Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 8th November 2012, 21:50   #376
Senior - BHPian
 
gd1418's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 3,578
Thanked: 655 Times
Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

This is some awesome news and bodes well for Sariska. This was the news item that appeared in Samaachar Jagat of Jaipur on 8th, Nov,'12.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-bina12.jpg
gd1418 is offline   (2) Thanks
Old 4th December 2012, 22:02   #377
Senior - BHPian
 
gd1418's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 3,578
Thanked: 655 Times
Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

The call of the wild is very addictive and overpowering. I had a new project coming up that would not allow me to venture out for almost a month. The work was to start from the 20th November. The only chance I had to go to Sariska was on the 18th and I along with my wife decided to go.

18th November, 2012

prologue

This probably is the last visit to a sanctuary this year. Maybe 2013 shall bring good news. Visited Sariska with wife as I had heard that Tigress ST 3, that I have yet to sight, was roaming and quite a few tourists had seen it. But I was unlucky. Instead I had a sighting of spotted Owls, Buzzard, Kite, Mongoose & Porcupine. Heard a lot of promising alarm calls but nothing materialised.

02:30 hrs

On the previous occassions I had experienced heavy truck traffic on the NH8 till Dharuhera and with some aggressive driving could just make to Sariska on time.

Keeping this in mind, this was the departure time and for a change we left on time in TB II. Surprisingly did not find much truck traffic and reached Dharuhera and then took the mega-highway from Bhiwadi. The clock showed 5:15 am when we were 15 kms away from Alwar. We were well before time.

I slowed down my speed to 40kmph so that we could reach Sariska reception by about 6:15 or so. Called Harisingh and he groggily said - "Sir, the counter opens at 7, so come by 6:30 or so".

3 kms before the Sariska reception stopped for a hot cup of tea, gulped down two glasses to kill time and still reached by 6:30. There was a biting chill in the air and we were well prepared. Set up my both cameras, took the essential items and waited for Harisingh & Rajinder to get the tickets. While waiting I spotted this primate stealthily sneaking next to my parked vehicle. I peered from inside the car and he was rummaging through a thrown plastic bag by some moron that contained dried bread. I got out of the car with my camera, sneaked behind my vehicle and 'shot him'.

Exif:

1/60 sec at f/2.8 - ISO 200 (D300 with 80~200)

Breakfast at Tiffany's...ooops at Sariska at 6:45 am

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7705.jpg

It was 7:20 when we reached the entrance gate and stopped to make entries. While Harisingh had gone to make entries, I thought I heard an alarm call of a Cheetal. Cupped my hand over my ears and sure it was an alarm call. The forest was singing. The source of sound was just about 500 meters ahead of the gate. I shouted for Harisingh and asked him to rush to the spot. Already another jeep that had managed to go in ahead of us was standing there.

A Neelgai and a two females were very very alert and stomping their feet and a few meters ahead of them was a small herd of cheetal that had gone berserk. They all were calling, stomping their feet with their tails raised up and highly agitated. Very exciting & thrilling as the spot was just 100 meters from the road. I focussed my camera towards the herd and with the finger on the shutter button waited and waited for the predator to come out. It turned out that a Leopard had made a cheetal kill and had sat down to eat breakfast. After a while the cheetal herd fell silent but was hovering around in a highly alert state. The Leopard was not going to come out now.

to be continued.../-

Last edited by gd1418 : 5th December 2012 at 10:41.
gd1418 is offline   (1) Thanks
Old 5th December 2012, 17:10   #378
Senior - BHPian
 
gd1418's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 3,578
Thanked: 655 Times
Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

The counter opens at the stipulated opening time of the forest entry and not before. I wish it opened atleast half-an-hour earlier than the entry time. On wastes precious time waiting to get ticket, get the guide allotted, complete the entries at the forest gate and then enter. While this is ok for the afternoon safari, in the morning it is a problem.

