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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Cubs


SafariChick

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And then …. At about 5 p.m. which was not long before we needed to start heading back to the gate to be out on time --- Rajen excitedly says "Tiger!" Looking where he was pointing, we saw this female

@@SafariChick - you had great captures of Big Male! mine came out rather dodgy and blurry and i think it's the camera settings that I might have changed. Rajen found my settings not as clear and sharp

The biggest highlight for me in Tadoba was seeing the dhole. The wild dogs of India used to run in big packs but the rise of the tigers have reduced those packs to small groups of around 4. and the gr

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Earthian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had hoped to see the rare nilgai and the beautiful black buck, but it was not to be.

 

 

Come to Gujarat- Velavader: You would be able to see the nilgai to your heart's content.

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Earthian

so i put those hours of waiting to good use. taking pictures of

 

 

Most of the visitors who come to such parks, come to see the tiger. Their "happiness index" or "satisfaction index" has a direct correlation to whether they sighted a tiger or not. Over time, the guides & drivers become"tiger centric". This is quite frustrating since you spend a lot of time waiting for the tiger to emerge and do not see the other lovely sights of the forest. Worse, around the dinner table, when someone is waxing eloquent about his/her tiger sighting ( most are exaggerated) you experience a new low and the food tastes like mud since you have not sighted one yet.

Having experienced this and at best seeing a tail or leg through some dense bushes, and not being to claim having seen the eyes of the tiger dilate, as some do, i have now started telling the driver and guide to take me through all the sights of the jungle, including trees, shrubs, etc and we shall enjoy what ever the jungle has to offer.

Having said that, i realise that peer pressure and unrealised goals dejection can sometimes be quite unbearable and make you miserable.

 

Good of you to spend the time looking around. BTW, excellent photographs of the jackals, shikra, eagle.

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Earthian

Hooray! you finally had a great sighting!

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Earthian

Beautiful sunset photos and you saw dholes-twice. That is something that many would not have seen in innumerous visits. Bragging rights! :)

 

edit: oops! make that thrice. Now i have turned a nice shade of green

Edited by Earthian
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Kitsafari

 

so i put those hours of waiting to good use. taking pictures of

 

 

Most of the visitors who come to such parks, come to see the tiger. Their "happiness index" or "satisfaction index" has a direct correlation to whether they sighted a tiger or not. Over time, the guides & drivers become"tiger centric". This is quite frustrating since you spend a lot of time waiting for the tiger to emerge and do not see the other lovely sights of the forest. Worse, around the dinner table, when someone is waxing eloquent about his/her tiger sighting ( most are exaggerated) you experience a new low and the food tastes like mud since you have not sighted one yet.

Having experienced this and at best seeing a tail or leg through some dense bushes, and not being to claim having seen the eyes of the tiger dilate, as some do, i have now started telling the driver and guide to take me through all the sights of the jungle, including trees, shrubs, etc and we shall enjoy what ever the jungle has to offer.

Having said that, i realise that peer pressure and unrealised goals dejection can sometimes be quite unbearable and make you miserable.

 

Good of you to spend the time looking around. BTW, excellent photographs of the jackals, shikra, eagle.

 

 

@@Earthian you summed up so well what we felt towards the end of the trip. we spent hours just hoping for a glimpse of the striped one, that we didn't get to see the other jewels of the forest. That was why for the last two drives, we insisted that we would not spend time waiting for Maya and her cubs and when we did drive around without the pressure of "must see the tiger", I felt they were the most enjoyable moments.

 

Thank you for your kind comments too!

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Kitsafari

Thanks for sharing your trip with me. I enjoyed it enormously having just come back myself from a similar excursion (and been maddened by the noisy crowds too.)

Lots of queries and tidbits to absorb. Lovely sightings and photos of Dhole and Common Jackal.

For information Gaur or Asiatic Bison is the world's largest Bovine. Bigger and heavier than African Buffalo or American Bison. Can be dangerous but not usually a threat to vehicles.

