A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about tiger

Tiger Tiger Tiger!

Fun in Kanha and Tadoba Andhari, with a first foray into Barnwapara

sunny 25 °C

Kanha is the best for streaming sunlight!  The trees are so tall, creating amazing filters for the early morning rays.

Kanha is the best for streaming sunlight! The trees are so tall, creating amazing filters for the early morning rays.

Kanha National Park

Had a brief trip to India last fall, so of course had to fit in some wildlife. Before I get out my final Turkey Blog instalment, thought it time to update some wildlife adventures! I had had such a great time in Kanha in April 2012, I decided to head back in November. This park is lovely and so large there seems endless places to explore. This time, we tried out Muba Resorts, a wonderful, natural spot at the Mukki Gate of Kanha. (I really should check out the Kisli Gate side one day!) Muba is set in an extensive and mostly natural property of trees and grasslands. The accommodation is large, comfortable and clean (though no air-conditioning, which might affect your comfort in the summer). A great value, the cottages are easily accessible yet remote enough that it is delightfully quiet at night. Except when the resident langur troop decides to have a party on your roof! The food was very good here and the staff incredibly responsive. While our safari driver was responsible and responsive his wildlife knowledge was not terribly strong. This would be the only thing lacking here for the serious wildlifer, but then again, this not unusual.

The head langur of the troop that jumped around on our cottage rooms

The head langur of the troop that jumped around on our cottage rooms

Kanha in November is very cold at night and I can only imagine how cold it gets as winter really sets in! The moist air, hot afternoons and cold nights actually created rather magical mornings. When I left my cottage in the dawn hours there was so much dew falling from the trees around us that it sounded like it was raining. Dewdrops were lying on everything in the forest, sparkling in the dawning light.

Fields of Glass

Fields of Glass

We had some really good tiger sightings this trip, far better than the summer visit, which only goes to show you the vagaries of tiger spotting. We had a fun sighting with a mum and her two adolescent cubs, who were so shy. One darted across the road to his calling mum, while the other paced in the jungle gathering his courage before making a run for it down the road from us. Much more shy in Kanha but more rewarding somehow. We came across the same mother early in the morning of our 6th drive as well. This time she was having some alone time. Sitting on the side of the road, happily grooming herself, before she stretched, got up and sauntered down the road. We literally stumbled upon her, my friend exclaiming in a loud whisper… tiger, tiger, tiger. That’s when I realized, spotting a tiger is never a single utterance. It invariably comes in three’s. Not sure why. Any other spotting seems to be a single utterance… “Leopard”, “bear”, “grey hypocolious” (yes, really!), but, not the regal tiger. Tis always an excited and loud whisper “tiger, tiger, tiger”

She looks just like my cat!

She looks just like my cat!

We’d had a few slow drives in the park, though still lovely for birds and deer, but when we took off for our 8th afternoon drive, that changed! The first few hours of the drive were also very quiet, so for the last 1/2 hour of our drive we decided to head to an area where a male leopard had been spotted near his kill the day before. We parked on the darkening track and sat quietly. Hard to do sometimes with others in the jeep, but we are old hands at it. Was lovely. The light was slowly dimming as the sun set, casting wonderful shadows on the tall forest and bamboo around us. Suddenly, we were startled by a peacock sticking his head out from the brush. He was seemingly just as startled, and let out a loud warning honk before disappearing back into the undergrowth. We started to laugh at the poor peacock’s alarm, stumbling across us, when we realized our error! Something else had startled the bird. A huge battle was taking place in the bamboo as something was chasing the poor peacock. He was running back and forth in the bush, honking his alarms as what we presumed to be a leopard, was in hot pursuit. After a few tense moments, it got very quiet, and then a sudden, even louder commotion arose and the peacock was caught. We were standing in our jeep and peering vainly into the bush, when our driver whispered loudly, “leopard!”

Classic pose

Classic pose

A large, magnificent male leopard sauntered out of the forest on the opposite side. I’m sure I held my breath, because my experience with leopards has always been for them to see me, and then quickly melt away. This boy was not so timid and very curious about the drama we had been witnessing across the road. Who would possibly have the nerve to come into his territory? Let alone hunt? He posed in the middle of the road, staring into the bamboo before turning and walking along the forest edge, right toward us!!!! I could not believe it. He came quite close, before finally entering the thicket. Then there was a brief snarling confrontation, and the intruder made a rapid exit. Maybe a female? Wow! Such excitement!! But we couldn’t linger, as we were already pushing it for making it out the gate, so filled with the Moment, we drove off. Such a Moment!

Coming straight toward us!  Seemingly unphased by our awed presence.

Coming straight toward us! Seemingly unphased by our awed presence.

We also had good bear sighting this trip, both on our first drive, and later on our penultimate drive. The latter being a really good one, rounding the corner, and there was a lovely ambling sloth bear, walking along the road, without a care in the world. So lovely.

Final sloth bear we were lucky enough to see in Kanha this trip.

Final sloth bear we were lucky enough to see in Kanha this trip.

We had a wonderful 10 drives and some fantastic encounters with our four-legged and feathered friends!

Barasingha caught mid-munch!

Barasingha caught mid-munch!


Oriental Scops Owls, resting for the day.

Oriental Scops Owls, resting for the day.


Had a wonderful time with this Grey Headed Fish Eagle, posing nicely, lah!

Had a wonderful time with this Grey Headed Fish Eagle, posing nicely, lah!


... and then taking a drive-by for fish.

... and then taking a drive-by for fish.


The mustard fields, and brilliant blue-painted village houses were wonderful.

The mustard fields, and brilliant blue-painted village houses were wonderful.


Butterfly in back of my cottage.

Butterfly in back of my cottage.


Who's the King of the Castle?

Who's the King of the Castle?


Lonely baby sambar who was very interested in us, crossing the road, back and forth.  Unusual to see without adults.

Lonely baby sambar who was very interested in us, crossing the road, back and forth. Unusual to see without adults.


Frolicking jackel pair.  Hadn't seen this behaviour before.  They were very affectionate, grooming each other and playing in the flower-filled field.

Frolicking jackel pair. Hadn't seen this behaviour before. They were very affectionate, grooming each other and playing in the flower-filled field.


Thousands of tiny dew drops lining the web, as well as the spider in the early morning.

Thousands of tiny dew drops lining the web, as well as the spider in the early morning.


Tough night?  Jungle owlets.

Tough night? Jungle owlets.


Fun frog on my door.

Fun frog on my door.


The landscape surrounding the Barasingha was a field of colour!

The landscape surrounding the Barasingha was a field of colour!

Barnwapara Wildlife Sanctuary

Beautiful mustard seed fields and interestingly shaped hay stacks!

Beautiful mustard seed fields and interestingly shaped hay stacks!

And then we were off for the 5 hour (more like 6) drive to Barnwapara Wildlife Sanctuary in Chhattisgarh. We were staying at a sister property, Muba’s Machaan. Just 2 nights we had there. The Machaan’s are cottages set up on stilts and made entirely of wood. They’re set in a low forest and scrub property, with a lot of birds, which again was quite natural. Barnwapara was a bit warmer than Kanha, which would likely be a problem in the warmer months but it was quite comfortable at the end of November. The Machaan’s are also good for families, with each one having a large bed as well as a set of bunk beds. They are set quite far from each other though, so bring a good flashlight for night.

Purple-rumped Sunbird after his bath

Purple-rumped Sunbird after his bath

Barnwapara is a beautiful but rather sad forest, with a wide variety of habitats and good water. The forest reminded me a lot like Pench Tiger Reserve in MP, but, sadly, the amount of poaching that has occurred here is tremendous. The government is apparently serious about protecting the forest and bringing it back, but right now it’s a bit sad. We did see a large herd of gaur, wonderfully crossing the road and posing for us. Also saw a Nilgai, that barked continued alarm calls upon seeing us. We heard the alarm call of a sambar as well, but that was about it. Even birds were more of a rarity than I’m used to in the parks. It’s amazing how man can strip the resources of a place so thoroughly. The forest is beautiful though, so am hopeful they will be successful at reviving the wildlife of the area.

large_India2012b.._11_21_0032.jpg
Huge heard of gaur making their way through the forest.

Huge heard of gaur making their way through the forest.

Tadoba Anhari Tiger Reserve

A rest in the grass

A rest in the grass

Our final destination was to Tadoba. I had previously been there in the extremely hot weather of May 2011, so was curious to see the differences. But first we had to get there! The drive should have been relatively straightforward as a major highway went from Raipur to Nagpur. Yeah, that’s the story at least. An estimated 6 hour drive took us 12.5 hours! as our driver, in an extremely small and unsuitable-for-the-side-roads car, took a short-cut! Sigh… Lordy help me for shortcuts! There we were, after dark, trying to see on my Google Maps how the heck we were going to get where we needed to be, calling the helpful and concerned people at the Royal Tiger Resort. After stopping in a small village to get some village men to tear off a part of the car that was dragging into the wheel well, we bumped our way to get permission at a park gate to travel the last leg of our journey, through the actual reserve. If that had been denied, we'd likely have been another 4 hours. Assuming to additional shortcuts were applied that is. Actually turned out to be good timing, cause we came across a Russell’s Viper crossing the road… exciting!

Lovely pair of Yellow-footed Green Pigeons.

Lovely pair of Yellow-footed Green Pigeons.