As the predators move & hunt around dawn & dusk, a delayed entry could cost a sighting as it happened with us this time.

And then I heard a Sambhar call. This came from the Ghaanka area on the right. It called again. We drove towards the Ghaanka waterhole. This area belonged to ST 6, the big male of Sariska. And nowadays ST 3 (female) was seen roaming in this area.

Out of the five Tigers in Sariska (cubs excluded), I had seen ST 2 (female), ST 4 & 6 (both males). Have not yet seen the other two females - ST 3 & the elusive ST 5.

With hope in the heart, reached the Ghaanka waterhole. After a few minutes, the Sambhar stopped calling. We waited. While waiting clicked a few birds that hovered around the water body.

White-breasted Kingfisher

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7711.jpg

Common Moorehen

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0279.jpg

It was a futile wait and we headed towards Taarunda where ST 3 was spotted the previous evening by a forest guard.

Nearing a man made waterhole heard loud alarm calls of a peacock. Well, while the peacock's alarm call is not a definite indication, we did not ignore it. Saw this mongoose pair that had scared the peacock.

Ruddy Mongoose

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0296.jpg

Mongoose pair crossing the trail

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0304.jpg

The exit time was nearing for the morning safari. A bit dejected we left Taarunda. Harisingh pointed towrads a tree trunk hollow and said - "sapotted owl".

I looked and then saw them - 3 of them. So well camaflouged that it was very difficult to spot. They sit still without moving any body part for hours together. Mine was the only jeep there, so there was no disturbance. I asked Rajinder to back the jeep a bit near to the tree and then clicked away to glory.

Spotted Owlettes

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7729.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0327a.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0318.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7735.jpg

Thus ended the morning safari. It was a very satisfying outing, having seen the Owlettes and the Mongoose.

to be continued.../-

Last edited by gd1418 : 5th December 2012 at 18:02.
gd1418 is offline   (1) Thanks
Old 5th December 2012, 21:35   #379
Senior - BHPian
 
gd1418's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 3,578
Thanked: 655 Times
Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

As usual left for Gulmohar Resorts, Viratnagar for Breakfast/Lunch and some rest, before returning to Sariska at 2:30 for the noon safari.

18th November, 2012 - Afternoon Safari

Entered the forest, it was silent and calm. We headed straight towards the Pandupol Temple as ST 2 (female) was supposed to be camping in that area with her cubs.

Nearing Pandupol, saw this raptor perched on a branch in the thicket. The light was low and by the time the jeep positioned for a clear view, it flew off and sat on another tree. We moved very slowly so as not to disturb the bird and cut the engine after getting a good view.

White-eyed Buzzard

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7758.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0356.jpg

After clicking a few pictures, little further down saw another predator bird at a distance. Due to the distance and lens limitation, could not get a very clear shot.

Black-shouldered or Black-winged Kite

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0387.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0398.jpg

Went upto the Pandupol temple and had a cup of tea. Saw the antics of the Langurs and then headed back. On the way near the exit gate saw this nocturnal and highly shy animal of the rodent family. It simply scurried away in the bushes.

Indian Crested Porcupine

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7774.jpg

Epilogue

Stopped at Hotel Naman for dinner and by 10:30 pm was back at home. Next trip would be probably in the New Year.
gd1418 is offline  
Old 6th December 2012, 06:31   #380
Team-BHP Support
 
Rudra Sen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 10,404
Thanked: 4,092 Times
Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Mods note: Thread moved back to Travelogues section.
Rudra Sen is offline  
Old 26th December 2012, 21:26   #381
Senior - BHPian
 
gd1418's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 3,578
Thanked: 655 Times
Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

My project ended on the 21st and I was itching to travel after being cooped up for a month. I had heard no news about the happenings at Sariska. Called up Harisingh and he had some interesting news to share; ST 3 & ST 6 were giving regular sightings for the past three days. That was good news - for me at least. The defunct radio collar of ST 4 was replaced by the authorities. ST 2 still had not brought out her cubs in the open and the only second sighting was reported by a forest guard.

