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In search of the Grey Ghost


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Definitely worth a visit if you have some time spare. It's like a mini bharatpur. The birding here is generally more distant than at bharatpur so a scope would be an asset. But there seems to be more Nilgai here than at bharatpur.

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trying to catch up and am only at page 3, but - i'll still settle for a glimpse of its head if it's all i'm going to get of the grey ghost.


what a great sighting of the wolves. amazing you all had a long look at them.


hope the injury didn't ruin the rest of the trip.

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finally all caught up.


that's such a great sighting of the grey ghost, and I got all excited just reading your report, and viewing the video. how gorgeous and completely well camouflaged it is.


and you got to see the lynx and survived the howlings of the wolves. and got to eat a cake as well. how do u bake a cake in all that snow?

the pikas are adorable and it's mind-blogging how the blue sheep skip along those vertical sharp ridges.


thanks for taking time to put up the magnificent vistas and i love that photo of the sun above those mountain peaks. you took me and immersed me into a winter wonderland which I think I will never be able to experience in person.

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Everyone, thank you all for your kind words! @@Kitsafari I have no idea how they baked a cake! It does not seem possible to me without an oven! But they did and it was pretty good! :)


After our trip to Sultanpur we drove back to our hotel for an early dinner and most of us said our farewells as everyone had different flights to catch in the next few hours. Peter and I had booked an additional week at Tadoba and so I got my head down for a short time before our next flight to Nagpur.

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Welcome. Most enoyable.

Are we getting Tadoba as a separate post or tacked onto here? Don't want to miss anything! :blink:

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28th February 2016


Not much sleep was had as we were up at 0230 for our 3am car to take us back to the airport or our 0535 flight to Nagpur. It was a three hour drive from there to Serai lodge located about 20 mins drive from Moharli gate. This is a fairly central position, close to Telia lake. Each brick built chalet had a canvas roof and these were arranged in a horseshoe around the garden. Reception and a restaurant were positioned at the entrance to the resort. There is a central lapa and a watchtower overlooking a pond. in the distance is Irai lake that forms part of the buffer zone. The lodge is well positioned not just for access to the main park but also affords access to the buffer zone, enabling one to have a more varied safari experience.



View of pond from watch tower by Jo Dale, on Flickr


A standard buffet lunch was served at 1200 and we set off to Moharli gate at 1330. Gate opens at 1400 so there was time to sort out camera permits and shop for snacks before entering the park. There is a small souvenir shop here too.



20160228_134819 by Jo Dale, on Flickr



20160228_134828 by Jo Dale, on Flickr



20160228_135112 by Jo Dale, on Flickr




We covered most of the areas that were familiar to me from my last trip. Telia lake was much reduced compared to last time and did not yield any tiger sightings in stark contrast to the Girl Gang of Telia who put on such a great show last time.


A Sirkeer Malkoha was a nice surprise:



P2281302 adj Sirkeer Malkoha by Jo Dale, on Flickr


The action whilst we were there was centred on two families of tigers. Maya, who was located at a waterhole north of the central checkpoint near Panderpauni and Sonam, who was one of the original girl gang of Telia with her cubs who was generally to be found at a waterhole closer to where we entered the park. We tried for Maya but she and her cubs were resting up in dense thickets of bamboo and were not playing ball, so after trying some other areas, such as Panderpauni and Tadoba lake. We ended up at Sonam's place but she too proved elusive that afternoon. We did have the unexpected pleasure of watching first one, and then a second, sloth bear.



P2281359 adj Sloth bear by Jo Dale, on Flickr



P2281427 Baloo by Jo Dale, on Flickr


Unfortunately they stuck to thick cover most of the time. The second sloth bear was seen to rub himself like old Baloo against a rough tree.


As it got dark we exited the park and traveled back to our lodge for dinner and a much-needed early night.

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Well that has answered my question at 131. thanks.

Great sighting AND Photo of the Malkoha. Not often they are so obliging. And the Bears too. "Oh man this is really living!"

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29th February 2016


The owner of the Lodge is called Dev (pronounced "Dave"). For most of our stay we had the company of the lodge naturalist, Ani. Now I should mention that Serai Lodge has fewer western clients than some of the better known lodges and he may not have been fully comfortable with English guests. That said, I would say that this lodge naturalist needs some development in terms of his communication skills and enthusiasm. He spent a lot of his time on his iphone, tended to mumble to us and was not particularly forthcoming in terms of pointing out other wildlife such as birds. We had the same forest guard and driver for each of the drives we had in the main reserve and I would say that Ani did not really add much to this partnership. His English however was better than the forest guard, easier to understand despite his mumbling, but the foret guard showed more enthusiasm and volunteered much more information about the wildlife. The driver did not really say an awful lot.


