Sunday, January 11, 2009

Chinchoti – A paradise ignored.

48 Kms away from Mumbai South, is the world in is own velocity. Raptors, Beetles, Butterflies, spiders and Wildflowers, all are there a naturalist would think of about. At the highest point of this forest, there is a deep valley, given me the feel of being in the evergreen forest of Dandeli in South India. But, I am not in Dandeli; the place I am writing about in this report is “Chinchoti”. 9.5 Kms of steep track and you are in the finest woods of the least represented Malabar Coast of Western Ghats, in continuity with Mumbai’s SGNP and is part of Tungareshwar WLS. There are 3 waterfalls (virtually forming Chinchoti Nalla) in Chinchoti and as per the locals saying that all of these are seasonal during monsoon and starts getting dry by the onset of summer.

As and when I along with five of my co-travelers (including 2 Canadians) started the track through the open scrub land and few of human settlements, we were greeted by the Petronias, Bulbuls, Drongos, wood swallows and Sunbirds. A Hoopoe flittering here there and chasing away a common myna was a scene which was much of excitement for all of us. At the water body near the settlements, a white wagtail and White breasted kingfisher started our day. Suddenly, the Drongos and Bee-eaters dominated the forest, as we went it bit deeper. Eranthemum roseum and Hibiscus hirtus were on the tail seen on both the sides. A scat of predator was seen on the rock at lower waterfall, this is also the place where I encountered day’s first blue oakleaf butterfly and it was around 09.00 AM, perhaps too early for this creature. We went on in search of more wild world, and every another step turned out to be the fruitfull not only for us but also for those locals who live nearby. A group of 5 men and 3 women were active nearby for cutting trees. One among them carrying headload of wood allowed me photographing him in that position.
By now at around 10.30, the temperature risen to 24 degree and butterflies started basking on the plants. Psyches, grass blues and darters were all around. Tawny coaster, angled perriot and bush brown were scattered here there. Spotted dove and plum headed parakeet, along with brown headed barbet felt us their presence through their identical calls. The Red cotton tree was just in bloom and couple of trees had good flowerings throughout the trail. On the upper waterfall, we took some rest, and had some pet pooja. Suddenly, the group started staring at the lone bird perched on the high anjan tree. Pravin, wondered to identify it as Eurasian Black bird, whereas we had some reservation on its timing. I am of an opinion that I had seen this specie at the Tungareshwar & Rajmachi in monsoon season, where as the bird was just off late. Anyways, leaving this bird on its tree, we headed ahead.

Now, at 1.00 PM the day started becoming hot and we were just on the dark and steep woods of Teak and drying pods of Karvi. Urena lobata and Blepharis asperrimawre was seen on the green carpet of this dense region. Raptors were hovering above in the sky. The Serpent Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle and others were out on the hunt. The bracket fungus on the ground also started drying. On one among the teak branch, here we came across a beetle, which we have never seen before. Jennifer got mesmerized looking at this insect, Although I shown her so many anything on the forest floor or under the canopy of leaf litter, but this was the one among, whome she photographed as memory to take it in her home land Canada.

By 02.30 PM we were on the top of the forest, Leon said it to be the upper upper water fall. We took some rest here looking at the raptors of the horizon and many tiny creature in and around the place. Like minded people (Naturalists or nature lovers) are still to short list this area as their preferred outing in Mumbai. But, some other element took lead in frequent around this area very commonly along with the bottles of wine and what not. This is the most polluted part, full of bottles, wrappers and …..The time passed by nicely having the food, we were carrying along with us. By 3.30 PM we decided descending down. Leaving alone, one of the best Wildlife Habitats at its own.


Ashwin Baindur said...

I would consider Tungareshwar-Chinchoti to be the paradise ignored! A couple of pictures more would help us enjoy the text a little more. Nice entry!

Vivek Patel said...

you've encountered a olot of spcies, a few more photographs would be welcome. BTW, how does one go to chinchoti