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Old 16th June 2011, 15:38   #16
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Default re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner

Hi, excellent photographs Nilanjan. I'm sure your patience would have got tested waiting for the tigress for that great shot. Hooked on to this thread. How far were you from the tiger and other animals when the snaps were clicked?

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Old 16th June 2011, 16:04   #17
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Default Re: the gatekeeper owl of Kanha

[quote=Subrat Seet;2393596]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
That owl is always there in the same spot as if to greet visitors in Kanha. It looks very cute. Here is the picture of it we had taken when we were there in March.

Fauji Sir, earlier there were four to five owl used to nest there. Now only one. While at Kanha, One of our guide said, Sir this owl keeps a watch on vehicles and counts. That was really funny. I have seen a photographs of five/six owl in the same nest.

@ Nilanjan Sir, Superb photography. Keep them coming.

TFS!
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Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Lovely pictures. Mesmerised by the "wise" owl and waiting for the full details of bachelor trip.
@ Fauji, Subrat: Glad you liked the pictures. I think those owls would win the most photographed creature in Kanha award. I was lucky to see them outside their hole, basking in the evening sun on a branch. There are some other pics of the owls - the eyes have different expressions for each shot, very human like. For example, the eyes widened in surprise when it heard an approaching vehicle (I was viewing it through the zoom lens, so could observe every change in its expression).

@ Sudev: Thanks...your drives in the Vitara have been quite an inspiration :-)

@ VindyWheels: Yes, we were close to driving away from that spot, given the heat, lack of shade and no certainty that the tigress would come. Eventually she came from the opposite side...I heard a choked word 'tiger' from someone (I was looking at the other side), and then saw her climbing over the rocks slowly.
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Old 16th June 2011, 16:48   #18
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Default re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner

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Man, I missed this and you really rubbing it in eh? The pic of the tiger dragging its kill is amazing! Waiting for the rest...
Well, I did ask you to come :-)

Your guitar would have been handy, especially in Bandhavgarh, in the evenings, sitting outside in the treehouse balcony once the temperature became bearable. Of course, you would have had some competition from the crickets and the jackals who entertained us with regular chorus performances.

Am talking about this first floor balcony:

Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_6414.jpg

@ vindywheels and others: Most of the wildlife pictures are taken at 20 - 100 feet. The closest tiger was 20-25 feet away. Yes, we were somewhat lucky with tiger sightings. But not lucky as some others, who took some great pictures and videos of tigers mating and tiger cubs - talk about being in the right place at the right time!
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Old 16th June 2011, 16:55   #19
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Default re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner

nilanjan- Believe me if I hadn't just done the Ladakh trip I would have joined you guys in a heartbeat. I have been reading some of the tiger trail logs on TBHP and each one is better than the other!

Must persuade Guderian to take the Admiral out on one of these. That would be quite an experience!

Keep posting. That pic of the easy chairs made me go all warm and tingly and want to play some Purani Jeans lol.
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Old 16th June 2011, 17:36   #20
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Default re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner

Quote:
She couldn't stand the presence of non-horny guys looking at her
LOL that is what brain gets up to when three bachelors go wild!

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Old 16th June 2011, 18:33   #21
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Default re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner

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LOL that is what brain gets up to when three bachelors go wild!
Temporary bachelors sir, for a week...fully knowing that there could be stormy receptions awaiting once we get back (you give women one week to chew over the fact that we didn't take them and are enjoying without them...guess what happens?). Also, there were other dampening factors:
1. Too sleep deprived, given the 4 am wake-ups. All well laid plans of playing cards at night went for a toss.
2. One had his second baby a few months back...guess that was on his conscience
3. My wife is ex-military, a crack shot with hot temper. Not a very good combination, you know...