We arose early and had a quick cup of tea before heading to the car. It was still dark and in the headlights we spotted a black-naped hare.


Sambar were much in evidence:


25341295643_ffae03c9ed_b.jpgP2291458 Sambar by Jo Dale, on Flickr



A nice herd of Gaur were seen as we entered the park.


25964359206_0c1b088eff_b.jpgP2291471 Gaur by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25964361766_fc9c092235_b.jpgP2291503 Gaur by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25964365396_5bccd902b1_b.jpgP2291517 Gaur by Jo Dale, on Flickr


We were more focused on searching for tiger than accumulating a large list of birds, but a few lingered long enough to be clicked.


25868959242_81407a6070_b.jpgP2291534 by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25963836906_65e1810ea7_b.jpgP2291536 Long-tailed shrike by Jo Dale, on Flickr


We tried for both Tigress mums but both proved elusive so overall it was a quiet morning drive..

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Nice! Got to ask about 2291534. :mellow:

Edited by Galana
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Possible future pic for the name that bird thread? :)

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Well it will certainly keep folks occupied.

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We headed out again in the afternoon.



P2291542 Nice threads! by Jo Dale, on Flickr


We headed up around Jamni, where we had really distant views of a resting tigress, Chotti Tara. She was facing us but so far away that we couldn't really get any record shots and there was a lot of heat haze.


A mottled wood owl was found resting in the fork of a tree.



P2291556 Mottled Wood Owl by Jo Dale, on Flickr


and a Hoopoe was seen feeding on the ground.



P2291578 Eurasian Hoopoe by Jo Dale, on Flickr


We waited a long time for Maya to appear. Ani was getting increasingly restless and suggested we move on but as Maya was known to be in the area still, we waited some more and were eventually rewarded with a very brief sighting of one of her cubs at approximately 1715. Annoyingly we had to leave to get back beyond the check point about five minutes later and we then spent some time fruitlessly searching for Sonam and her cubs. As we headed out of the park we met another group who'd had the pleasure of a male tiger crossing the road in front of them. We also heard that another group saw Sonam and her cubs at around 1745, so just after we left her waterhole and another car saw a leopard cross the road. Well at least we got brief views of one of Maya's cubs.


A family at the lodge had been there for a few days and had only distant views of a tiger. We hoped we might be a bit luckier than that. Later that evening there was a bit of a commotion when one of the staff found what they thought was a cobra lurking outside the back of the chalet next to mine. They managed to catch and remove the serpent from the lodge and Ani believed it was actually a harmless rat snake, although it's hood seemed quite convincing to me.



20160229_192033 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

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1st March 2016


I was rudely awoken by a rat running across my head just before my alarm was due to go off! The tented roof may be romantic and reminiscent of safari camping but it does come with it's drawbacks too as the wildlife can easily make a home in the canopy. Whilst waiting for our car I spotted some more rodents clambering about in the bamboo.


25963843596_4eea9e8ec7_c.jpgP3011655 ?? rat?? by Jo Dale, on Flickr


Today the main park was closed so we had our drives in the buffer zone. Pugmarks betrayed the presence of Lara and her cubs but sadly we didn't find them:


25689213330_b9e4be7ddc_c.jpgP3011661 Tiger came this way by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25894819311_69fa1591f8_c.jpgP3011664 Tiger came this way by Jo Dale, on Flickr


A crested serpent eagle peered at us inquisitively from a high branch.


25868978192_382ccdbd68_c.jpgP3011673 Crested serpent eagle by Jo Dale, on Flickr



25361050723_9918ac0a3a_b.jpgP3011696 dragonfly by Jo Dale, on Flickr


We spotted a lovely herd of Gaur in nice light, including a young one and an adolescent.


25361563773_7c03ed0186_b.jpgP3011725 Gaur by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25869498122_cc4e630fcf_b.jpgP3011728 Gaur by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25357588434_675007f18e_b.jpgP3011731 Gaur by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25990291965_3f5b8be5ac_b.jpgP3011732 adj 2 Gaur by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25689753640_b1be094c7a_b.jpgP3011741 adj Gaur by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25357603594_0e0b8280cf_b.jpgP3011748 adj Gaur by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25361055553_f00ba6ec60_b.jpgP3011804 dragonfly by Jo Dale, on Flickr


A peacock was strutting his stuff.


25689227840_55b840e3eb_b.jpgP3011777 Peacock by Jo Dale, on Flickr


Quite a few birds were seen down by the lake, including cotton pygmy goose, black-headed and glossy ibis, openbill stork, white-throated and common kingfishers, Osprey, jungle mynah, rosy, pied and brahminy starlings, Indian Coucal, grey jungle fowl and grey spurfowl.


