Thursday, February 17, 2011
Bird walking in Ranthambore!
Yes..... Walking inside the tiger infested jungles of Ranthambore!
For those of you who have been there its no great shakes right? There is temple there and a fort and the public walks there all the time. Haha! We had a fruitless safari ( read no tiger sighting) and I was slightly peeved and running to irritation t having driven all the way from Delhi only to hear that the tigress with cubs had been sealed off in zone 5 cuz she was not well, having suffered an injury and been treated by the rangers. I wanted so much to shoot pix of tiger cubs. Rats!
Anyway, it was the 4th day of the waxing moon and the temple was alive with pilgrims who come to do the walk around the temple thru the forest. I asked the guide if we could do that, he was like "sure just get off and come home on your own." I was ready and yet the kids said they wanted hotel and breakfast. So I demurred. Then it occurred to me that they could just go and I could come a little later. So I got off the open canter with my camera and the long lens and decided to walk the rest of the way. All of 4 km.
It was an amazing walk. Just knowing I could see a tiger at any time and watching the birds going about their business was just so much fun. The pilgrims were there in force and the jeeps were whizzing by, the only discordant note was their honking. during the morning safari I had spotted a white bellied drongo but got no shot of it. He very decently came by and I got a few really neat shots at him. A handsome fellow, little smaller than his city buddy the black drongo.
A beautiful pool yielded a gaggle of moorhens and I just sat there and watched and took a few pix. They squabbled a bit over the supply of weed and no doubt other tasty tidbits they were going after. The magarmuch (croc) in the pool splashed off at being observed while he was sunbathing, I fear he had dark things on his mind regarding me and I stayed clear of his domain. A common kingfisher came along made a quick dive for his mid morning elevenses and pushed off leaving me once more amazed at his beauty. Just sitting there and contemplating the scene relaxed me and I fear if the tiger had made an appearance I would not have noticed.
A few local girls walked by and seeing my huge lens giggled among themselves while passing comments about my purpose there on the jungle road. I took a few pix when they were out of speaking distance just so nobody objected. Certainly they did not. Some of the boys showed me a croc in a crevice of rock. baby croc.
I met up with them later and they said they had seen a leopard just after they met me, right by the next pool. Such is fate, I saw birds they saw leopard, but the moorhen pool had calmed my nerves and I was ready to forgive anyone anything.