May 5, 2011

Tadoba Jungle Camp by TrekDi 26th Apr to 1st May 2011

Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve is a Second largest Tiger Reserve of Maharashtra after Melghat Tiger Reserve with a spread over approx 650 Sq. Km area. The last Tiger Sensus estimates it to have about 42 Tigers and 22 Leopards in the reserve. Along with these rulers of jungle, this reserve is teemed with Sloth Bears, Wild dogs, Hyenas, Jackals, Indian Gaurs, Porcupines, Ratels, mongoose, Wild boars, Sambar, Spooted Deers, Munjack (Barking deeps), Four horned antelope (Chowshinga) and many more birds and other Fauna.

This jungle is divided in mainly three parts. Tadoba range, Moharli Range and Kolsa Range. Moharli and Tadoba are more popular ranges amongst three. All three area have a beautiful lakes at the center of the zone which acts as lifeline of the jungle. Along with these lakes, there are several streams, artificial and Natural water holes which are manged by Forest Department. These all parameters combine together to create rich forest eco system and provides excellent sighting and photographing opportunities of various animals and most of all tiger.

TrekDi being specialized in Wildlife and Adventure Tourism, has a soft corner towards Tadoba WLS. It has rarely happened that we have taken wildlife enthusiasts to the sanctuary and jungle hasn't satisfied them. This year we conducted camp between 26th April to 1st of May 2011. There had been some rapid pre-monsoon rains, a week prior to the Camp dates but by the time we reach Tadoba, the sky was already spotless and the area was hot for atleast 2-3 days. This was good indication. For animal watch, hot temperatures always help. Its easy to find animals who come out of jungle to drink water on various water holes and Lakes. Otherwise its impossible to locate them.

We were traveling in Open Gypsies which are excellent for animal watch as well as birding activity. In the closed vehicle, though you are sheltered from sun and dust, your view angle is limited and hence it is hard to locate birds or follow their direction. Also it become very tough for photographers. We had 3 gypsies and 6 people in each vehicle. The timing to enter forest are 6 to 10.30 in the morning and 2.30 to 6.30 in the evening. Though all vehicles enter in the forest at the same time, routes taken by each vehicle is different. So depending on your luck and observation skills you can spot/photograph wildlife without any disturbance.

We had four consecutive rides in the Jungle of which 3 were conducted in Tadoba and Moharli zone and 1 was conducted in Moharli and Kolsa zone. The various destination we visited during these rides are as follows

1. Katezari
2. Jamunzari
3. Telia Dam
4. Vasant Bandhara
5. Tadoba Lake
6. Pandharpowni water hole
7. Water hole no 97
8. Kala Amba
9. Kolsa Lake
10. Vanarchuva
11. Ramsing Amba

We had tiger sightings at following location

1. Pandhar powni to waterhole 97 road : Adult male(Gender noted from secondary information, it wasn't noted on the field)
a Glimpse of tiger for just 11 seconds, not everyone from vehicle could get a chance to see the tiger. Only 3 people among 6 spotted it.

2. Jamunzari water hole: Adult Male
After crossing Vasant Bandhara and a small hill complex we descend down to the water hole of Jamun zari where a small stream bund under a huge Jamun tree has created a cool place, ideal for tiger resting. When we reached there around 4pm it was sitting under the tree and we could spot his belly, ears from the binoculars. After we waited for almost 1.30Hrs, around 5pm it moved from that resting point and came to the waterhole adjacent to that resting place. It walked majestically and sat in open in the waters of small stream outlet from the water hole. Since we had to catch the Gate timings we could enjoy it for just 10 minutes and then we had to leave. There were almost 6-7 gypsies which enjoyed the view of this tiger.

3. Pandharpowni water hole: 3 cubs about 4 months old
We knew that there are 4 cubs and a female tigress in the area and they come out regularly in the morning for last several days to a water hole in pandhar powni area where the tigress had a kill of Sambar. We after visiting several other areas reached for the waterhole at their timing. They made us wait for almost 75 minutes and then 3 cubs came out. Tigress and last cub didn't came out but we had excellent sighting of 3 cubs. Though we had a distance of about 70-80 m to the waterhole from where our vehicles stood, the light was good and hence no trouble in spotting the cubs. After having water and little fun in the water all three cubs one by one got out of the water and disappeared in the bamboo thicket.

