Sathyamangalam Wildlife Census - March 2009

Trip Start Mar 27, 2009
Trip End Mar 29, 2009

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Monday, March 30, 2009

The census started with a meeting on 27 March 2009.

Mr. Kalidass, Head, OSAI - NGO explained the nuances of the census. People from WWF - India explained in detail the secrets of the forest and survival there.

Sathyamangalam forest area was divided into 85 blocks and 2 volunteers along with a Forest Guard were put into a group that will go into the forest for census. Census was planned to be conducted in three different ways i.e. Block Count, Waterhole Count and Indirect Evidence Count. After lunch, volunteers were sent to their respective blocks.

The actual census began on 28 March 2009, with Waterhole Count.The Block Count and the Indirect Evidence Count were done on 29 March 2009.

Day 2:
The census started on 28 March 2009 at 6.00 a.m. We reached the waterhole (Maanthotti - literally means deer tank) and waited in vain for about 2.5 hours before anything happened.
The waterhole was an artificial concrete tank, built to provide water to the fauna around this place during summer and when all the natural water sources are dry. The waterhole used to be flocked during the dry spells which are common in this area. but due to the occasional showers the previous week, the vegetation was green and perhaps water was available elsewhere.
At around 8.05 a.m. we sighted a hare and that was what we saw for the next 4 hours. At around 12.30, a group of 9 spotted deer were found. The forest guard, Mr. K. Krishnan who accompanied us sighted another group of 15 spotted deer at around 3.15 p.m. And that was what we saw the whole day in our block. Of course, there were a lot of things that would interest an ornithologist as we could see many Tree pies, Bulbuls, babblers, mynahs and crows around.

We started back to our dorm at around 4.30 p.m., much early than the scheduled 6 p.m. instead of going to the dorm, we headed straight to the road which led to Tengumarada - which gave us the desired result. This is situated just behind the Bhavani Sagar Dam.

We decided to take risk to venture into the jungle without a road, in our bike. The journey was tiring and we withdrew just after 5 kms. But what we saw was amazing - 100s of spotted deer quickly appeared and disappeared, rabbits hopped away from the road as we approached, and we even happened to see a female black buck hurrying. Thrilled with what we saw, we started our return trip when we saw large birds that appeared to be Woolly-necked Stork occupying the treetops for some time, and heading towards north.
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Where I stayed
Forest Department Quarters - Bhavanisagar
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