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Fresh from Karnataka's Kabini Backwaters; a photographic report!


madaboutcheetah
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madaboutcheetah

Dear All,

 

Since this is a Photographic report from my weekend away in the midst of a brutal summer; Here's some of the beauty and diversity of the Kabini Backwaters .......... First 10 photos just edited!!!

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Edited by Game Warden
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Game Warden

@@madaboutcheetah Lovely series of photos. MAC can you tell us a bit about the area, the park etc?

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I can feel the heat ! I heard its an extra ordinary hot year in Karnataka and many other states. Just hope the summer rains come quick ! Lovely series -of course the first one is my pick :-). Also the dholes.

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@@madaboutcheetah you are doing a fine job exploring new places for us with your weekend sojourns!

 

Beautiful pictures of beautiful subjects.love those 2 dholes playing.

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@@madaboutcheetah, once you've been to India, the thought of a return visit is always simmering away. Can't wait to hear all about this area, the photos are gorgeous.

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A good start. Two tigers too. Loved the Dholes playing.

Sambar shows how to keep cool in that heat.

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Hari,

 

Beautiful pictures. How long were you there and what are the chances of seeing a tiger in Kabini - you definitely had good luck.

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madaboutcheetah

Thanks everyone for all the kind comments ..........

 

@@Game Warden - I definitely will have a short write up regarding the park and surrounds tomorrow ...........

 

@@AKR1 - Actually, the Tiger density has increased in leaps and bounds of late (both Zone A and Zone B) - that, the usual best spot in India for Leopard is now a huge ? (not that they are missing; but tend to hide given the high Tiger movement). All that said, given that Kabini is dense - Tiger movement across the routes is the only way you are going to see them and the backgrounds are beautiful and different from Central India ........ We were there 3 nights. On an average two vehicles spot one Tiger a game drive I think is the Stat i came up with! ;) ....... You can be a few seconds behind or ahead and totally miss it! More photos to come!!!!

 

And oh - the main reason Kabini is jam packed with photographers at the moment - the BLACK PANTHER!!! I've already tried my luck twice this summer. Will try/try again ....... Google for some images - there are plenty of them! MUST SEE!!!!

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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madaboutcheetah

Next batch of 10 ........

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madaboutcheetah

17th April evening sightings in Kabini:

Mammals:

3 Tigress ( One was drinking water in the pond, other walking across the road and the other sitting beside the road).

Leopard sitting on a tree.

Apart from that elephants, gaur, sambar, barking deer, Malabar giant squirrel and stripe necked mongoose.

Birds:
Orange headed ground thrush, green bee eaters, Osprey, Jungle owlet, forest wagtails, Crested hawk eagle, crested serpent eagle, black hooded oriole, streak throated woodpecker, white bellied woodpecker and Malabar parakeets.

Reptiles:
crocodiles.

 

@@AKR1 - there's a copy and paste of this evening's sightings that i found online ......... Give an average of two vehicles having seen one of those cats? ........

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madaboutcheetah

Kabini usually refers to safaris run at the Nagarahole National Park and Project Tiger subsequently named it, Rajiv Gandhi Tiger Reserve.

 

The Kabini River runs between Bandipur and Nagarahole, two of the richest National Parks at the foothills of the Western Ghats in Southern India. These forests cover around 1500 sq. km (580 sq. miles) and are a mix of tropical moist and dry deciduous types.

The region around Kabini river supports tree species like Teak, Mathi, Dindla, Sandalwood, Rosewood and many more along with bamboo and other grasses.

The fauna boasts more than 300 species of birds, including the endemic Malabar Trogon and Malabar Pied Hornbill, the Crested Hawk-eagle as well as an impressive assemblage of herbivores like the Asiatic Elephant, the Gaur (Indian Bison) and the Sambar. Which results in a high density of prey in this region.

This in turn, supports a large and thriving population of predators like the Tiger (incidentally, the Nagarahole region is said to have the highest density of Tigers in India), the Leopard and the Indian Wild Dog.

The backwaters of the Kabini reservoir are now an important perennial water source where one can witness the largest and most spectacular congregations of Asiatic Elephants during peak summers.

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Your usual level of exceptional quality. :) Love the playing dholes especially.
Can't wait for more, and also good luck finding bagheera!

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Quit making us feel inadequate about our weekend activities. These are fantastic! The spectrum of Indian wildlife.

