Monday 5 March 2012

Flying squirrels

Periyar Tiger Reserve & Bird Sanctuary, Thekkady, Kerala, S India

We were staying at Aranya Nivas and somehow on our last evening David had a call just before dinner: it was a good night for flying squirrels and would we like to come and see some? Well I was in the swimming pool but quickly jumped out and fetched the camera.
The viewing place was beside the entrance to the hotel grounds, we had been there on a previous night and met some guides and other people hanging around, not tourists. Apparently it is a good spot for the flying squirrels.

By the time that I arrived David had already seen one squirrel flying: "it was just like a piece of paper being blown through the air". Wow! I wish that I had seen that!

My task was to capture the squirrels on the trees, rather a tall one because they were very high I and did not have a telephoto lens or a tripod! It was pitch dark but the guide had a very powerful torch which saved the situation because I could aim at focusing their shiny eyes. Below are the best results of my clumsy attempts.

A flying squirrel

 We were told that they were the Travancore flying squirrels, I did search in the Internet and found two kinds: the giant and the small and I'm not sure which was ours. Perhaps the giant? but if so it is a very species. Hmmm. Whatever it was, it was a lovely animal, love fur, brown on the top but much paler underneath. See below.
Ready to take off?

I did focus on the eyes, didn't I? I shall not attempt to correct this though, I think that it is rather charming ;-)

I did see one flying, it was just a glimpse of a floating creamy thing. An amazing sight! We went to back to our dinner  floating on air with the excitement. The highlight of our stay in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.

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