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Old 24th October 2015, 11:56   #181
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Default Off next week for some tiger shooting

I will be driving down to Tadoba, and then to Ranthambore. The vehicle has finished its 105,000 km service, seems ready for another trip.

A few photos: from Satpura National Park and from Mudumalai.

Salvaged photo from Satpura
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Male tusker, Nilgiris
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Tigress and cub, Tadoba. Evening shot.
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Partially salvaged photo, Satpura. It was really dark.
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Tusker, Masinagudi
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Satpura. Shot while canoeing. Can someone identify the bird?
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Tigress, Bandhavgarh
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Old 26th October 2015, 12:21   #182
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Default Re: Off next week for some tiger shooting

Quote:
Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
Satpura. Shot while canoeing. Can someone identify the bird?
Attachment 1430405
The bird is a 'Stone Curlew', also called a 'Beach- Thick- Knee' and is commonly found along swamps and marshes.

Another bunch of great pics of cats from you.
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Old 13th December 2015, 18:56   #183
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Default Re: Exploring the Great Indian Outdoors

Nilanjan - Inspired by the report of your quaint drive in the wilderness on page 4, I did the Anekal - Gumlapur - Thalli - Jowlagiri - Anchetty drive. Its been 3 years since your report and judging by what I saw today road conditions have improved significantly, which is just as well since I was in my small hatch. The last 10 kms to Anchetty provided the treat of negotiating some hair pin bends. Its a shame that whatever serene spot with a view you chance upon, its invariably taken over by modern music with their blaring stereos.

The drive back through Denkanikottai and Hosur was uneventful. Next time I will proceed further till Hogenakkal.
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Old 18th December 2015, 01:08   #184
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Default Wayanad and Ranganathittu

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Originally Posted by hothatchaway View Post
Nilanjan - Inspired by the report of your quaint drive in the wilderness on page 4, I did the Anekal - Gumlapur - Thalli - Jowlagiri - Anchetty drive.
It has been a while since I went that side, maybe I will do a drive some Sunday afternoon.
----------

So, I did a quick trip to Wayanad a few days back. Stayed at Jungle Retreat http://jungleretreatwayanad.com/, a very nice place in the midst of nature. The owner - Anil - is a member here.

Route taken: NICE Road - Srirangapatna - Hunsur - Nagarhole - Kutta - Wayanad. I barely made it to Nagarhole before the gate closed (no entry b/w 6 pm - 6 am). While passing through Nagarhole and Tholpetty, I encountered elephants, gaurs, sambar, cheetal and a civet cat. The elephants were a bit of a pain. I saw this herd of six, four were on the left side of the road, and two were on the right side, actually on the road. I slowed down and stopped for a minute to observe. No big vehicles passed (I would have followed it), so after a while I decided to drive through. There were a couple of female elephants, the rest were sub-adults. They were grazing peacefully and didn't show any signs of agitation when I stopped. And there was no small calf for the mother to get apprehensive about. So I just drove through them slowly. They continued feeding. I had been prepared to brake/reverse or speed up at the slightest sign of any elephant showing interest in me, but the gentle giants were relaxed. They completely ignored me - no swaying trunks or curling up the trunk or stiffening the tail or trumpeting or kicking the ground, all signs of nervousness or aggression.

In hindsight, it was not advisable, since I passed about 7-8 feet away from two that were on the right side of the road, and risked getting hemmed in. Not recommended.

Talking about elephants:
1. I (later) heard that there were 3 man killing elephants around the Thirunelli temple road. One with half a tail, one a makhna (no tusks), and one with great tusks.
2. Recently a man almost died - he and his wife saw this baby elephant on one side of the road, so the man got down to take a photo (mistake - never get down). He was so busy looking at the baby, that he didn't notice that the mother was standing and watching - half hidden - on the other side of the road. She didn't give any warning, but silently came upto the man and hit him with her trunk (that's what I heard, don't know the real story). The man has been fighting for life in the hospital, his spine was broken.

I was impressed with the prey density at Nagarhole. Very large herds of cheetal and many gaurs. Pench National Park has the highest prey density per square km, Nagarhole can't be far behind.

At the resort, I spent my time sitting in the balcony, listening to the sounds of the jungle and reading. Wasn't in the mood for any exertion e.g. jungle walks. Didn't even do Nagahole safaris as I had planned to. However, I did go for night drives, the first day in my vehicle (no sighting), and the second day in the resort jeep. During that drive we saw a tigress on Thirunelli temple road around 8 pm in the evening. She stood beside the road for a couple of seconds before melting away into the darkness. My first tiger sighting in Kerala. One of the resort guys was super excited, since this was the first time he saw a wild tiger.