Sent from my mobile device.
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Old 16th June 2011, 21:38   #22
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Default re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner

Nilanjan Sir, Where is that egyptian vulture pic taken. Superb. I think the balcony is from Bandhavgarh's tree hideways.
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Old 16th June 2011, 22:33   #23
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Default re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner

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Originally Posted by Subrat Seet View Post
Nilanjan Sir, Where is that egyptian vulture pic taken. Superb. I think the balcony is from Bandhavgarh's tree hideways.
Yes, we stayed at Treehouse Hideaways. 5 treehouses in 22 acres, adjoining park boundary, nice place. Would be great in winter.

The vulture pictures were taken on the way to Jabbalpur from Pench. Somewhere after crossing the ghats, in the outskirts of some small town - BHPian AbheekG can tell. This was a bone crushing unit in the middle of nowhere (well, in the middle of a field 100m from the highway), and was full of these vultures.
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Old 16th June 2011, 22:40   #24
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Default re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner

Nilanjan,
I am speechless after seeing your pics.

General Guderian,
When do you plan to lead us( Togo channel viewers) all to these kinds of trips ?
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Old 17th June 2011, 09:02   #25
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Default re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner

@Nilanjanray >> Wonderful Pics. Thanks for sharing.
Could you please provide a link to the place you stayed at in Bandhavgarh. I plan to visit again.
Also, any idea if they still allow personal 4wd vehicles in the forest ?
I drove within Bandhavgard in my 4wd Safari in 2009 after paying a fee.

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Old 17th June 2011, 09:46   #26
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Default re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner

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Originally Posted by jaysmokesleaves View Post
@Nilanjanray >> Wonderful Pics. Thanks for sharing.
Could you please provide a link to the place you stayed at in Bandhavgarh. I plan to visit again.
Also, any idea if they still allow personal 4wd vehicles in the forest ?
I drove within Bandhavgard in my 4wd Safari in 2009 after paying a fee.
Thanks. The resort link is: Tree House Hideaway. It will be wonderful in Autumn and Winter. Only issue: no room service.

They still allow 4wd vehicles, as per the MP Gov online safari booking website. I thought of taking the Fortuner inside - would have easily handled all the trails - but I preferred focusing on the surroundings and photography instead of driving, and the 360 degree view from an open top Gypsy. The non registered private vehicle fee is around Rs. 2000, I believe.

@ F150: I believe Guderian is planning to do a trip around Oct/Nov. The Bison-Admiral meet is yet to happen :-)
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Old 17th June 2011, 13:53   #27
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Default re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner

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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
Not quite the Indian version of Wild Hogs. But still a bachelor roadtrip without wives. Three friends getting together from different parts of the country, 13 years after passing out of B. School. To spend a hectic but fantastic week in Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha. In a vehicle that lived upto its reputation.
It was great catching up with you guys in Pench and Bandhavgad and thanks for the lift to Bandhavgad.

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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
Having to offroad when we couldn't find the way to the Bandhavgarh resort at 8.30 in the night. There were 3 different dirt trails with depressions where the headlights couldn't reach, and I wasn't too keen to get down and explore each one on foot with a torch.

In the end we went on the wrong trail, couldn't find the way back in the night, and had to go over rough terrain to regain the track and regain mobile signal.
We figured out that you guys could get lost navigating your way to the treehouse after dropping me at Tala village on Sunday night.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
We ambushed this tigress at a stream. Before this shot, she was cooling herself in a pool down the rocks, while we were waiting for her in 45 degree heat in an open gypsy. She decided to show up after we were approaching lobster territory - what a sadist! She is the same tigress pictured above who is carrying the Sambhar kill. Anyway, more on her later.

This experience, especially the wait and the team work in tandem between my gypsy and your gypsy was exemplary. I don't know if you understood what and how exactly happened during that evening.

