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Solitary Exploration of Nagarahole Forests - Feb 2016 and April 2016

Discussion in 'Travelogues & Experiences' started by nkrishnap, Mar 28, 2016.

  1. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    1,900
    Bangalore
    Bangalore
    Linea 1.3
    It has been sometime that I went out for an outing specifically for the wildlife. Spent a good a good five days in the wild. I love the Nagarahole and Thirunelly forests and I keep returning to it. I picked out Jungle Retreat Wayanad again. I had visited Jungle Retreat in January with a couple of office folks. Incidentally I had told Anil that I wish to return for a longer stay in February but had not confirmed any date as such. I called Anil on the Thursday evening to see if I can get an accommodation (single occupancy as I went on a solo trip again). Got an affirmative that he will arrange one at a very short notice in spite of the place running full. Thanked him and immediately transferred the required amount to the resort account. After returning home from office, packed the required stuff and was all set to go.

    Day 1

    For a change no 2 am start as I was anyways spending quite a bit of time in the wild. Started at 6.45 am and drove leisurely to have a stop at Hotel Vaishali for the breakfast. Had yummy, Idly vada, Akki rotti and a double dose of strong coffee. With moderate traffic, the progress was quite decent. Stopped at a HPCL bunk a few kms before Mandya for a top up. Drove till Srirangapatna and deviated towards to Hunsur via the KRS road (Bad decision). The roads are good for a few kms only and the rest you will spend time avoiding deep potholes and the roads are bumpy too. Once reaching the Ilivala, the road conditions improved a lot. Stopped at Hunsur to withdraw a bit of cash and turned towards the HD Kote road to drive through the Nagarahole Forest. The roads inside the forests were tarred at a few places and pot holes being filled. Reached the resort around 11.30 am.

    Manu (caretaker) quickly arranged the room and I relaxed a bit. While having lunch, I was chatting with Manu on any alarm calls or sightings that happened. He did tell me about the alarm calls near edge of the farm on the western side and the incident with Makhna elephant the previous night inside the farm.

    A Makhna Elephant (A male elephant without tusks) had broken the electric fencing and had barged in to the resort and was feasting on the grass near the wooden cottage. It took a good 2 hours to drive the Makhna elephant out beyond the electric fence by bursting crackers and the bright LED torch lights.

    Post lunch set off to find what the alarm calls were about. Spotted the leftovers of a spotted deer kill. The pug marks around were surely of a tigress and its male cub Not wasting any time around the kill spot returned to the farm.

    Left overs

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    Tiger Scat

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    Refreshed and went to the watch tower sitting there relaxing to the bird chirping and sounds of the evening forest.

    They set up a campfire in another farm which they own now. It was nice place to spend a good hour with the camp fire, a delicious soup and clear sky.

    Returned back to the resort, had a sumptuous dinner and slept light to be ready to head out in case of any alarm calls. That night none came apart from a few peacock calls. It was very peaceful that night with moonlight providing enough light to sight any elephants in the farm.

    Day 2 continued
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
    Ravi, Iyu, PradeepM and 2 others like this.
  2. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    1,900
    Bangalore
    Bangalore
    Linea 1.3
    Day 2

    Got up early and left the resort to Nagarahole for a safari morning safari. I was the 2nd one at the gate, the probability of getting gypsy for a safari was getting stronger. I indeed get hold of it. Let the pictures take over from here.

    A few birds, I am poor at naming them. If someone could name them I will be grateful.

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    Other spottings

    Wild Dogs

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    Elephants

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    Wild Boar

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    Barking Deer


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    Langur

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    Path

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    Post the Safari, I was headed to Ponnampet to a Colleague's house for lunch. En-route drove to Iruppu falls for a quick visit.

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    Drove back to the resort around 4 pm and relaxed for the rest of the evening with the majority of the time spent at the watch tower. Had dinner around 9 pm and hit the bed. As a norm, sleeping light helped. The elephants decided to take a sip in the waterhole inside the farm around 12.30 am. There were a couple of them. After 20 minutes or so, a tusker entered the farm and chased the other two elephants out with a couple of trumpets which were bone chilling right at the middle of a quiet night. Got to experience all this from about 100-150 feet.

    Day 3 continued
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
  3. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    1,900
    Bangalore
    Bangalore
    Linea 1.3
    Day 3

    Got up early as usual and this time it was Tholpetty Safari (turned out to be quite poor with so many jeeps let into the forest. In fact a mini traffic jam too occurred)

    Drive from the resort to Tholpetty Foggy Morning



    A few pictures from the Safari.