We finally arrived, and thankfully the resort’s rooms were large, comfortable and had loads of hot water, warmed on the roof during the day’s heat, which was very welcome after that drive! Royal Tiger is located at the Moharli Gate right next to the jungle. We each had a deluxe room, which, for the price was exceedingly good value. The rooms were clean, spacious and as previous mentioned, loads of hot water. The food here was also very good, homely fare, and a similar good value. The folks running the resort were very helpful and accommodating as well. The only negative I’d have with the resort, was the incredible amount of bright lighting, everywhere. We tried to turn off as much as we could around us, but this was light pollution in the extreme. Unnecessary and really quite un-eco-friendly, especially when it’s set up right next to the park proper.

Lovely time with some Green Bee-eaters in a fabulous grasslands.  Our only non-tiger-chasing drive.  Loads of bird activity here.

Lovely time with some Green Bee-eaters in a fabulous grasslands. Our only non-tiger-chasing drive. Loads of bird activity here.


large_India2012b..0130_Drive3.jpg
Little bushchat stopping still for a second.

Little bushchat stopping still for a second.


Beautiful Red Avadavat.

Beautiful Red Avadavat.

We opted for our own arrangements for safaris, although I hear the resort’s arrangements are good. Following a detailed recommendation from a fellow Trip Advisor reviewer, we contacted Ishmail, a forest guide, who along with his driver brother Mubarak made our safaris quite seamless in a not-easy-to-organize park. Only thing to note for anyone interested in using their services is, their English is not fantastic, so would be tough to arrange unless someone in your party speaks Hindi/Marathi. Would be happy to recommend and pass on their contact information if anyone is interested.

Sambar in the lake

Sambar in the lake

Tadoba is actually fairly small, with the long main road running straight through it. After the Supreme Court ruling in October, this meant many of the smaller, side trails were closed to meet the percentage requirements of the core areas open to tourism. Other routes over the hill that I loved so much from last trip were also closed. Sadly it seemed to mean there was even more of a focus on tiger chasing, though happily, the majority of the travellers to the park seem to be far better mannered and more respectful of the wildlife than other tiger spots I’m used to. Good distances are kept when sightings are made, and there is no pushing or aggressive behaviour, that I witnessed in these 8 drives at least. Also unusual, foreigners pay the same as Indians for access to the park. Our guides told us, this increase in Indian fares cut down on the weekend partiers that would previously come from Nagpur and had increased the better behaviour we witnessed. Interesting if it can be verified. Certainly anecdotally I’d agree.

Long night!  Tigress in the wee hours of the morning.

Long night! Tigress in the wee hours of the morning.

Tadoba is one of the best parks for chances of tiger spotting that I've been to in India. And this trip did not disappoint. In fact, even during the monsoon, sightings are apparently very good. Being able to go into a park during monsoon is an unusual plus and I hope to experience it some day. Our first drive brought us upon a lovely female, part of a mating pair, as she relaxed in the grasses, then checked out the smells, and wandered around the jeeps. Even though people parked well back from her, she was completely unphased by jeep loads of people, and spent a long time wandering around, often very close to us, before sauntering back into the forest.

Now that smells interesting?

Now that smells interesting?


Hanuman Langur waiting for nightfall.

Hanuman Langur waiting for nightfall.


Green Bee-eater in profile.

Green Bee-eater in profile.

A young family was very active in one area a - mum and 3 fairly old cubs. We came across the three bold cubs, even with a forest ranger on foot directing the jeeps to allow photos for all. The unconcerned behaviour was very like the lions of Gujurat. All 3 of the cubs came out at one point, and then in another, 2 of the them wonderfully took turns sharpening their claws on a slanting tree, before climbing into it for a bit.

3 adolescents taking a stroll.

3 adolescents taking a stroll.


Young tiger, not even looking at his fans.

Young tiger, not even looking at his fans.


That feels good!

That feels good!


"You guys still here?

"You guys still here?


Again on our last drive, this time wonderfully away from the masses and at the end of the drive, we came across one of the cubs on a small track. He was alone and had been cooling off in a pond before heading back to his family we rounded a corner and almost ran into him. We had to keep backing up down the road as he kept coming straight at us, until we were able to pull over and allow him to walk off. A future King of the jungle!

large_India2012b..0404_Drive8.jpgIndia2012b..0397_Drive8.jpg]
Bye bye lovely tiger!

Bye bye lovely tiger!


Thinking our drives were over, we were happily surprised by an offer to take us for a morning drive in the Buffer Zone. The forest department is developing it to allow more drives and variety of landscapes in the park. They're also creating some overnight rest-houses, set up in concrete stilts for another experience. This could be very good indeed! W woke up our forest guide from a local village and then set out. In October/November in many forests of India, you find masses of giant wood spiders, always in my past experience, high in the trees. Well, turns out they're high in the trees, because people clear paths through them at the lower levels! This drive, they were everywhere!!! Ishmail grabbed a big branch to clear (most of) them from coming directly into my face as we drove. Mostly it meant breaking the webs, but during the course of the drive, the branch ended up with a lot of spiders! And though most were caught, I still concentrated on dodging and weaving the stray web/spider, heading straight for me! Lynnie, for once, am glad you weren't there!

Counted over 20 babies on the branch after one drive down a route.

Counted over 20 babies on the branch after one drive down a route.


The beautiful giant tree spiders, not high in the trees after all!

The beautiful giant tree spiders, not high in the trees after all!


Purple Swamphen as we were leaving on our final day.

Purple Swamphen as we were leaving on our final day.


Not sure what they mean with a gate like this?  Ouch!! In the buffer zone.

Not sure what they mean with a gate like this? Ouch!! In the buffer zone.


large_India2012b..50Drive9hdr.jpg

Too soon it was over and we were driving back to Nagpur for our overnight train to Delhi, dreaming of “tiger tiger tiger.”

Village before dawn, waiting for our guide to enter the buffer zone.

Village before dawn, waiting for our guide to enter the buffer zone.

Posted by LisaOnTheRoad 05:52 Archived in India Tagged birds wildlife india safari tiger forests kanha jungles tadoba tadoba_andhari barnwapara Comments (1)

Wonderful Wildlife ~ The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly!

...but mostly good!

sunny 35 °C

Green Bee-eaters all lined up in a row in Bandhavgarh

Green Bee-eaters all lined up in a row in Bandhavgarh

Final India Installment for Spring 2012 and it’s all about wildlife! This blog will be Photo-Heavy and Info-Lite since all the parks here are repeats for me and all of you intrepid readers. The last three weeks were pretty much spent wildlife-ing, with Sandra in Panna and Bandhavgarh, where we explored with Yugdeep and Bejoy. I ended up with what will likely be my final attempt to love, Ranthambhor and a quick visit to Kanha my indispensible naturalist guide, CV Singh.

Sirkeer Malkoha singing for a girlfriend in Panna!

Sirkeer Malkoha singing for a girlfriend in Panna!

Panna

Brown Fish Owl waiting for dark...

Brown Fish Owl waiting for dark...

...and then takes off at dusk

...and then takes off at dusk


Wonderful displaying Wooly Necked Stork

Wonderful displaying Wooly Necked Stork

So excited to be heading back into the forests! My return to Panna introduced me to my first jungle forays with Bejoy, a lovely naturalist from Kerala. We had wonderful drives in the park, although the vulture gorge, one of my favourite places to visit, was closed because Bithri (my first tiger) was staying there with her very new litter of cubs. I always love returning to Panna, especially to visit with friends. This trip, I brought out Canadian Maple syrup, Canadian bacon and flour (Indian flour doesn’t work very well with western baking) to make a pancake breakfast for the gang. They set up a couple of burners outside, which was a relief cause I’m sure I’d have melted if I’d tried to cook in the kitchen!

A family of Pied Kingfishers we watched for ages on the river.

A family of Pied Kingfishers we watched for ages on the river.

Pied Kingsfisher Acrobats!

Pied Kingsfisher Acrobats!


In the gorge of the falls.  Temples are carved into the sides of the gorge.

In the gorge of the falls. Temples are carved into the sides of the gorge.

Seems amazing given the times I've been here, but I hadn’t made a trip to the falls before. This was a real treat! We climbed down into a really beautiful gorge, with the falls only a trickle at this time of year, but still lovely. It was so lush and green with a rich deep pool filled with fish and feeling of serenity that was pretty amazing. It was obviously a favourite spot for bears, since the claw marks were evident all over the trees, some incredibly high up. I'd love to be able to stay overnight there and see all the activity that must happen in the evening. Panna is always, and most definitely on the 'Good' for me.

Grey Headed Fish Eagle deciding what to do

Grey Headed Fish Eagle deciding what to do


Fab dragonfly

Fab dragonfly


Langur at dawn

Langur at dawn

However, we had 'the Bad' towards the end of our stay. Another guest joined the jeep and he was pretty amusing. He had some very strong opinions – "look over there, a peacock is dancing!" Bejoy would point out. Said our intrepid companion, “I don’t like.” Uh oh… There was actually quite a bit he didn’t like, including drives that were too long. Too bad, cause we like ‘em! He certainly liked the pretty village ladies, and spent his time trying to get someone to introduce him to one! I’m thinking if you want to dally with an Indian lady, a village is not the best place to try to do so!! All kinds in this world!
Sunset in Panna

Sunset in Panna

Bandhavgarh

Sunrise in Bandhavgarh

Sunrise in Bandhavgarh

Panna was unusually wet for this time of year and that meant bugs! Which do not go well for poor Sandra!! So, heading from the more rustic Ken River Lodge, to the super luxurious Taj Banjar Tola in Bandhavgarh was just what the doctor ordered for her final stop. We met up with Yugdeep and like always, had wonderful sightings and experiences. He’s pretty great, both as a naturalist and as a friend and we had a fantastic time with him.

