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Old 28th January 2010, 12:12   #1
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Default Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though

Hi Friends,

I'm back to Hyderabad after a 6 day trip to Corbett and Pangot. Pangot is about 15 kms from Nainital and is basically a nice place to view birds. However, we did not do much of bird watching as this was basically for relaxation after spending 4 days in Corbett.

Inspiration to go to corbett came from Nabeel's travelogue, which introduced me to the beauty of the Kumaon jungles. Although they were lucky enough to spot 3 tigers in 24 hours, we couldn't spot a single one even after spending 2 nights in Bijrani zone and 2 nights in Dhikala zone.

No regrets because sighting a tiger is just a bonus, the jungles, the safari in a open-top gypsy and the early morning foggy look of the forest, all these make the trip worth the time and money spent. But definitely, there is a little disappointment when the tiger doesn't show up after several close call, clues and what not.

I hope my story will be interesting to share and my friends in this forum will enjoy my experience. I will try to write less and let the pics do more of the talking.

I will start sharing the pics once I resize them and hope everyone likes them.

A small description about the two zones we visited in corbett. The first zone we visited and stayed for 2 nights is called Bijrani. This zone has dense forest, the real forest looks comes in Bijrani and this zone is quite famous for tiger sightings. People were surprised when they came to know that even though we stayed for 2 nights here, we could not spot a tiger.
I personally liked Bijrani a lot as I loved the dense forests, the intensely foggy mornings, the thick and lush jungle, the abundance of deers in this region, which probably is the reason why there are more tigers around here and I always felt I was very close to a tiger when on a safari in this region and rightly so as there were numerous clues that we came across of the tiger presence when in Bijrani.

The stay at Bijrani is about 9 kms from the main road. It would be tough for the elderly to cope up with the stay here, especially in the winters because electricity is only for 3 hours from 6pm to 9pm, no heaters, no geysers, limited choice of food, no cell phone signals. But yes, if you want to experience the wilderness, nothing beats Bijrani. Oh yeah, I forgot to add that there is a very high chance of spotting the tiger very near to the place of stay just outside the fencing around the campus and my wife claimed she heard the roar at around 10pm in the night, while I was fast asleep.

The second region that we stayed for 2 nights is the more renowned Dhikala. This is 31 kms inside the forest, from the main road. More renowned for different landscapes and also for tiger sightings. Personally, I felt Dhikala was more like staying at some scenic place and the jungle feel was not as much as Bijrani, but yes Dhikala has its own beauty and charm. The forests here are more of tall Sal trees, not the thick lush jungle kind and also there is a huge area of grass land, where it is best to opt for an elephant safari. Even in this region we missed the tiger twice after being quite close to it.

I will post the pics taken from a normal sony digicam and from my Canon 450d, of which the pics are much better. However, I may not touch the quality doled out by the likes of Samurai and Fazal sir, but please do bear with me.

Last edited by saleem_k : 28th January 2010 at 12:16. Reason: Java scripts were appearing.
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Old 28th January 2010, 16:17   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saleem_k View Post
Hi Friends,

I'm back to Hyderabad after a 6 day trip to Corbett and Pangot. Pangot is about 15 kms from Nainital and is basically a nice place to view birds. However, we did not do much of bird watching as this was basically for relaxation after spending 4 days in Corbett.

No regrets because sighting a tiger is just a bonus, the jungles, the safari in a open-top gypsy and the early morning foggy look of the forest, all these make the trip worth the time and money spent. But definitely, there is a little disappointment when the tiger doesn't show up after several close call, clues and what not.

I will start sharing the pics once I resize them and hope everyone likes them.

However, I may not touch the quality doled out by the likes of Samurai and Fazal sir, but please do bear with me.
Saleem_K,

Eagerly waiting for the pics to on your thread.
For all to understand, It is not what you can sight or what you can capture on your camera, the experience of the jungle, the fresh air, the tranquility and being right in the lap of nature is enough reason enough to be there. Capturing animals especially Tigers and the very elusive Panther is not an easy task, it requires tremendous amount of luck to chance upon them and photograph them, also very important is to have the right photography equipment.