Some birdy bits. (Blame Janzin for this!!) Green BeeEaters. Some without Brown caps are juveniles. Little Green BeeEater is an African species. Your Bay-backed Shrike is actually Long-tailed Shrike. The cute little birds on the wires are Indian Silverbills. 164 series. I think your Buzzard is actually a Pallid Harrier.

None of this of course detracts from your excellent narrative. We loved Chitvan too and the food.

Oh. Page 1. We got the sleeper train to Jabalpur. It was 3 hours late but at least we did not hit any wild boars.

@@Galana thank you for the corrections! the names I had written in my notes came from our guide. Not being a birder, I will defer to those more knowleageable! They are still beautiful birds. I really like the name silverbills (sounds like silver bells) - suits them to a T!

 

A sleeper train is more of an adventure and probably more enjoyable than a plane ride. Hmm, will keep that in mind the next time we are in INdia. Is it a smoother process to board a train than a plane?

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>>@@Galana thank you for the corrections! the names I had written in my notes came from our guide. Not being a birder, I will defer to those more knowleageable! They are still beautiful birds.<<

 

Oh dear, that's sort of what I was afraid of. We are going to have to work hard to ID the birds, as I know Rajen is not really a bird guide (and I don't expect him to be.) It just means we will have to double-check everything; we are at a bit of a disadvantage never having birded Asia before. I guess I will just have to run my list and photos by @@Galana before setting anything in stone, lol. In Tanzania and also in Botswana we didn't have "real" bird guides either, but we worked hard puzzling out the ID's together. But our advantage there was that we'd been twice to South Africa with an expert bird guide, so we had some background to work with.

 

Edited by janzin
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Kitsafari

Dhole and a sloth bear! Exciting stuff. Do you think the large dhole is the parent of the smaller ones?

It does look beautiful by the lake - and the sambar in the water are lovely to see.

The bee eater is like a little jewell - such a beautiful colour.

 

(I appreciate getting the good and the not so good - it does give a view of reality)

 

@@TonyQ (who i know is away now) - I just reread the TR and found your query.

 

and the Answer is - I think so at least. if you notice the dogs from our second and third sightings, the larger dogs have white/lighter colouring on its chest, underbody and inside its legs. the smaller dogs are mainly russet red throughout, although one of them spotted a bit of light colouring inside of a leg. This could suggest that as they grow older, they start to develop the white/light patches. I tried to do a search of dholes but there is so little research done on them, which is a great shame.

the little I can glean is that their behaviour is much like the African wild dogs. the following is from this link: http://www.cuon.net/dholes/home.htm

 

Within the canid family the dhole is something of an enigma. It doesn't fit neatly into any of the sub-families (i.e. the foxes or wolf-like dogs) and is classified in a genus of its own - Cuon. Among its unusual features is a strange whistle call which it uses to re-assemble the pack when animals become separated in dense forest. The dhole also has more teets than most other dogs and has a shorter jaw with one less molar on each side of its lower jaw.

Edited by Kitsafari
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Kitsafari

Thank you both for a most enjoyable report, Reading it felt like revisiting these parks with you. I'm sorry you had some frustration with Tigers but then I think your Dhole and Sloth Bear sightings must have made up for that. From the photos of the queues it seems to me Tadoba was even busier than when we visited in March. Interesting that you preferred Tadoba landscape-wise, for me it's definitely Kanha, I love the forest, meadows and small ponds there. When the sun is finding its way through the trees it's just magical.

 

@@michael-ibk I guess, the forest spirits of Tadoba were kinder to us, taking pity on us and showed us her other treasures in the dholes and bears.

 

but I have to agree - when the mist cling to the land battling the rising sun or when the sunrays stream through the leaves onto the forest floors - it becomes beautiful. and when they both come together, it's magical.

 

P1130809-1.JPG

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Earthian

@@Earthian black buck too, perhaps, in Gujarat??

Did not understand the question. Incidentally, just went to Velavader a week ago and shall give a short TR soon.