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    Returned back to the resort and relaxed for the most part of the day. Primarily because it was Sunday and there were too many people around to spot anything. Later around 8 pm, took the car out for a drive towards the Thirunelly temple and to Kattikulam. Spotted elephants near the Appapara forest range office, silently waited with the lights switched off and the engine running. After about 20 mins or so, elephants crossed the road and went on its way. A km or so further spotted Guars which were a little away from the road side. Did not bother to stop and drove back to the resort. Had dinner, and slept light, but that night no alarm calls to wake me up.

    Day 4 continued
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
  4. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    1,900
    Bangalore
    Bangalore
    Linea 1.3
    Day 4

    As being a norm now, got up early and headed for Nagarahole safari again. Got hold of the gypsy again and was off.

    A few pictures from the safari.

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    Came back to the resort around 10 am and had a nice breakfast of Appam and Kadala curry which I had requested Manu to have it prepared. Headed out for a quick walk through the farm edges to see if we can spot the tigress, but with no luck returned back to the resort.

    Packed all the stuff and bid good bye to the resort folks and drove towards Damankatte forest office for a safari in Kabini.

    Kabini Safari Report in a separate posts
  5. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    1,900
    Bangalore
    Bangalore
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    Day 4 Continued

    Drove from Thirunelly to Damankatte Check post via Balle. Reached the forest office around 3 pm. There was a small group of people waiting to go for safari there. Quickly bought the tickets and we were off for the safari by 3.30 pm.

    At the Forest office, A brahminy kite nest

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    The first water hole we visited

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    Dry forest

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    Indian Roller Bird

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    Malabar Squirrel

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    We wait at the tiger tank after hearing the alarm calls, nothing turns out, so we move further and come across this beautiful leopard crossing out path

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    Langur

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    Kingfisher

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    We moved further to cross the Balle road towards the backwaters. In the meanwhile hearing alarm calls and a few deers looking in a direction towards the bushes/trees. I asked the driver to stop and reverse a bit. Results paid off, it was Tiger strolling towards the water hole, it was quite far and this is what I could salvage from the 300 mm lens.

    Tiger

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    Deer on way to Kabini backwaters

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    At the backwaters

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    Continued in the next post.
  6. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

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    Kabini Safari Continued

    Sambar Deer having a mock fight

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    Crested serpent eagle

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    Another Malabar Squirrel

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    Sunset at the backwaters

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    On the way back

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    After the safari drove to Mysore to stay for the night, reason, to do a morning safari at Kabini again.
  7. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    1,900
    Bangalore
    Bangalore
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    Day 5

    Started from Mysore around 4.30 am, the Damankatte forest office is around 63 kms from the place I stayed for the night. It took about an hour to reach the forest office. Safari vehicle moved on 5.45 am.

    First we straight away head to the tiger tank, as luck had it, we spotted a Tigress and 3 cubs about 5 or 6 months old. As luck had it, the light was still poor and could not capture any pics. A few minutes later the tigress and the cubs moved into the bushes behind the water hole.

    We headed towards the backwaters to try our luck.

    Sunrise

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    Sleepy Crested Serpant Eagle

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    Mongoose

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    Deer and Fawn

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    Malabar Squirrel

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    We decided to try the Balle side core area too to see if we can spot the black panther. We could not spot any. But spotted this elephant. Asked the driver to stop the vehicle with engine switched off. For 10 minutes, this elephant was curious moving around restlessly during the camera shutter noise. A few minutes later it gave a mock charge followed by a trumpet, crossed the path and disappeared into the bushes.

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    Indian Roller

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    We headed back towards tiger tank to see if the tigress and cubs had come back to the water hole. No tigers in the water hole, but this mud soaked Sambar deer was there.

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    Guar with a single horn

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    Returned to the forest office, thanked the driver and returned back to Mysore to the hotel room. Quickly refreshed, ordered a sandwich and a strong coffee. Vacated the hotel and made a straight dash back home. Reached home around 3 pm. Rested for a while and took out the family for a dinner on account of my birthday.

    5 Days well spent exploring the Rajiv Gandhi National Park and the Thirunelly region. No guess required, I will going there again pretty soon.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2016
  8. punto_emotion

    punto_emotion Esperto

    Messages:
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    Grande Punto 1.3
    Lovely pics & narrative! Some wonderful animals spotting you managed in the wild
  9. ramjn

    ramjn Staff Member Janitor

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    5,243
    Chennai
    Linea 1.3
    Excellent photographs Krishna. Enjoyed all Elephant shots. :)
    I have taken Nagarhole route thrice in my Linea but was never able to spot this many animals. Really exciting.
    nkrishnap likes this.
  10. Ravi_M

    Ravi_M Regolare

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    Indore
    Indore
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    Great shots! You have steady hands indeed, as these were taken from distance, right? What camera? I too liked the elephant pics the most, though all are very good. There is so much to see in south India.

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