Getting back to the polluted city is a nightmare I need to prepare myself even before I start for any jungle.

We are heading for Tadoba and Pench in the 1st week of Feb. if all goes as planned, I too am not sure what I might not come across or come across. Definitely a big cat completes the story of the hierarchy in the animal kingdom.

There are many occasions we did not spot a tiger, many.

Saleem, wish you the best for your next 'jungle ghooming' as we call it, one day you will be exhilarated and feel the rush of adrenaline and blood rushing in your body when yo come face to face with a tiger, to an extent that for a moment his presence disorients you.

I too cannot dole out quality like Mr. Rudra Sen and Torque Guru, still learning and trying to emulate them.

Regards,

Last edited by fazalaliadil : 28th January 2010 at 16:18.
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Old 28th January 2010, 17:08   #3
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Originally Posted by fazalaliadil View Post
We are heading for Tadoba and Pench in the 1st week of Feb. if all goes as planned, I too am not sure what I might not come across or come across. Definitely a big cat completes the story of the hierarchy in the animal kingdom.
Fazal Saab am sure you would be luckier in Tadoba as compared to your experiences in Srisailam. If you are lucky you could possibly catch the elusive Leopard as well, Tadoba in the past has given some amazing sights. I don't know if you are part of this group http://indianaturewatch.net/. For somebody who is stuck in Chennai this is the one which satisfies my appetite for missing out on the jungles of Nilgiri Biosphere which I used to visit every other weekend when I was in Bangalore.
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Old 29th January 2010, 12:11   #4
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The road that starts in Bijrani zone. This is the buffer zone and it is for about 9 kms till the actual place of stay in Bijrani. The next zone is known as the tourist zone. Tigers can also turn up in the buffer zone but the frequency is quite less when compared to the tourist zone.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-dsc00982-copy.jpg

There are lot of river crossings like this even inside the tourist zone. This is the Kosi river and was dried up at lot of places. These crossings are closed during the rainy season as the water flow is quite high.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-dsc00986-copy.jpg

Views of the Bijrani forest from the place of stay. You can notice the fencing, which is usually activated in the night.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-dsc01039-copy.jpg
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-dsc01041-copy.jpg

There are such beautiful roads inside the forest. You can enjoy the roads, the small bridges over streams inside the forest.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-dsc01044-copy.jpg

Tiger claw markings on a tree, these are quite old.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-dsc01045-copy.jpg

Pug marks which are again old ones, not fresh.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-dsc01047-copy.jpg

We missed seeing a leopard at this place While we were waiting at the bottom of this small hill, it crossed over the hill and people on the top were able to see it.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-dsc01055-copy.jpg

Lot of sambhars inside the forest.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-dsc01095-copy.jpg

Deers are usually not concerned about human presence. They are however alert all the time.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-dsc01103-copy.jpg
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Old 29th January 2010, 12:24   #5
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Fresh tiger claw markings on a tree. This was at around 8-9 feet high on the tree. Imagine the size of the tiger.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6677.jpg

Fresh pug marks, probably an hour back.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6688.jpg
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6689.jpg

Don't know which bird is this but was quite beautiful.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6697.jpg

One for the wall paper
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6698.jpg

Kingfisher
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6699.jpg
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6728.jpg


Again, can somebody tell me which bird is this?
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6703.jpg

This is called a fantail bird. Don't know the entire name.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6711.jpg

Deer, also known as spotted deer and Chital
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6757.jpg
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Old 29th January 2010, 12:59   #6
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Grassland in Bijrani, this is only a small part of a bigger grassland.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6772.jpg

Eagle and its nest. There was one more eagle just before I took this pic.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6783.jpg

Posing for the cam :-)
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6807.jpg
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6811.jpg

Foggy morning and we were off on a safari
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6816.jpg

