Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 8th May 2018, 12:24   #1
BHPian
 
Stryker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 318
Thanked: 1,278 Times
Default Kabini - The call of the wild

Once in two months or so seems to have become the frequency I'm most comfortable with. I'd like to visit more often, but there are too many considerations in the way, not least financial. However, this time there was an added relevance to the visit. I caught up with my primary school classmates after nearly 40 years. Yes, you read that right, it's been forty years since I was in primary school. Showing my age, aren't I? In any case, we hit it off like we were never out of touch and that we last saw each other when we were this high, in shorts and pinafores! Here is a "Then and Now" photo. Unfortunately some of our classmates couldn't join us for the usual reasons (not in the country, not in the city, not free on the day, etc., etc.)

Kabini - The call of the wild-kes000sj.jpg

That's me second from right in the middle row ("Then" photo) and right in the middle of the standing row ("Now" photo). It was an amazing experience, to say the least and it is still continuing...WhatsApp is a boon for things like this! Two of us, Rajeev (wearing a cap, sitting in the "Now" photo and standing next to me on my right in the "Then" photo - yeah, we were great friends then too!) and me turned out to be wild life enthusiasts and immediately decided that a trip to Kabini would be the best way to celebrate. We decided a date and did the booking in two minutes flat! Well, that kind of decision making isn't everyone's forte so we were only two of us on the trip. But we have promised each other to go there again with more classmates.

Anyway, on to the tour. May is usually a very dry month, with temperatures hovering around 35C. Water availability in the forest is at a premium, thus leading to animals congregating at water holes in the morning and evening times, when the sun isn't beating down. But when we reached JLR, we were pleasantly surprised to see greenery all around. It had been raining reasonably heavily for the past few days and that had transformed the area into a green paradise. There is still not much water in the backwater area, but there will be lots of small pools of collected water inside the forest. This will obviously mean that the animals need not come to the main water bodies to quench their thirst and would find plenty of water wherever they are. We are a little apprehensive about this, since it would mean less sightings for us. We also met up with a couple of the usual suspects when it comes to wild life photography, so we were all pretty happy to get together. Needless to say, both the beer and stimulating conversations flowed in the evenings after the safaris!

Right, I usually don't write this much preamble to my photos but please bear with me. I'm still on a high after the reunion! On to the photos then.

First day, first show. We came across the Balle female who had settled down on the path and just refused to move. She was with us for nearly two whole hours, giving us opportunity to try out every thing I wanted to. Different settings, composition, stills, videos, you name it. After a while, I just kept the camera aside and enjoyed the sheer beauty of the animal.

Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18005.jpg
Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18016.jpg

She had probably just eaten, her belly was full and distended and she was too lazy to get up and walk about.

Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18021.jpg
Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18035.jpg

A Chital stag wandered into her sight and she went into stalking mode out of sheer reflex. We could tell her heart was not in it and the chital gave a loud startled warning call and bounded away. I couldn't get both animals into the frame as I had only my 200-500 lens with me.

Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18042.jpg
Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18046.jpg
Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18048.jpg

After a while, with the sun sinking lower, she decided to move to a still sunny patch just a few meters up the path and settled down there again.

Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18055.jpg
Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18059.jpg
Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18065.jpg

More yawning and rolling around ensued.

Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18094.jpg
Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18097.jpg
Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18102.jpg

"Oh you guys are still here?" After a long time, we had to return as it was getting late, so we said our goodbyes and drove back.

Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18104.jpg
Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18106.jpg

While all this was happening, I had climbed on top of the van to get a better angle to take photos. In the process, the lens hood on my 200-500 unscrewed itself, fell off the vehicle and rolled into the bushes by the side of the path. We can't get out of the vehicle at any point in the safari, it is strictly prohibited and also rigorously enforced. We thought that once the tigress gets up and goes away, the driver can quickly hop out and retrieve the hood. It wasn't that far away, just a couple of steps from the van. But she didn't move for two hours! And there were several other vans present, so any possibility of a quick retrieval was non existent. So I bid goodbye to my lens hood too and was searching Amazon for a replacement.

On the way back, we came across this cute baby elephant sticking close to its mom. They were so close that I couldn't fit them into the frame completely.

Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18122.jpg

The next morning, we returned with great anticipation, but were disappointed not to sight a cat. Someone said they saw the black leopard disappear into the bushes, so we waited there for quite a long time. He didn't return, although we kept hearing alarm calls. I'm yet to see this most famous of all Kabini's cats. Maybe next time.

We did see some other amazing animals, though. Like this female Gaur standing and posing right in the middle of the path.

Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18126.jpg

The curious case of the Double Horned Gaur! I'm told this is an extremely rare animal and only I was fortunate enough to see it.

Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18145.jpg

While we were about to exit the park, along came a van with one of the enthusiasts holding up my lens hood! I gratefully took it from him and thanked the driver for noticing it and picking it up. I'm sure that lens hood has some stories to tell of the night spent in the forest, if it could speak!

