Saturday, January 12, 2013

NP Kunta (Nambulapulikunta)

NP Kunta (Nambulapulikunta) is in Ananthapur district of Andhara Pradesh. This mandal comes under the Kadri watershed with gentle to undulating slopes, comes under the arid to semi-arid part of the country and forms part of the Papagni river basin. People of NP Kunta predominantly dependent on rains and cultivates all crops related to dry land conditions. Here the forest land is of two types: revenue forest and reserve forest. While the reserve forest is under the control of forest department, the revenue forest land, which includes hillocks also is under the control of revenue department, and the Gram Panchayath is the custodian. 
In December 2012 I visited few villages as part of a study
Eguvatooplle, Kotireddygaripalle, Kundlapalle varipalle, Dhaniyanicheruvu Yeguvapalle, Papanagaripalle, Kotha middi, Silamvaripalle and Nagamvaripalle. The primary land-use type in the watershed is devoted to crop fields. While the visit I could see Redgram, groundnut, hyacinth bean, tomato, rice, chilly, and ladies finger, castor, sunflower, greens, jowar, and rice in NP Kunta. 
Tomato garden in Dhaniyanicheruvu
Many wild plants were in flowering after the rains in last months and the bird diversity was also high, apis florea bees were busy collecting honey from a Euphorbia trigona. Euphorbia are a cactus like family that is found in Africa and temperate zones around the world. Euphorbia is a genus of plants belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae. 
Euphorbia trigona flowers in full bloom
Euphorbia trigona produce immense amount of nectar that attract many insects to it to pollinate its flowers. Honey bees, beetles, butterflies, etc. were seen in the euphorbia flowers.
An insect collecting nectar from the Euphorbia trigona flowers
Many birds were seen in the harvested fields and grasslands. Green Bee-eater, Common Kestrel, Brahminy Starling, etc. were selected from the check list to share here. Majority of the birds belong to the insectivorous group and a large flock of Red-rumped swallow were seen scanning the air above a water body. Later, under a bridge observed a colony of nests made very carefully with fine clay from the fields.
Green bee eater, a hunter of all insects not just 'bees'
Common kestral, observes a gecko in the field with close attention
Rosy starling
Red-rumped Swallows build quarter-sphere nests with a tunnel entrance lined with mud collected in their beak. They normally nest under cliff overhangs in their mountain homes, but will readily adapt to buildings and bridges.
Red-rumped Swallows nest under a concrete bridge near a water body.
A flock of Red-rumped swallows preening their feathers
Two young birds preen their feathers with great care
 Like all other birds these swallows also use their beaks to preen or clean and arrange their feathers. Enormous concentration and time was spent oiling and cleaning feathers, because I think feathers are bird’s most vital and beautiful tool.

Thanks to 
L. Rasingam, he identified the euphorbia plant.