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Swarna | Naturalist at Svasara

Relax & Explore - 5 months ago


Nature Walk at Dusk


During dusk nature walks at Svasara-Tadoba, one can look forward to spotting the tiny termite nest frog.

This frog belongs to the family named microhylidae (narrow mouthed frogs). Their size is quite small and they are endemic to India. Triangular disks are present on the fingers which is unique to this frog.

Rainy season is their breeding time and they breed in water inside dark cavities. Often spotted on termite mounds and also under the rocks, they are found in peninsular India and dry forest areas.

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Ranjit at Svasara-Tadoba

Wildlife Safaris - 5 months ago


A Surprise Sighting

After a 45-minute delayed entry into afternoon safari, by the time we entered the famed territory, where many a dramas have unfolded with the legendary tigress “Maya” we noticed cars scattered about, waiting for some action! We decided to hold on to our spot, as if required we could move forward but we couldn’t reverse or come back on the one way road. 


We heard the alarm call and there were few spotted deer busy grazing, looking towards the area from which the calls were coming. We were trying to figure out Maya Madam’s stage appearance, and 10-minutes into the scene to our complete astonishment, a female leopard just pops up gets the deer fawn amidst all the surprised deer and started walking with the fawn towards our car through the foliage and then with one swift climbed the tree with the trophy. The helpless mother deer stood there motionless. We realized we witnessed one of the raw part of nature and later on in the next few days this very leopardess made three more kill which probably signals she is about to go into labour. 


When we matched  the spots it seems that she was the star leopard sighted at the beginning of the season, kuhipat to navegaon road.

Pic Credits: Ranjit Mandal

10th Feb 2021, PM Safari, Kolara Core, Tadoba 

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Ratika at Svasara-Tadoba

Wildlife Safaris - 8 months ago


In Awe of Nature

In Awe of Nature

What can Eagles Teach Us?

{Blog 2 of Series, What can Animals Teach Us; Read Blog 1 Here.}

Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve in Central India is an ancient forest, and one of the oldest protected natural reserves in the country. Although famous for the sightings of the Royal Bengal Tiger, the park is home to more than 200 species of birds as well. Amongst the birds of prey, eagles are a sight that always leaves one fascinated with their display of power and precision. If you have ever gotten the opportunity to observe them in action, you will truly relate to the below lessons we could learn from them about Life!

Focus, Focus, Focus

The importance of “focus” is evident across a wide spectrum of self-improvement books, TED talks, mentoring sessions etc. In nature, eagles are an excellent example of what focus and determination helps to accomplish. With the ability to focus on something as far as five kilometres, once an eagle identifies its prey, it does not move its focus away till it is able to get to it. Our eye vision might not be as sharp like the eagles’, but our mental visions can be and if we let our vision (goal-clarity) guide us with a strong focus on one goal at a time, we can achieve all our goals.

Love the Storm

When clouds gather, other birds might take refuge in trees, but eagles use the storm’s wind to lift higher, and glide while giving its wings rest. Can we try seeking meaning in the storms of life? It is often said, if challenges are embraced, they can help one achieve greater heights, they can push us to become stronger, they can propel us to explore the purpose of our being. Love the storm, to get to the rainbow beyond!

Keep Good Company

Eagles fly with only eagles, and together they soar high altitudes. This is a reminder of how important the role of the people we spend time with is. We should flock to positive-minded people, and people we would like to mirror in our lives. Sort of alluding also to the benefits of creating your own “tribe”.  

Be Fearless

Eagles never surrender to the size or strength of its prey. It always puts up a brave fight to win or to defend its territory. When confronted with troubles, instead of giving up, let us strive to face it with all our might. There is another unique characteristic of eagle, when compared to other birds of prey like the hawks etc. They never look back before striking the prey – which accords them with the name – kings or monarchs of sky!