4. Telia Dam Tiger: (Adult Male)
This was our last ride of the trip and we had scheduled our visit to Kolsa region. After having some excellent birding spots and visiting the empty Kolsa lake we were returning to Moharli Gate. Just about a Km before we reach gates we spotted this tiger sitting under a bamboo thicket. We could see this tiger from just 15 ft distance. After 2-3 minutes, tiger started walking and got disappeared in the bush. It emerged again on the Telia dam road and gave some excellent photographs while doing salt licking and territory marking.

5. Chandrapur - Moharli Road : (Gender unknown)
For little errands we went to Chandrapur and coming back to Moharli campsite around 9.30 in the night and suddenly we saw a car which its upper light ON. We got confused and stopped near that car to ask whether they have any problem. That car shifted a bit and in its light we could spot an Adult tiger just 10-15 ft from us. The tiger seemed very shy and immediately got irritated by the headlight and escaped in the jungle within minute.

6. Leopard on Moharli - Tadoba Road


A] Checklist of the Birds we spotted during the trip
1. Black Shouldered Kite
2. Montagu's Harrier
3. Crested Serpent Eagle
4. Crested Hawk Eagle
5. Grey Headed Fishing Eagle
6. White Eyed Buzzards
7. Oriental Honey Buzzard
8. Osprey
9. Shikra
10. Spotted Owlet
11. Common Myna
12. Brahmny Stirling
13. Pied Stirling
14. Rufous Treepie
15. Greater Racket Tailed Drongo
16. Black Drongo
17. White bellied drongo
18. Koel
19. Eurasian Hawk Cuckoo
20. Indian Pitta
21. Brown Headed barbet
22. Coppersmit Barbet
23. Golden Oriole
24. Black Hooded oriole
25. Sirkeer Malkoha
26. Spotted Dove
27. Eurasian collard Dove
28. Laughing Dove
29. Oriental Turtle Dove
30.Yellow Footed green pigeon
31. Jungle Babbler
32. Malabar Whistling Thrush
33. Orange Bellied Ground Thrush
34. White Browed Fantail Flycatcher
35. Paradise Flycatcher
36. Black Naped Monarch
37. Black Naped Flameback woodpecker
38. Green Bee eater
39. Red Vented Bulbul
40. Red Whiskered Bulbul
41. Rose ringed Parakeet
42. Plum headed parakeet
43. Purple sunbird
44. Yellow Throated Sparrow
45. House Sparrow
46. Junge crow
47. Common Crow
48. Grey Jungle Fowl
49. Indian Peafowl (Peacock)
50. Jungle Bush Quail
51. Mapie Robin
52. Indian Robin
53. Yellow Wagtail
54. Ashy Prinia
55. Ashy crowned Fish Lark
56. Common Crested Lark
57. Small blue Kingfisher
58. White throated Kingfisher
59. Pied Kingfisher
60. Indian Roller
61. Bronzed Winged Jacana
62. River Tern
62. Lesser Whistling ducks
63. Cotton Pygmy goose
64. Black ibis
65. White Ibis (Black headed ibis)
66. Open billed Stork
67. Pond Heron
68. Purple Heron
69. Cattle Egret
70. Little Egret
71. Greater Egret
72. Purple moorhen
73. Coot
74. Indian cormorant
75. Red wattled Lapwing
76. Greater Coucal
77. Pied Bushchat
78. Savanna Nightjar

B] Butterfly Checklist
1. Spot Swordtail
2. Crimson Rose
3. Common rose
4. Common mormon
5. Baronet
6. Tawny Coster
7. Common Baron
8. Common Leopard
9. Plain tiger
10. Stripped Tiger
11. Blue Tiger
12. Lemon Pansy
13. Blue Pansy
14. Peacock Pansy
15. Grey Pansy
16. Dark Grass Blue
17. Gram Blue
18. plain Cupid
19. Common grass Yellow
20. Common Emmigrant
21. Common Lime
22. Common Gull
23. Psyche

C] Check list of Mammals
1. Indian tiger
2. Indian Leopard
3. Spotted Deer
4. Sambar
5. Munjack (Barking Deer)
6. Blue bull
7. Wild boar
8. Wild dogs
9. Sloth bear
10. Common Mongoose
11. Black Naped Hare
12. Five stripped Squirrel
13. Tree Shrew
14. Field Rats

1. Monitor Lizard
2. Indian Marsh Crocodile

- Written by Pinakin Karve

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