See how the tree has grown!
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6818.jpg

Can anyone tell me which bird is this?
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6821.jpg

This one's called as a Jungle Babbler.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6831.jpg

Stag with its family.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6845.jpg

A lonely Sambhar, it's rare to watch a lone one coz these are usually in pairs or a family.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6859.jpg

Dried up river bed. would love to watch these in rainy season but the park's closed from Jun 15th to Nov 15th.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6878.jpg

A path made through the river bed.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6881.jpg

This one was a huge Sambhar, unfortunately couldn't capture the scale of its size. The family members of this one were much smaller but bigger in size than an adult deer.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6894.jpg
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6908.jpg

Probably the same bird I captured earlier, but took a snap just when it took off.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6925.jpg

Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6926.jpg

Is this a different bird or the same one?
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6929.jpg

This is an owlet. According to the guide this is of the owl family but not an owl.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6935.jpg

It went to a different branch to give us a better view :-)
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6937.jpg
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6939.jpg

This is called an Igret. This one was feeling the cold and was enjoying the warm sun, which was a rarity in Bijrani.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6953.jpg
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6954.jpg

Hope all you guys are enjoying the pics. Will share more going forward as there are lots of them.

One thig I have to say is everyone should go on such a trip to Corbeet coz the beauty of the Corbett forests is to be seen to be believed. I can assure you that no matter how good the photos turn out to be, one cannot capture the essence of the early morning safari in the dense jungle, the beautiful evening light casting long shadows in the jungle and the beauty of the entire setting, the excitement of spotting something wild and knowing the fact that there is a tiger around you somewhere, in the bushes, in the grassland, it is watching you but you don't know where it is..... Simply awesome experience I would say.
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Old 29th January 2010, 14:56   #7
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Great shots, especially the birds.

Loved the pics, continue posting.
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Old 29th January 2010, 15:26   #8
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Saleem_K,
In the second picture, by the nest I think is a serpent eagle, with long its reach legs.
Very good pictures of the place showing the different moods and times of the day, especially the misty mornings like in the 5th picture and in the 6th picture which has an overturned tree due to a landslip I feel.
Nice capture of birds. What was the camera and lens used can you let us know, thanks for sharing.
Regards,
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Old 29th January 2010, 15:44   #9
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Amazing and beautiful pictures. Had planned a month back but due to the cold weather had to change the plans. Am planning in March. Would it be a good time to visit?
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Old 29th January 2010, 18:16   #10
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Nice pictures Saleem. I always wanted to go to Corbett, but somehow everytime I make plans, they somehow get cancelled
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Old 29th January 2010, 18:41   #11
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Great Captures Saleem. Would love to see more pics from Corbett. Do share with us your compelte travelouge. How you started from Hyderabad to reach Corbett? This makes the thread even more lively and exciting.

However, a great captures. Keep it up buddy
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Old 29th January 2010, 19:00   #12
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Awesome pictures with crystal clear quality. Did you photoshop them before loading or is it direct from memory card? Its more than excellent if its from memory card.
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Old 30th January 2010, 00:44   #13
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Thanks everyone for your encouraging comments. The first set of pics, around 10 of them are from a normal sony digicam. The rest of the pics are taken from canon 450D with a 55-250mm lens.

I know this lens is not enough for bird watching so I'm planning to buy a more powerful telephoto lens, suggestions are most welcome. I did not do any kind of photoshopping on canon's images except for cropping the bird images as I couldn't reach as near as I wanted even at 250mm.

As for the images from Sony cam, wifey dearest set the AWB setting to tungsten or something like that and they came out blue in initial 50-60 pics, so had to do auto color in PS to make them look nearest to reality.

I will post more once I resize them, resizing them is a bit of a pain especially when there are so many images to work on.

Coming to how the trip began and was planned. I contacted Mr. Sumanta Ghosh after reading Nabeel's corbett thread. Planned for January ending around 2 months back in November and was eagerly waiting for the trip to take off.