I told him that my wife & I would be visiting on Sunday the 23rd and would check on the situation on Saturday.

Spoke to Harisingh on Saturday and was told that all the Tigers had moved up the hills. That was disappointing. However, a Leopard had killed a Cheetal fawn and was seen by him carrying the kill up a tree at Brahmanath. This excited me. I told him that I was coming for sure and would stake out Brahmanath.

There was some more good news in the offing. My photography guide & dear friend and an accomplished photographer Sankar Sridhar was in Sariska with his wife on an assignment from IRCTC and staying at the RTDC's Tiger Den. He was assigned to do a portfolio of the Fairy Queen Steam Express. He had reached there on Saturday.

I called him and he said that he had reached at 4 pm in the evening and is scheduled to do a Canter safari on Sunday morning & then catch the train back at 11 am. I informed that I was going to be there on Sunday and would do two jeep safaris and asked him to join me for both and that he could return with me in the evening. He jumped at the idea and the plan was set.

Sunday, 23rd December, 2012

Last time I had reached much earlier by leaving at 2:30 am so decided that the ETD would be 3 am. Got up at 2 am and started getting ready and by quarter to 3 was ready and raring to go. But the better half was not yet ready. She had to have her morning cuppa. And for sure a slanging match started. Some old graves were dug & exhumed and finally with a scowl on the face left at 3:40.

I feared the truck traffic on NH 8 till Dharuhera and was praying not get stuck in a jam. Thankfully there was none and reached Dharuhera under an hour with some aggressive driving. Hit the Tijara-Alwar highway and by 6:40 reached the Tiger Den parking. It was still dark and dawn was just breaking. Called up Harisingh to inform about our arrival and had tea before the jeep arrived.

Entered the forest around 7:25 and straight away headed towards Brahmanath. I surmised that the Leopard would have polished off the fawn in the night and might not be there and it turned out to be true. Went towards Taarunda and found the three spotted owlets in the same tree. However could not take the jeep nearer as there was some movement of forest guards and we would have been reported. Hence no photographs as they were far and the light too was quite less to take pictures. Came back to Brahmanath and then headed towards Kaalighati that we saw a lone spotted owl in a tree hole right on the edge of the trail. Stopped and reversed and the fellow went inside. We stayed put, cut the engine and maintained silence in the hope he/she would come out. But every now & then a jeep with tourists passed that area and we had to start and move the vehicle to and fro to give way. This disturbance made him not to appear.

Spotted Owl's nest

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0494.jpg

While waiting for the owl to re-appear I slightly dosed off to snap wide awake at some sound. The others, surprisingly had not heard anything. I said that a Cheetal had called. Rajinder said no and then the Cheetal called again. And then another Cheetal and again an another Cheetal and then it became an orchestra. The predator was on the move. We rushed towards the source of call, but it was deep in the bushes. A group of agitated Cheetals were in a frenzy. It was a Leopard and it had made a kill. Surprisingly three Neelgais grazing nearby, though alert, were not agitated.

We waited in the hope that the Cat would drag its kill up the tree or somewhere or come out. But wasn't so and after a while the Cheetal calls died and we guessed that the Leopard was dining.

We returned back to the tree to spot the Owl and thankfully no jeeps were around Brahmanath. After a patient wait we were rewarded.

Emerging slowly

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0497.jpg

The full face and the scowl

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0506.jpg

Close-up

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0507.jpg

We waited patiently for him to emerge fully and that would have happened. But that didn't happen as out of nowhere a jeep materialised and the loud guffawing of the tourists in that made the owl go back in his nest. Most of the visitors to the jungle don't know how to behave.

