Monday, September 25, 2023

Report on Bioblitz led by Deepa Mohan & Kaustubh Rau on Sep 23rd at Puttenahalli Lake, JP Nagar

Enjoy this descriptive report of the Bioblitz held at Puttenahalli Lake on Sep 23rd by Deepa Mohan, a wildlife volunteer, a bird educator and an avid naturalist who also led the session along with another naturalist and a biologist Kaustubh Rau.


I had been conducting walks for both adults and children at Puttenahalli Kere (J P Nagar) for many years; it has been a favourite place for me to take children, especially. Dr Kaustubh Rau had been conducting similar walks recently; so when Usha Rajagopalan and Sapana of Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT) asked me to conduct a walk, I reached out to Kaustubh at once, so that we could conduct the nature walk together. 

We had a reasonable number of people at the start, and Usha and Sapana, along with Govindan Iyer and Vijayalakshmi (Viji) all volunteers for PNLIT, were there to welcome us. Usha spoke a few words about how she and her team have rescued the moribund lake and maintained it against many odds, and we started our ramble.

As we walked down the path, each of us (Kaustubh and I) pointed out several life-forms that caught our attention. The lake is a place where a variety of trees have been planted by the team, and some of them have grown into majesty. The Cassia grandis (also called the Pink Shower Tree), the Sampige, the Buddha Coconut, even the Sandalwood. It was lovely to walk through an avenue lined with these, with the bank of the lake edged with beautiful flowers such as Penta, Ixora, Canna and so on. 

The birds were both waterfowl and the woodland species; we watched the group feeding behaviour of the Little Cormorants, the diving of the Oriental Darter, the electric blue feathers of the White-throated Kingfisher, while several Little Grebes and Eurasian Coots bobbed about in the water. We looked at the Purple Swamp hens foraging in the reeds, with their huge feet allowing them to walk on floating vegetation. 

Several insects caught our attention too. I told people how the Mexican Beetle had been introduced to control the Parthenium plants and how we were now trying to see how to control these beetles, which have had, apparently, no effect on the plants!   

It was delightful that there was no sign at all of the invasive Lantana or the Chromolaena; obviously, the PNLIT team knows how to prevent these species from gaining a toehold at the lake. We looked at the beautiful berries of the Karanda, I asked some people to taste the Clover leaves (tart and tasty!) , walked under a guard of honour that is, a pergola of Thunbergia mysorensis flowers, hanging down like a group of lovely chandeliers!

We were able to see a few butterflies too; we got a Tiger sighting when a Plain Tiger flitted past. A Pale Grass Blue sat on a leaf, and I was able to talk about Batesian mimicry when we found a Common Mormon female, which imitates the Crimson Rose (a butterfly that is toxic to birds). 

We walked past the area where people are living, and from there we could sight a Purple and a Grey Heron on the island. I was also able to show the many vegetables and gourds which made up a lovely garden - Brinjals, Tomatoes, Chilies and papayas, one participant said this was the first time he had seen a papaya tree! 

We turned back towards the entrance pavilion, walking under the shade (and the lovely flowers) of the Portia trees. All too soon, the walk was over, and Govindan sir and Viji distributed brochures which gave information about the lake (with great photographs and an index of the many life forms seen at the lake), and there were Early Bird bird brochures for sale, too. 

My heartfelt thanks to Usha and the PNLIT team for this great opportunity to disprove a statement someone made to me once: "Puttenahalli Kere? It's such a small place. There is nothing interesting there!". Well, certainly the participants on the walk would say that there is quite a  lot to see, observe and enjoy at the lake!

My eBird checklist from the morning is at
and the photographs of various living beings that I posted on iNaturalist is at 

My Flickr album of photographs taken during the walk are at 

I am attaching a photo of most of the group, at the start of the outing and the Grey Wagtail.


Sunday, September 10, 2023

Report on the International Literacy Day celebration at Puttenahalli Lake with PNLIT, Snehadhara Foundation and Pratham Books

Magical lands, extraordinary castles, quaint country roads, powerful heroes, ferocious beasts,  angelic fairies and more are all possible in the realm of stories and storytelling. And to bring this to life today ( Sep 9th) , Snehadhara Foundation was at Puttenahalli Lake for the 'One Day One Story' event organised in collaboration with PNLIT and Pratham Books to celebrate the International Literacy Day, marking our 10th year of this event together.

Children, parents, passerbys and all joined us at the beautiful gazebo nestled at the corner of the Puttenahalli lake. The calm waters, serene green scapes with quacking ducks and chirping birds would be our home for an hour of storytelling with drama, song, dance and play. Two beautiful stories were showcased this year Hakeem's Hiccups and Hello Sun. From the Hakeem plagued with a case of the never ending hiccups to the little boy's endless bright sunny smiles, the Snehadhara team enlivened the pages of the storybook and drew the audience into their world.

The adorable audience of little tots and big tots experienced their own transformation as hesitant "hello-s" turned to tentative imitations and the end, any inhibitions seemed to fly away as full blown cheers with initiatives to call out, sing, dance and hop along with people they had met just a few minutes ago! This space that drew them all in led to them opening up to each other, coming together in such seamless ways marking a new experience of inclusion through the arts.

Here's a peak at the absolute magic at the lake today!
Write up credits: Vibha Bhat

Photo credits - Ramu