One of the most picturesque locations in central Kerala, the deafening waterfalls of Athirappilly and the cool spring-fresh waters of Vazhachaal never cease to amaze us.
A favorite among day trippers, this range of rain forest is indeed a cradle of nature in terms of bio diversity, endemic animal and bird species, herbs and tribal ethnicity. However, no matter how many times you have been to Vazhachal, we bet you have always missed some of its splendor. Here, we list out a few of those.
This horn bill family and their permanent nesting
Malabar gray horn bills are an endemic species belonging to the Western Ghats and the hills of southern India. Found in abundance at Vazhachal-Charpa forest ranges, Malabar gray horn bills nest in the holes of tall trees. This huge tree on the roadside, up the tourist spot at Vazhachal, has around seven horn bill nests on it. You can find nesting pairs flying around in the premises, with figs and berries in their beaks. During the breeding season, you can also notice partially closed nests with a horn bill's beak popping out. This is the female horn bill incubating her eggs. The male would collect berries and insects and feed the female through the small opening.
The hollow soap nut tree with bat roosting
You may not stop your vehicle to take a look at a random tree on the roadside. Well, this is how you miss the awesomeness inside this mighty soap nut tree. This granny tree appears looks nothing extraordinary from the roadside but if you look at the other side, you can find a huge hole, which extends till the treetop. If you step into the tree, close your eyes and listen, you can hear a voice similar to the chug-chug sound of a motor cycle. Well, it’s nothing but the echo of bats flapping their wings. Close your eyes and turn your face upwards and take in the scent of wet wood along with the mysterious sound of bat-wing-flaps.
These berry-hunt stunts by giant squirrels
Malabar giant squirrels are in plenty out here. Once close to extinction due to increased hunting and habitat destruction, these harmless super cute herbivores have increased high in number in recently. Feeding upon figs, berries, tree-shoots and tender leaves, giant squirrels can be seen actively food hunting during evening time. These fluffy colorful creatures perform real twig-stunts to catch hold of berries on the tips.
Mr Lion tailed Photogenic
This lion tailed macaque strayed out of his tribe long back and has now set up his hang out place atop a huge tree on roadside. Sitting relaxed on a branch shadowing the road, he can easily be noticed by any passerby. As he is so accustomed with astonished human faces, long stares and flash-lights. Mr. Macaque poses for you if you attempt to capture him in your camera.
A happy-prosperous Trogon couple
Malabar Trogon is a bird species found in the dense forests of peninsular India and Sri Lanka. These saffron little birds are called 'fire-crow' in vernacular language. However, this happy trogon couple has set up their warm little nest in a small tree in the marshes near Vazhachal roadway. They chirp, chase each other, play and hunt for food together on the roadside, and are a treat to eyes of the passersby.