Let me tell you the inside story: - This is Bas Nala area of Magdhi one (less explored/less commercialised zone of Banhavgad). While everyone else was concentrating their energies after the tired out mating-pair of Tigers in Tala zone, we who had enough of mating for 2 days decided to explore the other areas of Bandhavgad. 7th June (tuesday morning) we leave tala zone behind and go into the magdhi zone to track down the Sukhi-Patiah tigress with her 2 month old cubs and the Mukunda female with 2 year old cubs. While we go to Magdhi, you guys go in for another luck with Kankati. Ours is the only vehicle in the area apart from a crew of National Geographic. We track down a 2 year old male cub and find him resting on the road and blocking our path. We observe him for the next 1 hour after which he gets up, crosses the road looking at my camera and giving me exquisite shots
and then proceeded to climb up a small hillock and according to he guide heading in the general direction of a cave to take shelter for the rest of the hot afternoon.

Eye contact with 2 year old male cub of Mukunda female:
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-img_3810edit.jpg

Leaving the dude we go ahead and wait at the rocky area (where we were waiting in the evening) and start doing some oriole and paradise flycatcher photography.

Golden oriole in flight:
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We mentally take a note of this oasis and plan to come back in the evening and wait at the same spot. (we don't realise at this time that another tiger could be lying in the nala just beyond the rocky ledge at the very moment when we were thinking about the evening gameplan)

We meet in Tala village where I ask you about your luck in Tala zone when you tell me about your encounter with a tired and sleeping Kankati. I inform you that you sould take a chance during the evening drive in Magdhi. On purpose, I don't give you any further details of our observations of the morning.

We enter Magdhi on Tuesday evening, I instruct my driver to explain the gameplan to your driver (you may remember my driver walking up to your driver at Magdhi gata and give him some precise instructions). My plan is to drive straight to the same spot of the morning sighting and wait near the rocks/cave (in the general vicinity therof) and wait for alarm calls or movement of any kind.

Having 2 vehicles during a wait always pays off as you can position 2 vehicles in a way that a bigger part of the jungle gets covered. I call this - SETTING UP FIELDING TO CATCH THE TIGER ! So, we are waiting at the rocky area. The time is 4pm. Seeing us wait at the spot some other Gypsies (who have come to magdhi for the evening drive hearing about the morning sighting) also decide to wait and ask us why we are waiting. We tell them the truth and ask them to wait as well. We waith for 30 minutes. Then your driver gets a bit impatient and decides to check an area just beyond of where we are waiting. You leave. So do the other Gypsies waiting along with ours. We continue to wait. You come back in 15 mins and seeing us still waiting there, decide to wait out. The time is 4.45pm now.

Soon, there is a good 5-6 vehicles waiting in the narrow nala and some of the tourists start chattering and losing patience. In our vehicle we have a small discussion and decide to modify our game plan. We surmise that since you guys would be waiting at that spot till 5.30pm (as per original plan), we decide to go back a little a wait further down the road about a kilometer away. We do this with the idea of trying to score a double whammy and bag the Sukhi Patiah female with 2 month old cubs in the gamble (who is expected at the water hold to quench her thirst).

We wait at Sukhi Patiah dam positioning our gypsy (keeping the nose of the vehicle) in your general direction (so that if we get hint of any movement, we should not lose time in reversing the vehicle, etc......) . Time progress and its 5.30pm now. With time running out on the Sukhi Patiah family, we are informed by an incoming gypsy that there has been a tiger movement at the rocks where you guys are waiting (and that you have had a sighting).

We share high-fives in our vehicle at this news (instead of lamenting on a missed sighting opportunity) and decide the next course of action. I vote for waiting and staying put at the Sukhi Patiah dam waiting for the 2 month old cubs. The time is 5.35pm. By this time, your Tigress is already on the move and I presume that after coming out of the water and over the rocks, she must have immediately taken the road by taking a left over the rocks
and then must have come out on the roads with your vehicle and 3-4 other vehicles in hot pursuit (correct me if I am wrong). At this point of time we are still waiting at Sukhi Patiah dam about a kilometer away from your action site.

As we are waiting, sometime inside me tells me that we need to go back. Time is 5.40pm now. I discuss with my driver, get a nod of appreciation and dash off like maniacs. I presume , your Tigress at this point of time must be walking on the road in between bamboo clumps and 3-4 vehicles behind her.

