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India - Deluxe!


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Antee

India - Deluxe!

 

This is a trip report from two different tours in India which took place the last 2½ year. 

It will include alot of places with both known and for most people - unknown places.

 

Much of my focus of these tours revolved around the chance to see new feline species for me as I am on a mission to observe and photograph every feline species inte the world as the first human being on earth. 

 

But also alot of other cool stuff. India is a heaven for mammalwatching and birding. A gigantic country with all types of nature and alot of endemics.

 

It will include:

 

* Kanha Nationalpark (Mainly for Tiger and Dhole)

* Pench Nationalpark (Mainly for Tiger)
* Kabini (For Black panther, Tiger and Leopard)

* Sethumadai (Gray Slender loris)

* Valparai (Lion-Tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur and alot of other endemics)

* Pakke Nationalpark (In search of Golden cat, Marbled cat, Mainland clouded leopard)

* Eaglenest (This mythical birding site is also a good place for Golden cat)

* Rann of kutch (Indian fox, Asiatic Wild ass and other)

* Velavadar NP (Indian wolf, Blackbuck, Striped hyena, Nilgiri and other)

 

Both my tours was booked with the excellent https://www.wildworldindia.com/ and I truly can recommend this company to everyone who is interested in Indias wildlife. 

 

Let´s start with Kanha...

 

Kanha NP

 

Kanha was the first place I visited in India and it´s still the most beautiful park. 

It was the mystique that drew me here from the beginning and I did not regret a second that I choosed to visit Kanha. 

I wanted to see the tiger quite alone. Not with 30 other cars. That was the reason why I chose Kanha and Pench to see my first tiger. 

I would rather see a Tiger almost alone than 8 Tigers together with an organized chaos if you know what I mean... 

 

Kanha made me both disappointed and not.

 

I stayed at the lovely Tuli Tiger Resort http://www.tulihotels.com/tuli-tiger-resort-kanha.html

 

 

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Kanha NP

 

 

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Every morning there was this mythical mist which embedded the national park in a soft shape. Chital is aware of danger...

 

 

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Chital maybe spotted som danger in the mist...

 

 

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These take it easy though...

 

 

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Rangers patrolling in the mist.

 

 

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Chital is by far the most common sight in Kanha as in many other parks in middle and southern India.

 

 

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Beautiful Kanha NP

 

 

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Barasingha. A target species for me in Kanha as this is one of few places where they exists. Around 450 of them now living in Kanha.

 

 

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Barasingha

 

 

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Barasingha males retreated to the water to look for food.

 

 

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Blackbuck. Re-introduced in Kanha since 2011 after being localy extinct.. Around 25 animals now roaming these plains.

 

 

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Sambar deer emerges from the forest.

 

 

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Alot of Tiger prey everywhere but no predators in sight... 

Indian muntjac.

 

 

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Indian muntjac

 

 

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Biggest Gaur I´ve ever seen. Huge male!  No one mess with this guy!

 

 

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The ever present Grey langur.

 

 

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Indian Palm squirrel

 

 

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One early morning in low light a Golden jackal approach us...

 

 

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Wild boar

 

 

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Alot of driving on roads like this in different zones. But still no Tigers... 

 

 

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Boom, yes! A pack of 3 Dholes which we followed for a while. They ended up with chasing away a Sambar deer from the bushes out on the plains. They disappeared far, far away. Impossible to follow and only the wild dogs themselves probably know how the hunt ended.

 

 

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Some basking in the sunlight.

 

 

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Fewer than 2500 individuals now exists on the planet. 

 

 

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A big target for me and a lifer. Almost more important than seeing my first Tiger as I know they are much easier... 

 

 

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6 drives in Kanha and I ended up with no Tiger at all. Not a single glimpse. However, The Dholes weighed up for this miss.

 

 

As usual some noticeable birds at the end of my posts.

 

 

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Common Myna riding on the back of a Barasingha.

