Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tiger taster

First day of birding in India today. Great to be back - first time since 2001. We spent a full day in Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan. It was an amazing day, with sightings of three different tigers. The morning was tough but from noon onwards we had much better results. Arrowhead, a 3 year old female, spent a few hours loafing around one of the lakes. She is really used to humans, and was certainly not scared of vehicles, maybe only slightly angry - when the masses arrived in the afternoon it did get pretty nasty around her. What an amazing animal. I saw one in Corbett in the previous millenium, from a distance, so today's experience was quite something. The majesty, the power, the beauty, uhhhh....Truly breathtaking.

My photos today are mostly extreme close ups.  All these are full frames:

The beauty 

The look... 

The canines...

Arrowhead is scarred, as a result of territorial fights with her mum and sisters. She is just reaching sexual maturity at her age and holds a large territory.

The camouflage...

The park was packed with animals - hunderds of deer (3 species), and the menu included several other types of tiger food.
Birding was not easy today.  First, I am completely rusty - I need another day or two to remember all the regular calls. Second, we were really focused on tigers today and rarely stopped for birds. And third, it is really not easy to bird in Ranthambhore - you must sit in the jeep all the time. But still, after all excuses, we did rather well - check our eBird checklist from today.  There were lots of common resident birds. Quite many Siberian migrants around - literally hundreds of Hume's Warblers, with smaller numbers of Greenish Warblers, also large numbers of Red-breasted Flycatchers and few Taiga Flys, many Tree and few Olive-backed Pipits etc. 

One for Euro-birders - Taiga Flycatcher

We worked with an excellent guide / driver named Sushil Chauhan - strongly recommended. Thanks Sushil!
I have many more images to edit (2 cards...), but this will have to wait for another day. After a full day in the field, and another one tomorrow, I need to catch some sleep. Good night. Tonight I will dream about tigers.

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