: July 2009

Another night in the field…??

Another night in the field…??

Just another night in the field…just going to check a cave…or so I thought!

How many animals can coexist in a small cave?

When we reached the cave the bats were flying around, inside the cave. It was time for them to stretch their wings before going out. Some were settling upside down to the sealing and then flying again.

bats resting and flying
bats resting and flying

A big frog was resting on one rock. As I approached it moved a few centimetres and then again stood still!

"cave frog"
"cave frog"

Suddenly I noticed an eye shine at the back of the cave. It was a scared mouse deer! It looked at as and then went deeper into the cave. As I was taking random pictures, trying to “capture” the flying bats, I somehow managed to take a picture of all 3 of them!!!

bat, frog, mouse deer - look carefully!
bat, frog, mouse deer - look carefully!!!

  

Later we found a spot outside the cave were we could observe and record the bats flying out. The bats started their busy night! In and out of the cave… and then in and then out again! Minding their own business, without caring about the strange creatures that were sitting close to their air-path! After a while the mouse deer shyly came out of the cave…stopped for a second to look as well, at the bizarre creatures that had worried it earlier and then carried on with its night… I guess hoping that when it comes back everything will be back to normal!

Some more time passed and I felt water dripping on my head! Then a few seconds later I saw on the branches in front of me a mouse. Quickly running across the branches, releasing the water droplets stuck between the leaves.

 

Don't look for the mouse...
Don't look for the mouse...

The bats carried on with their usual routine and soon it was time for us to go… thinking that since all this happened during only one hour imagine what was happening during the rest of the night!

Hauling saplings to Iyerpadi

Hauling saplings to Iyerpadi

We left at 6:30 a.m. to our nursery at Varattuparai. It’s overcast and drizzling and cold. We had kept aside around 500 saplings for our restoration site at Iyerpadi Top fragment. The manager of Parry Agro’s Iyerpadi estate, Mr Kaushik Subramani, had been good enough to send a tractor to pick up the saplings and haul them off to the site.

We had our team, plus workers (trusty kadar from the Nedungundru tribal settlement), and one volunteer Kulbhushan (Kullu) to help. While the tractor was on its way, we formed a chain and started moving the saplings down from the nursery beds to the side of the road. Luckily it was not raining heavily.

conveyor1

The tractor took a while to get to the nursery. And Kullu, who had worked hard, got to take a short break.

kullu

Finally, the tractor arrived and the saplings were loaded and stacked into it.

conveyor2

And then, an unforeseen problem: the tractor had no door at the back to put up and hold the saplings in place. As it had a bumpy uphill ride to reach the Iyerpadi Top fragment, we had to devise a makeshift door. With a fallen log and binding wire, Dinesh and Satish with a couple of others helping quickly devised a door.

truck_fix

And finally… the tractor was off. Everyone else followed in the Gypsy for the planting. And the planting… that’s another story.

Restoration project: Year 9

Restoration project: Year 9

iyerpadi

We have just reached our ninth year on the restoration project. When we began in 2000, we said to ourselves: ten years. Let’s give it ten years and see if we are successful at ecological restoration of degraded rainforests. It’s a good time to look back. And to look forward. That’s what this blog is about.