 

 

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Rose-ringed parakeet

 

 

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Plum-headed parakeet were busy making nest of this big straws.

 

 

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Crested serpent eagle. Incredible common raptor in Indian forests.

 

 

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Despite no Tigers in Kanha I have a special feeling for this park. It´s something mythical over it. I don´t know what it is. Maybe it´s the combination of mist in the morning and the very beautiful surroundings. 

I would be really happy to go back one day with a Tiger sighting as well. 

 

What do you think of Kanha?? 
Do you agree with me about the beauty of this park or do you have another opinion? 

 

Kanha for me is a special place on the ever growing list of parks visited.

 

Next episode: Pench NP. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Antee
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India - Deluxe!   This is a trip report from two different tours in India which took place the last 2½ year.  It will include alot of places with both known and for most people - unknow

Pench NP   Pench is the second park I visited in India.  I choosed Pench of two reasons. Partly that it´s convinient distance from Kanha. It´s easy to combine these two. And partly because

Bandipur & Sethumadai   If you cross Kabini river and Kabini dam to the south you end up in Bandipur Nationalpark with fairly amount of Tigers, Leopards, Dholes but also the sought after

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ForWildlife

Looks very pretty and imo definitely worth a visit! Quite the target list on this trip, hope you got to see them all!

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RC88COR

Beautiful images of Kanha NP @Antee What time of year were you there - month? I visited Kanha in early March 2018, as part of a larger solo tiger safari trip that also included Tadoba and Bandhavgarh. I planned it myself and loved every second. Totally agree with you, Kanha has a reverential quality to it, mystical in a way, and utterly beautiful. I saw a couple of tigers in Kanha, but far less than in Tadoba and Bandavgargh. I should write a TR too. I look forward to your next posts, especially about Pench and Kabini. 

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Zubbie15

I agree about Kanha @Antee, definitely a beautiful park, although not necessarily the easiest for tigers.  I was also going to ask what time of year your were there, as we didn't have as much fog when we were there on March 2019.

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mtanenbaum

So gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing.

 

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Antee
Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, RC88COR said:

Beautiful images of Kanha NP @Antee What time of year were you there - month? I visited Kanha in early March 2018, as part of a larger solo tiger safari trip that also included Tadoba and Bandhavgarh. I planned it myself and loved every second. Totally agree with you, Kanha has a reverential quality to it, mystical in a way, and utterly beautiful. I saw a couple of tigers in Kanha, but far less than in Tadoba and Bandavgargh. I should write a TR too. I look forward to your next posts, especially about Pench and Kabini. 


@RC88CORI was there very early in the season. In November. 
For me it´s more important to have quality sightings than many sightings if you know what I mean. For me a quality sighting is one by myself or very close to.
Therefore I didn´t choose the very high season. 

But it also meant I didn´t see any Tiger in Kanha :) 
A risk to take. There is better parks if your goal is to see as many Tiges as possibly. But I doubt there is a more beautiful one... 

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Antee
14 hours ago, Zubbie15 said:

I agree about Kanha @Antee, definitely a beautiful park, although not necessarily the easiest for tigers.  I was also going to ask what time of year your were there, as we didn't have as much fog when we were there on March 2019.

 

@Zubbie15
There is better parks if you´re goal is to see as many Tigers as possible, yes. But I doubt there is a better one if you want to see them in a beautiful environment?

I was there very early in the season, already in November. Which could be a little hard time to see Tigers. And it was...for me. But it´s still my favourite park in India so far... 
Maybe the mystical mist is a early season phenomenon.

 

Did you see any Tigers? 

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Tom Kellie

~ @Antee:

 

Any trip report with your images is a treat.

 

Your emphasis on sighting quality extends to the high quality of your photography.

 

As with other experienced Safaritalk photographers, there's so much to learn from your nature images.

 

BTW: I admire your quest to observe in situ all feline species.