The new dominant male in Bandhavgarh's Tala zone - Bamera.  Was very excited since this was my first sighting of Bamera.  We saw him at the beginning of the drive, sleepy in a pool of water.  Yugdeep wisely said he'd likely be there a few hours before moving, so we left the 'hoard' and explored the rest of our route, before returning just before he got up and moved to sit and watch us.  So great having a good guide!!  We would have missed so much if we'd stayed watching the sleeping back of a tiger all afternoon.

The new dominant male in Bandhavgarh's Tala zone - Bamera. Was very excited since this was my first sighting of Bamera. We saw him at the beginning of the drive, sleepy in a pool of water. Yugdeep wisely said he'd likely be there a few hours before moving, so we left the 'hoard' and explored the rest of our route, before returning just before he got up and moved to sit and watch us. So great having a good guide!! We would have missed so much if we'd stayed watching the sleeping back of a tiger all afternoon.


Interesting way to clean out your nose?  Bamera's nose was damaged during mating with a tigress!

Interesting way to clean out your nose? Bamera's nose was damaged during mating with a tigress!


Green Bee-eater taking a drink

Green Bee-eater taking a drink


Common Hawk Cuckoo actually sitting still!  More commonly known as the brain fever bird

Common Hawk Cuckoo actually sitting still! More commonly known as the brain fever bird

We had some unusual sightings, including two Brown Wood Owls, which are not supposed to be there. Got a record shot only though. There was also a rather big fire in the non-tourist-zone, which was upsetting, especially knowing all the nesting birds at this time of year. All those beautiful chicks in the line of the fire would have had no chance. There was no word on the cause, but most likely people in the forest illegally. It was pretty smoky for a day in the camp, and at night, you could see the red glow of the fire from our terrace.

Black Ibis coming in to land!

Black Ibis coming in to land!


We call him Frank! A blue-eyed tiger in Bandhavgarh!

We call him Frank! A blue-eyed tiger in Bandhavgarh!


Came across this beautiful Changeable Hawk Eagle moment after catchin the hapless squirrel!  It was a bit uncomfortable because the little guy was still alive as the eagle started picking at him.  Yugdeep said playing dead was a strong defence instinct.  He'd known a jungle fowl to be picked almost clean of feathers by the Changeable Hawk Eagle, only to get up and escape when the eagle thought it dead and let go of it.  Maybe that happened to the striped squirrel too!  yeah, that's what happened!!

Came across this beautiful Changeable Hawk Eagle moment after catchin the hapless squirrel! It was a bit uncomfortable because the little guy was still alive as the eagle started picking at him. Yugdeep said playing dead was a strong defence instinct. He'd known a jungle fowl to be picked almost clean of feathers by the Changeable Hawk Eagle, only to get up and escape when the eagle thought it dead and let go of it. Maybe that happened to the striped squirrel too! yeah, that's what happened!!


Hello?

Hello?


Guarding a salt-lick cube from the troop!

Guarding a salt-lick cube from the troop!

Panna and Bandhavgarh easily, and expectedly were The Good part of this wildlife visit, as always! Wonderful luxury in the jungle and then back to Delhi for Sandra to catch her flight, and me to head off on the train to Ranthambhor.
Racket-tailed Drongo in the sky

Racket-tailed Drongo in the sky

Ranthambhor

Peacock diving off the fort wall in Ranthambhor

Peacock diving off the fort wall in Ranthambhor

Now, on to The Bad! You may remember that I’ve not been a fan of this park, more specifically the way it is managed and run. I thought I’d give it one more try, utilizing new contacts and information from the lovely Usha at Khem Villas. Ranthambhor has a lottery system for jeeps, which means, there are a large number of jeeps, and drivers (aka naturalists [sic]) get the same amount of work whether they are good or not. This also means that 9 times out of 10 you get a tiger-chasing driver (and I mean chasing – the speeds driven inside this park are criminal), with no knowledge of the park outside tigers. It also means that you are jammed 6 people into a jeep (if you’ve been lucky enough to book a jeep), which affords you no real ability to take photos or comfortably see the park. At this time of year, we were able to get cancelations for the days I hadn’t been able to book online (there are quite a lot of block booking scams that happen so a large number of cancellations also happens, and it isn’t the high season).

The peacock stood out so strongly.  It's vibrant colours against the dry brush background was lovely.

The peacock stood out so strongly. It's vibrant colours against the dry brush background was lovely.


Finally my first tiger in Ranthambore!

Finally my first tiger in Ranthambore!


4India2012..04_0079.jpg
Incredible forest at Ranthambore

Incredible forest at Ranthambore

So, here we are, in Ranthambhor, comfortably set up, camera in hand, and… Tiger census was happening. I understand the need for an annual census, but, it would be nice if they could actually plan and organize this effectively, alerting visitors to this. I had only booked one month in advance, which should have been plenty of time for them to know this would be happening. Nope, that would be too efficient I’m thinking. Our morning safaris were an hour late starting because of this census, and then, a whole day of safaris was cancelled. No reimbursement, no switches, no nothing. Not even a head wag! Beware – in and around the full moon in May, do not go to Ranthambhor. [note: after writing a letter of complaint to the forest department, and having a friend forward the same letter to the Minister of Forests for Rajasthan, a reimbursement was paid, although no acknowledgement of my letter was made. I'm not sure which of the letters made a difference.]

Battling Rufous Treepies

Battling Rufous Treepies


Breeding plumage on a Great Egret

Breeding plumage on a Great Egret


Useful fishing platform!  Egret fishing from a Sambar

Useful fishing platform! Egret fishing from a Sambar


Thirsty Indian Hare

Thirsty Indian Hare

So, I saw my first Ranthambhor tiger, but still likely my last. Never say never, but I won’t voluntarily go back there. This is said with some sadness too, because the park itself is spectacularly beautiful. There is an abundance of birds and animal activity you notice as you speed by. The jungle, the ruins of the old fort and the rambling buildings taken over by the jungle are so atmospheric. So much potential here, but of all the parks I have visited in India (and that is a lot) for my money, it is hands down the worst-run park in India.

Quiet moment at the fort

Quiet moment at the fort


Langur surveying his kingdom up at Ranthambor Fort

Langur surveying his kingdom up at Ranthambor Fort


Asian Paradise Flycatcher

Asian Paradise Flycatcher


Peacock Pose

Peacock Pose

On the good side, finally made the hike up to the Fort, which was really lovely and offered the best photography moments. Also the pond out back at Khem Villas, which was sadly some of the best wildlife watching and where we were treated to a pied kingfisher fishing.
Pied Kingfisher diving for dinner!

Pied Kingfisher diving for dinner!

Pied Kingfisher. Missed the fish!

Pied Kingfisher. Missed the fish!

Resident Crocodile in the pond at Khem Villas

Resident Crocodile in the pond at Khem Villas

Spend a wonderful few hours watching a Pied Kingfisher hunt in the pond at back of our Lodge

Spend a wonderful few hours watching a Pied Kingfisher hunt in the pond at back of our Lodge


large_4India2012..06_0301.jpg

Kanha

Quintessential Kanha!  Beautiful Barasingha at dawn

Quintessential Kanha! Beautiful Barasingha at dawn

The Ugly? No! not the park, that was wonderful, and such a contrast to Ranthambhor. For my money (and admittedly basic-knowledge), Kanha is one of the best-managed parks in India. The Ugly came on the overnight train ride to Jabalpur from Sawai Madhopur near Ranthambhor.

You’ll have heard me rant about ‘VIPs’ in India before, but this took the cake. It was easily the worst, almost comically and stereotypically-bad experience with VIPs I’ve ever had. We boarded our train and settled down for the ride, before stopping to pick up our cabin mates for the evening. A married couple by the manifest. Mr. & Mrs. M. were ushered in. He, a train bureaucrat, of middling importance I’m sure, but of massive importance to him and even larger importance to his wife. They entered the cabin (meant for 4 people) along with lovely little sycophants, who proceeded to spread out in the room and hallway, while Mr. M held court and they all nodded and laughed and smiled with great sincerity. The two servants travelling with them served the tea and snacks, weaving in and out of the throng. "Holy Crap", I texted CV sitting squished into a corner and avoiding the gesticulations of a hanger-on. "Holy Bureaucratic Crap", he texted back.

This went on till past 10pm, when they finally settled down to snore and snort through the night. No need for an alarm call though -- up at 6am, to make and receive calls... and of course the steady return of the entourage. Including a Mrs. Sycophant, who made sure Mrs. M felt equally important. Yeesh!!! Get me to the jungle!

Resting Barasingha before the day heats up.

Resting Barasingha before the day heats up.


Tree filled with so many honey bee hives! More than I've seen before.

Tree filled with so many honey bee hives! More than I've seen before.


Smallest baby gaur I've seen.  Very curious, and mum was pretty protective!

Smallest baby gaur I've seen. Very curious, and mum was pretty protective!


Right inside the Park ~ a man up a pole!  But, how did he get there?  No ladder, or pegs?  A mystery!

Right inside the Park ~ a man up a pole! But, how did he get there? No ladder, or pegs? A mystery!

After that wonderful night, we were thankfully off to the fabulous Kanha. We stayed at a lovely place - The Kanha Jungle Lodge, which was really remote and set in a rather dense forest. The lodge is run by the family of Mr. Kailash Sankhala, one of the founding people in Project Tiger in India. A real VIP! Someone who had done such wonderful things for conservation and the sometimes seemingly endless and frustrating fight for the tiger and India’s forests.

