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Old 5th March 2012, 12:08   #286
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

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Originally Posted by deky View Post

Well, actually I was invited for a special screening of the movie "Tiger Dynasty". This movie is produced by BBC and the director and the photographer is Mr. Nalla. In India the movie will be shown on Discovery Channel.
I also saw this documentary - was in Ranthambhore for the weekend and saw it there.

I agree, very nicely done effort. It was very sad to see - ST1 poisoned by the villagers in that film.
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Old 5th March 2012, 15:00   #287
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

How, i missed this fantastic travelogue. Superb pictures especially Tigers drinking water then stare. Secondly, Langur actions. Forgot to mention the birds were superb.
GD Sir, 80-200 f/2.8 has been put to great use. Superb captures. Thank you for sharing the details.

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Old 5th March 2012, 15:33   #288
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

This is serious. It is high time the remaining villagers inside the forests are relocated as early as possible. 10.30 pm in the night in one of the core areas of forest is a major cause of disturbance for the animals.

From where & how the truck entered to load cut wood is to be investigated. This means, there still are entry/exit points that are not manned.

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Originally Posted by deky View Post

Piece of news you guys may be interested in. This news is about villagers tussle and subsequent results in Sariska

Click here to read the article that appeared in TOI-Jaipur on 05/03/2012
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Old 5th March 2012, 17:59   #289
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

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Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
My first ever Tiger, rather Tigress sighting was in Sariska on 23rd Jan, 2011. It was ST 2. I had submitted its photograph, taken then, to NDTV for their Tiger campaign.

I won an award for it.

[
The picture of the Cat that was sent can be seen here - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/attach...nched-3529.jpg
GD Sir,
Congrats. You deserve this award 100%. Your continous passion and efforts have paid a bit through this award. Please keep doing the same efforts.
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Old 20th March 2012, 00:40   #290
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

I had heard rumours about a possible poaching raising its head in Sariska that alarmed me a lot. Was worried about the fate of the 5 relocated Big Cats. My friend Dhiraj (deky) sent me a message about a newspaper link that reported the poaching incident which happened on 9th March, 2012.

TOI, Jaipur - 10th March 2012 - A panther was killed.

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This is not acceptable and we must raise our voice against it. I'm writing letters to the Minister concerned & CCF of Rajasthan.

Tiger population to increase in Sariska

Now this is some good news. One more Tigress of a different gene-pool is going to get introduced in Sariska shortly. If successful, then this should strengthen the blood-line and prevent inbreeding problems.

Read in detail about this here - TOI, Jaipur - 18th march 2012

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Old 20th March 2012, 02:17   #291
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

My last visit to Sariska was on 12th February, 2012 and 30 + days had passed. My daughter's XIIth Board exams had started, I bought a new Scorpio 4x4 (The Bull II or TB II) and all of these kept me busy & occupied.

The call of the wild was slowly getting louder & louder. Early last week Sachin (sach.sri) called to say that he had planned to go to Sariska on Saturday (17th) early morning with his bro-in-law and would do 4 safaris on Sat-Sun with an overnight stay at the Tiger Den. He asked me if I could join him on Sunday (18th) for the two safaris. I told him that I would let him know in a day or two.

I was wanting to take TB II for a long run to put it through its paces and what better way to do it by driving to Sariska. In the evening when I reached home from work, a pleasant surprise was waiting for me - my wife said and I quote: "Can we go to Sariska on Sunday? I'm longing to visit the jungle". Faster than blinking the eye-lid I blurted - "Yes". Confirmed to Sachin that I would indeed be joining him for the safaris on Sunday.

Saturday night Sachin called and informed that he had a very good sighting of a Leopard pair in the evening safari at the same place where I had seen ST 6 in December. This was Sachin's second Leopard sighting in Sariska.

This is one Cat that has eluded me so far. On quite a few occasions I've missed sighting this magnificent animal by a whisker. I was not liking it at all. Here, I a veteran of 8 wildlife sanctuaries's visit over the last few years have not spotted a Leopard in the wild and then comes this upstart Sachin , visits Sariska and gets to see Mrs. & Mr. Spots on two occasions who come and put up a show for him.