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Galana

@@Kitsafari. < Is it a smoother process to board a train than a plane?>

Er. This IS India. But if you have a sleeper reservation the train does stop at the part of the platform where it should which is a great help. Then you await those getting off and then board. That is the theory. But some folks idea of 'waiting' varies from what we expect. Actually the Porter system is great. Show him your ticket and your luggage will appear alongside you on the platform. When the train arrives he will see to the luggage for his fee.

 

@@janzin. <Oh dear, that's sort of what I was afraid of. We are going to have to work hard to ID the birds>

Fear not. You know the genus. Just like Africa. The rest follows with the aid of a good book such as "Birds of India" 2nd edition. And always remember the bird is usually named for its appearance. A "Green" Bee-eater is often a Green BeeEater. If it has a Chestnut head guess what? It is a Chestnut-headed BeeEater. Even Kit;s Silverbill follows that rule. A Parakeet with a Plum-coloured head? Work it out!

Tarun is very good. Rajen I don't know but you will be pleasantly surprised by how much most guides DO know. Looking forward to learning how it went!

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SafariChick

@@janzin don't worry about the bird issue - Rajen was very knowledgeable about both birds and mammals - he identified so many for us - maybe only one or two got lost in translation!

 

@@Earthian I think @@Kitsafari was asking whether there are also black buck in Gujarat?

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elefromoz

@@Kitsafari, jumping in here, but Velavadar in Gujarat is the place for Blackbuck (@@Earthian will confirm Im sure) and the Blackbuck Lodge is a beautiful place to stay.For when you're to go and see the Asiatic Lion, the two combine very nicely. I didn't ask earlier, but how did the "tummies" go, I just love Indian food, maybe a bit too much :wacko: , did the "rumbles" strike either of you?

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Kitsafari

 

@@Earthian black buck too, perhaps, in Gujarat??

Did not understand the question. Incidentally, just went to Velavader a week ago and shall give a short TR soon.

 

 

@@Earthian - sorry! yes, i was referring to blackbuck but the answer from @@elefromoz was helpful too! I'll look forward to your Velavader's TR as H and I are considering the Gir lions and elefromoz said that would combine well with Velavader! i'm only just starting your western ghats TR.

 

@@elefromoz, thanks for the useful info! as for tummy rumbles - I suffer from IBS so I'm very careful with what I eat and what I drink. I was very careful to drink either hot water or bottled water or water provided by the lodges/hotels. same with food. I had slight tummy upsets while in Kanha but i took the meds and they resolved quickly. but two days after I returned, i had acute food poisoning and ended up with an IV fluid drip at the emergency in the hospital. I suspected I took a bug back and it was triggered by something I ate. The only time I had it bad was in Mara a year ago.

 

were you also affected?

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Earthian

@@elefromoz

@@Kitsafari

Thanks for clearing that up. Well the blackbucks are fine and growing. I was there on Jan 7. It is just 140 kms from my house.

 

Regarding tummy troubles: I have often seen foreigners opt for salads and "cold" items instead of the hot "possibly spicy" items, while in India. According to me nothing could be a greater recipe for disaster ( tummy trouble) . Avoid salads, cold stuff and go for hot stuff. Hot as in temperature . Chances of getting tummy trouble is lower. Most lodges, hotels understand the palate of foreigners and ensure that the indian curries are only lightly spiced. Spicy food could burn your stomach and ..er..down the line; but will not give you food poisoning, assuming the food is not tainted. And yes, drink mineral water only. In the non coastal areas avoid sea food. During my working days, i had made this as a corporate rule, when hosting foreigners and found it worked.

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SafariChick

@@elefromoz I was fortunate and did not have any tummy troubles. I only drank bottled water or water that we were told was purified but I ate everything, both hot and salads (though I am vegetarian so did not eat any meat or seafood). @@Earthian I like spicy food and eat Indian and other kinds of spicy food at home, so I didn't have a problem with most of that. There was one time where I put a relish or something on my plate and it was a lot hotter than I'd expected but otherwise, I loved the spicy food!

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  • 2 weeks later...