25894834421_699200556c_b.jpgP3011809 Jungle babblers by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25357083554_f0e4125963_c.jpgP3011813 Openbilled stork by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25963871106_b56c56139f_c.jpgP3011820 Gaur & Cattle egret by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25357089604_b13a78f61f_b.jpgP3011822 Openbilled storks, Ibis & egrets by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25357092124_ea4b3d5670_b.jpgP3011838 Openbilled storks, Ibis & egrets by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25989793045_dd3d3f160c_c.jpgP3011842 Openbilled storks, Ibis & egrets by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25357099904_f14c86896e_b.jpgP3011846 cormorants by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25964641066_58cf99bba0_b.jpgP3011873 Greater coucal by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25869767042_aea7053b70_b.jpgP3011881 Greater coucal by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25690014980_9f40bb4e91_b.jpgP3011891 Greater coucal by Jo Dale, on Flickr

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In the afternoon, lots of game had moved into the area that we'd be searching, including our gaur family, sambar and chital. There was still no sign of Lara, but another vehicle spotted a tigress called Madhuri crossing a track and so we joined the search to relocate her. We eventually connected with her but the view was obscured as she was traveling through long grass heading down towards the lake. She has four very young cubs who must have been stashed away out of sight as we didn't see them sadly. Unfortunately we lost sight of her fairly quickly and were not able to relocate her again. As we waited, we spotted a white morph asian paradise flycatcher, orange-headed thrush, rufous treepie, and jungle babblers.


25525797741_045d6dd6c6_b.jpg20160301_160240 by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25525797451_5e7189b282_b.jpg20160301_160244 by Jo Dale, on Flickr


25250925609_6123171023_b.jpg20160301_160246 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

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Sorry to learn that the tigers are proving uncooperative with you. Lovely photos. Interesting rodent in the tree. Reminiscent of Edible Dormouse but don't know of the Indian equivalent. I know the Glis glis does live in roof spaces in French Gites and can drop on to folks sleeping below.

Coucal has now been 'split' into Greater and Southern. Yours looks like Greater but is where the Southern should be. Just shows. Birds know more than experts.

Hoping to hear you get lucky with the Tigers.

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Wowza those wolves...the white one is incredible.

And sorry for no tigers, but sloth bears and a tiny gaur calf aren't bad at all!

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Thanks both. we had a few more drives so let's see..


2nd March 2016


An Indian black-naped hare was seen on the drive to the gate and another was spotted soon after we entered before dawn. Wild boar, Sambar and chital were seen as were a pair of Indian muntjac in male/female pairs. one male sported the most impressive horns.



P3021921 Indian Muntjac (Barking deer) by Jo Dale, on Flickr


We first tried for Sonam, but had no luck seeing her at her waterhole, we searched around Telia lake, the surrounding forest with no luck.


The mottled wood owl was roosting in his tree again



P3021960 Mottled Wood Owl by Jo Dale, on Flickr



We stopped at the checkpoint for a loo break and carried on up to Maya's place. The area was crowded with vehicles. But there had been no sighting that morning.


spotting a large-tailed nightjar:



P3021985 Large-tailed nightjar by Jo Dale, on Flickr


We spotted a nice group of Langaurs



P3022028 Hanuman Langaur by Jo Dale, on Flickr



P3022032 Hanuman Langaur by Jo Dale, on Flickr



P3022083 Hanuman Langaur by Jo Dale, on Flickr



P3022105 Hanuman Langaur by Jo Dale, on Flickr



P3022124 Hanuman Langaur by Jo Dale, on Flickr



Then we continued on to Jamni where we'd seen Chotti Tara before. But she wasn't around either.


We carried on down to the scenic Tadoba lake, where the water was like glass with log-mimicking mugger crocodiles gliding effortlessly across the mirrored surface.



P3022142 Mugger Crocodile by Jo Dale, on Flickr



P3022157 Mugger Crocodile by Jo Dale, on Flickr



P3022159 Mugger Crocodile by Jo Dale, on Flickr


We saw another group of langaurs on the way back.


When we arrived back at the lodge we heard some tragic news. The lodge naturalist named Chirag Roy, of Svasara lodge, where I'd stayed last time, had been out snake catching and was bitten five times by a cobra. I don't know if he was embarrassed but from what we were told he did not immediately alert anyone to the event and by the time he asked for help the venom had already taken effect. Although he was rushed to hospital he sadly didn't pull through. :(


A few birds were seen around the lodge.


P3022187 by Jo Dale, on Flickr



P3022204 Red-vented bulbul by Jo Dale, on Flickr



P3022204 adj Red-vented bulbul by Jo Dale, on Flickr

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Maybe you discovered a new snake species, the Hooded Harmless Rat Snake.


The baby langaur antics are very cute. Those were some frisky gaur.


All this AND sloth bear!