Well, this news pumped adrenalin in my blood-stream and I was raring to go. This time I had decided to take a new route rather than my regular NH8 road to Sariska via Shahpura.

The Route

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This route was shorter by 50 Kms, had very less traffic, toll charges were much less compared to NH8 and was a 4 lane Mega-Highway. The total toll paid both ways was Rs. 144 (Rs. 54 at Manesar toll plaza and Rs. 90 at Bhiwadi both ways) as compared to Rs. 201 (Rs. 54 at Manesar toll plaza and Rs. 147 at Shahjahanpur both ways) that I used to pay on NH8.

to be continued.../-

Last edited by gd1418 : 20th March 2012 at 02:27.
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Old 20th March 2012, 14:57   #292
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Quote:
Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post

...

...

Saturday night Sachin called and informed that he had a very good sighting of a Leopard pair in the evening safari at the same place where I had seen ST 6 in December. This was Sachin's second Leopard sighting in Sariska.

This is one Cat that has eluded me so far. On quite a few occasions I've missed sighting this magnificent animal by a whisker. I was not liking it at all. Here, I a veteran of 8 wildlife sanctuaries's visit over the last few years have not spotted a Leopard in the wild and then comes this upstart Sachin , visits Sariska and gets to see Mrs. & Mr. Spots on two occasions who come and put up a show for him.



to be continued.../-
heh heh, i am loving it

Just hope that you dont reverse it on me with the news of ST6 sighting during the evening Safari on Sunday
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Old 20th March 2012, 17:19   #293
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

18th March, 2012.

The excitement of going kept me awake and by 2:15 am I was ready after having bathed & freshened up. TB II was tanked-up the previous evening. Wife too got ready and by 3:10 we were ready to roll. Loaded my photographic gear in the truck and off we were to Sariska.

As usual there was a long que of trucks at the Manesar Toll on NH8. There was no respite from this heavy traffic till Dharuhera. This was a bit unusual. Turned left from Dharuhera and via Bhiwadi hit the Tijara Mega Highway. A wonderfully tarred, smooth 4 lane road, this would take us to Alwar that was 90 kms away.

Since TB II had still not completed the running-in period, I was alternating between 70 to 90 kmph. Though this highway is a shorter route to Alwar bereft of heavy traffic, one drawback is there are very few eating joints enroute. Early morning tea would be available only around Alwar.

Dawn was breaking when I was crossing Alwar. At 6:30 I was entering the parking of Hotel Tiger Den. Sachin & his bro-in-law were waiting. Customary greetings over, waited for our jeep & Harisingh. Tiger Den was fully occupied. Jeeps were coming, picking up tourists & heading for the jungle, but our men were no where to be seen. A call to Harisingh brought a bit of alarming news.

A typical case of demand & supply was unfolding at the reception. Large number of tourists & less number of vehicles. Hence the entry permit was not being issued to Harisingh for us because other tourist would protest if our jeep materialised from nowhere...

The clock was ticking and the early morning advantage was slipping out. Resigned to our fate we sat down in the lawn of the Hotel and ordered for some tea. The apathy of the State Govt., run hotel hit us with full force; we were tersely told that tea wouldn't be available as milk was exhausted. We have to wait till the milk supply came.

With nothing to do I pointed my lens and caught this Rufous Treepie basking in the morning sun.

Rufous Treepie

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-5925.jpg

By 7:45 Harisingh came with the entry permits and it was 8 am when we entered the forest.

Sachin had a Leopard sighting in an area called Dhaanka and we headed straight there. Nearing the Dhaanka Chouki we saw the forest guards taking a Plaster of Paris cast of a fresh pug-mark of a Leopard. The Cat had passed through that place in the morning. It appeared that we were on the right track.

Jungle was silent, except a few chirpings of some birds. Occassional Sambhar & Cheetal deer crossed our path. And then we reached the Dhaanka waterhole and cut the engine. Right across the water body perched on a dry branch was an Eagle. Looked like a Crested Serpent Eagle.

