Friday, November 16, 2012

Basinikonda, Madanapalle

Madanapalle, is a town  located in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. Legend has it that the name of the town was originally "Maryaada Raamanna Pattanam ", which has, over time, changed into " Madanapalle".
Basinikonda temple is at 900 m from the sea level.
Madanapalle was ruled by Vijayanagara Palegars namely Basavanna and Madanna. In memory of their names, the two hills on the east of Madanapalle were named as “Madanna Hill” and “Basavanna Hill” which gradually transformed to Madinikonda and Basinikonda.  Madanapalle has pleasantly mild, to warm summers with average high temperatures of 30 to 35 degrees Celsius. Temperatures do not exceed 40 degrees celsius and winters are cold with temperatures between 7 to 15 degrees Celsius. Usually summer lasts from March to June, with the advent of rainy season in June, followed by winter which lasts till the end of February. It has an extreme type of climate.

North east monsoon clouds over the Madanapalle town

North east monsoon clouds over the Madanapalle town. Mining is a threat to every hills and Madanapalle is not an exception!
I climbed Basinikonda and on a pleasant day. It took almost 3 hours to reach the top because I was not just doing a hike but also looked at birds, butterflies, reptiles, plants....  I was trying to know this new place as much as I can.  Every piece of land or habitat is unique for its ability to support certain life forms, this small hill was no exception with lots of birds, reptiles, butterflies and other insects... interconnections, hunting.. etc.

Indian robin
This Indian Robin (Saxicoloides fulicatus) is from Muscicapidae family (small arboreal insectivores, many of which, as the name implies, take their prey on the wing). It is widespread in the Indian Subcontinent. This bird was found in open stony habitat.Yes Madanapalle is a dry habitat and my house owner warned me not to use lot of water!!
A bird belong to the genus of the Alaudidae: skylarks

Black Raja
This Black Rajah (Charaxes solon) is a butterfly species found basing on a rock is a brush-footed butterfly from the family Nymphalidae. The Black Rajah is generally a low-elevation butterfly and can be found at altitudes up to 1950 m. This lives in the dry regions of India, where peninsular rock agamas live. This same butterfly became food for the agama I am going to show in the next pic. :)

Indian Skipper
A butterfly on the Tridax procumbens. Being an amateur butterfly watcher the skippers very difficult to identify and many species of skippers look frustratingly alike.They are named after their quick, darting flight habits.
Peninsular Rock Agama (female)
 This Rock Agama ate the Black Rajah! They are very common in the hills of Madanapalle but this was my first sight :).Young and females are olive-brown, spotted, speckled or marbled with dark brown, and with a series of white elongated spots along each side of the back and...
Peninsular Rock Agama (male)
the male has pale brownish on the top of the head and back while the lips are yellowish-brown and this extends as a strip beyond the ear. A dark brown or black lateral stripe begins behind the eye and broadens to cover the lower sides. The underside is yellow with the throat mottled with grey...
Apis dorsata
The giant honey bee, is a honey bee of southern and southeastern Asia. Nests are mainly built in exposed places far off the ground, on tall trees limbs and under cliff overhangs, and sometimes on buildings, bridges, dams. This beautiful bee is a defensive bee and has never been domesticated.