We waited for the owl to re-emerge after that jeep left.

to be continued.../-

Last edited by gd1418 : 26th December 2012 at 21:33.
gd1418 is offline   (2) Thanks
Old 27th December 2012, 00:23   #382
Senior - BHPian
 
gd1418's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 3,578
Thanked: 655 Times
Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Sariska has been divided into three zones - 1, 2 & 3 to distribute the tourists evenly. While the idea is quite good, it is bereft with flaws. First of all the Tiger density in this park that is bigger in area than Ranthambhore is very negligible. Seven Tigers including the cubs. This is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Very skewed vision of the authorities.

One cannot hop into another zone and has to roam around in the allotted zone. I was given the Zone 1 for the morning safari. This zone is quite goos as is frequented by ST 3 & 6.

As we waited for the Owlet to come out again, another jeep came driven by Khagesh the elder brother of Rajinder and a master tracker & spotter. He told me that on Saturday, two Leopards had made two kills in different areas - the one in Brahmanath had actually killed a langur and the other one across the main road had killed the Cheetal fawn. Khagesh headed for the Brahmanath Anicut and we headed towards the main road to go to Kalighaati. As we neared the main road, I heard the alarm call of a Cheetal followed by that of the Langur.

This was coming from Baidawala Pahadi area of Zone 3. We didn't have the permission to enter that zone. The time was 10 am - almost exit time. We came to conclusion that almost all vehicles would have exited by now or on their way out and entered Zone 3.

Just below the Baidawala Pahadi is a water hole and salt lick area. A herd of Cheetal were on the extreme left, looking intently at the elevation and giving out loud alarm calls. Saw a lone Langur atop a tree and that too was baring its teeth & calling loudly. Rushed towards the water-hole and a lone Sambhar was standing inside the water and also looking towards the hill.

It was a Leopard small in size and was probably coming down to drink water but got disturbed by our arrival and climbed back. With a tree cover, it was very difficult to focus and get a good shot. I could only manage some record shots.

Leopard - Panthera pardus fusca

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7789.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7790.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7794.jpg

It was time to exit and we made our way to the gate. At the gate made a customary entry in the register of the sighting and reached Tiger Den. The Sun was up in the clear blue sky and we required the much needed warmth. We made ourselves comfortable in the chairs on the lawns of the Hotel. Decided to spend time their till our next safari started and sat gossiping & discussing cameras & photography.

A blooming bougainvillaea tree caught my attention. Its deep pink foliage fascinated me.

Bougainvillaea

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7795.jpg

A dried tree stump with a hole in the middle in my line of sight was bothering me. And then I saw this Parakeet emerging out of it.

Parakeet

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0521.jpg

By 2:30 pm the jeep came and this time we had taken the Zone 3. We wanted to circle around the Baidawala Pahadi in search of that Leopard. we first went to Karna ka Vaas to look for migratory birds. But unfortunately, there were none.

I saw only this little-ringed Plover hovering near our vehicle.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0524.jpg

A canter had got stuck in the soft mud-banks of the lake. The driver should have been more careful. Appallingly the tourists had gotten out of the vehicle and roaming around. The guide & the driver should have stopped them. There were young children too in the group and the lake has some big crocs in it that often come on the banks to bask.

Indisciplined Tourists

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7802.jpg

We moved around the zone, circled the Pahadi and waited in vain. The Leopard was not around. Clicked some Cheetals in action.

Cheetal - spotted Deer

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0532.jpg

Rising on hind legs to reach the leaves

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0541.jpg

Reached..!

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0540.jpg

Came out on the main road to enter another area that we saw this another pair of spotted owlet on a tree near a bridge.

Spotted Owlet

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0545.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7804.jpg

Reached the enclosure area where the Tigers are kept for a while after relocation. The Sariska Cats are known to visit their first home quite often. Instead we saw a group of Langurs atop the enclosure fence.

Langur silhoutte

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7811.jpg

It was getting cold and the light was failing. Nothing stirred in the jungle. Exit time was drawing closer. While exiting saw this eagle on a branch at a distance.