I wasn't in a mood to take any photos while in Wayanad, but on the way back, I did a spontaneous stopover at Ranganathittu. Sharing a few pelican shots (handheld, mostly at 500mm):

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Old 18th December 2015, 09:48   #185
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Default Re: Exploring the Great Indian Outdoors

Outstanding images Nilanjan.

Ranganthitu never disappoints. It is an amazing place to get close to the big majestic birds.

I was in Haryana recently and stopped at Sultanpur. While the Storks and Pelicans were all there but smog/haze/mist (whatever it was) made for hazy pictures.

And what wonderful big cat sightings.

Great updates to this wonderful thread.

Cheers
Rajain
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Old 18th December 2015, 12:30   #186
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Default Re: Exploring the Great Indian Outdoors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajain View Post
Outstanding images Nilanjan.

Ranganthitu never disappoints. It is an amazing place to get close to the big majestic birds.

I was in Haryana recently and stopped at Sultanpur. While the Storks and Pelicans were all there but smog/haze/mist (whatever it was) made for hazy pictures.

And what wonderful big cat sightings.
Thanks Rajain. My first time to Rangathittu, since I am not a birder. I didn't take any photos in Wayanad, so just decided to stop for a while, have lunch and take a few bird shots.

Here is a recent cat photo from Ranthambore. Will put up that travelogue.

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Old 20th December 2015, 11:31   #187
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Default Re: Exploring the Great Indian Outdoors

A few more shots that I processed recently:

Wild-dog portrait, Tadoba National Park
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Leopards of Satpura National Park
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Pelican from Ranganathittu. Many left to process.

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Kumaon Himalayas, 11,000 feet
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Last edited by nilanjanray : 20th December 2015 at 11:33.
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Old 1st January 2016, 15:15   #188
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Default Re: Exploring the Great Indian Outdoors

Stupid: Hard to believe that these are not shot by WWF or National Geographic crew. Please: tell me you are.
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Old 2nd January 2016, 11:35   #189
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Default Re: Exploring the Great Indian Outdoors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inner Voice View Post
Stupid: Hard to believe that these are not shot by WWF or National Geographic crew. Please: tell me you are.
Just a nature and wildlife lover

Another pelican shot.

Golden takeoff
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Old 8th January 2016, 23:02   #190
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Default Re: Exploring the Great Indian Outdoors

I visited Ranebennur Blackbuck Sanctuary on my way back from a trip. It was an impulsive decision while passing Ranebennur. Used Google Maps to navigate through the town and then followed the signboards to the gate (Google Maps told me I had arrived when I was 2 km away from the entrance gate; trust the signboards). But it was locked. So I went back for 3 km and landed up at the forest department office near the forest rest house.

The folks there were surprised to see a single guy. Lots of questions. I made the mistake of saying that I hope to get a few photos pf blackbucks. Their ears perked up. What camera? Video? Handycam? I said 'not a video camera'. Then they pulled up a circular and tried to convince me that 'greater than 500mm' is the same as pto 500mm'. If they had their way, I would have paid Rs. 500 extra for the lens. This time I refused to play along (I had a huge argument in Ranganathittu, with a very rude forest official. I ended up paying Rs. 500 for my Nikon 200-500mm lens because I didn't want to waste the precious golden hour minutes arguing instead of shooting the pelicans). Finally they conceded. I paid Rs. 500 (for the vehicle) and Rs. 25 (single person entry) as forest entry fees. Meanwhile, another official tried to discourage me saying that the guide was not there, I should go back to Bangalore. I said that you are promoting this sanctuary through so many signboards, and now I am here, you seem disinterested. Do you want me to go back to Bangalore and talk to senior officials regarding why I came all the way and couldn't get entry?

Anyway, once I paid and got the receipt, things moved fast. That's the thing with government officials. Initially there will be lots of resistance, but once you fight and succeed, things move like clockwork. The bureaucracy that fights you tooth and nail, ensures that things are done as per SOPs.

I drove to the entry gate, and was met by a guide and another forest official. Nice chaps. Took my vehicle inside for some trail driving. Saw a few blackbucks from a distance. Unfortunately, I didn't get the distance and the light direction that I wanted (I wanted a few nice backlit shots of the antelopes jumping against the setting sun). But it was a nice drive. On the way back, I saw a jungle cat running across the road. No time to stop the vehicle and take a shot. I asked about hyenas and wolves. Was told that one has to be very lucky to see one. What about leopards? "h, there are two or three. They sometimes kill the blackbucks". How interesting! And what about the bustard? "No bustard, they went away many years back". Oh well, there went my hopes of sighting this rare bird.

