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Summer 2017

My Maredumalli Trip

   Among the numerous tropical forest and jungles, exists the wondrous Maredumilli forest. The Maredumilli Forests in the East Godavari District houses a rich biodiversity in its semi-evergreen forest. From birds to butterflies, this forest has it all. During the summer, rare species of butterflies, insects, and birds can be seen. I myself saw a total of five rare butterfly species on my trip. Not to mention the long snake-like river and the beautiful gushing waterfalls. Our accommodations at the Jungle Star Resort  were placed in the perfect spot for bird - watching. This resort was definitely worthy of its beautiful surroundings.

   My trip started with the initial four-hour drive from Rajamundry. Within three hours, my family and I started to see the wondrous scenery. Mountains overflowing with green, glistening stream, and cute tiny monkeys on the side of the road dominated our view. As we approached our campsite, we paused our journey to take a look at the lake. Due to the floods that come with monsoon season, the lake was overflowing with so much water that you could see palm trees in the middle of the water. As we looked more closely at our surroundings, we notice a bright blue kingfisher perched upon on a dead tree near the center of the lake. After fifteen minutes of pure amazement, we started back on our journey. Towards the end of the road trip, we were lucky enough to see the dangling tail of the Racket-Tailed Drongo, a bird native to these areas. Finally we reached the end our road trip.

To enter the resort and reach our campsite, we had to complete a quick hike by the river. As soon as we started the hike, I was amazed at the sheer number of butterflies. Within one minute I was able to identify a rare butterfly, the Blue Crow. We had to cross a small bridge, climb some nature-made stairs, and hike through the jungle. I even saw centipede which are really common during monsoon season as it is their mating season. Finally we reach our base camp. In the Jungle Star Resort, there are eight cabins. Four of them are tent cabins, and the others are small cabins with a slightly better view of the river. My family and I stayed at the tent cabins, so we were able to see more butterflies.

   The first night we were there, we were really busy deciding the sleeping areas, putting on bug repellent, and getting accustomed to life at the Jungle Resort. Just when we were finally set and ready eat dinner, my great-uncle went back to his cabin to find a massive tarantula on the side of his door. Eventually the tarantula ran off after taking a dead grasshopper with it. By then we were all a bit tired, so we sent my brother and my two uncles to town to get some food. We were a bit scared because it was so dark, but they had a guide and three flashlights with them. When they returned, they recounted their trip. Even with the flashlight they could barely see their own shadow. Luckily, I wasn’t allowed because of the danger because as they came back they saw a fully grown scorpion about the size of an index finger! The guide’s foot nearly hit the scorpion, but thankfully my uncles stopped him at the last minute.

   The next day we woke up a bit late because it rained the night before. We realized that bird-watching would be near impossible because the birds would be on the high tree tops to gain some warmth. However, we saw tons of butterflies that day. We noticed the rare Greyhound, Blue Mormon, the biggest butterfly in these areas, the Emerald Dove, the Crimson Sailor, and, once again, the Blue Crow. After breakfast, we went down to the river with a fishing rod to try and catch some fish; however, we didn’t realize that the river was a bit flooded due to monsoon season. Thus we ended simply playing in the cold water. During the afternoon, the adults all relaxed, while the children we playing with the bow and arrow. While my great-uncle was relaxing on a stone platform, he noticed a faint bird call. The call belong to that of a scarlet minuet. He taught how to identify where a bird is based on its call and how to portray the location of the bird to another once found. Eventually, my whole family noticed the bright red color of the scarlet minuet male and the dull yellow color of the scarlet minuet female. Then we all went to my cabin, because it had the best view of the river, and sat on the porch watching the river waves roll. By dark, we noticed many other birds, such as the Brongback Woodpecker, Black Drongo, Pied Wagtails, and so many Red Whiskered Bulbuls.  That night we had bongo chicken for dinner. Bongo chicken is a native special made by mixing chicken with many different spices, then slow-roasting it inside a thick bamboo stick, so that the chicken is imbued with the bamboo flavoring. It was delicious; though I must admit a bit spicy! After dinner, we all went to the campfire and talked till about 12:00 in the night.

   It was finally time to leave in the morning; we quickly packed and left for town to eat breakfast. We all were a bit sad to go, but that didn’t stop us from taking some bongo chicken with us To Go.