The only tiger we spotted this trip in Kanha & really far away, climbing a tree tho!

The only tiger we spotted this trip in Kanha & really far away, climbing a tree tho!


What a kid will do to get a drink!

What a kid will do to get a drink!


Poor one-horned Barasingha

Poor one-horned Barasingha

Our naturalist was very good, the drives slow and absorbing and our time wonderful. I will always be excited to return to this park. And that is that!

Seemingly endless quest to catch a good shot of a racket-tailed drongo in flight!

Seemingly endless quest to catch a good shot of a racket-tailed drongo in flight!


Fighting for the ladies can be hazardous to your Antlers!  Barasingha deer

Fighting for the ladies can be hazardous to your Antlers! Barasingha deer

I am hopefully returning in the fall of 2012 and then again in the spring of 2013, but for the first time in 4 years, I haven't committed to take with me. So, if you, or other friends/family are interested in photography, wildlife, culture, adventure, food, shopping… really the star’s the limit in India… let me know. I will take up to 6 people, and singles are welcome.

India is a daunting place for the first-time visitor, especially on a shorter time-frame. But one you go, and I bet you’ll be hooked! This has happened for everyone I’ve brought, most of whom had no desire to visit the country (this includes myself!) before hearing, reading and seeing about my adventures there.

Check in to the travel and photography website www.cheekymonkeytravel.com for some sample itineraries or contact me if you're interested. I’ve been to, and/or taken people to all the main tourist destinations of the country, and more interestingly for me, many of the less-touristed locations. If you have a small group wishing to explore India, any number of combinations can be arranged. My focus and passion is for wildlife and photography, but not to the exclusion of everything else that is so wonderful in India. Being open to the unexpected creates some of the most amazing Moments.

Turkey Blog is Next ~ not the Christmas dinner!

Namaste!

Full moon over Kanha National Park

Full moon over Kanha National Park

Posted by LisaOnTheRoad 09:11 Archived in India Tagged birds wildlife tiger full_moon egret langur sambar drongo pied_kingfisher changeable_hawk_eagle barasingha brown_fish_owl wooly_necked_stork grey_headed_fish_eagle sirkeer_malkoha indian_hare Comments (0)

LIONS and TIGERS and BEARS! OH MY!!

Wildlife watching in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh

sunny 20 °C

You have no idea how 'geekily' excited I was to be able to use this title! Drove my friends crazy with my excitement. Might have had them a tad worried about my sanity along the way too!

A bit late in posting, but, this blog takes up where I last left off – still in Gujarat, and about to head to the forests… finally. It was the longest period I’d been in India without a forest fix and I was really ready for it. It was fairly long drive to reach Sasan, and a later start to the day, so we broke it up with a stop at a lovely new homestay, just 1-2 hours (depending on traffic) outside Ahmedabad. Happily, Tigu, or Bugs as he is also known, is a big wildlifer and well-connected in the parks.

Pair of little Minivets darting back and forth in Sasan Gir.

Pair of little Minivets darting back and forth in Sasan Gir.

The old family home is rather like a sprawling southwest hacienda. Tigu and his wife Neelanjali were wonderful hosts who live and work in Ahmedabad during the week, but come down here each weekend to join the rest of the family. Tigu also operates a NGO in Ahmedabad – a hospital to take care of injured wildlife in and around the city.

Chital chewing on an old antler.  They, and other animals, eat them for added mineral and calcium nutrients.

Chital chewing on an old antler. They, and other animals, eat them for added mineral and calcium nutrients.

We took a trek into the surrounding farmland fields as the sun set and finally saw my first blackbucks after many attempts! Beautiful and fast antelopes with elegant spiraling horns and black and white coat on the males. Tigu arranged a guide for us in Sasan Gir, which turned out to be a blessing about which I’ll elaborate later, as well as arranged our stay in the Gujarati-run forest guest house in Velavadar. Such excellent contacts to have as it turns out! Gujarat has many plusses, but tourism infrastructure is not one of them. Without ‘fixers’ or people in the know, or established tour companies/resorts it is rather challenging to visit some of the areas, in particular the National Parks.

Blackucks in Velavadar

Blackucks in Velavadar

After dinner, we sat out in the backyard, exchanging wildlife stories, while bats flew overhead and a couple of spotted owls dashed from tree to tree on the hunt. Such a great spot to stop before heading to Gir.

Tough day in the jungle.

Tough day in the jungle.

Sasan Gir Wildlife Sanctuary

Gir is home to the last population of Asiatic Lions in the world. This is fairly problematic, since any disease could wipe this population out -- they are very crowded in a relatively small single area. Over 400 lions, 89 males, are in a 1400-square-kilometre area. There have been attempts to move some lions to other states and parks, in particular by Madhya Pradesh, but the Government of Gujarat has successfully resisted this so far. As far as self-interest goes, it is a good idea. If MP got Asiatic Lions, they would have all the big cats in their state, effectively cornering the safari market. Gujarat is planning to relocate lions to another forest within the state, but these plans have been on the drawing board for some time without solid progress. Something will have to be done soon though, I’ve never seen such scarred lions, nor such few prey in a park.

Their fur is also different from the African lion.  More variation with darker tipped hairs

Their fur is also different from the African lion. More variation with darker tipped hairs

In recent years, lions have been found roaming outside the park in search of food and territory. There are also an estimated 400 leopards also in the park, which seems a likely number since we had several brief sightings, or near sightings of this normally elusive animal.

Tribal herders are still living inside the park, which was different for me. The local maaldhari herders are a devout, nomadic tribal peoples. The government apparently compensates the herders for cattle lost to lions, unless the cattle is killed in areas of the park they are not allowed. Not sure about Gujarat, but in other similar situation with tiger compensation for cattle killing, the money often arrives months late and substantially reduced by the various forest officials and beaurocrats it passes through the hands of.

Scratching an itch!

Scratching an itch!

We arrived at the government lodge – Sinh Sadan – to find the repeated requests, faxes and phone calls for accommodation by the frustrated, but diligent, local travel agent, were essentially ignored. We knew there was an issue, since the forest lodge refused to ‘guarantee’ the booking, “in case VIPs turned up.” Apparently, even if we’d gained lodging, if a VIP and entourage subsequently turned up, we’d be turfed out! This was my first run-in with the issues the facing Gujarati tourism.

Lioness relaxing in the forest

Lioness relaxing in the forest

So, with a smile, but no head-wag, the decidedly unhelpful man at the reception desk informed us that maybe he’d be able to give us two rooms for that night, but not for the rest of the 4 nights, since they were completely booked. While Sinh Sadan is not that good a value for foreigners, it is very cheap accommodation for Indians. The big advantage is, you are automatically assigned one of the 30 jeep slots for park entry if you stay there, and it is where all daily permits into the park are issued. There is no on-line booking for jeeps, nor is there any reservation system. Like Tadoba, you must line up early before each drive to try for an entry.

Smallest chital fawn I think I've seen.  Immediately hid in the brush when we arrived, as mum anxiously poked her head to look at us.

Smallest chital fawn I think I've seen. Immediately hid in the brush when we arrived, as mum anxiously poked her head to look at us.

We ended up staying at the Anil Farmhouse, which was also ridiculously overpriced for the value, but, we had lovely balconies overlooking the river from which to have a pre-dinner alcoholic beverage, safely hidden from public view. It was especially good because on one night we were chatting and a rustling noise came from below. Peering over the balcony we spotted a hyena! My first such sighting of these notoriously shy and nocturnal Indian animals. They are solitary, unlike their pack-cousins in Africa. Very exciting!

Amazing collection of birds at the dam in Gir.  Grey Heron, Cormorants, Pied Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher and Peacocks

Amazing collection of birds at the dam in Gir. Grey Heron, Cormorants, Pied Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher and Peacocks

Meals came with our package, but were underwhelming. Especially when the lodge filled up with Gujarati vegetarians and we were asked not to have dinner in the dining hall, or to come very early, so as not to offend these guests. Had our dinner, hiding in shame on my balcony, after also consuming our shameful pre-dinner drink. Such heathens are we! Also underwhelming was the lack of tea or coffee or even hot water before our park drives in the morning. They made it two of the mornings, but the other two, nowhere to be seen. We even offered to make our own if they’d give us a kettle, but no kettle. Sigh… wouldn’t really care but at the 4500 INR per night (and that’s with a 10% discount) they need to step it up! The biggest plus about Anil though, was our driver for the safaris – Honia. He was incredibly diligent, reliable and knowledgeable about the park. Getting up early at about 4am to get in line and ensure our entry.

Lovely family, including 3 cubs.

Lovely family, including 3 cubs.

We had 5 drives in the park, and lions each time! On our first sighting, it was a pride of lionesses and cubs at a kill. 7 lions we saw that time, including a prolonged time with two lionesses and three cubs. Beautiful! They are completely unphased by people, in a jeep or on foot. The park rangers show up fairly quickly after a sighting is made, and walk around with only a big stick, moving people in and out of position for a photo op. Good in the sense that it spares the lions the crazed crowding and antics you might see at Bandhavgarh or Ranthambhore, but makes it a bit tame. A little more like seeing lions at African Lion Safari in Toronto, than in the wild.

Two lone males in the early morning.

Two lone males in the early morning.

Our third drive however, saw us alone and coming upon two males. This was for me the best sighting we had, and we were able to stay with them for quite a bit. The poor boys though, they were so beat up! Walking along in the same zone we had seen the lionesses with cubs the previous day, we assumed they had come across this pride and tangled with the protective lionesses.

