Monday, March 4, 2013

The Tiger Diaries: 06-Ranthambore Safari Day 5

Tobin David
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Day 5: Exploring new territories

The previous day I had befriended two wildlife and photography enthusiasts and decided to join them in a gypsy safari to Qual ji (Zone 9). Qual ji was about 45 kms away from the main gates of the Ranthambore national park. We had to set out very early in the morning at around 5.15 am so that we could start the safari by 6.30 am. 

The hour-long ride in the extremely cold and dark morning was an experience in itself.

Sunrise (Qualji Zone 9), Ranthambore, Rajasthan, India

Sunrise at Qual ji

We entered the zone at 6.30 am just as the sun rose. We were very hopeful and optimistic as there had been good tiger sightings in this zone in the month of February. The zone was very barren with very few animals. We managed to get some good shots of the sunrise and the landscape from the top of the hill. 

Sunrise (Qualji Zone 9), Ranthambore, Rajasthan, India


Soon we heard an alarm call of a sambar deer.
All of us froze and started scanning the surrounding landscape with our searching eyes. But we were out of luck. The tiger did not turn up and after some time we continued the safari.

We saw some Bulbuls, Mynahs, Patridges and Sambar deer.

Atleast something was better than nothing.

We saw some tiger pugmarks as well as sloth bear prints in the dust. But our wait and tracking was in vain. It was meant to be a disastrous safari to say the least. Within a short time it was time to return to the gates. As we were leaving, we saw some spotted deer. 

Lastly, we spent some time photographing a sparrow.

Sambar Deer Stag, Ranthambore, Rajasthan, India

Male Sambar Deer (Stag)

When the big mammals and birds are scarce, even the humble sparrow can end up with a lot of attention. This particular sparrow must have been thrilled to bits, maybe, even moved to tears with all the attention it was receiving. Canons and Nikons with telephoto lenses zooming on it must have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for this sparrow.

After making the sparrow’s day special, we returned back to Ranthambore. 

The rural countryside with hills, fields, lakes and locals in their colourful attire was a pleasant sight and made the return trip enjoyable.

Obviously, there was no bragging during lunch.  I geared up for my last safari of this trip. 

Spotted Deer fawn (Bambi), Ranthambore, Rajasthan, India

Crowd favourite - BambiC
Will it turn out to be spectacular or unspectacularly uneventful?

Afternoon shift

The afternoon safari was on a canter and we entered the park around 3 pm. There were a lot of spotted deer, peacocks and Sambhar deer along the way. We sighted many birds including the red-wattled lapwing, crested serpent eagle, tree-pies and jungle babblers. 

But the absence of alarm calls or pugmarks meant, there would be no tiger-sighting in my last safari.

Spotted Deer family, Ranthambore, Rajasthan, India

Picture perfect in the forest - Spotted Deer

Spotted Deer Males Head-butting, Ranthambore, Rajasthan, India

Head-to-Head - Spotted Deer
I showered all my attention on a squirrel. I clicked away to glory and the squirrel granted me with some very good poses. After a lot of wandering in vain we came to the end of the safari.

Today was the day of the sparrow and the squirrel.

Squirrel, Ranthambore, Rajasthan, India

Stripes of a different kind - Squirrel
As we exited the gates, I looked back and promised myself  ‘I’ll be back’ (Terminator style).


Ranthambore Mountainscape, Rajasthan, India

Ranthambore Mountainscape

Ranthambore Landscape, Rajasthan, India

Ranthambore Landscape

Sunset, Ranthambore, Rajasthan, India

Hasta La Vista Ranthambore
Sun sets, signalling the end of the trip

Later in the evening, as I waited at the station for my train back to Mumbai, my mind recalled the memories of the last few days. It had been a wonderful trip with a lot of good memories. 

I return to Mumbai satisfied and contented with the trip. 

As I boarded the train I could not help but say ‘Hasta La Vista Ranthambore’.

Writing this blog has brought back wonderful memories of my first trip to Ranthambore and I might be tempted to write about that experience soon. 

I hope you enjoyed reading the posts. Do come back for more.

Thanks for reading. Cheers.

Tobin David

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  1. Fantastic blog, I want to visit Ranthambore in November this year, your blog has made me wish it was November already. Amazing stories, amazing photographs. You're very lucky - I hope we're as lucky as you were!
    Vikki :)

  2. This winter planing to spend my weekends at bandipur resorts hope il have a good weekend.


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