@@Kitsafari

@@SafariChick

Thank you for a wonderful report - it has been great to hear from both of you and to see your photos and videos.

The dhole sightings were wonderful - and they are beautiful in the morning sun. I enjoyed watching them chase birds!

 

Do we have any wedding photos?

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  • 2 weeks later...
SafariChick

We booked both Kanha and Tadoba through Wild World India and they did a great job. http://www.wildworldindia.com/ Vikram is the head of the company and we worked with him and also Abhishek and they were both very helpful - especially when our flight was cancelled due to wild boar and Abhishek had to stay up all night to re-book us on a different flight to a different airport! We had heard about the guide we ended up using, Rajen, through @@michael-ibk and @@Atravelynn and @@AndMic through their report and requested to use him as well. He's normally a guide at Kanha but in our case he came with us also to Tadoba.

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SafariChick

@@TonyQ Thanks so much for the kind words - we really enjoyed watching the dhole chasing the birds as well! Nothing better than watching animals at play. :) And yes, I will post some wedding photos as soon as I get a chance!

Edited by SafariChick
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Atravelynn

A sleeper train is more of an adventure and probably more enjoyable than a plane ride. Hmm, will keep that in mind the next time we are in INdia. Is it a smoother process to board a train than a plane?

 

Less security to go through on trains than at the airport. But each time I had to be put on the right train in the right car. I would not have figured it out myself, despite routinely taking trains in the US and having traveled by train numerous times in Europe over the years without any trouble. Other foreigners like me have shared the same experience. Wild World India was very good about placing me in my seat, thank goodness. You might end up in a 4-bunk train car with other passengers. You are right it is an adventure. It allows travel overnight to arrive in the morning.

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Galana

I concur that at first sight the information board can be baffling but there is a system behind it. Your tour guide will be invaluable here but if not around, one of the uniformed 'bag carriers' will take you to where you need to stand and get your luggage aboard for you. The trains do have the advantage of stopping at pre-determined spots on the platforms so if you are stood on the right spot your selected carriage will halt right in front of you.

As to sharing with strangers this can be avoided by simply booking the four berth compartment for your party. $60 in first class (don't even think about 3rd) for our trip.

Beware. There is no boarding by seat numbers like there is, in theory, at the airport!! But it works!!

Less than a hotel room and way cheaper than a flight.

Try it.

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SafariChick

Ok here are a few photos from the wedding and the pre-wedding festivities.

 

First, the Mehndi ceremony. This was an informal, very fun gathering of the bride's family at the bride's parents' house the day before the wedding. The idea of it is the guests try to put turmeric paste on the bride and she tries to run away. But really it's good luck so she does not mind getting 'pasted.' I didn't realize before hand but the goal is also to get some on all the guests as well! I HAD been warned to wear something I didn't mind getting turmeric on (it does not always wash out easily!)

 

The home and yard were decorated beautifully for the occasion.

 

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The beautiful bride:

 

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There are a few photos of @@Kitsafari and I after getting pasted, but I need to ask her if she can post them as the one I have is kind of wacky - I think she has the better ones.

 

And here are a few from the wedding itself:

 

We were told the arrival of the groom was to begin at 4 p.m. and @@Kitsafari and H and I arrived at that time. But we were the first ones there - they were still setting up

 

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but people began to arrive and as it got darker and the lights began to come on, it started to look magical:

 

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Eventually, the groom arrived with his family with much music and dancing, garlands were exchanged, a huge high tea was enjoyed, and at last the actual wedding took place. It was kind of difficult to get photos as a spectator in the audience, as there were photographers with lights and all kinds of equipment right up front, but we did our best to snap a few!

 

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It was really a beautiful and special experience and honor to have been invited to attend.

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@@Galana

We found the train system worked wel. We shared with two other people and had some very interesting conversations. We also had a good breakfast brought to us.It was an interesting and enjoyable experience - and a relaxing way to travel.

 

@@SafariChick

Thank you for posting those - what a lovely ceremony. And what a great experience to be invited and to take part in the Mehndi ceremony.

Edited by TonyQ
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