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Old 10th June 2012, 18:10   #91
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Default re: Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!

The morning safari ended on a very high note with a grand sighting of a Tigress and her two grown up cubs together. If the third cub too would have been there, then it would have been a great & rare photo opportunity. Well, you can't ask for everything and get it too.

As I had extended my stay for today and was scheduled to leave tomorrow on Monday after doing the morning safari, seats for my wife & I on the gypsy for today evening's and tomorrow morning's jungle visit were booked under VIP quota. What exactly does this mean?

Let me explain a few more hidden aspects about doing a jungle safari in Ranthambhore by a gypsy in a bit of detail.

You can book an exclusive gypsy for all your safaris by making an request to the CF/DFO at no extra cost. But this is feasible only if you are 4 or 5 in number otherwise it proves very expensive. The same gypsy & driver remains with you for all your safaris. This helps since the driver gets to know you & your requirements and if you are a serious photographer/videographer, then this helps.

You can also have a guide of your choice by paying Rs.560/- per trip. For regular visitors to Ranthambhore this suits since a personal rapport is built between the driver, guide and you.

Then comes booking of the seats on gypsy under VIP quota. This is a facility kept by the forest authorities to accommodate any VIP who lands up at the last moment. Although it does not entail any extra charges, the only advantage is that one can demand a zone of his/her choice unlike random allotment of zones to others.

Since I had asked for seats on the gypsy at the last moment for the extended two safaris, they were taken under the VIP quota and hence I could ask for a zone of choice.

But the Subramanians advised me against this and said that let them allot randomly. Maybe there would be something good in it for us. I agreed and went back to my room to transfer pictures from the camera memory card to hard disk and then rest.

Before coming to Ranthambhore this time I had a desire to see Machchli, the legendary & most famous Tigress of Ranthambhore. She is 15 years of age, has lost all her canines, finds it difficult to hunt & eat and very likely may not survive this year.

Currently she is occupying some part of the Zone 4. When she can't hunt for days, then she comes near the forest post and roars a lot. The forest authorities then tie a calf for her to kill and eat. As she cannot tear into the tough hide of the kill as no canines are left, she licks with her very abrasive tounge to expose flesh and eat in small bits.

The jeep came by 3 pm and I was delighted to know that Zone 4 was allotted to us. Hoping that my desire could come true off we went into the jungle.

It was a very hot afternoon and not a soul stirred inside the forest. Even the herds of deer were seen to be resting in the shade. Roamed around looking for some activity but all in vain.

Reached a cliff that overlooked the dense forest below and was told that Machchli generally frequents this area to keep away from the prying eyes of other Big Cats. Sure enough saw a jeep standing near the edge and exchange of whispers & sign language indicated that Machchli was down below.

It was a straight 1500 feet drop below and after lot of peering & staring hard could see the stomach & tail of Machchli resting under a Jamun tree. She had killed a spotted Deer and was resting after the effort. Our driver parked the jeep dangerously on the edge of the cliff from where we had a clear view of a waterhole. If Machchli came to drink water or cool off then it would be a great photo opportunity with a clear view.

After a while Machchli got up and tried dragging the kill inside. It was heart-rending to see the state of this magnificent animal. Since she could not get a grip on the animal without her canines, it would slip off every time she tried to drag. She tried to rip open with her claws but it was difficult.

Tigers & Lions after killing start eating from the rump and Leopards, Cheetahs & Hyenas eat from the stomach side. Machchli has tried to adapt to her old age. She now eats from the stomach side as that area is soft and easier to rip open.

Could not take any pictures as growth was thick and the sheer distance put it out of len's range. Waited & watched her agony and effort to eat her kill for sometime and also hoped that she might come to the waterhole. But she didn't and continued her struggle.

We left as we could not bear to see it anymore. I can claim to say that I saw Machchli, but not the way I wanted to see her. I don't know when again I would be visiting Ranthambhore this year. With her advancing age I have serious doubts if she lasts this year. When the park reopens in October after the monsoons who knows what news one is going to hear.

Thus ended the afternoon safari. The score - 5 out of 7.

Came back to the room. Tomorrow would be our last safari. What would be in store? Retired for the day.

to be continued.../-

Last edited by gd1418 : 10th June 2012 at 18:13.
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Old 10th June 2012, 23:49   #92
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Default re: Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!

28th May, 2012 - Sundari escorts us out

This was the last & the eighth safari in the jungle. Had already decided not to demand a zone of choice. Would take whatever was allotted hoping that Zone 1 would not be given.

Today the jeep came a little before 6 am and we were allotted Zone 3; a zone straddled by three Tigers - Star male T 28, T 17 and T 19. Since we were early in the jungle, there was a good chance of sighting.

As soon as we entered, we saw a Little Green Bee-eater perched on a branch. The light conditions were low and against the subject. The wonderful colors that this bird has could not be captured. I could only manage a silhouette.

