A Green Patch in Kollad

Last saturday (31 January 2009) I was lucky to experience a real
relieving weekend at my friend Advocate Sureshbabu Thomas’ home at
Kollad near Kottayam. It is on the southern bank of Kodoor river and
on the fringe of an old paddy field. A leading Prosecutor and a busy
lawyer he is also an ardent nature enthusiast. My friend adopts a
mixed cultivation approach and allows wild and endangered trees and
herbs inside his hybrid plantation. It attracts a lot of birds and
butterflies. we have encountered the following individuals:

Jungle Owlet:Just in front of the house!
Just in front of the house!
  1. A pair of Jungle Owlets regularly coming to his front yard
  2. Oriental Scops Owl (call)
  3. Purple Swamphen 3
  4. Cattle Egret 3
  5. Forest Wagtail (call), a regular visitor
  6. Common Myna 20+
  7. Rose-ringed Parakeet 6

The owls came to us at night around 9 pm. But all other birds
were seen or heard between 6 and 6.30 pm in the evening. We also
observed a small congregation of Common Psyche butterflies dancing
around its favourite shrub.
Next day we went for the first ever Pandy Count near Edathwa in
Alapuzha district. We were surveying some fields south of Edathwa
town. I hope the official posting is on its way. We saw atleast 7
Marsh Harriers and a few busy colonies of Baya Weavers. The nesting
and courtship displays of this interesting birds are really moving and
engaging. Including all the common birds our team observed 34 species
in total. The paddy was already knee-high. That is why the waders
were elusive. Let us wait for the consolidated data.

Mangalavanam, Hope Again!


Black-winged Stilt in Mangalavanam
Black-winged Stilt in Mangalavanam

Today I got a chance to spend a few hours in the renewed Mangalavanam sanctuary at the heart of Kochi metro in the afternoon. The forest dept. have done some good work there. They have labeled the trees, especially the mangroves. At least five types of mangroves are visible now.

The new watchtower is another important enhancement to the eco-friendly infrastructure apart from an all-bamboo interpretation centre. The forest guard informs us that there were no darter nesting this year and according to ornithologists like Dr Sugathan it is an aftermath of the Tsunami and increasing water pollution.

Anyway I thouroughly enjoyed the two hours spent atop the teak tree hut (3-5pm). I was also lucky to have the low-tide that revealed the mudflats. That brought all the waders there.

Mangroves in Mangalavanam
Mangroves in Mangalavanam

The interesting sightings are:

  1. Oriental Honey Buzzard (being chased by crows and a Bramany Kite)
  2. Purple Heron (flying upstream)
  3. Black-winged Stilt (solitary juvenile)
  4. Green Shank x 3
  5. Red Shank x 4
  6. Common Sandpiper
  7. Common Kingfisher
  8. White-throated Kingfisher
  9. White-breasted Waterhen x 5
  10. Asian Koel x 6
  11. Rose-ringed Parakeet x 3
  12. Magpie Robin x 8
  13. Egrets (Little & Median) x 8
  14. Unidentified Terns and Gulls (in flight)


Red and Green Shanks together
Red and Green Shanks together

I hope some of you will be here soon.