 

We'll be fortunate to share in your adventures.

 

Thank you for this trip report.

 

           Tom K.

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janzin

We didn't see any tigers in Kanha either, in six drives. Well, now I remember we saw one very briefly and only because a Mahout sort of drove her into the road.  This was in February 2016. It is a lovely park but we actually didn't see much there of anything in terms of wildlife. You were very lucky to see dhole there! (We did see dhole in Pench and Tadoba.)  I probably wouldn't return there.

 

Edit: I just was looking at my photos and now I remember one reason we may not have seen much was that they were doing controlled burns. Everywhere was smoke and fire and the wildlife was staying far afield.

 

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RC88COR
8 hours ago, Antee said:


@RC88CORI was there very early in the season. In November. 
For me it´s more important to have quality sightings than many sightings if you know what I mean. For me a quality sighting is one by myself or very close to.
Therefore I didn´t choose the very high season. 

But it also meant I didn´t see any Tiger in Kanha :) 
A risk to take. There is better parks if your goal is to see as many Tiges as possibly. But I doubt there is a more beautiful one... 

 

Noted.

Edited by RC88COR
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JayRon

@AnteeI totally agree with you about Kanha. A stunning park with a good variety of animals. We visited Kanha and Bandhavgarh in 2019 and I much prefer Kanha over Bandhavgarh. Kanha is much better managed, better guides and less tourists (or just more space ;)). We only had one tiger sighting in Kanha (and also one sloth bear) in 4 days in Kanha, but the gamedrives were much better than Bandhavgarh. Bandhavgarh is still a nice park and we saw 9 tigers there, but I still think Kanha is better. 

And you were very lucky with the dholes. I met an american at Kanha (which I actually believe owns Tuli Resort) and he stays at Kanha 2-3 months a year, and he told me, that he only sees dholes once or twice a year. So you got lucky :) 

And your photos are really stunning, they take me right back :) 

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madaboutcheetah

@Antee- Oh Wow ..... Look forward to your Kabini, Sethumadai and Valparai sections (You were right in my backyard !!!) ......... 

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Antee

Pench NP

 

Pench is the second park I visited in India. 
I choosed Pench of two reasons. Partly that it´s convinient distance from Kanha. It´s easy to combine these two. And partly because it´s not the most crowded park in India. 
As you understand I am allergic against to many people around wildlife sightings :) 

 

Pench is not as pretty as Kanha. Not the same mysterious feeling but has a lovely teak forest. 

You have very good visibility more or less everywhere in the park. Very little undergrowth makes it perfect to spot wildlife. 

 

I know that people have different opinions about Pench but I got surprised in a positive sense. 

 

I stayed at https://www.penchjunglecamp.com/ who is a very pleasant stay which I can recommend. 

 

Please comment below what you think of Pench, what experiences you have? 

 

Okey, maybe time to find this Tiger now...

 

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Pench NP in early morning

 

 

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Very little undergrowth in most parts makes it easy to spot wildlife in Pench.

 

 

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Chital and Grey langur help eachother to look out for Tigers. 

 

 

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They probably want to see Tigers as much as I do. But for different reasons though...

 

 

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More cars looking for Tiger

 

 

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And yes, I got my first Tiger-sighting in Pench on my second drive. A male. 

 

 

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My first ever Tiger was a real lazy one...

 

 

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Waiting for him to move...

 

 

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...Which he finally did.

 

 

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We followed this Tiger for some 10 minutes as he walked some distance beside the road.

 

 

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Late evening and the light started to get bad.

 

 

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As you can see, very little undergrowth which makes it perfect for good sightings.

 

 

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We left him as he walked further into the dry forest.

 

 

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Pench NP

 

 

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I loved this breakfasts every morning.

 

 

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Indian grey mongoose. Never seen a mongoose jumped before but they could! Too bad I wasn´t prepared and the picture is what it is...

