Tuesday, August 16, 2005


On 14th august 2005, a Sunday I had been to Bassein fort for a nature that was organized as programme for BNHSnorth mumbai group. We had a great outing covering decent number of sightings of different categories.
We started at 8.30 sharp from the bus station at Vasai. We soon reached our starting point and started of right away with introductions. The first things to welcome us were the huge dilapidated walls of the fort and the Palms and Baobab trees. We also encountered the Pink Balsams in bloom which was a great sight. We passed by a lot of butterflies that were attracted to these balsams. We stopped at regular intervals to take pictures of the monuments and the wildlife around it. The exciting surprise at the start was an beautiful camouflaging nest of an Purple rumped sunbird which was active. We saw the bird and nest for quite a time from a distance. Thanks to adesh’S spotting scope we had a good look from a distance. Further ahead as we walked along we saw various butterflies like the great orange tip, yellow orange tip, cerulean, white orange tip, common crow, lemon pansy, choclate pansy, grass yellow, common gull , etc. I and Nelson were following up taking their pictures. Nelson was completely lost and engrossed in those butterflies. I had my first unforgettable moment for the day when I saw a woolly bear moth caterpillar creeping over my arm. For few moments I just got scared as I felt him go under my sleeves. I called out for the rest and one of my friend came to my rescue and removed it with a stick. The eerie feeling followed me to the rest of the trail. Then we went past a beautiful chapel where we saw the excellent architectural work. We looked around to see if we see anything interesting amidst the greenery there. Then walking along we saw white browed bulbul and jungle babbler both on the same tree. Then we came across the vibrant bird of the day- The Small Minivet. We saw both the male and female pretty clearly as they were steady and conspicuous on they seated themselves comfortably on a tree. We saw them very clearly thru the scope. Walking past the ruins which were covered by moss and wooly bears and spiders , we were greeted by some beautiful nests of the weaver birds. We saw a amazing Brookes gecko on a wall of an graveyard. We also saw the spotted dove under the scope. Here again the wooly bear didn’t spare me as I had one again this time on creeping near my neck. I had enough of them for the day and every time checked around for them. The next sighting of the day was the Pied crested cuckoo which was giving us its beautiful call and its magnificent sight. We had an excellent view thru the scope. Walking past these natural beauties we reached our break stop, a canteen near the Fort Jetty. At this point you tend to even see some water birds. While resting I spotted a weird bird flying. As I had no binocs I asked Ashwini to look at it. She jumped with joy and told that it was an Curlew probably. Adesh too saw and thought it could have been an Whimbrel or an Curlew. We also saw the a tern which adesh told could be a gull billed tern. Then we moved along and saw copper smith barbett, crow pheasant, a pair of cute White cheeked bulbul sitting with each like girl friend and boyfriend, Small blue kingfisher in a pair flying along, White throated kingfisher, baya weaver birds and Ashy Prinia. One of the wonders of the trip along with the Mighty baobab trees where the Baya weaver birds’ nest which were easily more than 50 on a single palm tree. Most of them where quite active as we could saw lots of birds flying around the nest and making a lot of ruckus. The Key attraction for the whole group was the Clumps of Nirgudi bushes which were thronged with Butterflies. We were amazed to see so many varieties at the same spot. The butterfly of the day was the Blue bottle and Tailed jay. Other attractions where the Peacock pansy , wanderer, rounded pierrot, striped tiger, etc. We ended our trail with an revision taken by adesh on the sighting of the day and boarded the bus by 3.30. It was a day of mixed feelings. First the eerie and sacary feelings of the wooly bear, second the excitement of using my new camera for my first wildlife photography expedition , discontent of having unable to take pictures of Minivet and Blue bottle and Tailed jay as my battery got exhausted and finally a joy and delight with the results of my camera and our sightings.
The list goes as follows,
1. Pied crested cuckoo
2. Small minivet
3. Cattle egret
4. Purple rumped sunbird
5. White throated kingfisher
6. Small blue kingfisher
7. Baya weaver bird
8. Scaly breasted munia
9. Red vented bulbul
10. Red whiskered bulbul
11. Common iora
12. Greater coucal
13. White cheeked bulbul
14. House crow
15. asian palm swift
16. Ashy Prinia
17. Common tailor bird
18. Eurasian golden oriole
19. Common myna
20. asian pied starling
21. Coppersmith barbett
22. white browed bulbul
23. Alexandrine parakeet
24. Rose ringed parakeet
25. Jungle babbler
26. Puff throated babbler
27. Brahminy kite
28. Black kite
29. White breasted waterhen
30. Pond heron
31. Gull billed tern?
32. Spotted dove
33. Whimbrel or Eurasian curlew
34. Cormorant

1. Lemon pansy
2. Peacock pansy
3. Chocolate pansy
4. 5 ring
5. White orange tip
6. Great orange tip
7. yellow orange tip
8. striped tiger
9. glassy tiger
10. blue tiger
11. Plain tiger
12. Common wanderer
13. Common gull
14. Common emigrant
15. Mottled emigrant
16. Common pierrot
17. Psyche
18. Pale grassyellow
19. Danaid egg fly
20. Great egg fly
21. Pioneer
22. Common jazebelle
23. Common rose
24. Common mormon
25. Tailed jay
26. Blue bottle
27. A common small flat
28. 2 skipper group ones unidentified
29. 2 unidentified
30. Painted lady
31. Plum judy
32. Common lime
33. Blue oakleaf

Some unidentified moths

Plants flowering
1. Impatiens balsaminae
2. Cleome viscosa
3. Vitex negundo
4. Lantana camara
5. Oxystelma esculentus
6. Wild bhindi flower
7. Justicia speices
8. Costus speciosus
9.Wild turmeric

Many more of them in non flowering condition along with moss, ferns, lichens, algae, mushrooms.

Crab spider having caught danaid egg fly
Giant wood spider
2 unidentified spiders
Brookes gecko
Bull frog many hopping around
Wooly bear caterpillar


At 6:41 PM, Blogger rmdhar said...

Your love for nature is evident in your pictures and your prose and it is very inspiring. It makes me want to be with nature all the time. Keep up the great work!

At 7:33 AM, Blogger tarin said...

dear vidya,
great.Would love to have you on 28th aug.on the kharghar trail wiyh your fantastic cmera and skills.missed the bassein fort trail.Have created my owm blg inspired by you it is called navimumbainature.blogspot.com


At 2:51 PM, Blogger Steve403 said...

A beautiful blog - very inspirational. I've only just started out.

At 1:28 PM, Blogger rmdhar said...

I enjoyed your report on the bird race. Your vision to see the uncommon i.e. crow licking/eating the silkcotton flower makes your pictures interesting. The enthusiasm in your prose makes one feel as if he was an active participant in your adventure. Keep up the great work!!

At 5:32 PM, Blogger Carnival said...

Hi there, I was surfing the internet and I found your blog. I enjoy the style of how this all works.

I'll be coming back again.


american birding associaiton


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