We started from Hyderabad on 16th Jan by AP express. The train was late and we were told that it would start from hyderabad only at 12:30PM, original boarding time was 6:30AM but it got delayed further and we finally started from Secunderabad station at around 1:45PM. We had to catch a connecting train to Ramnagar from Old Delhi station at 10:40PM on 17th January, which was a Sunday. But AP express gave us the jitters when it got delayed by further 6 hours and reached the New Delhi railway station only at 9PM on 17th.

We then had to rush to the Old Delhi station by taking a cab and luckily it was Sunday and the traffic was less so we reached on time. Had a quick dinner in McDonald's and then we realised that it was time to pull out our wollens and our Jackets.

3 of us also bought monkey caps at the station. Again commotion followed when Ranikhet express, which was supposed to take us to Ramnagar arrived and we didn't find our Bogey where it was supposed to be. Again there was a small sprint to the other end where we finally found our Bogey, phew!

Finally on the morning of 18th Jan at 5AM, we reached Ramnagar and from there we were picked up and we got fresh at Tiger Camp, which is again an awesome resort/hotel/lodge, whatever you can call it as.

We were given a gypsy, that could be opened from the top, and a driver, to accompany us throughout the stays in Corbett. Like I mentioned in my first post, our first 2 nights were in Bijrani, the next 2 nights in Dhikala and the next 2 nights in Pangot, which is about 15kms farther from Nainital.

It is quite late now so I will post more pics in the morning.
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Old 30th January 2010, 12:01   #14
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Default Day 2 in Bijrani

Here are some more pics of the 2nd day in Bijrani and the 3rd morning. 2nd day in Bijrani was very dull, without any clues of the tiger or any alarm calls. We took 3 safaris on this day, one in the morning from 7AM-9AM, the second one from 10AM to 12:30PM and the third one from 2PM to 5:30PM. Yet, no signs and no one else on this day saw any tiger. Probably they were feeling the cold.
The only highlight of the day was an elephant herd we came across in the evening at around 4:30PM. This was a big herd and they were munching away on the trees and the tall grass around. One has to be careful around these elephants coz they tend to surround you. We almost were surrounded when we realized and zoomed out of the possible circle they were trying to form around us. As you will see in the pics, one elephant crossed over to the other side, one was coming after our vehicle and other joined it and on our left side we noticed that one elephant was farther away on the front of our gypsy and was munching away but was quite near to the path from where the gypsy would go.

Luckily we all realised this situation quickly and got out of this possible chakravyuh they were trying to form around us. Enjoy these pics.

Bijrani campus early in the morning.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-corbett-nainital-084.jpg

Another foggy morning.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-corbett-nainital-144.jpg

Grassland in Bijrani
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-corbett-nainital-130.jpg

This is another place of stay inside Bijrani, this is further inside from the original campus. The guide told us that here they only provide accommodation, the cooking has to be done by the people staying there and they will have to get the raw materials themselves. We found this place very good and to top it, only one or two families can stay here and its right in the middle of the dense Bijrani forest and on the edge of the core zone.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-corbett-nainital-218.jpg

The core zone starts from this interior campus.
Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-corbett-nainital-209.jpg

Deers and the mud-eating Langurs are friends.

Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6963.jpg

Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6967.jpg

Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-corbett-nainital-243.jpg

Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6959.jpg

Trip to Corbett and Pangot. Did not spot the tiger though-_mg_6962.jpg
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Old 30th January 2010, 12:05   #15
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sorry something's come up so I will post more pics in the afternoon of our second day in Bijrani. And will also continue with the 3rd morning when we missed the tiger again but it was again an exciting morning filled with clues and what not. It was also a little bit disappointing coz we missed not one but a group of tigers and some 5-6 gypsy's were able to see them cross a dried up nala.

However, they were scared away by the labourers who were walking and came across this group of tigers and since the group of labourers was big the tigers went into the nearby bushes and from there slipped off to some other place. But it was exciting tracking all these movements.
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