Arvind and I went to a short notice trip to Gutherayan. CCF Mr.Sreenivas Murthy, (working plan) from chennai, Mr.conservator (Vellore cirlce working plan), Dr.Ravikumar (Foundation for restoration of local health systems) were coming to survey the area along with our DFO Mr.Ganeshan.
Dr.Ravikumar is a leading taxonomists in the country with knowledge as vast as an encyclopedia. Our DFO Mr.Ganeshan is not far behind him either.
We drove up to Kodekerai and then trekked up the hills to Gutheri lake and finally to Gutherayan summit. Poojaries from Kodekerai accompanied us and it was an amazing trek.
We had to stop every few feet and Dr.Ravikumar would point out plants and trees and quiz the poojaries about its habits, exudation, fruits flowers etc, and I cannot recall a single instance when the poojaries faltered. An old poojari called Kullan was especially impressive.
I believe we recorded nearly 20 redlisted plant species upto Gutheri lake which is half way up to the summit. The vegetation is typical of evergreen shola forests. I have never seen forests such as these in this district.
Some notable sights were huge wild mango trees (Mangifera Indica) with girth of 6 meters and easily over 50 meters in height. There were wild jack, some species of wild citrus, many members of the cinnamon family, Garcenia Gummi gatta etc. Dr.Ravikumar's celebrations on finding Garcenia gummi gatta was a sight to behold!! I have never seen Mr.Ganeshan so excited. We were also treated to Shorea Roxbhurgii in full bloom.
Many specied considered endemic to Western Ghats are also found here.
I could observe some bird activity though the time of the day was not suitable for birding. Malabar Parakeets rool the roost here, and there seems to be an absence of rose ringed parakeets.
There were signs of Bear, muntjak, sambhar etc and a more detailed study is essential to fully understand this fantastic place.
Arvind went up to the summit of Gutherayan and I stayed behind. I dont know what I missed there. But I stayed back on a rock hoping to do some birding. Not much to report on that front. However, the shola needs to be explored for birds.
Sanjeev Kumar S. R.
Kenneth Anderson Nature Society