After a fruitless search for cats, we returned to JLR. Post breakfast, we thought a drive on the highway till the Kerala border might result in something, so we did just that. Nada. No luck. But we saw a group of elephants with a baby (it may be the same one we saw earlier) waiting patiently to cross the road, like very rule conscious pedestrians. Once the traffic reduced, all of them quickly crossed, with the little one tucked in safely between Mom and Aunts.

Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18194.jpg

The evening safari too seemed to be going the same way. Lots of alarm calls at a couple of places, but no luck with sightings. We did see a Serpent Eagle on the ground busily searching for a lizard or something.

Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18226.jpg

We then came across a peacock showing off his beautiful tail feathers to a disinterested looking peahen. He tried his level best to entice her, but she was having none of it. Ah, the things we men must do to get the attention of the ladies! I don't know how many of you have seen this dance, but let me tell you, it is a sight to behold! Not for nothing is it called the Natya Mayuri (dancing peacock in Sanskrit).

Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18235.jpg
Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18247.jpg

It was getting really late, almost time to leave the park when we decided to return to the place where we had earlier heard some alarm calls. We were resigning ourselves to another fruitless safari and I said we could at least have a couple of beers in consolation, when suddenly we saw a tigress climbing out of a small water filled pit by the side. It appears she was there all along and we couldn't see her since she was invisible from the van. If she had not decided to get out of the pit at the exact time we were there, we would have missed her again. You can see from the way the colour changes on the rear part of the body that it is still wet and dark from the mud. This is the famous Backwater female, the one with three cute little cubs, of whom there was no sign. The excitement reached stratospheric levels instantly, especially since we had a relatively newly wed couple in the van who were on their very first safari.

Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18251.jpg

She crossed the path in front of us. The light was fading fast and it was beyond the time we were supposed to leave the park. We implored the driver for a few more minutes and he reluctantly agreed. Some fast vehicle maneuvering took place and we got a good angle.

Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18313.jpg

She then lay down again, this time in the open. I got a great angle, as she was slightly above us and I was crouched down as low as I could go in the van. Any further and I would be through the floor!

Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18329.jpg

She was full too (seems like everyone had a good meal lately) and was not in the mood to move about, although there was a herd of Chital right opposite.

Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18340.jpg

I got one final shot, which seems to be the best of them all. Zoomed in to the full 500 mm and the angle meant that I and the tigress were eye level to each other.

Kabini - The call of the wild-kbnmay18355.jpg

After this, we had to move otherwise there would be trouble at the exit gate. The driver drove the vehicle like he was in the Dakar rally and we just managed to squeeze out with some apologies. At JLR, the beer flowed again, this time in celebration. I just wish we had a little more time with her. But then, we are never a satisfied lot, are we?

Thus ended another fruitful trip to Kabini. As ever, I hope you people enjoyed these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them. Until next time then, bye and drive safe.

Last edited by Stryker : 8th May 2018 at 12:57.
Stryker is offline   (44) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 8th May 2018, 13:02   #2
Team-BHP Support
 
Rudra Sen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 10,726
Thanked: 4,511 Times
Default Re: Kabini - The call of the wild

Mod note: Thread moved to Travelogue Section. Thanks for sharing.
Rudra Sen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th May 2018, 13:15   #3
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Trivandrum
Posts: 280
Thanked: 227 Times
Default Re: Kabini - The call of the wild

Two whole hours with a tigress, wow that is something. Great photos. You are really lucky to have two tiger sightings. May seems to be a good month to go to JLR.
SajiNSalin is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 8th May 2018, 13:44   #4
BHPian
 
varunanb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Chennai
Posts: 165
Thanked: 123 Times
Default

Nice pictures and you must be lucky for such a long sighting.
Was there a Tusker with a single tusk part of the herd. In our trip there last year, the tusker was on left side of the road and rest of the herd including a baby on the other side and we were in the first jeep in between them. Suddenly he charged at us and were lucky to come out due to some fast thinking by the driver. Guide and driver later said they were as terrified as us. One experience that we will never forget. I was with my daughter and wife.
varunanb is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 8th May 2018, 14:23   #5
BHPian
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 150
Thanked: 249 Times
Default

Beautiful pictures! Now I really can't wait to visit Kabini, looks like it was a perfect trip at the perfect time of the year.
glikithvinayaka is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 8th May 2018, 16:18   #6
BHPian
 
gadadhar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 861
Thanked: 267 Times
Default Re: Kabini - The call of the wild

Wonderful location for a Alumni meet and 2 hours with a tigress, there is nothing more you can wish for to celebrate the occasion.
gadadhar is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 8th May 2018, 21:35   #7
BHPian
 
bigron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: NSEW
Posts: 720
Thanked: 439 Times
Default Re: Kabini - The call of the wild

What a wonderful sighting this must have been. And you are right, no matter how long you get to see them, it still feels less.
bigron is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 9th May 2018, 10:46   #8
BHPian
 
Stryker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 318
Thanked: 1,278 Times
Default Re: Kabini - The call of the wild

Quote:
Originally Posted by varunanb View Post
Was there a Tusker with a single tusk part of the herd.
Thanks varunanb. No the tusker with only one tusk was not part of this herd, although I've seen him elsewhere.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SajiNSalin View Post
May seems to be a good month to go to JLR.
Thanks SajiNSalin. If you ask me, any time is a good time to go to Kabini. Actually May is more crowded since schools are closed and lots of families are on holiday. But in terms of sightings all months are more or less same.