 

 

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Golden jackal also present in Pench´s teak forest.

 

 

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Gaur

 

 

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On my fourth drive I got another Tiger. A shy female hiding in long grass.

 

 

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Despite being shy, she got a little curious at us. A lovely sighting. Just one car around. My car. Just as I wanted.

 

 

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Pench is divided into two parts. One where game drives are allowed but also a big part where it is forbidden. This sighting is just at the bounds and probably this female isn´t used to cars.

 

 

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She is pretty.

 

 

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She walked away in the long grass after a few minutes with a small hiss towards us. Obviously not entirely happy with our presence.

 

 

 

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Also other felines around - Leopard. Not a very good sighting as the Leopard was quite far from the road and didn´t stay for long. 

 

 

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The last morning we stumbled across a Jungle cat.

 

 

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Car after car passed us. Totally uninterested in this Jungle cat. In Indian national parks, ONLY Tiger sightings counts (maybe Leopard as well). Everything else is not worth anything. More or less...

 

 

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Jungle cat looking for prey.

 

 

Some noticeable birds from Pench NP.

 

 

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Green bee-eater

 

 

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White-throated kingfisher

 

 

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Crested serpent eagle. This time with a kill! Talk about making up for it´s name.

 

 

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Indian roller

 

 

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Crested hawk eagle

 

 

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Indian scops owl resting during the day.

 

 

I did 5 drives in Pench and got two Tigers, one Leopard and one Jungle cat. 

Both Tigers in the afternoon, the other two felines in morning drives.

 

Pench delivered quite good for me and I enjoyed my stay very much. As I understand it, Pench has become better and better every year for Tiger sightings. 

 

What do you think about Pench?? 

 

 

Next episode: Kabini

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Tom Kellie

~ @Antee:

 

Thank you for the Pench images.

 

I've never been there, so your photography is especially appreciated.

 

Seeing these is a richly enjoyable experience.

 

           Tom K.

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janzin

Wonderful tiger sightings and Jungle Cat! Leopard too--a great trifecta!

 

We really liked Pench (much better than Kanha actually.) We had no tigers there, but did have great Dhole, Sloth Bear, excellent birding, and we thought the terrain was more interesting than Kanha (lots of rocky river beds, etc.) We were only there for three drives, that was back in 2016.

 

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offshorebirder
1 hour ago, Antee said:

What do you think about Pench?? 

 

Looks productive and fun.    And uncrowded that time of year.

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Zubbie15
On 3/15/2021 at 12:03 PM, Antee said:

 

@Zubbie15
There is better parks if you´re goal is to see as many Tigers as possible, yes. But I doubt there is a better one if you want to see them in a beautiful environment?

I was there very early in the season, already in November. Which could be a little hard time to see Tigers. And it was...for me. But it´s still my favourite park in India so far... 
Maybe the mystical mist is a early season phenomenon.

 

Did you see any Tigers? 

 

Sorry @AnteeI missed your question, we saw two tigers fairly well, and one extremely briefly.  Lots of pug marks, but they always seemed to head off into the forest without any sign of the animal that made them. 

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Antee
20 hours ago, janzin said:

Wonderful tiger sightings and Jungle Cat! Leopard too--a great trifecta!

 

We really liked Pench (much better than Kanha actually.) We had no tigers there, but did have great Dhole, Sloth Bear, excellent birding, and we thought the terrain was more interesting than Kanha (lots of rocky river beds, etc.) We were only there for three drives, that was back in 2016.

 


Glad you enjoyed Pench.
Not as popular as Bandhavgarh, Tadoba , Ranthambore and Kanha for foreigners but alot of great stuff in this park.
 

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Antee
Posted (edited)

Kabini

 

Kabini is a common used name for Nagarhole NP. A park who gets more and more attention every year. Most famous for the resident black Leopard which is regular seen in this park. 

