Thursday, June 30, 2022

A Darter in Distress

To nurture the Puttakere we maintain a "To Do" list which is like Hydra's head. Each time we tick off one task, two appear in its place. Divya, Nupur and I met at the lake yesterday, 29th June, at 1:30 p.m. to discuss, among others, trimming trees, ground cover plants, events, share updates on new initiatives and so on. An hour later we walked past the island and saw an Oriental Darter sitting on a perch on the revetment. 

Darter caught in fishing net
Darter in distress (Pic: Nithya)

Though it is listed as a near threatened species by the IUCN, we had a few of them at the lake but had never seen one so close. At first glance, it seemed to have caught a fish. Instead of throwing it up into the air and swallowing it head first, this Darter shook its head and fluttered its wings. We looked closer. What it had caught was not a fish but a little mass of fine fishing net! Even as we watched, the poor bird tried to scrape it off on the wood.

Darter bird trying to scrape off a fishing net
Darter bird trying to scrape off the fishing net (Pic: Nithya)

Our gardeners have learnt to see if any bird was in trouble and have even rescued a couple of them caught in the abrasive string of a paper kite. However, given that this Darter could fly or dive away, we decided to seek expert help and telephoned the Avian and Reptile Rescue Centre (ARRC). The rescue team readily agreed to come but they had to cover a distance of about 22 km maneuvering the afternoon traffic to reach the lake. We got home guard Nithya to keep an eye on the bird so that it could be located among all the Cormorants and Darters. 

At 4 o'clock the lake opened to the public. The increased footfall scared the bird and it flew to the island. That was where Ramu took the rescue team.  Even as the coracle approached, however, the bird flew to another part of the island. Its next hiding place was below the low hanging branch of a Singapore Cherry. We didn't see it swim away but it popped up on a branch several metres away.  By now a number of walkers, young and old, had gathered to watch this game of "dive and seek" which could turn deadly if the bird wasn't caught soon. With dusk falling, the two rescuers decided to look around just once more, this time from the pathway. 

Darter bird on the island
Escape to the island (Pic: Nithya)

The bird must have been exhausted by then and they managed to catch it. Wrapping a thick towel around it, they gently removed the treacherous net before releasing the Darter into the water. 

Darter bird being released after being freed of the net on its beak
Darter being released (Pic: Nithya)

Released Darter (Pic: Nithya) 

Rescuers watch the Darter swim away (Pic: Nithya) 

Our deepest gratitude to ARRC for their prompt help. 

Best regards


Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Event report - World Environment Day and 12 years of PNLIT

Two attendees write about the event

World Environment Day, 2022 started with an educational and inspirational morning  for the citizens of JP Nagar. Organised by Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT), Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA) and Indian Music Experience (IME), this turned out to be a once in a lifetime experience.

PNLIT celebrated their 12th year as a Trust on this occasion. Ms. Sapana Rawat hosted the event while Ms. Usha Rajagopalan, the chairperson of PNLIT showed us the video of the incredible 12 yr journey of the lake. She mentioned how PNLIT works with the various government departments and how it has come so far with strong support from the neighbourhood residents. 

Ms. Kaveri from KSLSA gave an enlightening talk, highlighting waste management and citizens' role in taking care of the environment. 

Coming in all the way from North Bangalore was Mr. Samuel John, who provided an exceptional presentation with snaps on various life forms at the lake. His underwater video and the hunting sequence he had captured of one spider fooling and eating another spider were simply wonderful. He enlightened us about the important role played by each and every tiny organism present. How they all help in maintaining a rich ecosystem at the lake.

This remarkable presentation was followed by another showstopper - a vocal recital by National award winning singer Ms. Bindhumalini. Her melodious voice left everyone stunned, especially those, like me, who had shut their eyes in the dim room. I was transported into a peaceful world.

The event concluded with a vote of thanks by Ms. Sahana, who gifted the three special guests a sapling each. What a great start to Environment Day !!

- Nishka Jain, Student, 16 years

World Environment Day of 2022 and PNLIT's 12th anniversary were celebrated on 5th June 2022 in collaboration with PNLIT, IME and KSLSA. The event started on time with a welcome speech by Sapana, a PNLIT volunteer, followed by a presentation on how the lake has evolved over the last 12 years.

Usha Rajagopalan, the Chairperson of PNLIT took the audience through the journey of PNLIT since its inception till date including the ups and downs faced by the team. She shared how the issues have been handled and the lake brought back to life after 2 years of struggling with the sewage inflow. The audience consisted mainly of the donors, well-wishers of PNLIT and the neighborhood residents.

Usha's address was followed by a very thoughtful speech by Smt. Kaveri, Deputy Secretary, KSLSA. The importance of celebrating World Environment Day and this year's theme on One Earth with the tagline of 'living sustainably in harmony with nature' were beautifully articulated by her. She also pointed out our responsibility as citizens towards reducing and managing waste that we generate.

The next part of the event was a presentation by Samuel John, co-founder of social enterprise called "Spiders and the Sea". The presentation took us all to another world at the lake that we may not have observed both inside and outside the water body. He emphasized on the importance of each living organism of the lake and how they all are interdependent to complete the cycle of life. Right from the tiniest ant to algae to kites and fish, all forms of the ecosystem of our beautiful Puttenahalli lake came to life right in front of us through the pictures and videos captured with great efforts by Samuel John.

The perfect finale of the day's event was the soulful singing by Ms. Bindumalini Narayanaswamy. It was very thoughtful of her to have the lights switched off so the music could help the audience look inwards and spend a few moments to organise the thoughts and allow them to flow seamlessly. The choice of songs from Kabir's song about water to the shlokas from Vishnu purana, all blended beautifully to the theme and were delivered flawlessly through her captivating voice. The audience were mesmerized with her performance.

The event ended with a vote of thanks by Ms. Sahana, Head of Curation, IME. 

Overall, time well spent on a Sunday morning celebrating World Environment day and PNLIT's 12th anniversary.

- Nandhini Sriraaman, PNLIT Trustee

Picture credits - Nupur Jain, Aditi Mahesh

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Join us in celebrating World Environment Day and 12 years of PNLIT

We're happy to invite you for World Environment Day celebration on Sunday, 5th June, 2022. This event is being held jointly with the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA), and Indian Music Experience (India's first interactive music museum). The programme will begin at 11 a.m. at the IME auditorium in Brigade Millennium, JP Nagar 7th Phase, Bangalore 560078.

As our well-wisher, you will be happy to know that we will also be celebrating the 12th year of PNLIT (on 11th June 2022). Twelve years of taking care of Puttenahalli Puttakere! 

This double celebration has a distinguished, exciting panel which includes: 

Mr. Shashidhara Shetty, Hon'ble Member-Secretary, KSLSA, who leads the activities of legal services institutions in the State. 

Mr. Samuel John, a nature (read 'spider') lover and underwater photographer who visited our Puttakere last year and can't keep himself from coming and shooting, on land, under water! You can therefore expect a unique video presentation. 

Our Chairperson, Usha Rajagopalan, will highlight the past, the present and the future of Puttenahalli Lake in a brief talk. 

The finale - a musical tribute to nature by Bindhumalini Narayanaswamy, the National award winning singer and composer. 

So, folks, welcome, welcome, welcome! Mark the date and time on your calendar: 

Time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Venue: IME auditorium, Brigade Millennium, JP Nagar 7th Phase, Bangalore 560078
Day: Sunday, 5th June, 2022
This event is free and open to everyone
Do please join us for refreshments from 10:30 a.m.