With some spirited driving, we reach and find the Tigress side skirting a tree and coming out at a point where a fireline meets a main road.You guys are still behind the Tigress and I presume, manage to shoot her walking on the
road between the bamboo with some difficulty from a moving vehicle and with a crowd around you.

We get a fantastic head on shot of the tigress coming out on the road and for the umpteenth time in this trip establish an eye contact. I get this shot......
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-img_3449.jpg

As the Tigress moves ahead through the fireline, she looks back...
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_0405.jpg

Here we realise that her cub is also walking parallel to her through the bushes. As a bonus, my friend Adwait gets this through the bushes....
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_0415.jpg
Thats the best part of working in a group with a proper plan of action during tiger sightings.

With 2 tigers around you it can get confusing. My formula is to concentrate on the Tiger in the open and in this process get my umpteenth+1 eye contact shot...
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_0409.jpg

The rest you know and is now history. I will similarly narrate what happened over the next 5 minutes in a separate post someother time. Hope you enjoyed the narration and now have got an insight into the kind of planning we do for our drives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
@ VindyWheels: Yes, we were close to driving away from that spot, given the heat, lack of shade and no certainty that the tigress would come. Eventually she came from the opposite side...I heard a choked word 'tiger' from someone (I was looking at the other side), and then saw her climbing over the rocks slowly.
it was good that you held onto your patience. Thats a great shot of her over the rocks. can you email me the full resolution for my collection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
Not sure which eagle this is...doesn't look like a Serpent Eagle (this one has white eyes, while the SE has yellow ones). Can anyone identify this bird?


..............Egyptian Vultures...was guided to this place by Dr. Abheek Ghosh on or way to Bandhavgarh from Pench. Abheek insisted on stopping here - so glad that we did...............


...............without giving me a chance to tell them that my vehicle was christened after them..........

........The vulture pictures were taken on the way to Jabbalpur from Pench. Somewhere after crossing the ghats, in the outskirts of some small town - BHPian AbheekG can tell. This was a bone crushing unit in the middle of nowhere (well, in the middle of a field 100m from the highway), and was full of these vultures.
Seems like you guys had an equally good Kanha leg. The bird in question is a white eyed buzzard. I have been following/monitoring this vulture family over the last 3 years now. Here are the coordinates of the site latitude=22.7527942 & longitude=79.7217321 but I don't want a horde of sightseers flocking to this site and disturbing the birds.

Since this spot is right on the highway, we can perhaps institute a better monitoring system by asking our fellow team-bhp members to check on them and report back to me their status whenever possible / whenever passing by. I wonder if the moderators could help coordinating this interesting monitoring / vulture conservation activity.

1 photographs of the vultures from my end...
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-img_3272.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post

@ F150: I believe Guderian is planning to do a trip around Oct/Nov. The Bison-Admiral meet is yet to happen :-)
Is he planning a trip in these parts ?

Some pics of the Bison from my perspective :


Nilanjan driving the Pench-Jabalpur stretch
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-05062011097.jpg

Bison under fiery sky in the sahapura-umaria section.
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-05062011099.jpg
This photograph has been highly processed. Photo taken by a Nokia e5 mobile camera.

Bison under a Ray(sic)
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-img_3300.jpg

The man and his toys !!

Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-img_3311.jpg

A Jubiliant team after the wonderful team exercise
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-jub-team.jpg
Three Cheers to you Nilanjan, you rock !!!

regards,
Dr. A Ghosh
+919960332228

Last edited by abheekg : 17th June 2011 at 14:15. Reason: to edit images... correcting typos
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Old 17th June 2011, 14:24   #28
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Default re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner

Wow Abheek, what a post!!!

Was great meeting you and spending time together. The Jabbalpur drive was so much more enjoyable in your company that it would have been (probably a high speed dash through Katni otherwise). And we are indebted to you for the Magadhi tips :-)

The planning that seems to have gone behind lambushing that tiger is not less than ambushing a group of enemy soldiers, albeit in a different way :-). Would be great going on such trips - especially in the same jeep with you guys - in the future. We were dependent on the guides and drivers in the other drives given our lack of terrain and local animal movement knowledge, and were sometimes getting impatient with their impatience (few folks are willing to wait at one place).