Nothing like your brother after a tough night!

Nothing like your brother after a tough night!

It was very early in the morning, and at one point, one came up to his brother who was lying on the ground, and rubbed his face against his. The expression was so weary… you could just see him thinking, man, that was one hell of a night. He was the more beat up of the two, and on top of his facial cuts, was limping a bit as well.

The most beat up of the brothers

The most beat up of the brothers

We skipped a drive one afternoon and went for a walk actually inside the park. Not sure this was kosher, but there are so many farms and holes in the walls of the park, I think it’s a pretty common occurance. The Teak trees have all started to lose their foilage, so the large dry leaves don’t make for very quiet trekking. We were crunching along and came upon a small group of langurs. One dropped to the ground, and keeping one eye on us, carefreely bounded along the forest floor. Then, he came to an abrupt stop, turned about, and took off at a speed unlike anything I’d seen before. He’d come face-to-face with a leopard lying in the grass! Such a streak of light he was, and not even a warning call. It was every monkey for himself! Rather reminded me of George Costanza at the party when fire broke out and took off, bowling over the children and old people!

We tried to catch up with the leopard, but really, we sounded like a herd of elephants walking through the dry leaves, it was a pretty futile attempt. Still, found the spot he’d been laying and I don’t think I’ll ever forget that ‘moment’ Fast monkey!

Love those first sun rays on a winter morning!

Love those first sun rays on a winter morning!

Anil Farmhouse only had 4 nights available to us, so we thought we’d see if Sinh Sadan had had a cancellation. We arrived, and the same super-helpful desk man informed us, if only we had booked it when we arrived he could have accommodated us. Huh? You said it was booked the rest of the week! Wouldn’t mind so much, except again, no head wag! Yeesh!!

Velavadar National Park

Beautiful red, green and gold fields weren't enough, must add in colourful ladies at work.

Beautiful red, green and gold fields weren't enough, must add in colourful ladies at work.

Decided to head to Velavadar a bit early, which was a bit of a drive, so after the morning safari we popped up to Bhavnagar for the night at Hotel Sun n Shine, so we could get an early start to Velavadar. This hotel is apparently one of the best in Bhavnagar, and wasn’t bad, but nothing to get excited about. At 2000INR per night for each room, including breakfast, was actually a pretty good deal. My room was pretty musty and stale-smoke-smelly; the shower sprayed everywhere in the bathroom except me; and the black mold probably wasn’t so good, but it was sort-of clean, and the sheets looked washed, and the breakfast was fabulous! Redeemed the stay, so would have to say, overall, good value for money.

Large blackbuck herd crossing our path in the early morning hours.

Large blackbuck herd crossing our path in the early morning hours.

We were looking forward to the Gujarat forest guest house in Velavadar, mostly for the quiet dark nights you usually get in such places, but were uncertain about the food situation. So, we stopped to get some fruit to tide us over. I was about to get out of the car and join the purchase party, when I was told “you can’t leave the car! The price of bananas will triple!” So for any of you 'foreigners' out there, 12 bananas should cost about 30INR ($0.60) – as long as your face isn’t seen that is!

Leapfrog anyone?

Leapfrog anyone?

The forest lodge was very basic, with a bunch of ants for company and musty bedclothes. no biggie cause it is a 'forest' guesthouse, but foreigners are charged US$50 (about 2500INR) while Indians are charged 500INR. Usually don’t mind this type of two-tier system, but it was a pretty big difference, and very overpriced. My room was apparently better than CVs, so guess I should count myself lucky! Then came the meal. Same meal, very basic and not too great – US$7 for me (350INR) 50INR for Indians. Same food! Considering the fabulous 60 rupee thali plate Remy and I got at the basic restaurant in Champaner, this was ridiculous. All in all, I’d say that Gujarat’s government tourism is probably the worst thing about Gujarat tourism. Not great if you're trying to increase tourism beyond hard-core animal lovers... (smile) head-wag!

Loads of Nilgai in the park

Loads of Nilgai in the park

Then the VIP showed up! All the lights went on, the staff were running around kow-towing to the minister, the TV went on (full volume), and our peaceful stargazing forest night went out the window. However, there's usually always a way to salvage a situation -- I snuck up to the roof after midnight, and had a blissful 40-odd minutes stargazing and dreaming in peace after the lights (and TV) went out. We did have a bit of a chuckle, having our covert drink on the roof and watching said gov’t official talking loudly on his cell phone below. A Nilgai ambled from the grass nearby him. He was so startled he went running (and I mean running) for his room. Quite funny -- this man is the chief representative of the wildlife parks in Gujarat.

7Blackbuck3.jpg

But, moving on from the accomodation review, the highlight and overwhelming wonderful focus of this part of the trip, was Velavadar National Park. This small, 34 square-kilometer untravelled park was beyond wonderful. Beautiful grasslands of red and gold and green teaming with life. The majestic Nilgai, in large herds; the elegant blackbuck, keen to show off their graceful leaps; crazy numbers of harriers – the largest nesting ground of harriers – nicely landing, hunting and flying for us; then there were marshy wetlands filled with birds of all sort, including beautiful eagles, pelicans, ducks...

Pallid Harrier's giving us a lovely flight show.

Pallid Harrier's giving us a lovely flight show.

Our cameras seemed never to stop, as we kept trying to capture the perfect flight photo of the pallid, marsh and montague harriers. Not to mention the mid-leap beauty of the blackbuck antelope. The mature males have incredible spiraling horns, that can reach 65cm. Wonderful stop on the trip.

7Blackbuck2.jpg
7Blackbuck5.jpg
Was photographing this beautiful eagle when a flock of bird rose up behind him.  Wonderful sight!

Was photographing this beautiful eagle when a flock of bird rose up behind him. Wonderful sight!


Large eagle on the lakefront.

Large eagle on the lakefront.


Harrier

Harrier


Pallid Harrier carrying a huge bug for dinner.  Consensus says... dragonfly?

Pallid Harrier carrying a huge bug for dinner. Consensus says... dragonfly?


Snakebird

Snakebird

The Little Rann of Kutch

The cracked flats of the Little Rann of Kutch

The cracked flats of the Little Rann of Kutch

Leaving these wonderful plains, we head off to our final park. And yet another completely different environment. The Little Rann of Kutch. On the way we passed a dead cow, with long-billed vultures, at least 20 white-backed vultures (endangered so good to see so many) and Eurasion Griffons. Demoiselle cranes were flying noisily overhead as well, heading to the Little Rann.

At least 20, very endangered white-backed vultures, chased away from a cow carcass by the hungry village dogs!

At least 20, very endangered white-backed vultures, chased away from a cow carcass by the hungry village dogs!

I’ve often talked about the fun signs you see while driving through India. Well, turns out the written signage in Hindi is also often amusing. Hindi is a phonetic script, each character having a very specific sound. Apparently, many of the Hindi signs spell out English words. We passed one freight truck that announced to the world it was a ferret carrier! Interesting freight! Think I better concentrate more on learning the Hindi script!

Three different vulture species sitting in a tree... k.i.s.s.i.n.g....

Three different vulture species sitting in a tree... k.i.s.s.i.n.g....

We arrived in the Little Rann to a wonderful lodge – Rann Riders. There’s not much accommodation in the area, so is good that this lodge doesn’t rely on competition to keep up a wonderful property. The huts are spread out among the garden and are designed like the local tribal mud huts. Very comfortable, with the ubiquitous Gujarati swing outside my door. The dining hall too was a wonderful relaxing place. Low cushioned benches, trestle tables, and mirror-work studded clay walls made the place very atmospheric and comfortable.

8PHarrier1.jpg
Pallid Harrier in the desert

Pallid Harrier in the desert

We did 3 safaris into the 4953-square-kilometer Little Rann Sanctuary, which is a time-losing, vast, dry, flat and barren landscape with an incredible beauty all of its own. Cracked earth is alternately gold or white, depending on the angle of the sun, and punctuated by succulent cacti and acacia scrub. During the monsoon, the desert apparently turns into a sea of mud. You really do lose time here. There is often no visible landmark as you race across the dusty flats in search of life.

Many discussions and many weigh-ins about the identity of this falcon, till it was put to rest by Shukra, the best authority in all India!  Shaheen Peregrine Falcon it be!

Many discussions and many weigh-ins about the identity of this falcon, till it was put to rest by Shukra, the best authority in all India! Shaheen Peregrine Falcon it be!


Shaheen Peregrine falcon

Shaheen Peregrine falcon

Tammy Faye move on over!  Beautiful short-eared owl, one of about eight we came across nesting on the ground in the early morning.

Tammy Faye move on over! Beautiful short-eared owl, one of about eight we came across nesting on the ground in the early morning.


Short-eared owl in flight

Short-eared owl in flight

The Rann is home to India’s last wild population of the khur or Asiatic wild ass as well as a host of birds, including a natural breeding ground for flamingoes and other desert animals. The area is also a source of salt, which is farmed by pumping up ground water.

7WildAss.jpg
Wildass on the run, kicking up the dust!

Wildass on the run, kicking up the dust!

We lucky enough to see a hoopoe lark couple. Incredibly difficult to see or find, in no small part because of the natural camouflage it has blending into the cracked earth. The male was in full mating pursuit of the seemingly ambivalent female. He was strutting along, tail high, and then he’d make a piercing whistle, and jump straight up into the air, wings splayed in a beautiful arc back to the ground. CV and our driver were so patient with me, as I tried to capture this event, which occurred far in the distance, with a nebulous focal-point. When I finally compiled the photos of one, almost fully captured arc, I noticed he landed behind his starting point. Watching him do the display, it didn’t seem like that. It seemed more like a full arc. Wonderful!

