Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Gods must be Crazy or Angry

Strictly speaking this is not about woodcrawling.

However, since it is about nature I'm placing a link here so you, my reader & inspiration, will not miss such a fascinating encounter I had on Friday, 20th April.

This here is a story that we all should read to feel the Power of Nature.

Click this link to go and see how furious GODs can be!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Wet & Wild in Bandipur

July is not exactly the right time to take off to the jungles. It is usually the worst part of the monsoon with endless rain the discomforts of wet weather. The pull of the jungle is too much to resist so I never hesitate to lug my gear and take off for a short trip.

The rain was not going to dampen my enthusiasm. The wilderness looks more beautiful, draped in green and interspersed with patches of slushy brown tracks. The herbivores were having a bounty. Lush grass,plenty of water and the romance in the air for some creatures.
Rutting season means some stags are in an amorous mood and having a head with large antlers is an advantage. Unfortunately, for some, a bare head is distinct set back. A doe in oestrus might not even give a passing glance at him, and they are relegated to the periphery of the herd. Perhaps, as first choice for a passing predator! Well endowed stags, of course, find the pride of place amongst a bevy of beauties, who clamour for his attention with nuzzles & licks.

                                                            The rain is incessant. After all it's the monsoon. If you are squeamish about wet weather, the jungle is not the place to be in. Vehicles can get stuck, sometimes uncomfortably close to an elephant herd with little calves. In times like that, stay in the vehicle and don't panic. Help is always around.                                                                       Elephants with calves always feel threatened by the presence of other creatures, especially humans. They may demonstrate their displeasure by charging at you. These charges are displays of mock aggression, and very rarely end in casualities. However, it is wise not to take chances.

There are always situations where the adrenaline is pumping. You find your vehicle stuck fast and face to face with a predator. It is unusual for predator to use the tactics of the elephant. They usually avoid eye contact and move away quickly. Too quickly, as a matter of fact, to get a good picture.

The sight of a tiger makes us tremble, either in fear or excitement; but to the tiger we are only an annoyance. Not worth a moment of their attention. They move away quickly & quietly, getting swallowed by the lantana, never to be seen in that area till we move away.

It is only after the tiger passes we take stock of our precarious situation. The jeep is stuck in nearly six inches of mud and not moving in any other direction except downward & deeper into the slush. We have to jump off and push if we were to move. This is no time to take a good picture of our situation; the tiger might just be smacking its lips in the bush, looking at a few juicy humans! A few pairs of hands on the back of the jeep and it slowly inches forward, the mud reluctantly letting go with squelches.

Every creature in the jungle benefits from the monsoon. Even a pair of dhole, Indian wild dogs, seem well fed. The advantage of a small pack is obvious. You only need to share your kill with  your mate!

When you finally drive out of the jungle, don't let your attention flag. It has many surprises. You only need to keep your eyes open. If you are already smelling dinner at the resort you might miss a cleverly camouflaged monitor lizard or even a leopard lying on a branch over a game track!
On the sides of the highway there maybe interesting creatures, searching for some juicy bird's nest with eggs that might just add a bit spice to their supper! Stripe necked mongooses are always busy bodies and nothing escapes their tiny beady eyes.

Just because it's monsoon, the jungle is not to be avoided. As a matter of fact, it looks even more beautiful when it is green. The tracks maybe rough & slushy but all it's denizens are at their healthy best.....

......and since it is not vacation time there are few people around to disturb the creatures. Next time, when you are watching the rain from your window, think of the lovely things God hid in the jungles.

Return of the Woodcrawler

Jottings had a taken a back seat for a few months due to various reasons. If I were to list them here it could be interpreted as excuses of a lazy man, so I'm not going to list them.

Monsoon is not exactly the best time for Woodcrawling. The jungles are dense and green and wildlife will disappear, even a large pachyderm, within a couple of meters from your camera. Besides, getting all my gear wet in a torrential downpour is not exactly a good idea even though I sometimes gloat about the weather sealing in my Olympus.

There were trips too, but not very productive in terms of pics. I'll be updating over the next few days........

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