From the Naturalists’ Desk: The Eagles with Recorded Sightings at Tadoba

  1. Crested Serpent Eagle (resident) Spilornis cheela
  2. Grey-Headed Fish Eagle (resident) Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus
  3. Short-Toed Snake Eagle (resident ) Circaetus gallicus
  4. Crested Hawk-Eagle (resident) Nisaetus cirrhatus cirrhatus
  5. Bonelli’s Eagle (resident) Aquila fasciata
  6. Booted Eagle (migrant) Hieraaetus pennatus
  7. Indian Spotted Eagle (resident) Clanga hastata
  8. Greater Spotted Eagle (resident) Aquila clanga
  9. Black Eagle (resident) Ictinaetus malaiensis

Research/Fact Checks/Identification Acknowledgements to Naturalists: Anusua PalArpit Parekh, Jignesh Patel, Prasun MajumdarRishin Basu Roy, & Swarna Chakrabarty

Illustrations: Austin Tu (6 yrs), Devina S. Ramchandran (5 yrs), Esha Sinha (10 yrs), & Nandika Sinha (11 yrs)

Pictures: Bhautik R. Desai, Mayank P. Sinha, Ranjit Mandal, Sanjay Ramchandran, & Sayan Roy Chowdhury

References 

Book: Animal Teachings, Dawn Brunke

Blog: 7 Powerful Life Lessons from the Eagle, Carla Ibanzo

E-Article: The Biggest Eagles in the World – Top 10

E-Article: Why Eagles are the Kings of the Sky?

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Ratika at Svasara-Tadoba

Wildlife Safaris - 10 months ago


In Awe of Nature

What can Spiders Teach Us?

{Blog 1 of Series, What can Animals Teach Us}

Entering the pristine mystical forest of Tadoba after seven long months was pure bliss. The green serenity, the smell of wet earth, the fresh air was an instant dose of rejuvenation for one’s soul.

When the jungle has not had too many visitors for so long, its denizens have had the freedom and space to take over all parts of the reserve. One cannot, hence, miss observing (or avoiding) the encounter with the giant wood spiders & their large orbicular webs as one meander through the virgin tracts.

Arachnophobia (Fear of Spiders) is one of the most common phobias that people experience. A genuine fear, especially if one has had an unpleasant acquaintance with them or because one has been exposed to only their eerie anecdotes.  

This blog is an attempt to share a positive narrative about Spiders, one amongst millions of our co-existing inhabitants. Spiders have been on Earth far longer than us (longer than the now extinct dinosaurs). Pondering upon their long evolution history, their depiction in mythological fables, authors’ inspirations and their kind love for them not only teaches us so much about them, but there are lurking life lessons for us to learn from them too.

Below are just a few of them.

Focus on Mastery & Self-Approval

Spiders have been subjected to so much virulence all their lives, yet they have survived not seeking anyone’s approval or flattery. They have recognized their own mastery and chosen to weave life with dexterity, purpose, & beauty! For all the times when we are devoid of recognition and seek external appreciation, let us remember the humble spider that does not seek anyone else’s praise for moving on in life.

Perseverance leads to Great Works

Remember the Incy-Wincy spider nursery song? Or have you ever gotten tired cleaning up the cobwebs just to find a brand new one in its place moments later? As much as some of us might despise spiders and discriminate against them, the continued efforts on part of the spiders (without any assistance) to rebuild despite the recurring difficulty and trouble, is a lesson of perseverance, grit, & resilience for us.

Be Patient, Gratification is not always instant

Once the spider has worked hard spinning its web, casting it as big as possible, it then patiently waits for the “fruits” of its labour. It has faith on its hard work, and knows it is just a matter of time, when it can enjoy the reward. Similarly, when we have an objective in mind, we should put our best efforts, and remind ourselves that work comes before the result. Many of our lives’ aspirations might experience delayed gratification. Patience is key.

Small can be Significant

Svasara’s logo depicts the Tree of Life, illustrating everything on the planet is interdependent. And spider, no matter how small is a perfect example of nature’s inter-connectedness. Spiders are endemic to almost all continents and without them the balance in the ecosystems would be disrupted. As predators, they help in controlling insect populations (including flies & mosquitoes!) and as prey, they are an important source of food for birds, lizards etc.

