WildZests: 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bandipur Calling!

The weekend after Pozu's birthday was going to be at one of favorite Jungle Lodges in Bandipur. Gowri's cub Prince was being sighted quite often in the tourism zone and we were hopeful of catching a glimpse of the young male tiger ruling the area that once his mother reigned upon. An early morning start ensured that we were able to do a customary stop at the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. The migratory birds had yet to arrive and so we just decided to do a short boat ride and let the kids enjoy watching the crocodiles.


We reached Bandipur in time for lunch and got ready for our first safari in the afternoon. The weather was pleasant and the light was good, both conditions hinted towards poor sightings in the forest. And that's exactly what happened as well, the forest was nice and quiet and although one of the vehicles saw a glimpse of a leopard, the big cats remained pretty much elusive.

But we did have some good time watching a herd of elephants taking a dip in the pond as the sun was about to set in the background. Although this wasn't the best setup from a photography standpoint, it was an awesome experience just to witness how the jumbos helped each other down the steep incline of the pond and were enjoying in the water.


This lady streak-throated woodpecker gave us some nice opportunities to shoot with a clean green background.


Next day morning we spotted a Changeable Hawk Eagle sitting in between tall grass and we were wondering why it was sitting down there.

Changeable Hawk Eagle

Just then it flew with a Pond Heron clenched in its talons and perched on a branch far away from the track. What followed was a series of feather tearing action to start feeding on the flesh. I am sure this was just a snack for the huge raptor who are known to hunt smaller monkeys as well.


A huge alpha males gaur leading the herd that was grazing besides the track was an awesome sight to watch as well. Although they're usually pretty calm and avoid proximity to the jeeps, there have been few reports of aggressive behaviors by these largest wild cattle. Weighing more than a tonne at times, these males can be a serious threat if provoked.


Overall, it was a good trip and more so because I hadn't been to Bandipur in quite a while and it was just nice to be there. Our luck with the big cats didn't really work out this time, but that's a part of these wildlife trips, you shouldn't read too much into that anyway.