Quote:
Originally Posted by glikithvinayaka View Post
Beautiful pictures!
Thanks glikithvinayaka.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gadadhar View Post
Wonderful location for a Alumni meet and 2 hours with a tigress, there is nothing more you can wish for to celebrate the occasion.
Thanks gadadhar. Ummm, our alumni meet was in Bangalore, but we celebrated all the same!


Quote:
Originally Posted by bigron View Post
What a wonderful sighting this must have been.
Thanks bigron.
Stryker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th May 2018, 12:13   #9
BHPian
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Chennai
Posts: 59
Thanked: 45 Times
Default Re: Kabini - The call of the wild

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stryker View Post
I caught up with my primary school classmates after nearly 40 years. Yes, you read that right, it's been forty years since I was in primary school.

I got one final shot, which seems to be the best of them all. Zoomed in to the full 500 mm and the angle meant that I and the tigress were eye level to each other.
It is double happiness meeting all our friends after many years and that also in the lap of Nature. Superb. Added to it being lucky to have multiple sighting of Tiger. It is enchanting to watch the Tiger with its lines and designs.. We just keep watching and appreciating its beauty on and on.....

I liked your photos specially the last one. It was too good. Capturing with its eyes straight in to your eyes...
pradeepnair is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 9th May 2018, 12:17   #10
BHPian
 
sparky@home's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: KL08/KL46
Posts: 261
Thanked: 437 Times
Default Re: Kabini - The call of the wild

Superb photographs, you sure were lucky to get the big cat to pose for you. Thanks for sharing.
sparky@home is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 9th May 2018, 13:38   #11
BHPian
 
prince0407's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: MH12/OD02
Posts: 66
Thanked: 88 Times
Default Re: Kabini - The call of the wild

That's some serious tiger spotting indeed. The female Gaur picture and the parting shot of the Tigress really stand out amongst some brilliant clicks.
The pictures seem inviting. May doesn't seem a bad month to visit Kabini at all.

Regards,
Pratyush
prince0407 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 9th May 2018, 21:04   #12
BHPian
 
Stryker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 318
Thanked: 1,278 Times
Default Re: Kabini - The call of the wild

Quote:
Originally Posted by pradeepnair View Post
I liked your photos specially the last one. It was too good. Capturing with its eyes straight in to your eyes...
Thanks pradeepnair. Yeah, the angle was good so I could get a rare eye level shot of the tigress.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sparky@home View Post
Superb photographs, you sure were lucky to get the big cat to pose for you. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks sparky@home. I like your handle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prince0407 View Post
May doesn't seem a bad month to visit Kabini at all.
Thanks Pratyush. As I was saying earlier, any time is good time in Kabini.
Stryker is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 11th May 2018, 15:47   #13
BHPian
 
ARAY's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: WB 38
Posts: 345
Thanked: 1,302 Times
Default Re: Kabini - The call of the wild

Reunions like the ones you had is pure blessing. All the pictures are purely subject based and bring out the nature of these beasts ( when their tummy is full, ofcourse) . I simply love such tighly focused pictures of any wild cat. Such pictures demand pure luck ( proximity) or great camera gear ( >= 600mm ) Thanks for sharing.

Last edited by ARAY : 11th May 2018 at 15:48.
ARAY is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 11th May 2018, 20:14   #14
BHPian
 
Stryker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 318
Thanked: 1,278 Times
Default Re: Kabini - The call of the wild

Thanks, ARAY. I've been reading your Dusty adventures and envy you. Regarding the gear, my lens is the 200-500 mm so proximity was key here. And luck, as ever.
Stryker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th May 2018, 11:55   #15
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 113
Thanked: 107 Times
Default Re: Kabini - The call of the wild

Excellent Shots. And you are distinctly lucky to get a two hour close darshan of the cat. The shots of Gaur, Eagle and peacock are all superb.
How does one book the safari? Is it run by Government or private operators? Can it be booked on the spot?
SKavuri is online now   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
5000kms and 12 Passes, a 20 day wild wild ride to the roof of the world! tsk1979 Travelogues 556 19th August 2015 10:42
Call of the Jungle – Kabini Torque123 Travelogues 5 10th June 2014 18:07
Answered the call of the wild - Kabini sajands Travelogues 21 19th February 2013 23:49
Muthanga, Wayanad: Mykkara homestay - Succumbing to the call of wild again !!! gadadhar Travelogues 11 8th March 2010 09:18
A Wild Wild ride to the Mighty Chansal Ghati tsk1979 Travelogues 44 26th January 2009 18:21


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 08:59.

Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks