Wildlife Of Mandarmani

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Stretched around 13 km long beach , lies a winsome seaside resort village in east midnapore district at the end of north Bay of Bengal , india , called Mandarmani . It is almost 185 km from my home town , Kolkata . Here the primary attraction offered to the tourists is the tranquil beach , the placid sunrises and sunsets near the estuary and the ornated beaches by Red Ghost Crabs.


 

After my class xii final examination , when the storm was over and everything was even tempered , my mom suddenly decided for a day’s trip to Mandarmani . I have visited this place before in class 9 as well , but wasn’t as excited then as I was now . The reason was primarily that then I didn’t had any knowledge about the wild or simply wildlife photography and also didn’t had any proper equipment .

We went via car , started from my home town at early morning around 5 am , and reached there near around 3 pm . As I said this was a revisit of mine to Mandarmani so eventually , not only me but no one was able to agnize the place . Most of the resorts and hotels were gone or shifted back from the beach because of the rising level of the sea. Anyhow we checked into a hotel near the beach .

After lunch , me and my sister went for stroll on the beach and as usual we were first welcomed by the RED GHOST CRABS.

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Red Ghost Crabs piling sand for food on the beach of Mandarmani.

It was evening and the beach was garnished by this august creatures . That day I couldn’t get a close up  of these guys as there were very few of them and it was time of high tide , the waves were already touching the foot of the entrance , from the seaside of our hotel . so we had to return . I had few plans of taking seascapes and carried a tripod as well but the weather , unfortunately was overcast . I could even barely see the sun getting set . so that plan was laved . Later at around 6 pm my family went to Digha , though I stayed back as I was rather enjoying the peaceful atmosphere , sitting in the lawn of the hotel facing the sea , rejoicing the enchanting breeze . My family returned around 9 pm and then after having dinner , I was off for the day .

The very next morning , I woke up around 5 am and without doing any breakfast or anything I went to the beach . The weather was as overcast as it was last day . The tide was gone , the sea had moved back , far I could see some Little plovers were collecting there morning snack , wagtails , crabs , sea stars etc.

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A sea star

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Probably A dead carcass of a sting ray

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Hermit crab

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Exoskeleton of a Purple Crab

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Hermit Crab

 

Next what I saw , was always a dream of mine . An Indian Roller ( Coracias benghalensis ) sitting on a lonely perch near the entrance of the forest along the beach . At first I wasn’t sure of it , I saw it from a bit far distance , only a blue bird sitting on a perch . But then I didn’t wanted to miss is at any cost , I approached it with a lot of patience , almost took 3-4 shots at each step I got closer . And the final result was supercalifragilisticexpialidocious in other words amazing .

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Indian Roller  ( Coracias benghalensis )

 

I continued my stroll , as i mentioned it was low tide and the sea had moved back, leaving washed off sea stars , dead carcasses of fishes , sting rays etc , scattered on the beach on which house and jungle crows were having there morning foray .Then I met the reds again .This time there were plenty of them and they were all yet busy collecting their part from the sand , minerals , the organic stuffs left by the sea , pilling the sand into small oval shapes . I had my newly bought tamron 160-600mm and nikon D5300 then and i wanted to get  closeups of these spectacular creatures . Most of the time before I could get close enough they would scuttle into their burrows . Almost after half an hour , crawling on the sand  , I managed to get one and it was awe-inspiring .

 

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Red Ghost Crab ( Ocypode macrocera )

These small little red crustaceans are just simply awesome to watch , one who has interest in nature can simply sit down and watch them pile sand with their claws and skilfully filtering the sand from their rostrum just taking the organics in it. So spectacular one can simply spend the evening watching them . 

Red ghost crabs are nocturnal in nature , i.e , they stay mainly active all through the night , not only red ghost crabs but any ghost crab is nocturnal and that is from where they get the name of Ghost crab. There are few interesting facts about these crabs :-

  • These crabs can hold oxygen in their air sacs for about 6-7 weeks 
  • It wets it gills for two purposes, reproduction and respiration. Occasionally, the crab draws up water from moist sand to moisten its gills.
  • The crabs have club-shaped eyestalks and it boasts of a 360° vision. This helps them see and catch insects that are even in mid-air.
  • Contrary to what many think, these creatures cannot swim in water. However, female crabs can keep themselves afloat by turning upside down in water. This is done to let the egg mass under their abdomen respire freely.

Red ghost crabs are an endangered species , year back  when this place was recently made a tourist spot , many beach activities were eventually put in , but later , thanks to the govt. of Bhubaneswar and Odisha , they took initiatives to close down these activities to protect the habitat of these red crabs . During monsoon even road-signs are put up , telling crabs crossing area to slow down vehicles as during monsoon it is the breeding season of the crabs and they tend to cross roads in numbers from the forest to the sea looking for mates . During this time if one visits Mandarmani or Talsari area  , will find the beach encrusted in red sheets . I myself wish to visit this place again during monsoon once .

While visiting this place i wasn’t sure of how satisfactory trip it shall be to me , as it was just for 1 day , but I guess these ghost crabs made the trip worthy . After having lunch , we set back for our home again , apart from the ghost crabs I also found green bee-eater , chesnut headed bee-eater , pied kingfisher , small kingfisher , shikra , orioles , sunbirds , coulcals , cuckoos , plovers and a female black headed red start . Though I couldn’t manage to photograph all of them yet few I did and they are below ……

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Shikra

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Black redstart – ♀

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Purple crab ( Metopograpsus latifrons )

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A Green bee-eater

 

 

This post is not from any recent trip, previously I posted this in WordPress.com and now re-posting it in my own Blog.

If you have any questions then mail me at mailme@swarnavanandi.com

Thank you for reading.