Thursday, April 28, 2011

Walk on the shola boundary

It was a day after the rain. One of my friends and me decided to go one of the sholas in the Nilgiris. We had to reasons for the walk. I have been telling him about the number of Blak and Orange Fly catchers   I used to see in my walks. This time it was nothing but White-Bellied Shortwing and Nilgiri Wood Pigeon. There were lots leeches creeping onto the foot and some of them almost reached my neck. So called hunting parties were busy hunting worms and insects in the early morning. We could hear Nilgiri Laughing Thrushes and Indian Scimitar Babblers presence through out the shola, but he hardly spot any one of them.
Suddenly I heard chirp from the near by kurinji bushes. Cant believe. That was a wild dream came true to us. A pair of White Bellied Shortiwings. They flew into the shola, we followed them to a safer point, where they can,t see us. They were mating and later male bird started feeding her with worms. My friend got few photos of the male bird with food on the beak. We almost spend an hour with them in between laughing thrushes and flycatchers came and gone!!
Painted Bush Quail
We came out of the shola and started walking towards east, towards the top of the mountain expecting to get at least one photo or a video clip of a N L Thrush. We were walking by the forest road. Both sides were fenced with black wattle, nothing else. I felt so sad that I made my friend to travel a lot to see these wattle trees. We walked and walked saw a small patch of shola after a point. I hear some bird coming down from the forest of our right side, they would cross the road he said. Suddenly some thing started rolling down and four of them followed. They were a group of Painted bush Quail (Perdicula erythrorhyncha). That was an amazing sight they came to the trek path and started pecking under the leaves. Male bird has red bill, black face, white throat and red leg. Their call can be written as kirkee kirkee kirkee. They were very cautious, that I guess they heard our breath, thats it they flew away in a fraction of a second with an alarming call.

Kabani River

There are three East flowing rivers in Kerala. Kabani is one of the tributaries of east flowing inter state river Kauvery. About 6 km north of Panamaram, the Kabini takes birth. It is the confluence of the Panamaram river, originating in the Western ghats near Lakkidi, 1371 mtr above sea level, and the Mananthavady river, springing from the 1500 Tondarmudi.The river originates from Pakramthalam hills at Kuttyadi-Mananthavady road. Makkiyad river and Periya river join it near Korome and Valad respectively. After flowing through Mananthavady town, Panamaram river joins Kabini near Payyampally. One branch of the Panamaram river starts from the Banasura Sagar reservoir near Padinjarethara and the other branch of the river start from Lakkidi hills. After traversing two more kilometres from the confluence of Panamaram river Kabini forms an island called Kuruva Island, spreading over 520 acres (2.1 km2) with diverse flora and fauna. Between Kabani reservoir and Kuruva island Kalindi river joins Kabini. Kalindi river originates from Brahmagiri hills which on reaching near Tirunelly temple the rivulet Papanasini joins it. The Kabini flows through Kerala only for a stretch of 8 km. It covers about 12 km along the Kerala-Karnataka border, before moving northward, at Kalvalli, towards Mysore and flows eastward to join the Kaveri River at Tirumakudal Narasipur in Karnataka, which empties into the Bay of Bengal. 
The total drainage of area of Kabani upto the point where it crosses the state boundary is 2,070 sq km of which an extant of which 1,920 sq km is within Kerala.
a leopard on the banks of River Kabani in the summer

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Do you know rivers will also become older!!!

Youthful River
A river with a steep gradient that has very few tributaries and flows quickly. Its channels erode deeper rather than wider.
Mature River
A river with a gradient that is less steep than those of youthful rivers and flows more slowly. A mature river is fed by many tributaries and has more discharge than a youthful river. Its channels erode wider rather than deeper.
Old River         
             A river with a low gradient and low erosive energy. Old rivers are characterized by flood plains.

Why temperature drops with altitude?

The temperature of the troposphere generally decreases as altitude increases. The rate at which the temperature decreases, is called the environmental lapse rate (ELR). The ELR is nothing more the difference in temperature between the surface and the tropopause divided by the height. The reason for this temperature difference is the absorption of the sun's energy occurs at the ground which heats the lower levels of the atmosphere, and the radiation of heat occurs at the top of the atmosphere cooling the earth, this process maintaining the overall heat balance of the earth. The temperature drop with height  is 6.5 degrees Celsius per 1000 meters/ the temperature drop with height is 0.0065 degree Celsius per 1 meter.

Another interesting information about the increase in the altitude is that:-

Montane Wet temperate forests- the adoption of the term temperate in respect of montane conditions in the tropics was originally put forward by Humboldt in 1817 who generalized that the successive altitudinal zones of vegetation correspond to the latitudinal zones from equator to the poles. An increase of elevation, according to him, about 1,000m. On a tropical mountain would correspond to an increase of about 90 30’ of latitude, or roughly a difference of 100 m. in altitude could be equivalent to a difference of 10  latitude. According to this, an altitude of about 8000 m. correspond phytogeographycally to the poles!!

Inspite of the obvious general similarity between the physiognomy (in ecology = The apparent characteristics) of the vegetaion at different altitudes and that at latitudes of corresponding mean temperature, this concept has been held to be inappropriate as being far too simple to be general application; for, on closer scrutiny, this similarity will be found to be far from exact. The climate of the equivalent altitudinal and latitudinal zones is never the same, since in a given altitudinal zone at the equator the length of day and the seasonal changes are greatly different.
(Ref:-Nilgiris District Gazatteer)