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A Herd of Wild Asses couldn't keep me away from the Lions, Tigers and Wolves


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I think it's a different thing if you live there and can spend a lot of time in tiger country!

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On concerns about the crowds in indian tiger parks & chance sightings when not on an organised safari.


Likewise, there are farm lands outside towns (including my own) on the edge of forests and/or reserve where you can have chance sightings like this - I saw a Leopard this way. Several others, Tigers.......


Unfortunately, not just the crowds  when you go on game drives in the parks - not all of the reserve is open to the public. They have a specific "tourism" zone, a "buffer" zone and a "core" zone. I think the bulk of the reserve is "core" zone where tourists are not allowed. If you have connections to the Govt, you could go on drives with the forest department there (even this is very strict in the last year or two). The "buffer" zone is on the edge of the reserve, usually around villages and the like........ You can't compare the game drive areas in any of the parks in India to what's available in Africa. For example., I would be surprised if there is one park in India where you have enough game drive area that even equals the Kwando concession......


In Tadoba, you can stay at Tiger Trails and they have some forest land on their property with waterholes where Tigers pass through (in the summer almost on a daily basis).

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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Well, after that little interlude, onwards:


A few shots around the lodge during the midday downtime:



P3153950 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P3153977 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P3153998 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



On the afternoon drive we first tried to find this male again, as we had lost sight of him near to the village, just a short drive from our gate. But there was no sign of him. We first came across some Sambar, whilst checking what turned out to be a dried up water pan. We drove around the Pander Pauni area where the Brown Fish Owls were still there and still facing away from us (boo!). Then at the waterhole, we watch a Leopard which had come down for a drink. He crouched by the shore for a good few minutes slaking his thirst before turning and walking up the bank where he sat in a nice shady spot overlooking the waterhole. I could just about make him out in the binoculars.



P3159186 Sambar Deer by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



Sambar Deer by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P3154009 White-eyed Buzzard by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P3154017 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


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After the wonderful, if distant sighting of the Leopard, we carried on, encountering a Gaur.



P3159206 Gaur by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P3159225 Gaur by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P3159224 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P3159238 Gaur by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


And also a small troop of Langaurs.. this little family were rather photogenic. :)



P3159242 Hanuman Langaur by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P3159262 Hanuman Langaur by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P3159266 Hanuman Langaur by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P3159281 Hanuman Langaur by kittykat23uk, on Flickr

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We carried on to Tadoba Lake where we saw fresh tiger pugmarks. We soon got word of a Tigress and we were quick to give chase. We initially saw her walking in dense cover at the top of an incline. Then we bumped into Jonathan and this time we had proper, if brief, introductions. He was staying at Tiger Trails, so we would be seeing more of him when we transferred there later on. But anyway, as nice as celebrity spotting is, we were more interested in seeing the tigress! We were now part of a line of gypsies all spread out along the track trying to work out where the cat would emerge. Sure enough after some time she reappeared further down the track. This beautiful 3 ½ year old girl initially sat some distance away offering us tantalising, if obscured, views through the forest.




Finally she got up and began to walk towards the waiting vehicles. We were initially frustrated that our driver was letting so many other vehicles passed us as she emerged ahead of us amidst a sea of around 20 or so gypsies and sat in the road. But Rishin and our driver deftly maneuvered us into the perfect position to watch as she gently inspected the scent on a dead tree, scratching at the bark and then sprayed her own scent nearby.



tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



tigress 2 copy by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



tigress 3 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



tigress 4 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



I wondered if she was trying to attract the attention of another male tiger that might be in the vicinity? Having made her mark, she turned and melted into the forest. With it now getting late we drove back to the lodge, with memories of a particularly good day in Tadoba!

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"The Tigress and the Tree - Love at first sight. " :)


Again, fantastic sightings, Tadoba really looks like the place to go. And a leopard, almost too good to be true. A lucky experience there also or is it something you could realistically expect going on a few drives?

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Well, the later you go, the better the chances. I got the impression that leopards were being seen fairly regularly, but certainly not as often as tiger. We actually expected to have a better chance to get leopard in Gir, and certainly there were many more signs, tracks etc, there than in Tadoba. But we saw no leopards there. But from what I gathered, leopards in Gir are vehicle shy, they do not stick around, so although the terrain there is much more open than in the forests of Tadoba, a sighting may last just a few seconds.


Later on in Tadoba, Jonathan had a big male leopard drinking right by the side of the road, from one of the concrete dishes. It could well have been the same as this individual, as it was around the same area.



That night there was the most amazing electrical storm right over the top of the resort, it was actually quite unnerving standing outside in the teak house with the sound of the thunder! the power also kept cutting out. I had to have a rum and coke to steady my nerves! ;)

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Another observation, the tigers in Tadoba, especially the females seem to be a much more vibrant orange than ones I have seen in Both Kanha and Bandhavgarh.


By the way, those last few shots are screen grabs from the video!

