Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kabini - Wild dogs mania continues...

Read the first part here...
Back at the resort after the wonderful morning safari, we were treated to some heavy, tasty breakfast that had idli, vada, dosa, etc..., and that dose of chai... we got some time off to freshen up and relax. Past 11 we assembled and right in the middle, the star attraction was Jayanth's 600mm resting on a tripod waiting to be used. We had an interactive session on focussing, metering, exposures, importantly composition, dof, playing around with ISO, focus points and many more. Grasped a lot of valuable things that will discuss separately in another topic. Our hunger for more was interrupted by the lunch break that had a varied menu that surely was delicious and mouth watering. After a small rest, half the group decided to take the boat ride and the rest of us preferred the jeep ride to try our luck again.

Starting off under overcast conditions, our eyes were fixed on anything that moved. Driving through the forest canopy without much sunlight and with the cool breeze, its something you need to experience rather than describe, rest is left to your imaginations! We rode cautiously along all the safari tracks enjoying the climate and it was just the same for the next 90 minutes, wonder where were the leopards on the trees !?@?! Probably intermittent rains had made them wander deep inside scurrying for cover. Later towards the fag end at about 5:30pm we saw a pair of wild dogs in the bushes wandering onto the safari track.
Cautiously as we approached, they went into the bushes again but not deep inside. Highly visible was their protruding tummies indicating they had a delicious sumptous meal just about some time ago! We moved ahead for a distance and played the waiting game, within moments the couple were on track right behind coming towards us! The female had gulped so much that it hardly was able to walk while the male time and again moved ahead and played the waiting game! Bonding b/w the couple that probably echoed, "If we go, we go together"! We assumed probably these belonged to the same pack of 6 that we had encountered but could never figure out, another interesting observation that we saw was every little distance these used to stop and look around as if searching for something... what, where, why - these are something beyond our thoughts!
The following game continued with us going ahead for some distance and the couple following us, this continued till we reached the main road and till now there were no other safari vehicles around, that's some luck!
I just loved the puzzled look this female gave us before wandering into the bushes to join her mate and then again reappearing...

The same continued again on the main road with them following us and wandering into the bushes whenever vehicles passed by on the road. With the bellies full, the female was slow and the male dhole used to stop and wait for his mate till she came along, lovely bonding! Wonderful oppurtunity when the male stopped right where there was some light on the road. He was keenly observing Jayanth who was trying some eye level shots with his bazooka!

As this continued as we approached a slope, we raced ahead for some distance and hoped the dholes would come out in the middle of the road as we were at a lower position, time for some good oppurtunistic photography. Bingo! Out came the dhole in the middle of the road and behind him a monster "Scorpio". Aww! the dhole almost jumped back into the bushes beside. Oppurtunity missed, but no so fast. After the vehicle passed, the male came out again to the middle of the road just near where we expected always keeping an eye on us and the female followed soon! The shutterbugs went Click, Click, Click!!!

It was now almost "7" kms that we had trailed them and that too in the opposite direction of the park entrance almost at closing hours. Oops! we had to rush back now once again leaving the dholes to continue their journey! Twice in 2 safari rides, we had to do this! Was it our luck or the end of our luck was the question still lingering in my mind. Till date I have always been lucky with the dholes as I have got to see them in most of the places I have been. Visible noise has creeped in as most of this was shot in bad light and with high ISO, kindly bear!

The other group that took the boat ride got to see the "Peregrine Falcon" - the fastest bird and a few other water birds. During this evening safari, in between the rains, sunlight was excellent for probably 30 minutes or so only indicating how bad the weather had been for photography. Back at the resort, it was time to make some people feel jealous about our sighting for the day :) Dinner and afterwhile some discussion among the group and we hit the rucksacks hoping our last safari the next day would too be good.

Day 3 - Giri was leading our team this time and the light was good infusing more enthusiasm into all of us. A tusker in the golden light was mesmerizing. This hide and seek of light continued and there was no proper sunlight till almost 11 am. The below shot was taken at 11:30am that should give an indication of light conditions.
We roamed around the backwaters and almost all nooks and corners but luck evaded us this time with no sightings. No problem we were a tad little dissappointed but not disheartened as the previous 2 days encounters were still afresh in our minds.

Back into the resort, breakfast and a group shoot later, we all dispersed hoping to catch up sometime and with memorable memories of the Kabini tour!
Below is the shot taken by Jayanth of the leopard that we saw.

Bird checklist:
Changeable Hawk Eagle
Brown Fish Owl,
Crested Serpent Eagle,
Painted Stork,
Racquet tailed Drongo,
Blue tailed Parakeet,
Little Cormorant,
White cheeked Barbet
and many others...

Interesting Stat: Kabini is the place where leopards are supposedly in plenty and you can go looking for them unlike othe places where its pure luck.

Care for the nature and the nature cares for you!

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