Crested Serpent Eagle

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0549.jpg

Thus ended a very satisfying visit to Sariska and finally this is the last visit of this year. On our way back stopped at Hotel Naman to have dinner and battling patches of fog reached Dharuhera. After a few kilometres on NH 8 we hit a white wall of dense fog that remained with us right till Gurgaon. Inspite of that by 10:30 I had reached the Huda City Centre Metro Station where Sridhar's cab was waiting for him. We bid good-bye to each other and I reached home in the next 20 minutes.

Hope you all enjoyed reading this and liking the photographs. Wishing you all Merry Christmas & a very Happy & Prosperous New Year...!

Last edited by gd1418 : 27th December 2012 at 00:25.
gd1418 is offline   (4) Thanks
Old 6th January 2013, 13:41   #383
Senior - BHPian
 
gd1418's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 3,578
Thanked: 655 Times
Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Please refer to me earlier post #:376 dtd. 8th Nov,'12. Recently heard from Ranthambhore sources that the forest authorities there have started tracking Bina 1 & 2 to prepare them for relocation to Sariska.

With them, the number of Tigers including the cubs, would be 9. A good news for all Sariska lovers in the year 2013..!
gd1418 is offline  
Old 7th January 2013, 12:31   #384
Senior - BHPian
 
nilanjanray's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1,826
Thanked: 2,386 Times
Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Have you started using the D800 for wildlife yet?

Some of the 'motion' photos (e.g. the deer one) seem to have some focusing/blur issues - compared to the photos you used to take earlier. Is it because of using a heavy non-VR lens handheld, vehicle in motion, or some focusing setting? I find that using AF-A, wide centre focus area and matrix metering works most of the time. Most likely it seems to be a heavy non-VR lens + handholding issue, since D300 and D800 have 51 point sophisticated AF.

When is the next long (not weekend) wildlife roadtrip planned?
nilanjanray is offline  
Old 15th January 2013, 17:03   #385
Senior - BHPian
 
gd1418's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 3,578
Thanked: 655 Times
Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Finally somebody observed... Yes I've been using the D800 for wildlife. While there are no focussing issues, using the non-VR heavy 300mm f/4 handheld is the culprit. And when I add the TC, it multiplies. Adding further to the woes is the subtle shifting of co-passengers in their seats, inspite of stern warnings, resulting in a gentle sway of the jeep.

I, in any case, use wide centre focus area with matrix metering always and shoot in aperture priority.

The next long trip most likely would be in May-June.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post

Have you started using the D800 for wildlife yet?

Some of the 'motion' photos (e.g. the deer one) seem to have some focusing/blur issues - compared to the photos you used to take earlier. Is it because of using a heavy non-VR lens handheld, vehicle in motion, or some focusing setting? I find that using AF-A, wide centre focus area and matrix metering works most of the time. Most likely it seems to be a heavy non-VR lens + handholding issue, since D300 and D800 have 51 point sophisticated AF.

When is the next long (not weekend) wildlife roadtrip planned?

Last edited by gd1418 : 15th January 2013 at 17:04.
gd1418 is offline  
Old 15th January 2013, 22:05   #386
Senior - BHPian
 
nilanjanray's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1,826
Thanked: 2,386 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
Finally somebody observed... Yes I've been using the D800 for wildlife. While there are no focussing issues, using the non-VR heavy 300mm f/4 handheld is the culprit.
That is what I had thought. How about selling your 80-200 and 300mm and going for a 70-200 vr2 and 2x TC III? Will give you f/5.6 and 400mm and the latest in VR.

Would you care to do a brief comparison between the D800 and D300 for wildlife photography? The D800 should be beating the D300 in everything except fps. Buffer - total number of shots - should be similar I think - remember reading a buffer comparison of various cameras at Mansurov's.
nilanjanray is offline  
Old 17th January 2013, 21:39   #387
Senior - BHPian
 
gd1418's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 3,578
Thanked: 655 Times
Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My first trip to Sariska in the New Year. As per reports the cubs of ST 2 were now 6+ months old and would be naughty & curious. They would love to come out.

