Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Heavens Smile Down on Earthlings- Dec 01, 2008

The heavens seemed to smile down on earthlings on Monday as a happy conjunction of planets and the moon drew a celestial ‘smiley.’ A rare treat as Venus, Jupiter and the moon appeared in conjunction soon after sunset on Monday evening. I was walking to my place after parking my car and luckily I spotted this rare sight. Taking pictures was a bit tough due to the passing clouds.
According to the Planetary Society of India, Venus and Jupiter come in the line of sight during their orbit around the sun in such a way that they appear to be near each other as seen from Earth.

According to the National Geographic news, planetary conjunctions involving such close encounter between Venus and Jupiter are relatively rare events. The web site also says that the next visible conjunction would be on the evening of March 14, 2012.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Silent Valley Buffer Zone

These pictures were taken at Silent Valley Buffer Zone. The zone has a representative collection of valuable treasure of rare plants and herbs.

Macaca Silenus ( Lion-tailed Macaque )

These social monkeys live in rainforest treetops in India's Western Ghats mountains. I got this picture at Silent Valley Reserve Forest.
Order: Primates
Family: CercopithecidaeGenus and
Species: Macaca silenus

Physical Description: Covered in smooth, black hair, lion-tailed macaques are hard to see in the shady forest. They have distinctive gray manes that frame their faces and give them a big-headed look. These animals get their common name from their tuft-tipped, droopy tails.

Size: Lion-tailed macaques are usually about two feet long, with an additional 18 inches of tail. Males grow slightly larger than females. Weight ranges from 15 to 33 pounds. Lion-tailed macaques have life span of more than 30 years.
Lion-tailed macaques are unique to India. In the early 1970s, they still ranged through the southern third of the country. Today, they only live in mountain forests scattered across three Indian states: Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. Over the years, many were captured for the pet trade, zoos, research, and use in traditional Chinese medicine. The macaques declined as human settlement advanced. Teak, coffee, and tea plantations as well as dams and roads destroyed many forests. Today, habitat destruction is the lion-tailed macaques' worst enemy.

River Kunthi

I captured these pictures from the hanging bridge on river Kunthi.

Kunthi (named after the matriarch of the Indian epic, Mahabharata) is a drinking water source for downstream villages and tribal hamlets and a key tributary of Bharathapuzha (Nila), Kerala's second-longest river.

The river Kunthi descends from the Nilgiri hills, at an altitude of 2000 mts above sea level and traverses the entire length of the valley and rushes down to the plains through the deep forest. This river never turns brown and is always crystal clear, perennial and wild.

River Bhavani

I got this picture at Silent Valley Reserve forest.

The Bhavani River originates in the upper regions of the Nilgiris of the Western Ghats. This is the second largest river in Tamil Nadu, South India and a major tributary of the Kaveri River. It is a 217 km. long perennial river fed mostly by the southwest monsoon and supplemented by the northeast monsoon.