Edited by kittykat23uk
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Guest kuduuu

I am living for this thread at the moment. I was one of the few lucky ones in Kanha during March and saw three Tigers, after a while we had to keep our mouths shut due to the growing frustration and anger from the rest of the safari folk. But yes, looks like Tadoba is on for year 2014! I heard that Shergarh Tented Camps are opening up a new lodge there, good timing too, I think the word is getting out that T is the place to B!

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New lodges may not be such a good thing to be honest, the good thing about Tadoba is that it is still quieter than the better known parks. Even now you still get tiger jams. I fear that the more people get to know about this gem, then the more commercialised and spoiled it will become.. :/ The upside is that more competition may well help to stabilise the rapidly increasing prices of some of the existing lodges.

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16th March Part 1 - Totally Shafted!


We had a very frustrating morning. We were told that Dhole had been seen for the past few mornings at Tadoba Lake, so we made this our priority. Sadly there was no sign of any wild dogs, but we did see a big flock of Lesser Whistling Ducks and Black Ibis. We also checked some other areas nearby, but still no sign of any dholes. We found a lone Gaur hiding in the bamboo. Then, as we were heading away from the lake, a load of gypsies sped past us. The hunt for tiger was on!



P3169306 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr




P3169308 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



We couldn’t understand why we were going so slowly and letting all and sundry past us as we drove in the dust of other vehicles. We finally arrived at the back of a crowd of cars, but we couldn’t see anything from where we were. After a long wait, we finally pulled up to see a sleeping tigress some distance away from the road. She appeared to have a wounded front paw. We couldn’t go anywhere with so many cars in front of us and it seemed clear that the tigress was going to be out for the duration.



P3169320 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


We were eventually able to leave the sighting and carry on, but not for long! As we were heading back towards the lake, our gypsy broke down. The cam shaft had gone. So we had to wait for about forty minutes whilst our forest guide got a lift to get help. I birdwatched while we waited, seeing some of the commoner birds such as Purple Sunbird and Red-vented Bulbul. Jonathan’s gypsie came back with our forest guide and we chatted briefly before they drove on. Eventually the replacement car arrived and we were on the move again...Back to the lodge, as it was now time to leave the park!


To add insult to injury, over breakfast were related the events of the morning to a New Zealand couple who we had been chatting with the night before and they had had a lovely sighting of Dholes at the fire break where we had been looking earlier in the morning.


The lodge staff were very apologetic over the breakdown and waived our drinks bill in compensation. After breakfast we left Svasara Lodge and drove the two hours to Tiger Trails (the roads are through little villages so it takes some time to get there).

Edited by kittykat23uk
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P3169343 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


16th March Part 2- I’m a celebrity, get me into here!!


We arrived in time for lunch and met up with Jonathan and the film crew. Jonathan explained that he was here with an Indian film crew for a project called “Tiger Diaries”. He had originally planned to film in Ranthambhore but the forest authorities were very unhelpful there. In addition, out of 34 game drives there he had only seen tiger three times. So they had moved filming to Tadoba, but as he was still in the process of trying to get a permit to film here, he could only come in as a regular tourist and take stills. The Indian film crew, however, were already in the park filming, with access to all the restricted routes.



P3164043 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P3164050 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


After some time exploring the lodge surrounds we headed off on our afternoon drive. We first spotted a Gaur. Then we heard about two tigers by Telia Lake in a block of forest. So we waited for them to appear for a while. But there was no sign of them, nor anything else. Behind us, Jonathan’s jeep turned up and started to photograph something on the ground. As his was the only other vehicle, we were able to back up to see what they were looking out. It turned out to be a lovely Jerdon’s Nightjar. We moved on, covering the Telia Lake area. There was no sign of predators, but we did see some picturesque herds of relaxed looking Chital. Later on we photographed a Green Bee-eater.



P3174133 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P3169355 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr





P3164103 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr

Edited by kittykat23uk
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Wow!!! With all these stellar sightings, I've been ringing friends to see who wants to go to Tadoba now - no body wants to go to an even hotter place than Coimbatore now - Let's see.

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Afterwards, whilst checking along some tracks we got a call that a tigress was sitting in the middle of the road. We raced to see her as she was desperately trying to cool off in a tiny puddle. She was panting heavily and being bothered by flies.

As more vehicles arrived, our guide became increasingly concerned, as they were blocking our quickest route back to the exit gate. So we left in good time and headed back via Telia Lake, hoping that one or more of the sub-adult cubs might have put in an appearance. Sadly they hadn’t. We also heard about a male tiger that crossed the road between where we were and our gate. Sadly he wasn’t seen on our way out either.




P3164111 Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P3164125 Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P3169373 Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P3169378 Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


Whist chatting at the lodge that evening, Jonathan mentioned that he believed the female we’d seen with the injured paw was lactating, based on the darkening around her nipples, and the forest authorities seemed to be showing an unusual amount of concern for her well-being. “Could she have cubs stashed nearby?” We wondered...