On a very different and very sad note, your comments on the tragic death of Chirag Roy may help explain his most unfortunate passing.

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A few more birds



P3022215 Red-vented bulbul by Jo Dale, on Flickr



P3022223 Purple sunbird by Jo Dale, on Flickr



P3022227 Purple sunbird by Jo Dale, on Flickr



P3022237 Purple sunbird by Jo Dale, on Flickr


In the afternoon we first tried for Sonam again but again had no luck there. We tried Maya's place, but the queue was long and she wasn't showing either:



20160302_083947 by Jo Dale, on Flickr



20160302_084000 by Jo Dale, on Flickr


We headed to Tadoba lake and got word that Chotti Tara had been spotted close to the road along a supposed one way route. We joined the long queue to view her as she was asleep in a dry streambed so only a few cars could see her at the time. We waited patiently for our turn, but just as we were about to reach a position where we could see her there was an unexpected mad scramble as a second tiger was spotted further along, so with only a brief glimpse of Chotti we found ourselves holding on for dear life as the gypsy jerked forward up the other side of the concrete ford in the stream bed. We were able to see the silhouette of a male tiger spraying against the golden afternoon light in front of a stand of reeds before he quickly vanished from sight.


We re-positioned in the queue to get a rather obscured view of Chotti Tara before we moved on, stopping at strategic points in the hope that the wandering male might reappear. no surprise, he didn't!


After half an hour we were on the move back the way we had come, which was surprising as we had been told initially that it was a one way system. We rejoined the now smaller queue and were able to get a better view of the sleeping tigress.



P3022291 adj Chotti Tara by Jo Dale, on Flickr



P3022328 adj Chotti Tara by Jo Dale, on Flickr



P3022327 adj Chotti Tara by Jo Dale, on Flickr


When we'd finished soaking up the sighting of her sleeping, stretching her huge paws and occasionally raising her head we moved forward out of the queue.

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As we returned back via Maya's place, things had hotted up. A crowd had gathered to watch Maya and her cubs who were active, but obscured behind stands of bamboo. Maya had three seven month old cubs at the time we were there and we were able to catch obscured views of them as they cavorted in the gaps in the bamboo. Photographic opportunities were sadly limited.



P3022343 by Jo Dale, on Flickr



P3022371 by Jo Dale, on Flickr



P3022403adj1 by Jo Dale, on Flickr



P3022403 adj3 by Jo Dale, on Flickr



P3022414adj1 by Jo Dale, on Flickr


As we were watching the tiger family a sloth bear caused a minor commotion as it crossed the road behind the traffic jam some distance away.


Time was getting on and eventually we had to think about leaving, which was easier said than done. As we crawled towards the more open area which gives a view of the waterhole, one of the cubs came into view and clambered up the bank and we were able to see him clearly, although briefly!



P3022425 by Jo Dale, on Flickr



P3022452 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

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Here's a video of one of the cubs.



We saw nothing more of note on our way out, but one can't really grumble at six tigers and a sloth bear on one drive! :D

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@@kittykat23uk so sad about Chirag. @@Kitsafari and I just spent time with him when we at Svasara in December and I was quite shocked to learn he died, and how. I learned about it from Raj, our guide on that trip, who posted about it on Facebook - apparently he was his best friend :( I hadn't heard the details about him having been bitten but having had time to tell someone and waited too long. What a terrible shame. He was so young.

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Its terribly sad and a bit of a coincidence that we saw a "suspected cobra" the night before. The information about the bites and him not seeking help is what we were told at the time. I don't know if it is accurate. Whatever the case, it is still terribly tragic. :(

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@@kittykat23uk yes, I'd heard he was bitten by a snake but not what happened after that. Certainly tragic, no matter what.


So glad you got to see the cubs - they are so much bigger than when we had our very brief glimpses of them in December, but still adorable!

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Great to read about your time at Tadoba--as you know we were there just the week before you! Great to catch up again with Maya--glad you got to spend some time with the cubs, as we only caught very brief looks at a long distance. (This is making me feel guilty not having done my report yet :o--soon!)


Re: Chirag Roy; we had actually met him just before he died, since we were staying at Svarsara. At the time we were really impressed by his sweetness and love for herping, although he wasn't our guide, we spoke with him at length about the snakes in the area; he helped us to find some frogs one night. I was so upset to hear about his death and we too heard the same story you did; but I later received updated information; that story is not really accurate. He was not alone when bitten (and I'm not sure the bitten five times was accurate) and he was rushed immediately to the hospital, but unfortunately he succumbed not to the snake bite but to anaphylactic shock from the anti-venom. Apparently he had many allergies. There is a nice tribute to him here for those who have met him: http://www.sanctuaryasia.com/people/in-remembrance/10277-passionate-naturalist-and-herpetologist-chirag-roy.html

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