Life-saving camouflage for ground-nesting birds

I recently read an article in The Hindu newspaper about threats to ground nesting birds from a variety of causes ranging from shrinking habitat to feral dogs and grazing animals. Over the last few years we have had red-wattled lapwing and Indian nightjar nesting at Lakeside so I found the article very interesting. I agree with the article that we need to plan how to preserve the habitat of such birds whilst also fulfilling the needs of the human population – not an easy task!

If you would like to read the article you can find it here.

The following photos of ground nesting birds were all taken at Lakeside.

red-wattled lapwing eggs

red-wattled lapwing eggs

Young red-wattled lapwing

Young red-wattled lapwing

Indian Nightjar eggs

Indian Nightjar eggs

Indian Nightjar on nest - great camouflage!

Indian Nightjar on nest – great camouflage!

Indian nightjar chick within minutes of hatching

Indian nightjar chick within minutes of hatching

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Gaur – a natural hazard on the golf course!

Anyone who plays golf will know that there can sometimes be natural hazards on the course which may interfere with play. But I would bet that most people who play golf in the western world have never had to cope with a natural hazard which is found on our local course!

My husband, Pete, is a keen golfer and will occasionally drive up to Kodaikanal for a round. In that area you will find the gaur – a huge bovine that looks like a bull on steroids! Although it is classed as vulnerable the gaur is quite common around Kodai. They like to come onto the golf course at night to graze – and can cause havoc on the greens with their enormous hooves! To combat this the groundsmen erect and maintain a net fence around each green; the holes in the netting are large enough not to interfere with the flight of a golf ball but the net appears as a barrier to the gaur who will walk round it!

Netting surrounding the green on Kodaikanal Golf Course

Netting surrounding the green on Kodaikanal Golf Course

The gaur is the tallest species of wild cattle, a full grown male can easily be 6 feet at the shoulders and some can reach over 7 feet! It is very strong and massively built – they can be almost 11 feet in length (2.5 to 3.5 meters); the average weight is around 650 – 1,000 kg with the occasional big bull reaching up to 1,500 kg; females tend to be about three-quarters the size of the males. Both sexes have huge horns.

Gaur are among the largest living land animals. Only elephants, rhinos, the hippopotamus and the giraffe consistently grow heavier. This is definitely one hazard that you would not want to meet on your local golf course!

This is not my photograph, but it certainly shows the size of these beasts!

This is not my photograph, but it certainly shows the size of these beasts!