Here a few pictures of that tigress from my side. Will email you the high res version of the tigress on the rocks picture. Can you also share your friends' brilliant pictures of Kankatti mating with Barmera (or Bamera?), and the one where the tiger is about to jump on the tigress, and both have their claws extended and are snarling at each other? I loved that picture.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take any wide angle pictures of the Bison under the peeping rays - they vanished just as I finished changing the lens :-(

Thanks for the wonderful pictures!

Last edited by nilanjanray : 17th June 2011 at 14:41.
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Old 17th June 2011, 15:12   #29
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Default re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner

The man who made the sighting possible. That's a Doctor dressed like a Daku, before the evening safari :-)
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_6420.jpg

The first sighting of the tigress. I was looking the other side, and reacted a bit late.
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_64441.jpg

She gave a burning stare and kept walking. Too bad her face didn't come in sharp focus.
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_6453.jpg

Crossed the road in front of the vehicles, not paying much attention.
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_6472.jpg

Walking on the road as we followed
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_6485.jpg

Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_6510.jpg

Calling for her cub(s)
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_65121.jpg

Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_6519.jpg

Marking territory
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_64991.jpg

Emerging from the bushes with her kill
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_65361.jpg
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Old 17th June 2011, 15:32   #30
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Default re: Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner

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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
Wow Abheek, what a post!!!

Was great meeting you and spending time together. The Jabbalpur drive was so much more enjoyable in your company that it would have been (probably a high speed dash through Katni otherwise). And we are indebted to you for the Magadhi tips :-)

The planning that seems to have gone behind lambushing that tiger is not less than ambushing a group of enemy soldiers, albeit in a different way :-). Would be great going on such trips - especially in the same jeep with you guys - in the future. We were dependent on the guides and drivers in the other drives given our lack of terrain and local animal movement knowledge, and were sometimes getting impatient with their impatience (few folks are willing to wait at one place).

Here a few pictures of that tigress from my side. Will email you the high res version of the tigress on the rocks picture. Can you also share your friends' brilliant pictures of Kankatti mating with Barmera (or Bamera?), and the one where the tiger is about to jump on the tigress, and both have their claws extended and are snarling at each other? I loved that picture.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take any wide angle pictures of the Bison under the peeping rays - they vanished just as I finished changing the lens :-(

Thanks for the wonderful pictures!
Thank you and it was my pleasure to share with you the interesting sights on the route and the picturesque alternate route via sahapura. Bamera mating with Kankati had been on for about 2 days and ended the day we reached Bandhavgad. My other group members who were there since friday night were fortunate to catch some amazing mindblowing mating action almost out in the open.

Here's 2 pre mating shots of Bamera and Kankati together.

Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-img_5855prebang.jpg

Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-img_5875prebang.jpg
Photographs : Courtesy Rajan Kinkhede

Now take a look at this pic and compare the branches with the tree in the left corner of the second pic of post #31
Call of the Wild: A 3500 km roadtrip to Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha in a Fortuner-dsc_0385.jpg

We were shooting orioles here in the morning around 9am knowing very well that it was a likely spot for a tiger to rest (pool of water below it) but who could have known that our location presumption would have been so spot on !! Haha....

Will confirm with Adwait and post that particular pic of which you talk about in a different post.

Enjoy.
I have added 5 stars to this post.

Dr. A Ghosh

P.S: Thanks for the Daaku pic and for uploading the Tigress shots as you followed her. With you on her tail, I could spend an extra 5 minutes at Sukhi-patiah dam waiting for the 2 month old cubs. We should do trips like this often and I already have plans to go back to Bandhavgad in 3rd week of december apart from continuing my Pench visits. I also invite you to spend some more time at Pench. 1 drive (this time) could hardly justify the immense potential of Pench.

Last edited by abheekg : 17th June 2011 at 15:58.
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