I got the feeling that the park is mostly visited by locals. Only a few foreigners around when I was there.

 

I stayed at the government owned https://www.kabiniriverlodge.com/ 
Every morning you are assigned a safari vehicle. You don´t use the same car all the time. This is the system they use in Kabini. 
You also can go by boat-safari. I didn´t, as it is better chances for good wildlife viewing from the car. However, they got some excellent Tiger sightings from the boat while I was there. 
I only got 4 drives in Nagarhole and if I got more time I would have done one from the boat.

 

I also combined this 4 drives in Nagarhole NP with two drives in Bandipur NP which is a neighbour park only devided by the Kabini river and Kabini dam. 

 

This first part from Kabini is from Nagarhole NP. 

 

No, I didn´t saw the Black Panther. So you can already stop looking for it in the post :) 

Alot of other things though... 

 

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Nagarhole NP - typical environment.

 

 

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Alot of mist in the early mornings.

 

 

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Big groups of Chital in Nagarhole Np.

 

 

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Sometimes mixed up with Sambar deer.

 

 

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Chital

 

 

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Chital

 


1296410846_52.Indianelephant.jpg.23537290fd4a3adc6ca6d6102381c636.jpgIndian Elephant

 


1070985925_7.Graylangur2.jpg.9cc986125c297b132f2f75f487f482a1.jpgGray langur

 

 

995533236_9.Stripe-neckedmongoose.jpg.e570623cd3df75a09ed6da2cbb391b0f.jpg

Stripe-necked mongoose - One sought after animal for me. Native to the forests in Western Ghats 
(southern India) and Sri Lanka. 

 

 

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Stripe-necked mongoose

 

 

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No Indian park without a Gaur

 

 

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Indian giant squirrel - a large tree squirrel species endemic to forests and woodlands in India.

 

 

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Wild boar

 

 

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Nice watchdog in your garden... 

 

 

30.Leopard6.jpg.dd5986b5a7411440a4519f6a251a519d.jpg

No Black Panther for me in Kabini but a regular Leopard goes almost as well.

 

 

31.Leopard7.jpg.97236ecb209945f3e7575ea50396a80a.jpg

Kabini is a very good park not only for Tiger but also for Leopards.

 

 

29.Leopard5.jpg.6b2aeaeb4382d5c555e8fae7fc1a715b.jpg

He is a big and tired male.

 

 

35.Leopard11.jpg.919550c2153aa9f765f03960ebaa294e.jpg

Amazing to see how camouflaged they really are. Talk about blend in.

 

 

41.Leopard17.jpg.64c6692fa5bf36eada667d58bbff3621.jpg

Make some territory markings

 

 

72.Tiger4.jpg.9e22d7682bed4e5754aa6aa480b1ca3b.jpg Tiger - One morning we stumbled across a mother with 3 subadults.

 

 

74.Tiger6.jpg.d76355e1e3b0ab8b7b262ca1c971a0af.jpg

Subadult Tiger.

 

 

77.Tiger9.jpg.4613a09c9a0e9f1c9eabf797763de19c.jpg

Tiger

 

 

59.Leopard23.jpg.6ee9ec9caef6b2e32ecabe6e166440c4.jpg

Another Leopard. With a Chital fawn kill.

 

 

62.Leopard26.jpg.23afc8c3ffcc2d0cd3456f8ec89f14b5.jpg

This Leopard really made it difficult for me to find a good angle. Two very annoying tree trunks.

 

 

66.Leopard30.jpg.945c845505f68d40141eed5c8348f03c.jpg

A small snack.

 

 

68.Leopard32.jpg.000df0ae8d7291de3d7ed97f83c906d2.jpg

Doesn´t look like this Leopard would need any meal for the next year or so...