From The Naturalists’ Desk: The Common Spiders seen in Tadoba

  1. Giant Wood Spider
  2. Black Wood Spider
  3. Wolf Spider
  4. Crab Spider
  5. Lynx Spider
  6. Jumping Spider
  7. Signature Spider 
  8. Fishing Spider
  9. Daddy Long-Legs Spider
  10. Spitting Spider

Research/Fact Checks/Identification Acknowledgements to Naturalists: Arpit Parekh, Imran Khan, & Jignesh Patel

Illustrations: Devina S. Ramchandran (5 yrs) & Esha Sinha (10 yrs)

Pictures: Sanjay Ramchandran

References & Further Reading/Viewing Recommendations (Book list is especially compiled for young readers):

Book: Animal Teachings, Dawn Brunke

Book: Spiders, Gail Gibbons

Book / YouTube – Read Aloud: I’m Trying to Love Spiders, Bethany Barton

Book / YouTube – Read Aloud: Be Nice to Spiders!, Margaret Bloy Graham

Book / YouTube – Read Aloud: Diary of a Spider, Doreen Cronin

Book / You Tube – Read Aloud: Are you a Spider, Judy Allen

Magazine / YouTube – Read Aloud: National Geographic Readers: Spiders, Laura Marsh

Blog: 10 Lessons from a Spider about Achieving Your Dreams, Arvind Devalia

Blog: Five Spiritual Lessons Spiders can Teach Us,  Nikki Harper

Blog: 6 Lessons from a Simple Spider, Neil

Blog: Four Life Lessons we can all learn from Spiders, Dr. Audrey

Blog: The Importance of Spiders to an Ecosystem, Nicholas DeMarino

PDF: Handbook Indian Spiders, B.K. Tikader

About this Blog & Author

My love for animals (first initiated through love for dogs) started from my childhood. My first ambition (which I recall being around age 11 years) was to work for World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Assuming, I must have thought that would give me an opportunity to be in situations where I would get the time to spend with different animals and that I would be able to take care of them when the need arose.

Fast forwarding to today, grateful that thanks to my uncle (bade papa) who shared a common love with me for wildlife (although he was fixated with tigers…), and our family’s hospitality business background we ventured into the beautiful world of low impact eco-tourism / wildlife-tourism.

Svasara, our family owned jungle lodge has given me so much joy to be able to do what I always dreamt of doing – be amidst nature & around so many beautiful creatures!

One of the best parts about owning a jungle lodge is the endless knowledge and appreciation one gains through interactions with passionate naturalists who I feel our true custodians of nature, and on their shoulders lies this big responsibility of being advocates of wildlife conservation. Each of our resident and visiting naturalists have taught me so much and my respect for Mother Earth and every living creature has only grown deeper through my interactions with them.

This blog, is dedicated to my daughter (and every child who has the inherent and unbiased curiosity, love, & fascination about the natural world around us) and my naturalist team. I hope through my writings I am able to (in a few of you) inculcate a deeper appreciation for nature, respect for all living creatures, and embed the idea that all of us can co-exist in our beautiful planet.

p.s. All views are personal. Thank you for reading.

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Mandira Neware

Svasara Evenings - 1 year ago


Nagpur

The Orange City

The city of Nagpur was founded by the Gond King Bhakt Buland Shah- a prince of the kingdom of Deogarh-Nagpur. The Gonds were Adivasi Tribal people who lived in forests and worshipped nature, they ruled the region between Narmada & Godavari rivers known as ‘Gondwana’; the capital of which was later shifted to Nagpur. Later this city was a part of the Maratha Empire, ruled by Raja Raghuji Bhosale of Berar. The British East India Company took over Nagpur in the 19th century and later made it the capital of the Central Provinces and Berar, the Nagpur Province.

Raja Raghuji Bhosale II was called the architect of modern Nagpur as he was a major contributor to the development of the city. Ideal soil and weather conditions allowed oranges to be cultivated in vast quantities, becoming one of the region’s primary exports. So much so that Nagpur is famous as the ‘Orange city’ to this day.


On your next visit to Svasara-Tadoba, if you have time to explore our region with Mandira, do let us know in advance. Based on your interests, we can curate a customized guided tour to historical & heritage sites. Food walks, hands-on craft experiences, photography & sketch expeditions, etc. can also be organized. 

Photographs by Architects Mandira Neware & Amol Wanjar

About the Author:

Mandira is a Nagpur based architect, who is passionate about photography and arts. Her keen interest in India’s rich heritage, inspired her to start conducting heritage walks in the Vidarbha region. She enjoys the historical storytelling and wishes to grow awareness about the region’s history & culture. She also plays an integral role in Svasara’s design team working on eco-friendly upgrades to the property and future projects.

