Thursday, September 18, 2008

Kaas - 29th to 31st Aug'08

By Mrs.Carolann Pias

Hi Everyone,

Just returned from a glorious trip to Kaas Plateau. Even tho' I normally am more attracted to birds, I was fascinated with the feast of flowers this time. The carpets of smithia were mesmerizing and the vast expanses of karvi were a sight to behold. There were many other beautiful stretches of balsam, pinda, sonki and others that took our breath away. The lush green Sahyadris were just too beautiful to describe. Everytime we headed towards the plateau we just gazed in awe at the breathtaking views ----------- numerous shades of green, some hillslopes with terraced effect looked awesome when enhanced by the dazzling sun. The 3rd misty moisty morning was yet another wonderful sight!

With Adesh's "eagle eyes", on every trip we encountered a pleasant surprise. All of a sudden our vehicle would screech to a halt to avoid a jungle bush quail or he would stop or reverse to show us a well camouflaged dusky crag martin's nest or a baya busy with its nesting activity or some unusual flower species. On the plateau malabar crested larks were everywhere, singing away to glory. We even saw scaly breasted munias, little brown doves, red rumped swallows, spotted doves, loads of bulbuls and a family of macaques at one wooded spot. An inquisitive group of langurs glared at us at another halt.

A walk up Sajjangad was most rewarding despite the light drizzle - crested buntings calling melodiously, blackbirds, Indian robins, ashy prinias, tailor birds, flower peckers, grey tit, dusky crag martins, swifts and swallows. Even descending from the top in the fading light, some feathered species or the other would pop out just to bid us goodbye. Along the way we came across several pied bush chats, long tailed shrike, jungle prinia, alpine swifts, palm swifts and house swifts. We even sighted a couple of white cheeked barbets. Breakfast by the lake or on the rocks was what we all looked forward to - sometimes accompanied by the cry of the crested serpent eagle or the spotted, Quaker or Scimitar Babbler and once a white eyed buzzard right overhead.

On our 1st visit to the plateau we had an unexpected 'snake show'. Some guys brought with them a bagful of snakes which they had captured from the village and freed into the wild once again - a cobra, Russels Viper, Krait and Rat snakes. A black shouldered kite hovered over us for quite some time.

All in all, I must say "3 cheers to Adesh" for one helluva trip!

--- Carol

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