Crested Serpent Eagle

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And then we heard a Cheetal call followed by that of a Langur. After a couple of calls it fell silent.

We spotted a Black Drongo and a White breasted Kingfisher.

Black Drongo

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White breasted Kingfisher

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-5934.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-5958.jpg

After waiting for some-time we headed towards Brahmnath enroute to Kaalighati.

Found nothing at Brahmnath and its waterhole was dry. Fail to understand why this popular waterhole much frequented by big game is not replenished with water by the Forest Department. At Kaalighati Chouki we stopped for a while and heard that there could be a movement near Tehla road. We reached an area called Goolarghoom, so called because of abundance of Goolar (Ficus racemosa) trees. Langurs love the ripe Goolar fruit and flock this place, making a wonderful prey base for the Cats. While waiting here saw Langurs feasting on the ripe Goolar fruit.

Ripe Goolar Fruit

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-5971.jpg

Langur with mouthful of Goolar

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-5976.jpg

A few stray calls and then silence. The exit time for the morning safari was approaching and we decided to leave. As we reached the Kaalighati chouki again we heard news of a Cheetal kill by a Leopard. Rushed to that palce. Saw a lot of crows making a cacophony and circling the kill. Stopped and waited in the hope that the predator would come to eat. We were sure that the Big Cat was somewhere near as it had partly eaten its kill from the stomach area.

Leopard kill

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-5980.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-5983.jpg

We were critically nearing the exit time. I knew that the Leopard would come out if we patiently waited. But it was not possible. headed back to exit gate. On the way near Bharon Ghati, we suddenly heard a Cheetal call from the right and immediately saw the herd on an alert. The single call became a chorus. Was it a Tiger or a Leopard? Sachin & I wanted to wait but then this would have jeopardised Harisingh & Rajinder. They would've been banned. With a heavy heart we returned to Tiger Den.

I had a sumptuous breakfast with Sachin & his bro-in-law. Though Sachin wanted to stay back for the evening safari his relative had to return. They left and we stayed back for the evening safari.

to be continued.../-

Last edited by gd1418 : 20th March 2012 at 17:22.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 15:49   #294
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After the breakfast we went our way. Wife wanted to go to Siliserh lake as she had heard about it but not seen. Off we went to Siliserh. Wife was stunned & amazed to see the vast expanse of water and exclaimed - "Didn't know that such a huge water body existed". At Tiger Den she had only a cup of tea. I knew she was hungry and we were looking for a place to have lunch.

As you remember, on the last trrip to Sariska, my friend & neighbour Pradeep had accompanied us and we had a great time at his farmland near the Siliserh Lake. Wife said that she wanted to see Pradeep's farm. So we drove towards his farm and I tod her that we can see it only from outside as I would not like to go in without Pradeep. That was fine with her. Pradeep had called me from his farm on Friday as he wanted to do a safari in Sariska with his friends, but after that I had not heard from him.

Driving slowly on narrow roads through villages I reached Pradeep's farm and from the boundary spotted a silver grey Fortuner parked inside. Pradeep has a similar vehicle but from a distance I couldn't make out if it was his but I remembered his car's number. I went inside the farm and saw the vehicle number and it was Pradeep's. And then I spotted Pradeep relaxing on a cot with his friends. We were very delighted to meet.

A delicious lunch was being cooked - खस्सी बकरे का खड़े मसाले में भुना हुआ गोश्त, marinated देशी मुर्गा wrapped in silver foil kept in a pit dug on the ground & covered with smouldering coal, छोलिये की चटनी, Goat's milk's lassi, freshly prepared khoya from buffalo's milk and चूल्हे की सिकी हुई रोटी.

Though my stomach was full due to the heavy breakfast, being a gourmet couldn't resist myself and gorged on the above and so did my wife. Oh how i wish Pradeep visits his farm on those Sundays when I go to Sariska..!

After that heavy lunch, Pradeep took my wife for a guided tour of his farm. I was drowsy and ready to drop but the itch to see the Leopard was greater.

