Monday, August 22, 2011

Nature Trail to Matheran

It was my preconceived notion that our day would be extremely good, if our first sighting, at Matheran, is Indian Giant Squirrel. At time and again, the Shakharoo (state animal of Maharashtra), had given me its appearance in this hill station at every alternative visit. The last visit, just two weeks ago, we (Me and Sushant More) saw one with its identical rattling cries. This time, although we were not optimistic for its sighting, but it would have been more welcomed, if at all any.

Ten suburbanites from Mumbai (Sarang Naik, Sushant More, Avinash Bhagat, Sonal Naik, Saurabh Gokhale, Tushar Parab, Anish Kadam, Nilesh Bhanage, Mandar Sawant and myself) attended the Matheran nature trail on August, 21st 2011 , a plain downhill walk (of apprx 15 Kms), along the Matheran- Neral toy train route. Our last visit, as mentioned, after seeing the Indian Giant Squirrel, was very much fascinating in terms of observing two Ceropegia species (ceropegia attenuata and ceropegia Vincaefolia), which are termed as not only endemic to Western Ghats, but also rare enough in the region.

At around 7.30 AM we all reached at Neral station, as pre-decided. After having our light breakfast, in nearby restaurant, we took shared taxis to Dastoori point (the last limit of motor vehicles), and started the trail. 10 people, with different mindset and different objectives to photography, ensured the group is not assembling or walking in bulk, but scattering oneself individually. Initially, me and Sushant scanned the nearby tree line for Indian Giant Squirrel, but later given up with perhaps no hope. Avinash, for his earlier leg injury, had to compromise on speed of walk, but we were not in hurry atleast for next 8 hours. The day started with small herb Utricularia striatula (local name chire-papni) and ended with Common Tree Brown butterfly.

Here is the classified list of our observations of the day.


1) White rumped shama

2) Brown headed barbet (heard)

3) Indian Peafowl (female)

4) Rufous woodpecker

5) Greater Coucal

6) House swift

7) Laughing dove

8) Un IDed raptor (up for Identification)

9) Golden Fronted Leafbird

10) Scarlet Minivet

11) Malabar Whistling Thrush

12) Red Vented Bulbul

13) Red Whiskered Bulbul (the numbers of this most common bird of Matheran, is dwindling)

14) Ashy Prinia

15) Thick Billed Flowerpecker


1) Bamboo Pit Viper

2) Russel`s Viper

3) Indian garden Lizard

4) Keeled Grass Skink


1) Malabar Spotted Flat

2) Common Spotted Flat

3) Small Banded Swift

4) Grass Demon

5) Common Bluebottle

6) Blue Mormon

7) Common Grass Yellow

8) Glassy Tiger

9) Common Tree brown

10) Common Fivering

11) Chocolate Pansy

12) Painted Lady

13) Danaid Eggfly

14) Blue Oakleaf


1) Terminalia arjun (Arjun)

2) Acacia torta (Chilarwel)

3) Helicteres isora (murud-sheng)

4) Lantana camara (Ghaneri)

5) Ceropegia vincaefolia (Kandil kharchudi)

6) Tonningia axillaris (Bechka)

7) Chlorophytum tuberosum (kuli)

8) Curcuma pseudomontana (Ran halad)

9) Pinda Concanensis (Panda)

10) Begonia Crenata (Kapru)

11) Celosia argentea (Kombda)

12) Impatiens acaulis (Pan-terda)

13) Trichodesma indicum (chhota kalpa)

14) Sonerila scapigera (sonerila)

15) Rhamphicarpa longiflora (Tutari)

16) Impatiens balsamina (Terda)

17) Impatiens lawii (jambhala terda)

18) Neanotis lancifolia (Taraguchha)

19) Sesamum orientale (Rantil)

20) Utricularia striatula (Chire-papni)

21) Commelina Benghalensis (Kena)

22) Cynotis fasciculate (Nilwanti)

23) Smithia Sensitiva (Lajalu-kawla)

24) Aeginetia indica (Gulab-dani)

25) Senecio bombayensis (Sonki)

26) Acacia auriculiformis (Vilayati Babhul)

27) Solanum anguivi (Chinchurdi)

28) Aeschynomene americana

29) Commelina diffusa (Gandologi)

30) Paravaryopsis lambertiana (Hirvi nisurdi)

31) Ceropegia attenuate (Sada khantudi)

32) Eclipta prostrata (Maka)

33) Murdannia spirata

34) Sida rhombifolia (Sahadevi)

35) Chlorophytum ssp.

PS .: There are few species (flowers, Amphibian and a raptor) still to be IDed, shall update the same ASAP.

The weather was cloudy and it rained at fewer occasions. We were carrying our supply of light food (mainly snacks and biscuits and sweets) and water and took breaks at pre-decided time. The good rain cover (umbrella, rain coat and rucksack cover) ensured that we were in position to photograph, even when it rained. It was thoroughly an enjoyable trek for all of us and train journey was also quite comfortable.

The next trip is planned for Rajmachi (Two days nature trek in the mid of September) and Flora Walk to Kas (two days trip in the end of September). And then the Great Himalayan Birdcount, in start of November at Dehradun.

See you soon!


unqualified xplorer .. said...

buddy though i miss ds trip but still wana b a part lol so wana see more snaps .... waiting eagerly n looking 4ward 2 see oll d pic posted my oll of u ........ aw keep d good work going ........

Unknown said...

hi rajesh

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ashish mahajan said...

To dream of my house means is you are dreaming of yourself. It's very difficult to find your dream home in costly places such as Maharashtra. Panvel is going to be emerging place in maharashtra I am looking for dream yet Flats in Neral |properties at Neral

raj patil said...

I really like your post.
Thanks for sharing such great information. It is very informative and provides knowledge of Matheran travel guide

Sushrut Sapatnekar said...

Hi. Your blog really helped. Could you please tell me which of these flora can be used as groundcover?

dimpy roy said...

Good post. Matheran is a quiet, serene hill-station, which has managed to maintain its tranquility despite being thronged by a large number of tourists every year. The town administration charges a small fee for the up-keep and cleanliness of the area, because of which they have been successful in retaining its pristine, natural ambience. Find all best matheran resorts also.

Indian Cinema said...

Hi, I am also a birder from Surat. Visiting matheran in last week of march. Please guide me about locations for birding in matheran

Indian Cinema said...

Hi, I am also a birder from Surat. Visiting matheran in last week of march. Please guide me about locations for birding in matheran