Little Green Bee-eater

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-6877.jpg

Moved ahead slowly scanning the lakes & the Rajbagh area found nothing and decided to go straight to Kachha Chhatta waterhole hoping that T 19 with her cubs might be there.

On the way in the open dry land saw this Black-tailed Mongoose scurrying along. It was at quite a distance and moving fast.

The slender mongoose (Galerella sanguinea), also known as the black-tipped mongoose or the black-tailed mongoose

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-6896.jpg

Reached the waterhole, there were signs of it being filled in the morning by a tanker, followed by the pug-mark of a female. It appeared that T 19 or her female cub had come to drink water. It meant they were nearby and might come to the waterhole again.

We decided to lay anchor and wait. After a futile wait we returned and thought of scanning the Rajbagh area. On the way our jeep suffered a puncture. Some time was lost replacing the tyre and then we were on our way.

Nearing Rajbagh we saw some activity happening. A few jeeps were parked at different points and waiting. Did they hear any alarm call or saw something? We were to know that soon. From one of the parked jeeps it was gathered that T 17 was somewhere in the vicinity and could make a movement. And sure enough a Cheetal called. After a few calls there was silence again.

We had parked in the shade at a point from where we could see the plains ahead. The guide whispered - "sattaarah, saamne se" (Seventeen coming from the front). My vision was blocked by a trunk so it wasn't visible. But I heard the shutter sounds of other big camera in the nearby parked jeeps.

And then it emerged right in my line of sight between the two tree trunks. She was walking straight without even bothering about the vehicles parked there as if on purpose. In an area called Taapmaan that was a bit away, she had delivered her litter. Was she going to them? If so, then her route was correct.

And if my guess was as good as anybody else's, then she would walk right past my jeep. Let the pictures say.

Emerging from between the tree trunks

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-6897.jpg

Coming straight maintaining eye contact

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-6901.jpg

Closer

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-6906.jpg

Almost parallel to my jeep

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-6910.jpg

Sits behind a tree trunk and watches someplace intently About six feet away from me

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-6916.jpg

Walks away from my jeep

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-0879.jpg

Stops and locks on to something

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-6923.jpg

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-0889.jpg

Turns & moves away into the bush

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-6934.jpg

We waited to hear something and then started & followed the other vehicles expecting her to emerge on a trail at the back. Reached parked at a safe distance and waited. Nothing happened. Did she sit down in the shade? Or did she take another route sep inside? We didn't have any answer to these and decided to leave as the clock showed 9:23 am and it was closure time. We headed towards the gate slowly not knowing what lay ahead in the store.


to be continued.../-

Last edited by gd1418 : 10th June 2012 at 23:56.
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Old 11th June 2012, 10:13   #93
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Default re: Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!

GD Sahab,

Very good and rewarding captures. Persistence definitely pays.
Regards,
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Old 11th June 2012, 11:25   #94
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Default re: Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!

too gud sirji.......these are some of the best shots of the whole bunch. great....
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Old 11th June 2012, 13:05   #95
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Default re: Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!

Dost, abhi to picture baaki hai..!

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too gud sirji.......these are some of the best shots of the whole bunch. great....
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Old 12th June 2012, 12:16   #96
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Dost, abhi to picture baaki hai..!
sirji interval bahut lamba ho gaya hai, abto picture aage badhaiye. waiting eagerly for more wonderful pics...
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Old 12th June 2012, 13:50   #97
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28th May, 2012 - Sundari escorts us out

Inching towards the exit gate we reached an open dry land near Padam Talao and saw vehicles racing and kicking up dust. Our driver suddenly transformed into Lewis Hamilton and zoomed ahead.

On my left Sundari (T 17) was walking briskly towards the gate. From where & how did she come here without being detected? From the last point near Rajbagh where she had vanished into the deep and now here, there were herds of Cheetal and a few Sambhars. No alarm call at all.

T 17 or Sundari

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-0906.jpg

Anyway, with the vehicle bouncing over rocks & bumps it was next to impossible to take a picture of hers. Our driver raced ahead of Sundari and slowed down expecting her to come on the trail. This would give us an excellant eye-level shot.

But this was not to be. She moved into the thicket and then disappeared. We stopped a bit ahead and waited.

And then suddenly out-of-the blue she emerged just next our jeep on the left and in a flash moved on to the trail in the front. The Royal Catwalk had started.

Sundari - about 6 feet away from where I was sitting in the rear seat of jeep on the left

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-0911.jpg

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-0913.jpg

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-6944.jpg

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-6945.jpg

Suddenly she stopped in her tracks, sniffed the air and then turned back. She was walking towards us. This was dangerous as we had no space to back-off because of a long que of vehicles behind us.

Sundari turns around and walks back

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-0891.jpg

Her paw is big; could be mistaken for that of a male's

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-0892.jpg

Actually she had got a strange scent of some other animal. She sniffed a bush on the right. Aha, some body else was here.

Sniffing

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-0897.jpg

She marked her territory. What I saw was adptation. Normally the Big Cats are known to mark tree trunks and they do so in a standing positio and by lifting their tail spray urine.

