The hills are alive

Published: Jul 08, 2019, 07:00 IST | Shunashir Sen

Sign up for a wildlife trail in Yeoor hills where you can spot a wide range of flora and fauna blossoming in this rainy season

The hills are alive

The whole cycle of nature works in such a wondrous manner that everything is interconnected at an intrinsic level. The monsoon season means that the earth is verdant and full of life. This brings out a host of insects that feed on the leaves of plants and suck the nectar from flowers. That in turn attracts a range of birds which look out for these creepy-crawlies as a source of sustenance. And the entire ecological system flourishes with such a sense of vibrancy that it seems as if it’s a party and everyone’s invited.

This is also what makes it the ideal time to go for trails where you can be witness to the flora and fauna that blossoms in this period. And a walk this weekend at Yeoor hills within the precincts of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) will offer participants the chance to get up close and personal with the flowers, insects and birds that are typical to the season. Wildlife expert Nikit Surve will lead it, and he tells is that the trail will start from the Manpada end of the national park. "You’ll see some stone quarries on the way that this area once used to have. But even though these now serve as reminders of human activity, the fact that there has been no business there for a while means that the forest has been able to
rejuvenate itself."

That rejuvenation is what’s helped keep the biological integrity of the place intact, and Surve says that this trail will involve sightings of certain lilies that last only for a week or two. "There is a lot of change in the flora at this time of the year, which brings out countless beautiful insects that people otherwise wouldn’t get to notice. SGNP is a really old, protected area right in the heart of the city, which we are blessed to have. The reason Mumbai has fairly decent air quality is thanks to this national park and the mangroves on the western side," he shares.

Nikit Surve

Surve adds that some of the birds that participants can hope to spot on this trail include the red vented bulbul and golden oriole. But even though the place is home to a lot of reptiles as well, these will be difficult to come by since snakes, for instance, are quite shy and tend to slither away at the first sign of human activity. The only ones that people can come across are juvenile lizards, though another highlight of the walk is the panoramic view of the city that the Yeoor hills offer. Surve also says that the key takeaways that participants can come away with are memories that are a far cry from the sort that we gather during the daily course of living in the city.

He says, "We have always seen people leave us looking happy and fresh, because nature helps you connect better [with your inner being]. It’s an experience that stays with you, and we have had participants who keep coming back, since it’s essentially a great way to spend your Saturday or Sunday morning."

ON July 13, 7 am to 11 pm
MEETING POINT Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Hill Garden, Kokanipada, Thane West.
COST Rs 1,199

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