It is always great to visit forests whenever we find a chance, especially during monsoon, when forests are teeming with so much life. Travel experiences energizes me, it inspires me and also connects me to my roots. So I decided to travel with Mystic Wild Adventures on a weekend to Seethanadi Nature Camp and Agumbe.
Till date I have only been exposed to bird watching and have not been to forests in search of crawling snakes or jumping frogs. I packed my bag with basic kit lens and did not carry a macro lens with me. Reason being I was not traveling with any major expectations, since this was my first time experience with reptiles and amphibians. Green forests, wet soil, rain and more rain, this was all in my mind. Sometimes it is great to travel to a destination without much knowledge about the place, especially when you have a great guide and group to travel with.
Early morning we were introduced to various reptiles, frogs and basics of photography which is a great way to start off our day. The dinning area is a beautiful open space and that is where I found my first subject. Though the entire floor was neatly laid with tiles,fungus grew in the gaps of those tiles.
Do you remember this famous quote from the movie Jurassic Park ,
“Life finds a way! ”?It is true.
Completely covered with raincoats we started our morning walk, trust me, I had no clue what to expect, my last such venture resulted in twenty four leech bites. During our walk, one sight was common, moss grew all over the trees, it clearly indicates that there is hardly any harsh sunlight that touch them and the area receives heavy rainfall which helps the moss to thrive.
We spotted a Bi-colored frog, it is amazing how well they are camouflaged with the leaf litter! Can you try and guess where our frog is happily sitting? Camouflage is a great survival tool, insects, amphibians and reptiles have mastered this craft.
A Blue Oak leaf butterfly paid us a visit, it was such a beautiful sight to watch. Their wings look so much like a leaf, what an adaption. I was thrilled!
With many dead trees around, we spotted Tiger centipede crawling into one of the barks, their pattern is so mesmerizing to watch.
We reached a gentle stream that flows into Seethanadi, it was great to sit there and listen to the rhythm of flowing water, it was my first attempt at slow shutter speed as well.
We took same trail to head back for lunch and came across this beautiful fungi on a fallen tree, Fungi are fascinatingly colourful and diverse in their forms.
After lunch we headed to “Jogi Gundi Falls”,seven years back I had visited this falls and did not have a camera back then, it was a good feeling to visit this beauty with equipment. We sat there for about an hour watching the strength of flowing water, listing to gushing sounds and suddenly we heard a Malabar Whistling Thrush whistling away to glory. After an hour, soaked in all her glory, I tried a few slow shutter speed shots and headed back.
After dinner we began our night trail.With constant rain in the evening, the entire camp was filled with sounds of croaking frogs, crickets and calls from Brown fish owl. We spotted this frog, Indirana sp. and clicked photographs.
We also spotted this beautiful forest lizard (Calotes rouxii) resting on to the edge of a twig.
The star of the show was yet to be seen, we spotted him a bit later. The Malabar Gliding Frog! What a great looking frog, loved the contrast in color and his huge webbed feet.
Spotted few frogs mating as well, the males almost always seemed to be smaller in size when compared to females.
We saw numerous froglets moving about. It is quite amazing to see these animals in differernt life stages, on the same day and in the same place.
Last but not the least, we saw the hulk. The Indian Bullfrog, he did not budge an inch, least concerned with our presence. I should admit, at the end of the day, with only one leech bite I was really enjoying the entire night trail. Never thought that I would enjoy watching insects, frogs and reptiles.
Being open to new things while traveling really helps and we would never know when our next exciting encounter could be! ! Until next time, enjoy the rain the greenery!
PS. All images were made from 18-55mm and 55-250mm lens.