deponti (deponti) wrote,
deponti
deponti

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Our trip to Bandipur/Masinagudi happened quite suddenly, with Avinash calling me up on Wednesday afternoon, asking if I wanted to go the next day. He had a compensatory off, he said, and a young friend of his, Rachana Patwardhan, was also keen on going on a field trip.

I knew that KM was having dinner at some meeting, so I cheerfully ditched him for lunch as well, and went off with Avi and Rachana.

I will start with one of the best sightings we got that day.

The Bandipur/Mudumalai ranges are home to (at least) two single-tusked male elephants; one, dubbed "Onti Kombu" ("single-tusk" in Kannada) by the locals, has only the left tusk.

Chirdeep, who took the JLRNTP with me, and worked as a volunteer naturalist in Bandipur JLR for two months, took this picture of Onti Kombu:


http://indianaturewatch.net/displayimage.php?id=53973

But we were fortunate, that day, to see the right-tusk tusker! I dubbed him "Kombu Onti" as he is the mirror image of Onti Kombu.



onti kombu?


The guy wasn't far from the road, and we were very,very VERY quiet...but though the reputation of both these elephants is fearsome--they are both supposed to have killed people-- he wasn't aggressive at all, and calmly went on his way while we had our hearts in our mouths!

I also feel that perhaps the deaths were all because tourists did things as foolish as getting down from their cars too close to the animals, trying to taunt them, or something provoking like that....but in any case, we were not the object of an elephant charge that day!



Some of the other MAMMALS we saw were:



Lots and lots of SPOTTED DEER or CHITAL. Here's a Chital and fawn, with their usual alert looks:


chital and fawn 310708


Another one decided to have a profile study:


deer profile bandipur 310708

(Yes, as soon as she sends me her email id, I will post it to her.)

Several GAUR were around, in herds; here's one handome guy:


gaur grazing bandipur


LANGUR were everywhere, and there was this group having fun on the road:

langurs on the road

Alas, too many motorists feed them all sorts of junk, not realizing that this not a good thing.


We also came across several ELEPHANTS; this emaciated female intrigued us a lot:


female elephant eating 310708


Her ribs stood out, and her face was gaunt, but she was still beautiful:

female elephant

And see the realism of the elephant that Sunni Dhairyam has painted in one of the rooms at the Bandipur JLR property:


elephant sunni dhairyam bandipur jlr 310708

And it was amazing to see the video of an elephant having climbed up the stairs and standing on the terrace of a building at Wildhaven Resort, Masinagudi where we went to meet Mr John:

video of elephant on terrace wildhaven masinagudi 310708



We also saw SAMBHAR, and I did manage a couple of shots though (following DM's Jungle Laws) they were in a difficult position for me to photograph in the rain:


sambar bandipur 310708

The female's looking at me:


female sambar bandipur 310708


And at the end of the day, I took this flash shot (there was no other way to get them!) of the WILD BOAR, sheltering under the Forest Department jeeps at the Bandipur Forest Office!


boar hiding under jeep bandipur 310708


As for the BIRDS....

let me start with this shot of a PEACOCK in the rain:

peacock in the rain bandipur

I was in absolutely the wrong part of the vehicle for this shot. It was pouring with rain, so I could not put my camera out of the window; the other side windows were already full of lenses. So I took this through the windshield as soon as the wipers had passed over it!

But I still like the rainy mood in the shot, much as the mood in this photograph of a SPOTTED DOVE that was huddling in the rain:




spottted dove in the rain



As we were on our way, past Mysore, I looked up from the car to see a raptor that I could not identify, making large circles overhead, and being mobbed relentlessly by the crows:


crow mobbing juv Bonelli's eagle

I later took my friend AMS-of-Delhi's help to id it as a JUVENILE BONELLI'S EAGLE... a first-timer for me!

Early on, we had stopped near a water body, so that I could show Rachana these BLACK-HEADED IBIS:


black-headed ibis near Kanakapura

And I managed two quick shots, though they were rather far away, of these BRONZE-WINGED JACANAS:


bronze-winged jacana taking off

This photo shows that they are, indeed, bronze-winged! :)


bronze-winged jacana


As we were crossing the Bandipur area, we saw a welcome sight...some WHITE-RUMPED VULTURES soaring high in the sky!

white-backed (rumped)vulture

Ashwin said that he had never before seen vultures in this area, but Karthik tells me that it is not an uncommon sighting..though of course, all vulture sightings are important because of their alarmingly reduced numbers.

We also saw this BAY-BACKED SHRIKE at the Wildhaven Resort, Masinagudi:


bay-backed shrike masinagudi wildhaven 310708

And at one point, it was lovely to see this CRESTED HAWK EAGLE on a tree, even though the light was poor and it was in the shade:


crested hawk eagle bandipur

and, of course, several of these JUNGLE BABBLERS fluttering all over:

jungle babbler wildhaven masinagudi

After many years, I was going beyond Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, to the Mudumalai area:


mudumalai signboard


And the PEOPLE that day?


At the Wildhaven resort, Mr John and his people were very hospitable to us, and he told his theory of letting the jungle come back on its own, without active intervention that often has disastrous side-effects that people never foresee.

Here's...

Rachana:

rachana patwardhan

Avinash:

avinash KJ

Ashwin:

ashwinbubo

Mr. John, talking about the problems of wildlife conservation:

mr john wildhaven masinagudi

Siddharth, who showed us the video:

siddharth of wildhaven showing the elephant video


And here are Lokesh, Basavanna, and other friends of the JLR property at Bandipur, whom we met up with on our way home:


Photobucket



I didn't, however, forget some of the "small stuff"; here are some MUSHROOMS:

mushrooms masinagudi

And here, at almost the end of the day, is a BEETLE that I took a macro shot of:

beetle bandipur jlr 310708

and this unid but lovely FRUIT (update, Sandeep and Madhusmita both say it is the Passion Fruit.)


vilva? fruit masinagudi 310708



Here's a closing shot of the SUNFLOWER fields of Bandipur, smiling in the sunshine, framed by the huge banyan trees that are being steadily chopped down to widen the road; I thought the money would be better spent making the road better, it is full of dreadful potholes!


sunflower fields bandipur road


A lovely day; since three of us had Canons (Ashwin and I had 20 D's with the 300 mm lenses, Ashwin had the 1.4 teleconverter as well), and Rachana and I had Canon Powershots (she had the S5 and I had the S3), we all ragged Avi solidly for being the lone Nikonite!

Thank you, Avinash, for a great trip!
Tags: bandipur, forest, jlr, mammals, national park, ntp, photography, tamil, travel, wildlife
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