Hoopoe lark fanning his tailfeathers for his mate.

Hoopoe lark fanning his tailfeathers for his mate.


Hoopoe Lark

Hoopoe Lark


Wonderful mating display of the Hoopoe Lark.

Wonderful mating display of the Hoopoe Lark.

Another Little Rann highlight - McQueen's Bustard

Another Little Rann highlight - McQueen's Bustard


McQueen's Bustard in flight

McQueen's Bustard in flight

On our last outing we were searching for the desert fox, and found the poor little guy, and his mate. She very smartly disappeared into the scrub and laid low. He unfortunately took off, with us in hot pursuit, screeching to a halt near him and snapping pictures as he darted away. Didn’t do that for long though. Could imagine the energy he expended trying to escape us, so took pity on the panting little guy and stayed put. He was so beautiful! Just how you’d imagine a fox should look. Sleek and red, with a large and luxurious bushy tail. Not at all like the ones we see in the urban landscape of Toronto.

Desert fox fleeing to a safe distance before posing.

Desert fox fleeing to a safe distance before posing.


Posing at a safe distance!

Posing at a safe distance!

Gujarati holiday done, it was back to Delhi for a quick turn around, laundering the clothes and then out to Panna and Ken River Lodge in Madhya Pradesh. Met up with my friends -- Jennifer from the UK, and Trigun, Shukra, Bhavna and Vini for a wonderful week.

Lovely bushchat posing on the succulent plant that provides the main nourishment and water for the wildass.

Lovely bushchat posing on the succulent plant that provides the main nourishment and water for the wildass.

Panna Tiger Reserve

The Ken River

The Ken River

It was so cold in Panna, I was not quite prepared for it. Haven’t stayed this long in India before, but still, hasn’t been much later last year. In the morning, I had 4 tops layered on, and then my pashmina and gumsha. Plus a blanket over the legs. Frickin cold! Needed my Canadian gear! Had to get the quilt off the second bed in my room to double up at night! Wussie Canadian girl!!

Indian Roller flies by

Indian Roller flies by


Grey-headed Fish Eagle, looking for dinner in the #4 pond

Grey-headed Fish Eagle, looking for dinner in the #4 pond

Panna has seen a resurgence of tigers of late – cubs from the two relocated females, as well a few more transplants, so the park was quite different. Much busier and more of a focus on tracking tigers. I arrived late and met Trigun, Shukra and Jen as they were heading in for a safari, so I hopped out of my car and into the jeep mid-road. Was a good thing I did too! As we were sitting quietly, a mother balou (sloth bear) and her two almost-grown cubs ambled across the road and quickly hid in the forest! As we approached closer, the mum popped her head up to take a look at us, then one cub appeared over her left shoulder and the other over her right. Was quite fun to see.

Mama bear watching us from the safety of the forest.

Mama bear watching us from the safety of the forest.

Dragonfly siloutte against the waxing moon

Dragonfly siloutte against the waxing moon


Had not seen a Hoopoe in flight before.  And I thought they were a beautiful bird before!

Had not seen a Hoopoe in flight before. And I thought they were a beautiful bird before!

9Hoopoe1.jpg

We spent so much time fruitlessly tracking the tigers, only to have them appear around the corner to another jeep, that we decided to head up to the vulture gorge and forgo the tiger tracking. As we were driving along the river, the alarm calls sounded. Chital, Nilgai, peacock, sambar and Langur on both sides of the river. The langur calls were quite frantic, so we thought leopard, and yep. A beautiful and large male appeared out of the bush, across the river from us. Quite far, but very clear. He meandered in and out of the scrub, following the river. Stopping to stare at a couple of peacocks.

9Leopard3.jpg

Looking ahead, we could see a wildboar haplessly going about his business, when the leopard cleared the bush in front of him and climbed a log. They stared at each other for a few tense moments, while the baby wildboar disappeared into the bush. Once they were the clear, the boar turned and followed.

9Leopard4.jpg

Deciding the meal wasn’t really within his grasp, he stretched out on the log and enjoyed the sunshine. He stayed with us for 20 minutes before disappearing into the trees.
9Leopard2.jpg

Serene langur moment

Serene langur moment


Honey Badger don't care!!  Pugmarks for a honey badger.

Honey Badger don't care!! Pugmarks for a honey badger.

Our second last drive, was also not a tracking expedition, and as we were leaving the old village meadow, the sun was disappearing and we were heading for the gate, we came across the two twenty-month old cubs of Bithri, or T1 as she’s now known. She was the first tiger I saw in the wild, so this was personally pretty special for me. Both handsome boys were lying in the grass and we stretched out our time with them as far as we could, going well past dark. Lions n tigers n bears! Oh My!

Bithri Boy

Bithri Boy

On the way to Bandhavgarh. Must have been a good monsoon!  Sunset over a ..... field?

On the way to Bandhavgarh. Must have been a good monsoon! Sunset over a ..... field?

Bandhavgarh National Park

Out of the woods, comes the Sukhi Patiha cub

Out of the woods, comes the Sukhi Patiha cub

After 14 drives in Panna, it was off for a few drives in Bandhavgarh. I had left last May very excited about the park, but in actuality nothing has changed that much. You still have a ridiculously long route to complete. Last May, since it was the off-season, we were able to just do part of the route, but not at this time. Still, on our second drive, as we were finishing our route at the Sukie dam, we came across a tiger on the road. It was the young 2-year-old Sukiepatir male cub, who has been making moves into the Tala zone we were in.

Taking in the smells!

Taking in the smells!

Was a typical Bandhavgarh start to the sighting though. He was walking on the road and two jeeps were trailing him, with another in front. One of the jeeps trailing him started revving his engine to get him to turn his head. Idiot! Jen and I got so mad at the insensitivity of this. The tiger just left the road, moving into the bush. While the ‘Idiot’ was scanning the bush, we moved ahead and saw him cross a meadow, so positioned ourselves where the guides thought he’d emerge. The ‘Idiot’ started up on us, so we pretended we were scanning the sky for wire-tailed swallows, not letting what we'd noticed. Can’t be good karma, but felt good!!

He's not unhappy with me, honest!  It's a Flehman's Response.

He's not unhappy with me, honest! It's a Flehman's Response.

Then he came out! So close to us he was, marking a bush, and then inhaling the scent with a snarly expression from the flehmans reaction, just like our house cats. They also use the extra scent organ at the back of the tongue and looks like they’re snarling, but not really. He then ambled across the road, calm as could be, and wandered off into the meadow against the setting sun. Lovely!

9zTiger3.jpg
large_9zTiger4.jpg

Nice short visit to Bandhavgarh this trip and was excited to find all of the photography books I’d printed to help raise money for the tiger protection iniatives of my friends at Pugdundee Safaris had sold! Next step will be to look for a publisher/printer who will create them at a more affordable rate so it can be a sustainable endeavour.

Traffic jam in the Kutch

Traffic jam in the Kutch

Wonderful last month of wildlife, and just like that it was back in TO and working on the next trip. April/May/June is the best time for photographing wildlife in many of the parks in India, and I’ll be heading back to take advantage of this in mid-March. The intense heat drives wildlife to water, which dramatically increases your sighting chances. It allows you to see farther into the jungles and forests than you do in the cooler months, when the vegetation is dense and full. However, luck is king and the wonderful adventures described in this blog entry took place in the cooler months, which offers its own unique and wonderful attractions. All that being said, I will be starting to formally arrange to bring people to India with me, and to these wonderful parks. The focus will be on small groups, always accompanied by excellent naturalists, which I’ve found is crucial to getting the most out of your experience and dollar, as well as being the most hit-n-miss aspect of safaris.

My business partner, Sandra and I have been hard at work setting up our new company. A website and more information will be coming before we hit the road again.

Wishing everyone glorious and adventure-filled travel!! arm-chair, or otherwise!

Wildass walking on the horizon

Wildass walking on the horizon

Posted by LisaOnTheRoad 12:33 Archived in India Tagged eagle tiger leopard harrier gujarat indian_roller panna bandhavgarh asiatic_lion sasan_gir blackbuck hoopoe_lark wildass desert_fox hoopoe gir little_rann_of_kutch mcqueens_bustard short_eared_owl Comments (2)

Bandhavgarh, Wonderful Once Again

... and a Spectacular Finish at the Canadian Official Residence

sunny 45 °C

Rajberah meadow, complete with a bunch o' vultures

Rajberah meadow, complete with a bunch o' vultures


My final couple of weeks in India for this trip and what could be better than hanging out with my friend Yugdeep in Bandhavgarh? Not much!! and what a wonderful start our first drive brought!

Peacock posing

Peacock posing


The private courtyard outside my hut

The private courtyard outside my hut


This was my first time staying at Taj Safaris in Bandhavgarh, and was there because it was where my friend and naturalist Yugdeep was currently working, and because at this time of year, it’s actually a bit more affordable! Mahua Kothi lodge is spectacularly lovely. Spacious and luxurious mud-style huts, with large courtyards piled high with pillows and various seating areas, and all set out in thick bamboo thickets. Taj hospitality is typically wonderful, and I think I got the best room in the house, and the best butler – Vishnu from Nepal. A next-door neighbour to another naturalist friend at Ken River, Shukra as it turns out.