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michael-ibk

Beautiful, Hari! Now go find that Black Panther!

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madaboutcheetah

Michael, I may have used up all that Leopard luck in Selinda a few months ago! @@michael-ibk unless you guys want to come and help me find Bagheera???

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Fantastic and diverse images! This place was already on my radar for a possible trip - but I got really itching to go after seeing photos of the gorgeous black panther.

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madaboutcheetah

Next 10!!!!

 

@@cheetah80 - if you follow updates from there - Black Panther seen this morning!!! I was in Zone A yesterday morning before driving back home!

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More wonderful images @@madaboutcheetah !! That tiger sure knows how to work the camera :)

 

yes I saw the Black Panther photos just after I saw your report here - and I immediately thought of you! And then they say luck has nothing to do with wildlife photography - pah!!! You missed it by so little!

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madaboutcheetah

Last bunch from the weekend!!! Thank You for all the kind comments!

 

The Tiger is the daughter of the "back water" female via Kabini Zone B ......

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@@madaboutcheetah, just sooo beautiful, both the wildlife and the landscapes. All that over a 3 day weekend, sigh. So this is all Nagarahole? Any comment on things like accommodation options, jeeps, crowds? Apologies if I'm jumping ahead.

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madaboutcheetah

@@elefromoz - great question that!!! and most relevant for Kabini ........ My only recommendation is the Kabini Jungle lodge run by Jungle Lodges and Resorts ...... Why??? They are run by the Karnataka State Govt and they run the monopoly on the game drives inside the Nagarhole National Park i.e., they are the only ones able to conduct game drives. All the other private establishments have to outsource their vehicles/guides/Naturalists ......... Why is that relevant you ask? Well - I think there is a total of 6 or 8 vehicles only per Zone - A and B ...... So, only the JLR guests have access to the jeeps that seat 6 pax per vehicle (those of you used to Private vehicles/Private guides on safari ..... better get yourself a party of 6) ........ Given the current popularity of Kabini and it's easy access from most of South India it is always busy. So, your chances of getting a jeep is guaranteed only by staying at JLR. You wouldn't EVER want to be in a 16-18 seater Canter (Not that you won't see anything good - but, how good could the experience be with 18 Pax, especially if you are a photographer) ......... Since the number of vehicles are limited to begin with; you NEVER have a bad experience like you would in parks like Ranthambore or Tadoba or for that matter bad drivers like in the Mara or Ndutu. The drivers are very good; respect nature and abide by the rules. There is no jostling for space; no shouting etc etc., There are always return guests/big time photographers and if you happen to be in the same vehicle - then you are seriously looking for the big ticket stuff!!!

 

Now what is JLR like - it is a largish lodge/hotel ........ rooms are neat/clean. Food- a large spread; good home cooked Indian food served buffet style .......... The positive - I've never been anywhere in Africa where I've seen so many people strutting around massive Camera equipment (maybe the Mara would come closest). So obviously, you are going to meet like-minded folks who are all drawn to the monopoly of JLR/photography/wildlife. One massive positive - the bar is super well stocked and the evenings are buzzing with wonderful conversation around the bar (I was pleasantly surprised - totally unnecessary to have carried a couple of bottles of wine from home). That way, you can go to dinner after a couple of drinks when the dinner crowds have thinned out.

 

Definitely visit during weekdays and outside of school holidays!!! Kabini is open through the year and draws interest from keen photographers through the year as it offers something or the other! Bangalore is about a 4.5 to 5 hour drive; I have a 4.5 hour drive from home.

 

Any questions, give me a shout.......

 

My 2 cents - go for it!!! Kabini is a unique experience.

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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May I chip in with a further endorsement for KRL based on my experience (admittedly some 6 years old.)?

Any place where you can meet a tigress sitting at a bus stop gets my vote! Add to that mix Indian Pitta and Fantails in the Lodge grounds and it has to be good. But do avoid peak times unless you don't mind being in close (very friendly) proximity to others and drivers who only stop for birds if they are either red or blue! (the birds that is, not the drivers!!).

Thanks for the memories. It was well worth a visit.

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madaboutcheetah

@@Galana - Tigress by a bus stop? Do fill us in on that story?

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You have the inside scoop Hari and thanks for sharing. Maybe someday I'll put that scoop to use.

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Fantastic photos Hari! Love the fighting Dholes and of course the tigers. I think this area would be part of my next trip to India so I am eager to hear more!

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