‘Gaur’ Egrets!

‘Gaur’ Egrets!

Cattle Egrets move into Kanha in summer season in big numbers. They are in their breeding plumage and look so beautiful! They take advantage of the wild animals like Gaur, Chital and Sambar, which are now browsing in the forest and as they walk in the rich leaf litter (mostly Sal leaves), they disturb thousands of insects, which the Egrets gobble up eagerly! Rest of the season, these Egrets are happy to be in the fields and countryside ,where the domestic cattle and other animals do this job for them. Amazing, how these birds are smart enough to make such…

A Bold Peacock !

A Bold Peacock !

My luck with Cats continued after my Snow Leopard encounter! Back in Kanha, i saw this amazing sight of a bold Peacock walking right upto 20 feet of a big male Leopard drinking water! This happened at Umar Jhola waterhole, one hot afternoon. We first heard alarm calls of Langurs and Rhesus Macaque..after 2 minutes a big male Leopard walked out into the open and started to drink water. Then a Sambar called from a distance..the Leopard looked up very nervously and suddenly scrambled on to the nearby bund to hide in the tall grass! We expected a Tiger to…

After Schan Euphoria!

After Schan Euphoria!

I was literally bouncing as i walked back to Rumbak. Still unable to believe that i actually saw a Snow Leopard in the wild!! That too out in the open, on the snow for such a long time! I know about many people who have come back without even a glimpse of one..after trying very hard.. and a few who, after many trips or after weeks of hard walking, having caught a fleeting glimpse of one, disappearing into rocky terrain. And i saw my Snow Leopard on my third day in Hemis !! This cannot get any better! I felt…

Sighting of the Snow Leopard!!!

Sighting of the Snow Leopard!!!

Trailing the Rumbak shepherds It was the morning of 9th March 2009. It was such a beautiful Hemis day. Overnight, there was a lot of snowfall. Namgyal and i had decided that the strategy for the day would be to follow the shepherds of Rumbak village… as at times the Snow Leopards are known to be attracted by the presence of domestic Sheep and Goats. The Ladhaki people have a strong sense of community and follow a simple system of sharing work by which all the Sheep of the village are taken for grazing everday only by two persons of…

Snow Leopard Habitat !!

Snow Leopard Habitat !!

Snow Leopard Country What struck me, as i started to walk in Hemis, was the vastness and the bleakness of the Habitat! The animals which survive here have to be so tough and hardy..with hardly any vegetation or foddor to feed on..especially in winter! And then you have the Schan (pronounced ‘Shaan’), the Ladhaki name for Snow Leopard, which survives in such high, steep and challenging habitat! How does this beautiful and most elusive Cat in the world manage to survive here?! Some more pictures of the bleak but stunning habitat! Signs of a recent kill! Namgyal, my Guide and…

Leh and getting to Hemis N.P

Leh and getting to Hemis N.P

View of the stunning Himalayas from the window of the Airbus to Leh When i looked out from the window on the flight from Delhi to Leh, i was mesmerised by the stunning views of the Himalayan peaks ! These peaks are completely covered in snow and are towering at some 25,000 feet and the aircraft seems to be just skimming over them! It was a sea of the great mountains..as far as your eyes can see. I was told that it will be a great view and to insist on a window seat..but i was just not prepared to…

Bishanpura Tigress!

Bishanpura Tigress!

At the heart of a healthy Tiger population are breeding Tigresses. This beautiful Tigress from the Bishanpura area of Mukki is a mother of three 10-month old Cubs now. She is quite big in size and this is her fourth known litter. We saw her from elephant-back this morning and she sat in the bush staring and occasionally growling at us. Notice her missing lower canine. She is indeed a very impressive looking animal and i was happy i went on elephant-back to have her ‘darshan’, which i usually avoid. There was a dead Langur not very far from her,…

Sloth Bear at last !!

Sloth Bear at last !!

After almost three years and countless safari drives in the jungles of Central India..i see my Sloth Bear (‘Melursus ursinus’) today morning in Kanha!! And what an un-expected sighting it was!! I just showed my Guests, Jill and Pearse..a great couple from California very interested in everything the Jungle has to offer, some fresh Sloth Bear droppings and as i drove off..there was this Sloth Bear about 25 meters ahead of us and sniffing at a Sal Tree..i just froze..could’nt believe my eyes..i could’nt even utter a word for 10 secs or so..and then shouted, ‘Look, Sloth Bear!’. The Bear…

King with Crows

King with Crows

I saw this handsome Red Headed Vulture (Sarcogyps calvus) or the Asian King Vulture..an un-common sighting these days elsewhere..in Kanha the other day, being mobbed by 5 to 6 Jungle or Large-billed Crows. The Vulture was agressively defending itself and refused to give up it’s shady perch,which it must have sought after a good meal. The time was about 10.30 am and it was already quite warm..this sighting was at Bishanpura meadow.

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