I took the Fortuner into thick grass, hoping to encounter the blackbucks against the sun, but didn't have luck. Some of the bushes were 4 feet high, and I was a bit worried about twigs getting stuck in the underbody. But thankfully that didn't happen. But the Bison did end up with quite a few scratches. That happens everytime I take the vehicle into forest trails e.g. like I did in November at Kuno Palpur Sanctuary.

Sharing a few photos from the drive.

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A higher res photo
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Old 20th January 2016, 10:02   #191
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Default Re: Exploring the Great Indian Outdoors

Quote:
Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
I visited Ranebennur Blackbuck Sanctuary on my way back from a trip.
Awesome! Have been on this route umpteen number of times and gave a pass to this place. Thinking there cannot be any better spotting. Seems like nothing much to loose if one has a free noon/ 2-3 hours to make a quick dash. I did not know that they allow your car inside. Are they specific about SUVs or cars too are allowed? Must have 4x4?
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Old 22nd January 2016, 23:58   #192
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Default Re: Exploring the Great Indian Outdoors

Nilanjan,

Simply blown away by the snaps. Great effort indeed. Please keep them coming.
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Old 25th January 2016, 19:41   #193
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post

I took the Fortuner into thick grass, hoping to encounter the blackbucks against the sun, but didn't have luck. Some of the bushes were 4 feet high, and I was a bit worried about twigs getting stuck in the underbody. But thankfully that didn't happen. But the Bison did end up with quite a few scratches. That happens everytime I take the vehicle into forest trails e.g. like I did in November at Kuno Palpur Sanctuary.

I took my Gypsy into approx 3-4 feet tall elephant grass and came to dead stop - argument with a tree stump that was luckily bumper height, had it been a few inches lower it would have hit the front differential. The heavy duty metal bumper took a decent dent, hammered back into shape by MASS. Good you got away without damage, luck and a good guide helps.
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Old 26th January 2016, 01:28   #194
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Default Galibore - Team BHP meet

Quote:
Originally Posted by mustysekhon View Post
I took my Gypsy into approx 3-4 feet tall elephant grass and came to dead stop - argument with a tree stump that was luckily bumper height, had it been a few inches lower it would have hit the front differential. The heavy duty metal bumper took a decent dent, hammered back into shape by MASS. Good you got away without damage, luck and a good guide helps.
Well, I do keep an eye out for rocks, tree stumps etc. And only go over such bushes that are soft enough to bend. But yes, one has to be careful.
----------

Galibore

I had driven down to Galibore, and met up with the folks who had come for the Team BHP meet http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/team-b...ry-2016-a.html (Team-BHP Meet @ Galibore : 24th - 25th January, 2016). Was good fun hanging out with fellow Team BHPians.

I had originally planned to do a day trip. After the afternoon coracle ride, I left the place around 6.15 pm. After driving for 10 km or so, I saw the full moon rise over the hills. The thought of spending an evening on the riverbank, on a full moon night, was too tempting. Called the JLR manager, and he said that there was one tent available. It was already 7 pm, and I was not sure that I would be allowed though the checkpost. Anyway, things worked out fine when going back. Driving through a forest in the night has its own charm. Saw a few rabbits and nightjars on the track. No large mammals.

Spent a lovely evening sitting around the campfire on the bank of Cauvery, chatting with everyone. After dinner, a few of us went back to the riverside. Bright moonlight, the murmuring of the river, a slow burning fire, occasional Cheetal warning calls. We stayed there till 12.30 am before heading back to our tents. My tent (#1) was right at the edge, and I was probably the last one to head back (I had to go to the dining area - the Golghar - to pick up my tripod and camera). As I was about to open the door, I heard some rustling. Too light for an elephant, and too loud for a predator. Had to be wild boars.

Woke up late the next day (just wanted to relax), and headed out after a quick breakfast, after saying adios to everyone.

Sharing a few photos. No wildlife closeups, didn't have any luck.

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Old 28th January 2016, 12:22   #195
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Default Re: Exploring the Great Indian Outdoors

@Nilanjan Hi!! Have been vicariously living your exploits both with the bison and the lens, for sometime now-amazing, awesome stuff to say the least! Hope to see you soon on any of the weekend TBhp events out of Bangalore

PS: have added you as a buddy & don't have the privilege to PM yet, thus the intrusion here.
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