What I saw here was she squatted on her hind and urinated on the bush.

Marking her territory

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-0900.jpg

After doing so she resumed her walk. I expected her to veer off towards Padam Talao but she was headed towards the entry gate to Zone 2 & 3. I saw the huge gates being closed. There were lot of devotees who had come to the Ganesh Temple. Some mishap could have happened.

Entrance gate to zone 2 & 3

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-6952.jpg

Then I see the forest ranger incharge of the entrance gate step in and have a good look at T 17 and then said - " पानी पी ले, पानी पी ले (Drink water, drink water)". Sundari turned right into Zone 2 and walked off bidding us good-bye.

Finally

Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!-6972.jpg

Our time in the jungle too was up and we had to exit with a heavy heart. Thus ended our very satisfying visit to Ranthambhore. The jinx was finally broken. The score - 6 out of 8.

Thank you all for staying with me. Hope you enjoyed the narration and the pictures.

12th June, 2012

Oh my God, need to go to the doctor. Suddenly a funny kind of urge & an itch has started. My ears are ringing and I'm hearing the words Ranthambhore, Sundari, T 19, T 28, ST 2, ST 4, ST 6 etc., from nowhere.

Must go to Sariska or plan a tip to Ranthambhore before June 30 when the parks closes for monsoons.

Last edited by gd1418 : 12th June 2012 at 13:55.
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Old 12th June 2012, 15:11   #98
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Default re: Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!

beautiful pics!

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12th June, 2012

Oh my God, need to go to the doctor. Suddenly a funny kind of urge & an itch has started. My ears are ringing and I'm hearing the words Ranthambhore, Sundari, T 19, T 28, ST 2, ST 4, ST 6 etc., from nowhere.

Must go to Sariska or plan a tip to Ranthambhore before June 30 when the parks closes for monsoons.

I know this itch - it is called - junglo-fever and can only be cured by frequently visitng the Jungle. If left untreated it develops withdrawal symptoms same as some one on drugs. the patient becomes irritable, cannot focus on things and has to keep on moving and lloking forward to the next visit.

You can also start having headaches and acute nausea if treatment is not applied for long
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Old 13th June 2012, 13:01   #99
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Default re: Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!

Spellbinding log and fabulous images! Guru, you must admit, luck was definitely in your favour. The number of sighting you had in your eight safaris is astounding! Never had this kind of luck!
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Old 13th June 2012, 14:22   #100
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Spellbinding log and fabulous images! Guru, you must admit, luck was definitely in your favour. The number of sighting you had in your eight safaris is astounding! Never had this kind of luck!
Totally agree. More so in Ranthambhore.

It looks like, whichever Zone he is alloted - the tigers come to that zone pulled towards our fearless Tiger like a magnet
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Old 13th June 2012, 14:44   #101
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Default re: Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!

Wow superb pictures and definitly great luck.
I envy the number of visit u make to national parks.But then people like me who dont get such many opportunities can live our passion for wildlife through your logs.
Thanks for sharing.
Regards
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Old 13th June 2012, 15:11   #102
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Default re: Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!

Fantastic trip you had.

I was down in Tadoba for a few days, had good sightings, But not many close-ups, or in good lighting. Most pictures taken were in harsh sunlight or through intervening scrub. But had 12 unique tiger sightings in one safari.

I plan to visit Corbett next during Winter. Will check if you want to so some safaris and stays in the old forest rest houses.
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Old 13th June 2012, 17:20   #103
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Well well Sachin, thank you for the flattering words. If it were so, I wouldn't have gone sighting less since December 11, 2011 till I went to Ranthambhore.

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Totally agree. More so in Ranthambhore.

It looks like, whichever Zone he is alloted - the tigers come to that zone pulled towards our fearless Tiger like a magnet
Thank you so very much.

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Wow superb pictures and definitly great luck.
I envy the number of visit u make to national parks.But then people like me who dont get such many opportunities can live our passion for wildlife through your logs.
Thanks for sharing.
Regards
Thank you Nilanjan. Corbett seems exciting. If I can have a hint of the plan & dates then it would be a pleasure to accompany you.

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Fantastic trip you had.

I was down in Tadoba for a few days, had good sightings, But not many close-ups, or in good lighting. Most pictures taken were in harsh sunlight or through intervening scrub. But had 12 unique tiger sightings in one safari.

I plan to visit Corbett next during Winter. Will check if you want to so some safaris and stays in the old forest rest houses.
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Old 13th June 2012, 19:59   #104
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Default re: Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!

It starts with the wonderful pictures, then realising that the narration is just as good!

Absolutely superlatively mostest awesomest
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Old 14th June 2012, 10:35   #105
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Default re: Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!

O boy this is such such such a good thread. Your wonderful shots and narration almost made me feel as if I was on the safari as well. The sightings were just rewards for your patience and persistence - 'Bhagwan jab deta hai to chappar phad ke deta hai'

Superlative - Thank you very very much.
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