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Arpit | Field Naturalist

Wildlife Safaris - 2 years ago


Mystic Morning

Winter mornings are chilly yet so mesmerizing that one doesn’t wish to miss any of the safari moments. One also gets finest opportunities for photography, as the climate is very much suitable for all flora and fauna around. One such was the morning recently, when guests were blessed to sight three tigers (sub-adults) eagerly waiting for the sun to rise over horizon and to feel the warmth of nature after spending a chilling cold night. And as a photographer and naturalist, I got to capture this wonderful frame – the mystic surrounding and the beautiful beast of the forest. Do find the time out of your busy schedules in concrete jungles to visit and experience the pristine jungles / wonders of the natural world with passionate lodge naturalists at Svasara-Tadoba.

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Swarna | Naturalist at Svasara

Wildlife Safaris - 2 years ago


“Preening”

One of the main behaviors that can be observed in birds is “preening”. Through this special activity, birds remove parasites, dirt, dust etc. from their feathers while repositioning that particular feather next to adjacent feathers. This process helps to keep the bird healthy. A gland named ‘Uropygial’ or simply the preen gland is situated at the base of their tail which produces an oily substance to keep their feathers glossy and shiny.

Pic & Blog Credit: #SwarnaChakrabarty #SvasaraNaturalist

#preening #birdbehavior #tadoba #birds #indianbirds #naturalistblog

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Arpit | Field Naturalist

Wildlife Safaris - 2 years ago


T2’s Sub-Adult Cubs

Safaris in tiger reserve are always unexpected. As you start your drive expectations are on peak, but in the end you are in wild and no one has control over sightings and after spending few hours if there are no movements of any big cats, you get little disappointed but you still enjoy the drive as there are lot many things to observe from Birds to Butterflies but in the end everyone wish to see our majestic animal to complete their dream. 

Today our guest experienced their first tiger in the wild, but most exciting for them was not one but to see two young sub-adults (T2’s subadult cubs) playing in the fields when they were on their way back to exit point (#kolaracore). This is why, we should never loose hope till you reach your exit gate and should enjoy the forest at fullest.

Picture credit: #TanviAgarwal #SvasaraGuest

Blog credit: #ArpitParekh #FieldNaturalist #Svasara #Tadoba

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Anusua | Naturalist at Svasara

Relax & Explore - 2 years ago


Indian Paper Wasp

Ropalidia is a relatively large genus in the subfamily Polistinae, containing some 136 species distributed in tropical Africa, southern Asia, Australia and Okinawa. R. marginata colonies are frequently built on eaves and windows of undisturbed buildings and other manmade structures, and occasionally on leaves and branches of some species of shrubs or trees in urban habitats.

The species shows two forms of nest building tactics, one being Independent founding and the other Swarm founding.

The one in the picture shows a typical example of an Independent founding nest. These nests are simple, unenveloped combs that are normally suspended by a narrow pedicel. Queens initiate new colonies either singly or in small groups, i.e. independently and the Queen use overt physical dominance to control or influence their nestmates. The Indian Paper wasps protect their nests against ants by rubbing the nest pedicel with an ant-repellent substance secreted by the van der Vecht’s gland present on the 6th gastral sternum of the wasp.

They face constant predation by Vespa tropica, The Greater Banded Hornet, whose workers almost systematically search for Ropalidia nests in the most likely places and prey upon the brood.

So go ahead and look out for these mesmerising little ones in your garden or windows.

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Anusua | Naturalist at Svasara

Wildlife Safaris - 2 years ago


Giant Wood Spider Webs

Araneid spiders belonging to genus Nephila, also known as the orb-weaving spiders, are well known for the huge webs the adult females construct.

Post-monsoons, forest in Central India seems so mesmerising with soothing greenery around, very much unlike what it looks like otherwise throughout the year. The first safari surprised me not because of the superb Maya sighting but because of the huge webs the females of the Giant Wood Spider weave. I found them hanging all over the forest, in every direction, even when I looked up to spot a bird.

The adult females of most species are large and build strong webs of silk of considerable size. Research suggests that orb-weaving spiders can alter the web structure and composition in response to prey variation.

The genus exhibit bright colours and recently these bright colouration is considered to be important in predator-prey visual interactions, aiding in foraging success by providing attractive visual signals to prey.

Pic Credit: Giant Wood Spider – female, Anusua, Naturalist at Svasara Jungle Lodge, Tadoba

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