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Loving every bit of this @@kittykat23uk. Your videos are great and clearly you have got the hang of your new editing software. I must say the image quality of the screen grabs is pretty good too.........I was wondering how you had got the stills and video of that young female at the tree. :unsure:


You were often so close the the tigers that you got eye contact shots, brilliant.


Thanks for what you have shared so far. Looking forward to the next instalmant.

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Thanks Wild Dog, we certainly lucked out with the tigers!


17th March – Where can you see tigers? Only in India!


We had planned a strategy to focus on looking for dhole in the mornings and tiger in the afternoon. This was based on other people having good luck with dhole early on and the afternoons seemingly being best for tigers around Telia Lake. So we drove to the areas where the dhole had been sighted, Tadoba Lake and the section between there and Pander Pauni. But sadly the dholes seemed to be hiding from us. Birds seen included Long-tailed Shrike, Common and White-throated Kingfishers.



P3174163 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P3174187 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P3174196 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



We also missed a sloth bear and another tiger by just a few minutes. The trouble with a lot of Tadoba is that either side of the tracks the teak forest has a dense bamboo understorey, so animals that cross the road are quickly lost in the dense cover. It’s only really around the lakes, waterholes and when an animal decides to walk down the road that one can have a good, clear sighting.

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We came back via Telia Lake, and a Tigress was showing well. She tried to stalk a hare, but another jeep arrived and the hare ran off, thankfully!



P3179425 Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P3179426 Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


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Jo, what a great trip this turned out to be! Good thing you persevered with it even with all the planning ups and downs that happened. Beautiful photos as always - especially the tigress on her hind legs. Will send the link to this report to my brother. He will be tickled pink to read how much you liked it.

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Thank you Sangeeta! Yes a fab trip!


After breakfast back at the Lodge we went for a walk around the grounds, visting the waterhole where we set a camera trap. Pugmarks of a large tiger and palm civet were also noted.


P3174241 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


The pond attracted a few egrets and lots of dragonflies.


P3174252 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P3174276 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


P3174301 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


P3174323 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


P3174336 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


P3174367 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr

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In the afternoon, there was a party of visiting dignitaries entering via our gate, this meant that there were too many vehicles and not enough permits for everyone to go in. So we welcomed Jonathan into our jeep so that he could also come along. Thankfully Tiger Trails use bigger vehicles than the ones as Svasara so space wasn’t a problem for the guys with their big lenses! Jonathan had been having some great luck with his sightings, having seen a leopard drinking from one of the concrete pans by the roadside. So we hoped he might bring us some luck.


We checked a few routes before heading to Telia Lake. No sooner had we arrived when Jonathan spotted a tiger on the road further round the lake. She was one of the four sub-adult cubs, now approaching adulthood, but still hanging about together from time to time.


P3174414 Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


P3174417 Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


P3174416 Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


P3174419 Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


P3174437 Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


P3174438 Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


P3174442 Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


P3174451 Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr

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She followed the shoreline towards us, then turned and crossed into the forest. Then we saw a second Tigress who was back behind us. This girl went up and down the shoreline calling for her siblings. She bathed in the lake and then sat for a while before turning left and heading along the shore out of sight of us. (I think these shots are all of the second Tigress, but you can see the others in the video above).


At this point we planned to drive around the lake, as we knew two of the tigers were now behind us and, with more cars arriving, we couldn’t reverse back along the road. However, as we drove on, we spotted a third tigress who was also walking along the shore going right and heading towards the back of the lake, where we lost sight of her in the long grass. Then soon afterwards, the second cub reappeared at the back of the lake and was heading in the direction of her sister. She also turned away from the shore and disappeared into the long grass. We then heard some rather aggravated growling as the two cubs met up- it seemed to be a rather prickly reunion! Jonathan mentioned that this was common for cubs of their age, they still crave the contact of their siblings but instinct is also forcing them to stake out their territories and make their own way in the world.


P3174453 Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


P3174455 Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


P3174458 Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


P3174463 Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


P3174476 Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr

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You did certainly get a lot of tiger sightings! Rather more than I did in January. Your butterfly is Lime Butterfly, Papilio demoleus, I think. If you ever sort out the dragonflies do let me know - I've got a lot of pictures without a clue there.


Okay, a visit in March next time...

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We probably could have seen even more if we hadn't spent time looking for the elusive dholes!


Actually, slight errata in that last post, the tigress pictures is the first one we saw that afternoon. She walked towards us and we reversed back and then she sat in the lake for a while. Then the guide spotted another one behind us, so after she got up and walked off, we were able to reverse back to see the second one sitting in the grass.



second tigress 4 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



second tigress 3 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



Second Tigress copy by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



second tigress 2 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


She turned and went into the trees.


Then the first one reappeared again. She's the one you can see roaring on the video. She carries on, around the lake going right, up by the dam, after bathing in the lake.


Then further round, from the right, the third tigress appears and walks left along the back of the lake, disappearing into the long grass:



Third Tigress 2 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



Third Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P3174516 Tigress by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


Finally, in the video, the last clip is of the first tigress reappearing following the third one, and it's these two who made contact out of sight. :)

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