Serpent Eagles in synchronized mating flight.

Serpent Eagles in synchronized mating flight.


So off into the forest I went with Yugdeep. Just he and I, which is another luxury of this time of year. April and May are stinking hot in many parts of the country, but for wildlife: cost, smaller crowds and spectacular photo ops, you can't beat it.

Macaque family

Macaque family


I had had such wonderful tiger sightings in Tadoba earlier with CV, that my immediate tiger thirst was a little quenched, so we decided to avoid 'the Horde' and meander the forest. Which, happily, you can do again in Bandhavgarh! They’ve broken up the Tala zone and removed the route system. So no more centre-point check-ins - back to roaming at will, chasing alarm calls, or sitting quietly waiting for the action to come to you.

Chital in mid-leap

Chital in mid-leap


The park gives the appearance of being much emptier this way, since the majority of the vehicles are tiger chasing and sitting at the sites of a more ‘sure-thing’ sighting. They’ve also opened up routes within the zone that have not been opened for a while. I’m cautiously optimistic about the park, having arrived believing it might be my last visit here, to thinking I’ll definitely have to come back. They’re also talking about opening walking zones in the park, and opening up a separate gate and area next year. Fingers and toes are crossed! Might throw in a few eyes too... two at least.

Indian Pitta calling for a girlfriend

Indian Pitta calling for a girlfriend


But, I digress! Where was I? oh yes, meandering the forest. About 20 minutes in, we were driving through the Barua Nala area, when chitals started to sound the alarm and broke from the undercover, darting across the road. Curious, we slowed down, and looked into the nala (valley) to our right and “tiger”!!

Vanvai

Vanvai


A beautiful girl, about 4-5 years old and referred to as Vanvai. Yugdeep had last seen her a couple of weeks earlier, heavily pregnant and now she wasn’t. She may have left the cubs to get a drink, or maybe try to make a kill since she was panting very heavily and with the way the chitals ran from the nala, this was likely the case. Regardless, she was walking straight for us!

Vanvai catching her breath

Vanvai catching her breath


She is apparently a normally shy girl, but we were the only vehicle there, and pretty quiet. She seemed quite calm and unphased by us as she settled in a nearby thicket. What a sighting!

Vanvai looking sweet

Vanvai looking sweet


We spent almost an hour with her, as she sprayed, wandered, sat, rubbed up and down trees, walked on the road and sharpened her claws in a dead stump, not 10 feet from us! Unbelievable! And the whole time, no one joined us.

Vanvai marking a tree

Vanvai marking a tree


Finally she started to walk back down the nala, and then must have heard something, since she started running. So fast, the ground she covered. Then she broke through the bamboo, and ran across the road and up into the hill. There was intense growling and thrashing about that sounded so close I was actually nervous for the first time, as was Yugdeep. We wondered if she had heard her cubs call, or sensed a predator. Some boars broke cover and moved out of the thicket. Soon the noise died down, and peace swept over the nala again. So exhilarating!

Vanvai scratching into a log, with great concentration!

Vanvai scratching into a log, with great concentration!


After this long encounter, we moved out and continuing our original meandering plan, coming across 'the Horde' gathered around a female tiger far in the distance and exited the park. Bandhavgarh is back! Please please let it stay!!!

Tickell's Blue Flycatcher

Tickell's Blue Flycatcher


Langur playing peekaboo

Langur playing peekaboo


Tuesday morning was a quieter one. Not too much activity happening for the most part, but some lovely birds and explored a newly opened area. Wonderful to photography trees and monkeys that I haven’t been able to do during the last few visits racing around at top speeds.

The Horde, waiting in vain for Bokha to appear.

The Horde, waiting in vain for Bokha to appear.


Came across 'the Horde' gathered around Bokha, who we couldn’t actually see, deep in a thicket. We left to spend time in the forested stream area near the entrance to the Tala zone, looking for racket-tailed drongos and other birds, when the tigress who killed Chorbhera this year sauntered down the stream, just like Chorbhera had done for me many times before. She has a bad eye, from the mortal fight she had with poor Chorbhera. A nice, but quick sighting, before she settled well out of sight in the cool stream.

New tigeress, who vanquished Chorbera

New tigeress, who vanquished Chorbera


Langurs hanging out

Langurs hanging out


The old boy himself - B2

The old boy himself - B2


That afternoon we happily caught up with the park’s patriarch, B2. He was sitting in a water hole for quite some time, then slowly hauled himself out and started grooming, before stretching out for a nap. B2 looks fabulous, heavily muscled and strong, but his movements looked so slow and painful. Not sure if it’s arthritis or a recent injury or strain as Yugdeep thought, but sad to see him move so painfully.

Langur inching his way down to water while B2 naps

Langur inching his way down to water while B2 naps


Was funny to watch a desperately thirsty langur slowly inch his way to the water. He'd move about a meter, then sit for a few minutes watching, before repeating the performance, over and over, for about 20 minutes. The langur finally, and oh so cautiously grabbed mouthfuls of water.

Langur finally grabbing a drink - one eye on B2

Langur finally grabbing a drink - one eye on B2


Monitor Lizard

Monitor Lizard


Wednesday morning was the morning of the monitor. We saw 3 monitor lizards, having never seen one before in Bandhavgarh and loads of wonderful birds. Saw paradise flycatchers at a waterhole, along with a black-naped monarch. Then in the entrance nala saw a blue bearded bee-eater, a painted spurfowl couple, a serpent eagle, brown fish owl, sprangled drongo and black-hooded orioles. Also the tiniest baby wildboar I’ve seen to date. At first I thought it was a group of partridge-type birds around the adult, but nope, teeny tiny little striped babies.

Teeny tiny baby wild boar

Teeny tiny baby wild boar


Loving the park again, and loving that I’m loving it!

In the aft, it poured buckets! Including on us, when we went to the village. On the way to Rancha, past Kings Lodge, we chatted with a couple who have a home here. Yesterday they saw Vanvai moving her cubs to a new location. Rancha village is very prosperous, tidy and lovely. Smelling especialy wonderful, as is the forest, with the rain. Got nice and wet, and drove back to the lodge holding umbrellas over us. Very funny looking I’m sure.

Beautiful and wild-eyed chital stag

Beautiful and wild-eyed chital stag


Met a lovely French NBA basketball player at the lodge -- Boris Diu, who's also a wildlife nut and amateur photog. He apparently plays for Charlotte currently and was briefly (30 minutes) traded to Toronto last year. He’d love to play for Toronto since he’s a big fan of Canada, and of course the proximity to Montreal and Quebec. And boy was he tall! Yugdeep told me they had a couple of young US girls at the lodge that weekend, who didn't have any tiger sightings, but weren't upset at all, cause they were so excited to see Boris.

Brahminy Skink

Brahminy Skink


Thursday's drive was quiet throughout the park after all the rain. No sightings that we heard of, but new to me was a brahminy skink, yet another monitor lizard, a mating pair of Serpent Eagles flying acrobatics above and finally caught a greater racket-tailed drongo in flight, though not to well. Also only had one racket-tail. Oh well, good to have goals to keep working towards. Yugdeep and various forest guides have been working hard trying to get them for me, but they’re so friggin fast and easily scared away.

Racket-tailed Drongo, minus the racket-tail

Racket-tailed Drongo, minus the racket-tail


Curious langur baby

Curious langur baby


On our last drive we traded in our Tala tickets for the Mugdi zone. Saw some beautiful lillies that come out briefly after the rains. Heard the brain-fever bird everywhere – it’s the common hawk cuckoo. So sad to end my stay here, and had such a wonderful time with Yugdeep. He let me drive the Taj jeep back to the lodge too! The jeeps are massive, and the sun was setting. Took about twice a long to reach the lodge, and was pretty funny seeing the double-takes from other drivers and folk on the road. Fun fun fun!!!

Beautiful lily following the rains

Beautiful lily following the rains


And then back to Delhi for my last week with Lynn and Remy. Lynn looks after the Canadian High Commission dog when the family is away, and we moved into the Canadian Official Residence! which was kept low-key while she was staying there. Was a pretty wonderful experience to live here. So beautiful and very different from the only other time I'd been there during the Thanksgiving Ball.

Official dog - Cleo

Official dog - Cleo


Backyard of the OR

Backyard of the OR


So now I'm busy planning the next trip, and working on 'officially' taking people on escorted tours. My focus is obviously wildlife, but, have managed to visit pretty much all the major tourist sites in India over the last three years. In late November I'm planning to visit Gujurat and try to see the lions of Gir -- the last population of Asiatic lions in the wild. As well as go birding in the Rann of Kutch, and of course visit Panna and Bandhavgarh again. The rest is still in the planning stages. So exciting!