Bidding thanks & goodbye to Pradeep we left for our afternoon safari. Harisingh had asked us to come by 2:30pm. He was ready with the entry tickets alongwith Rajinder and after parking my car we drove off to the jungle. In the morning itself I had asked Harisingh to take the permit for Zone 1 as the Leopard kill was in that zone.

Before going to the kill I asked him to go to Karna ka Waas waterhole that was in Zone 2. As most of the water bodies deep inside had dried up, this was one waterhole that always had some water the year around.

We entered the trail and the moment it opened up near the waterhole from nowhere emerged this huge Neelgai Bull and stood right in front of our jeep. A 300mm with a 1.4TC gives you a tunnel vision and though I badly missed a second body with a wide lens, I managed whatever best I could.

Neelgai Bull

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-5985.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-5987.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-5989.jpg

As almost all migratory birds had flown away, only a few resident birds were there to be seen.

Great Egret

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-5992.jpg

On the mound to get a good view

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-5991.jpg

Neck stretched to get a better view

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-5997.jpg

Black-headed Ibis

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-5996.jpg

Spot-billed Duck

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-5998.jpg

Sandpiper

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-6000.jpg

From here, we rushed to the spot where in the morning the Leopard had made a kill. Our intention was to stake-out that place as sooner or later the Cat would come to eat.

At this moment we didn't know or anticipated what would be in store for us.

It seems my regular visits to the jungle has sowly developed my ability to spot the fauna. With the corner of my I spotted this Shikra basking in the sun on a branch. Harisingh & Rajinder totally missed it. I had to point the bird to them.. Score: Me - 1. They - 0

Shikra

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-6005.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-6012.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-6018.jpg

The claw

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Further down Harisingh said Jackal, a pair. I couldn't spot them. It was only when the jeep was slowly reversed I could see them in the bush. Score: Me - 1. They - 1. Level.

Then all of a sudden the male Jackal darted out of the bush and stood in front of the jeep.

Male Jackal

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-6025.jpg

I was puzzled at this behaviour. And then I realised that it was to divert my attention and protect his mate. The female in the meanwhile was scooting to the other side of the trail to safety. Just caught her in time.

Female Jackal

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-6026.jpg

Finally we reached the place where the kill was there. Something seemed to be wrong. I was expecting some unusual activity happening there but all was disconcertingly quiet. No crows at all. Nothing circling above in the sky too. Slowly we approached. Could see nothing. Even the kill was not visible. We surmised that the Leopard would have dragged it much deeper in the forest to avoid attention.

Then we saw. The bare skeleton was all that remained of the Cheetal there. Not a morsel of meat was left on it. Totally devoured. In the impending gap of few hours between the morning & the evening safaris, when the disturbances ceased, the Leopard had come and ate the meal.

Skeleton of the Cheetal

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-6030.jpg

to be continued.../-

Last edited by GTO : 23rd March 2012 at 14:01. Reason: As requested
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Old 22nd March 2012, 16:54   #295
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Disappointed & dejected, we headed towards the Kaalighati Chauki to get some news about the Big Cat movement elsewhere.

While waiting I saw something beautiful unfolding in front of my eyes. I saw jungle Babblers cleaning & grooming each other. It was an elaborate process and each part of the body including under the feathers was being cleaned & groomed.

The beauty parlour of the Babblers

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-6031.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-6056.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-6053.jpg

Next to them were a couple Sambhars grazing and jungle crows were cleaning them of ticks and other parasites.

Sambhar & Crow

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-6044.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-6047.jpg

From a distance I could see a villager cycling furiously towards the chauki. It was as if his tail was on fire. He stopped at the chauki panting and had a jarful of water. And then in local lingo he said something agitatingly to Harisingh.

I forgot to mention that the clock showed 4:30 pm and many a jeeps were returning. Apart from us only one more jeep was at the chauki.

Harisingh came immediately after talking to the villager and said Tigress ST 2 was in an area behind Kaalighati on a hillock and is likely to head towards Goolarghum on Tehla road. We left for that area instantly. We had been there in the morning too without any luck.

On the way I asked Rajinder that till what time could we stake-out at Goolarghum. He replied that we should leave by 5:40 so as to reach the gate by 6 pm.