Keeping that in mind I planned my trip. Called up Harisingh on Friday and he said three Tigers were in the vicinity - ST 4 in Brahmanath area, ST 3 & 6 in the Kaalakuan area. Both the area were in Zone 1. He also said that the crowds were thinner. Thank God for small mercies... !

Saturday evening Harisingh called and the news wasn't good; the three Tigers were reported to have gone up the hill. The morale hit an all-time low. But I was determined to go. Wife was supposed to accompany me but at 00:45 she backed out. That was not the time to call any of my friends to come along. So, left for Sariska all alone. A new experience altogether.

The cold wave had subsided, temperatures were hovering around 18 C and it was clear & sunny. All along the way I kept on thinking that by dawn the Tigers should come down the hill since most of the interior water bodies had either dried-up or shrunk considerably and they would be thirsty.

Without stopping enroute anywhere, even for a cup of tea, I reached the Reception at 6:20 having left Gurgaon at 3:45. It was dark, the dawn had not yet broken and not a soul in sight. Parked my vehicle with the parking lights on and called Harisingh. He was getting ready and said he would be there shortly as the counter opened at 7. Slowly I saw other guides coming in, a few cars drove in and a Canter ambled up.

My guess was correct and the night patrol had reported at the gate around 4 am that all the 3 Tigers had come down in the night to their respective areas. Entered the jungle at 7:05 and straightaway headed towards Ghaanka as ST 6 & ST 3 were seen there on Friday. Met a forest guard on foot and he informed that he saw ST 6 about 40 minutes back walking on the trail.

Rushed towards the Ghaanka tirana and for sure there were fresh pug-marks of a big male. ST 6 was walking ahead. We slowly followed the direction of the pug-marks hoping to catch him. Incidentally I was the only one in the jeep and that gave me enough freedom to move around. After about 500 meters we lost the pug-marks. Retraced our steps and searched thoroughly, cocked our ears to listen to any unusual sounds. Nothing at all.

The Cat had gone into the bushes leaving the trail on hearing the approaching vehicle. Confirming this we heard a Sambar call from deep inside the jungle. We stopped and waited patiently to catch any action. After a few calls the Sambar was silent. This meant that ST 6 had settled for the day.

Leaving him there, headed towards Brahmanath where ST 4 was supposed to be. As I reached the anicut what do I see; 4 jeeps were already parked there and one of them was that of the forest DFO. This meant that the Cat was nearby. The waiting game began. It was 8:10 and our exit time was 10:30. Two hours & twenty minutes nothing happened. Intermittent alarm calls were being heard but nothing concrete.

Exited the jungle and reached the reception. Harisingh had invited me for lunch in his quarters. The menu was Mutton curry & Bajre ki Roti. I told him to call me when everything was ready. In the meanwhile I went to the reception canteen and ordered tea. Picked up a chair, put it near my vehicle in the Sun, took out my copy of India Today and sipped tea.

Thirty minutes past 12 Harisingh called me. I had one of the yummiest lunch ever. The meat never tasted so good. My wife called me and asked what was I doing for lunch. I told her and she was disappointed and asked me to give the phone to Harisingh. She remonstrated with him and extracted a promise for another lunch session the next time she visited Sariska.

By the time we finished lunch it was 1:30 and the counter was to open at 2 for the noon safari. While sitting in the Sun, I spotted the DFO & his guests racing towards the entry gate. Called Harisingh urgently and told him. Twenty minutes later I too entered the jungle and raced in. Saw a villager and asked if he had seen where the DFO was headed and he informed that DFO's jeep went towards Taarunda. We also headed there. Probably ST3 was there.

DFO's jeep was parked there and he gestured us to be quiet. Rajinder parked the jeep strategically for me to click and we waited. Harisingh whispered that the Tiger would not come out and head inside instead. How right he was. Nothing came out and nothing stirred.