Bandhavgarh plateau

Bandhavgarh plateau

Posted by LisaOnTheRoad 07:35 Archived in India Tagged wildlife bird safari tiger bandhavgarh Comments (0)

Wildlife Adventures in Central India

With a sidebar in Kerala

sunny 44 °C

Sunset on Kumarakom Lake

Sunset on Kumarakom Lake

Kerala Easter Break

Always seem to be playing catch-up this trip! Next up I’m heading to Bandhavgarh for a week with my friend Yugdeep, so more wildlife photos will be coming! Getting tired of them yet?
Indian Pond Heron in breeding plumage

Indian Pond Heron in breeding plumage


When last I left off, it was approaching the Easter weekend, so, with a long weekend free, weary expats were looking for some rest and relaxation. Off Lynn, Paul, Simon & I went for said RnR to Kerala.
Little Girl and her kitten in Kochi

Little Girl and her kitten in Kochi

Quick flight to Kochi and then 2-hour drive to our resort, which was fabulous. Our Villa's deck opened out onto a long pool that wound its way in a meandering path through the resort. Ours was at the end, which also overlooked Kumarakom Lake, which the resort was named for.
large_Kerala007.jpg
Perfectly relaxing time for over-worked embassy folk! We swam, drank, ate and of course being in the birthplace of Ayurveda, took advantage of the spa. I had a lovely 4-hand Ayurvedic massage. Very relaxing, but a tad different from what my western-friends and family might be used to. You get to wear wonderfully flattering little disposable underwear, and then get massaged all over. And I mean all over! Really nice once you get used to it...
Purple Heron

Purple Heron


Keralan Houseboat in a lake filled with water hyacinths

Keralan Houseboat in a lake filled with water hyacinths


We also took a lovely lunchtime houseboat trip around the lakes, with all kinds of fascinating sights.
Boat o'wood

Boat o'wood


The larger houseboats don’t get down the more beautiful canals that we’d canoed through on my previous trip to the backwaters, but was still a nice way to spend the afternoon.
Wacky palm in Kerala

Wacky palm in Kerala


Keralan Gent

Keralan Gent

Wildlife Roadtrip Extraordinaire!

Tadoba Tiger

Tadoba Tiger


After Easter, I hit the road for a 10-day, spectacular wildlife trip, to three parks that had been on my ‘list’ for some time. My friend, and naturalist extraordinaire, CV Singh, also came with, so I was once again able to fully take advantage of the parks, in particular the wonderful birds of the area.

Satpura National Park

Gaur in Satpura Landscape

Gaur in Satpura Landscape


Our first stop was to Satpura National Park, and a lodge that is a wildlifer’s dream – Forsyth Lodge. Ecologically aware, and designed for people who love wildlife, the lodge also has, what I’ve not come to expect, excellent naturalists. David Raju was our naturalist for the visit, and he was exceptional. Showing us not only the beauty of the park’s creatures, both large and small, but sharing his obvious love for this special and unique spot with us.
Wacky trees

Wacky trees


Lonely camera

Lonely camera


Satpura covers an area of 524 km² and joins up with the Bori and Panchmarhi Sanctuaries to become part of a larger Central Indian park area of 1427 km². The park is reached by boat across a river and strictly limits the number of vehicles allowed to enter each day, which is a wonderful thing both for the forest and for the experience of the people allowed in. The terrain is stunning, with beautiful forests, meandering streams, massive boulders, rocky gorges and grasslands.
Dawn in Satpura

Dawn in Satpura


Famous for the density and sightings of sloth bear and wild dogs, we of course saw none of these! But as I have often experienced in India’s parks, I tend to not see what I’m told I will, where I’m told I will, so I’ve come to expect the unexpected with my sightings.

Giant Malabar or Indian Squirrel

Giant Malabar or Indian Squirrel


Satpura had some wonderfully different animals. Isolated populations of creatures far from the normal ranges they're experienced normally, like the Giant Malabar Squirrel. They’re the largest squirrel in the world, measuring over 3 feet long, including the tail, and are really beautiful.
Changeable Hawk Eagle we watched hunting.  He was so intent, scanning the forest for movement and likely lunch!

Changeable Hawk Eagle we watched hunting. He was so intent, scanning the forest for movement and likely lunch!


We also visited a tusser silk worm breeding farm.  Was fascinating and the cocoons and moths so large.

We also visited a tusser silk worm breeding farm. Was fascinating and the cocoons and moths so large.

Pench National Park

Pench pond filled with wildlife

Pench pond filled with wildlife


After Satpura, we were off to Pench National Park, part of the forest system Rudyard Kipling wandered as he wrote about Mowgli, Sher Khan and Baloo. We stayed at Tiger N Woods in lovely rustic raised wooden rooms called Machaans. The setting was lovely, but the park experience not so great. Tiger chasing is not what I go to the parks for, and although we repeatedly said this, we unfortunately did a lot of tiger chasing. I’d give the park another chance, because I’ve heard good things from other wildlife-focused people and the landscape looked lovely, but probably wouldn’t make a special trip.
Langur on a vine

Langur on a vine

Learned a good lesson here though. After schlepping shampoo around when I travel, only to use supplied products at the various hotels, I didn’t bother this trip. At Tiger n Woods we were supplied with lovely little packets of Black and Shiny shampoo!!! Yup! And it was actually black! I quickly lathered up and rinsed at super speed! Not being too certain about the listed products that promised to make my hair black and shiny! You know you’re off the typical foreigner tourist trail when…
Jackal mid leap

Jackal mid leap

Had a really lovely time on our last afternoon when we met up with an old friend, Dharma, from Kings Lodge in Bandhavgarh. He drove us around some buffer areas and villages surrounding Pench, which provided us with proportially larger photo oppurtunities for this stop. And all of the new bird sightings (referred to as lifers apparently) for me.
Indian Courser

Indian Courser

Tadoba Tiger Reserve

Paradise Flycatcher diving for a drink

Paradise Flycatcher diving for a drink

Our final park was Tadoba Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra. And what a fantastic park it was! This park is not typically on the non-Indian tourist list, and is not very well serviced. This makes it doubly useful to have a local guide to help, especially if you don't speak Hindi. The place we stayed at is one of the only full-service lodges in the park and was pretty great. Tiger Trails is also focussed on wildlife people and set out in massive grounds with look-outs, water holes and machaans to explore, many of the waterholes set up with motion-tripped cameras that operate at night as well as the day. Unfortunately for us, it was so friggin hot, we would retire to our rooms in between drives, where I would plant myself directly in front of my full-blast AC.
Sambar chorus line

Sambar chorus line


Large male in Tadoba

Large male in Tadoba


Fortunately for us, it was so friggin hot! giving us amazing sightings from animals frequenting the refreshing waterholes. Each drive brought us something new, along with at least one tiger sighting. A mother with 3 cubs was spotting a few times -- with cubs and without. A wonderful extended sighting of a massive young male tiger, coming out and sprawling in a water hole to cool off his bits.
Young male paradise flycatcher

Young male paradise flycatcher


The birds were spectacular, in particular the paradise flycatchers, which were new for me and so showy. They were also super-fast, so hard to capture, but we tried a lot. I think our driver thought we a bit crazy with our bird-focus -- he'd have a lot in common with my friend Lynn! Probably half my photos must have been of these lovely birds.
Young Langur playing at sliding down the roof

Young Langur playing at sliding down the roof


Crested Serpent Eagle

Crested Serpent Eagle


On our last drive, CV spotted a mating pair of sloth bears. They were too far for good photos, but not too far for a good and interesting sighting as they played, chasing around a tree before realizing we were watching and melting into the grasses.
Langur mum on mum's day

Langur mum on mum's day


We came across an Indian nightjar that we spooked by stopping to photograph it. The poor thing flew straight into a clump of bamboo, getting stuck! It then just hung there and froze, in an attempt to do the usual and be camouflaged. Pretty funny! When we returned on the circuit it was sitting on a tree branch, nicely extricated.
Indian Nightjar stuck in some bamboo

Indian Nightjar stuck in some bamboo


Tadoba is now on my list to return to and check out during the cooler months. See it in different seasons, which are all apparently good for tiger sightings, though maybe not as frequent.
Indian Pitta, saw one, at the start of their migration to the park, then they were everywhere!

Indian Pitta, saw one, at the start of their migration to the park, then they were everywhere!


Knock-kneed Barking Deer

Knock-kneed Barking Deer


Heading into this trip I thought it would be really long – 10 days of early mornings continuous jungle drives. It went so fast! Faster than the usual week of such trips. Freaky how fast time flies these days!
Indian Roller taking a dust bath

Indian Roller taking a dust bath

Ananda Spa Decadence

Overlooking Rishikesh from our balcony at Ananda Spa

Overlooking Rishikesh from our balcony at Ananda Spa


And now, just back from pampering ourselves. Lynn and I went up to Ananda Spa, set high in the foothills of the Himalayas, above Rishikesh and the Ganges. I’d been here once before with Christa, and it doesn’t lose anything the second time around. Had a wonderful time in the clean mountain air getting wonderful spa treatments. Pretty sure I must look at least 10 years younger now!
Himalayan Bulbul from the balcony

Himalayan Bulbul from the balcony


On the way back down the mountain, we passed all sorts of cautionary signs on the curvy, steep roads. One struck me “life is full of fun, don’t end it now,” which was particularly interesting given a vedantic book I’d scanned at the spa about reaching my potential and spiritual growth. It was mostly quite interesting and a had a fair bit of good advse, but in one section it said, and I’m paraphrasing here, ‘playing toys as child is expected; as an adult is disgusting’; and ‘passion in a young man is normal, passion in an older man is disgusting.’ Hmmmm.... Pretty sure I’ll not achieve said enlightenment... and pretty sure I don’t mind all that much. I've discovered my chosen path in life is not so much Eat, Pray, Love as it is Eat, Play Love!

Happy trails! Off to the park tomorrow and then moving into the High Commissioner’s House, cause Lynn is their dog-sitter!
Peacock starting to take a break from a long, fruitless, female-enticing dance.  Poor fellow.

Peacock starting to take a break from a long, fruitless, female-enticing dance. Poor fellow.

Posted by LisaOnTheRoad 22:09 Archived in India Tagged birds wildlife india tiger kerala Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 6) Page [1] 2 » Next