In 10 minutes we were there, parked the jeep at a vantage point that overlooked the hillock down below and waited.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-6058.jpg

Suddenly, somewhere from nearby the jungle reverberated - "guugrrr, grrrgarar, gurrgarar, guugrr" in quick succession. I was hearing this for the first time. Rajinder exclaimed - बघेरा बोल रहा है.

The Leopard was calling and was nearby. Was this the same leopard that killed the cheetal in the morning? Wouldn't know, but this place was not very far from the area where it ate the kill. Then silence. And the peacock gave an alarm call. Then again and again. The Leopard was on the move. There were two waterholes nearby. Was it coming to drink water? In either case it would have to cross us. The peacock call ended. Then a lone Langur called and fell silent. Total silence. The cat must've sat down.

Rajinder got down and peered from the edge of the road down below. I should've carried my binocs with me. Then he looked at the hillock & exclaimed - "Tigress", पूँछ दिखाई पड़ी. बघेरे की नहीं लगती थी. I trained my 300mm + 1.4 TC at that area resting it on the bean bag. Saw a Sambhar that was very very alert. Cheetal called, then another cheetal called, then this sambhar called and then a Langur called. Then again a cheetal called. This went on for sometime. I aslo saw a herd of 4 cheetals running away.

Then the calls died. We waited and waited and nothing happened. The clock showed 5:30pm. Another ten minutes to go. A clatter in the distance turned to be the last Sate Transport Bus of the day passing through the forest to Dausa. We left at 5:40 to wards the exit gate and reached there at 6:10. On that there had been no sighting at all. Settled my accounts with Harisingh and left for home. Took the same route back. Wife stopped midway to buy some items for home. We lost an hour + in that. At 11pm I was home.

Maybe better luck next time...

Footnote: TB II returned an average of 13.2 kmpl with intermittent usage of the AC. It also touched the 1k Kms on this trip.

Last edited by gd1418 : 22nd March 2012 at 16:58.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 17:20   #296
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

How did you like using the 300mm with the TC? Compared to your other lenses?
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Old 22nd March 2012, 20:40   #297
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I find it quite heavy and difficult to shoot handheld. The best I like from my arsenal is the 80~200 f/2.8. Badly require a second body.

Since the 300 is a D lens (couldn't afford the G lens), it hunts a bit with the TC. Without the TC it is spot on.

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How did you like using the 300mm with the TC? Compared to your other lenses?
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Old 23rd March 2012, 12:07   #298
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

1. Beautifull pics again GD

2. So you see the Alwar side of route is much better than the NH8!! Ive been telling you that for ages

3. You mention permits for Zone 1 & Zone 2?? So do the tickets have zones now?? Are we suppose to stick to the zones mentioned unlike before??

Regards

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Old 23rd March 2012, 12:33   #299
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

nice - as usual nice narrative and pics. Though i feel that somehow this 300 with TC is not showing that kind of results which your 80-200 did.

I guess you should also try this 300 w/o TC to check out the results.
I am back from my business tour - and will update my thread also by tomorrow.
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Old 23rd March 2012, 14:45   #300
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

1. Thanks Deky.
2. Yes, I should've listened to you earlier...
3. Yes the tickets have zones allotted now and we do have to stick to them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deky View Post

1. Beautifull pics again GD

2. So you see the Alwar side of route is much better than the NH8!! Ive been telling you that for ages

3. You mention permits for Zone 1 & Zone 2?? So do the tickets have zones now?? Are we suppose to stick to the zones mentioned unlike before??

Regards

Dhiraj
The 80~200 is a f/2.8 with that is a very premium lens from the Nikon stable. Compared to this the 300 is a f/4 plus also quite heavy. I've still not got the hang of it. Next time shall try without the TC.

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Originally Posted by sach.sri View Post

nice - as usual nice narrative and pics. Though i feel that somehow this 300 with TC is not showing that kind of results which your 80-200 did.

I guess you should also try this 300 w/o TC to check out the results.
I am back from my business tour - and will update my thread also by tomorrow.
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