Then we heard a Spotted Deer call from a distance. It appeared to come from Brhamanath side. ST 4 had not drunk water since morning. So we thought he must have come out to drink at the anicut. The DFO & I raced towards that area. Already 5 jeeps were parked in advance. Seeing the DFO's jeep they scattered a bit.

The waiting game began again. 3 pm to 5:15 pm and yet nothing. By 5:30 we had to exit. Dejected we headed back. So near and yet so far.

Settled my account with Harisingh & left for home. Near Fortis Hospital, Alwar I got a call from Harisingh - Sir, ST 4 came out at 6:30 to drink water and was seen by the DFO".

What do you do when The King is approximately 60 feet away in the thicket and you wait patiently for more than 4 hours for him to emerge and give an audience? You start noticing other wildlife around you. That's what I did and decided to shoot. The King did not oblige....

Hope you enjoy the photographs.

White-breasted Waterhen

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7814.jpg

Spotted Owlet - There were three of them when I saw them on my last trip. Same place, same pose..

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7815.jpg

A close-up with the 300mm

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-571.jpg

Indian Peafowl or Blue Peafowl

While waiting, the bladder pressure became unbearable and I got down to take a leak. This peahen suddenly emerged in front of me out of nowhere. I was startled, she was startled. She turned her face away and I was sure, I saw her blushing. The camera was dangling around my neck and without wasting much time, I "shot" her. Dunno who was more embarrassed..!

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-551.jpg

These two slowly ambled towards the water-hole to drink. I found them & their reflection in water very interesting..

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-557.jpg

Rose-ringed Parakeet

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-561.jpg

Sambar Deer - found the reflection captivating & unique

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-564.jpg

Sticking his tongue out..

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-566.jpg

Better luck next time..!
gd1418 is offline   (4) Thanks
Old 18th January 2013, 11:13   #388
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 672
Thanked: 389 Times
Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Well - this has become an issue, personally i have only seen tigers once in Sariska in all my trips to Sariska :(

And this demarcation of zones is an additional issue while trying to track down the tigers. Hopefully futuer will hold better luck and sightings for us.
sach.sri is offline   (1) Thanks
Old 21st January 2013, 19:28   #389
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 97
Thanked: 21 Times
Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Lovely updates as usual. Its been a long time since I have had an opportunity to venture into the Jungles and your frequent trips and beautiful updates bring them home to me. Could I suggest shutter priority at high to better help freeze the photographs and also help in those small vehicular movement with passengers, its helped me in similar conditions.
Manmohan.
manmohanmaan is offline   (1) Thanks
Old 15th February 2013, 12:12   #390
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 24
Thanked: 7 Times
Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Good travelogue, made for great reading. Thanks!

I'm planning to visit Sariska from Gurgaon in a week's time (last weekend of Feb 2013) and was hoping someone would know about the latest road conditions.

I can see the following route on Google maps:

Gurgaon -> NH8 till Dharuhera -> turn left towards state highway 25 -> all the way till Alwar -> Sariska

Has anyone been on this route recently? Any info on road conditions? Any help is welcome.

Thanks in advance!
c_trivedi is offline  
Closed Thread


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Holi Sariska! Rajasthan's Tiger Reserve avingodb Travelogues 7 13th March 2015 15:32
Sariska Tiger Reserve - Land of Tigers? Quick getaway from Gurgaon sach.sri Travelogues 108 4th July 2013 11:44
Mission Spot a Tiger @ Sariska - Project Tiger Reserve, Attempt No - 2 v&v Travelogues 49 11th April 2011 14:35
Phew! In Finally.. Archer2005 Introduce yourself 3 12th June 2009 12:23
Phew !! Finally got a peppy car ! Amey Test-Drives & Initial Ownership Reports 54 26th March 2009 21:56


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 14:05.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks