Gustafson India Photo Safari: Day 5

Gustafson India Photo Safari: Day 5

Jul 9, 2013| by administrator

Day Five

Bandhavgarh is one of the greatest of all tiger habitats. The Saal Forest covers a huge area including lakes, rivers, ravines, meadows and dramatic escarpment. It’s divided into zones where there are strictly limited numbers of vehicles in each. Two of our vehicles drew zone one and the third drew another. I knew the sightings were less common in the other so I put all the clients in two vehicles and me in the third.

My morning was exciting, but not because of tiger sightings. There were signs everywhere: wet paw prints on the road where a tiger had just walked after a drink and the fresh tracks of four cubs and their mother in the soft sand along the road. Drag marks and paw prints where the mother brought down a kill for the cubs. After all that I didn’t see a single tiger that morning. Fortunately there are many other things to see and photograph like serpent eagle, white eyed buzzard, shikra, jackal and wild boar.

When we all met for brunch at 10:30 a.m., the other folks had different stories to tell. Two had seen an adult female tiger. The other three had seen four big tiger cubs and two different tigresses! The afternoon was different. We all got in two vehicles and went to zone one. The dramatic scenery and the fresh green saal tree leaves make this one of the most beautiful parks in the world. Our group found where four big cubs were spread around a huge pond waiting for the day to cool off. Only one was visible and we got a few distant shots before continuing the hunt. In an open meadow we found peacocks displayin; a colorful sight. Even better, at the edge of the meadow was the dominant male of Bandhavgarh. He’s a huge tiger in the prime of life and there he was cooling off his back end in a pool of mud. We got there just as he looked over his shoulder, spotted the peacocks, lurched out of the mud and launched his huge frame at full speed across the meadow after them. They all disappeared into the underbrush leaving us breathless. It was the perfect distance for a 1,000 mm shot.

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