 

 

1376268880_8.Orientalgardenlizard.jpg.0650eb539d6c3b5ca24479f3204e79cf.jpg

Oriental garden lizard

 

 

351416725_83.Indianblackturtle.jpg.84eca2bd553ae49a48901de5922dbb9b.jpg

Indian black turtle

 

 

Some noticeable birds from Kabini - Nagarhole NP.

 

 

1293554654_4.Woolly-neckedstork.jpg.0e423cf652e7e9ab927252c2fb7f8408.jpg

Wolly-necked stork

 

 

778881745_24.Brahminykite.jpg.dc17dcf495c228d8700e9392b712f1ec.jpg

Brahminy kite

 

 

2025888691_45.White-throatedkingfisher.jpg.505f74b8c32eeeeb2f1aab24668b2a28.jpg

White-Throated kingfisher

 

 

1290407897_48.Indianpeafowl.jpg.f20cabb33d0da1580729b76d7eb0a771.jpg

Indian peafowl

 

 

1230902874_85.Indianpondheron.jpg.154fd49663700a99b1d4decd9ae44bcd.jpg

Indian pond heron

 

 

1605956714_2.Eurasianhoopoe.jpg.efa4a11f0d6b01a4fb39e9fbfb219c4c.jpg

Eurasian hoopoe

 

 

775759911_82.Crestedserpenteagle.jpg.a93887b95658d12174696479c44ad134.jpg

The ever present Crested serpent eagle

 

 

In 4 drives in Nagarhole I got two Leopards and two different Tiger sightings. One with four individuals (Mom with 3 subadults) and one distant sightings just by the river for just a few seconds. The boat-safari got some excellent sighting about that one. 

Pretty good action! 

I can really see why Kabini-Nagarhole is gaining good reputation.

 

Unfortunately No Black Panther for me.

Have you been to Kabini? What do you think of this up-and-coming nationalpark? 

 

 

Next Episode: Bandipur & Sethumadai

Edited by Antee
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Tom Kellie

~ @Antee:

 

Thank you for explaining more about the park. I hadn't realized that there were two names in use.

 

Your photographs are impressive. Not only the superb sightings, but the image quality is outstanding.

 

This is an education for me, which is highly appreciated.

 

             Tom K.

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Zubbie15

Lovely selection @Antee.  I’m curious, with the changing of vehicles everyday, does that mean you might be put in a vehicle with other people? Or can you arrange a private vehicle, just not a specific guide? 

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madaboutcheetah

@Antee- Kabini is actually the river that separates Nagarhole from Bandipur NP ....... Also, the name of the reservoir.

 

Are your photos from approx 2019? reason I ask ...... It looks like the Tiger and Cubs are the Russell line female and her cubs (now independent). 

 

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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Tom Kellie

~ @madaboutcheetah:

 

Thank you for the clarification about Kabini.

 

That's helpful for someone like yours truly who has never visited there.

 

Now I understand that there are adjacent national parks with a river and reservoir separating them.

 

Both you and @Anteehave blessed us recently with superb wildlife and landscape images in India.

 

That's a welcome gift during a period when travel has been impaired.

 

              Tom K.

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Antee
16 hours ago, Zubbie15 said:

Lovely selection @Antee.  I’m curious, with the changing of vehicles everyday, does that mean you might be put in a vehicle with other people? Or can you arrange a private vehicle, just not a specific guide? 

 

@Zubbie15Yes, you will be put with other people. Of course you can go with your travel friend, family or the same party but the car will fill up with others. I didn´t see anyone with a private vehicle in Kabini. I am not sure if it´s possible with this system they have. 

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Antee
3 hours ago, madaboutcheetah said:

@Antee- Kabini is actually the river that separates Nagarhole from Bandipur NP ....... Also, the name of the reservoir.

 

Are your photos from approx 2019? reason I ask ...... It looks like the Tiger and Cubs are the Russell line female and her cubs (now independent). 

 


@madaboutcheetah
Photos are from February 2020. Just a few seconds before the madness break loose with Corona... 
So it could be this family I guess.

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