Trip Report: Bandipur, Aug ’15

Trip Report:        Bandipur National Park

Dates:                   1-2 Aug 2015

Camp:                   JLR Bandipur Safari Lodge

This trip was done after a considerable gap – I’d not done anything after Sunderbans and that was months back. Other pre-occupations and procrastination also prevented me from posting on that trip and I’m not sure how much I remember of it anymore. My sister’s family had similarly gone for a long while now without any jungle visit and so we decide to take this weekend off. The two days afforded us just two safaris.

The weather was alright, cool without rain. The lantana had grown right upto the verges though, and visibility was poor in most places. It will now be cleared only after the monsoon I guess. Bomma drove us this time, and he is a magician although one who doesn’t speak very much.

The birding was not great, and we did not expect it to be. We didn’t make particularly strenuous efforts to bird-watch either.

The first safari puttered along unremarkably until we came across one of the safari vans stuck in slush. The entire van-load of chattering tourists and bawling kids was out by the roadside, while my old friend Pradeep attempted to rev the vehicle out of the mess. We waited awhile to help push, but were not able to rock in cadence sufficiently to tip the van out. Giving up, we moved on while the van-load waited for someone who’d been called.

Shortly after this, we ran into a herd of elephants first, and then into an impressive tusker by the roadside. This was one edgy elephant, going back and forth, clearly nervous about our presence and not knowing what to do about it. He didn’t show any aggression though so no charge, mock or otherwise.

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Bomma then received news of a tiger sighting in progress at Daid katte. I’m not sure that transliteration of the pronounced name spells right. We sped to the lake, to find five or so vehicles lined up, and an old male just having finished his dip. He rose out of the water just as we maneuvered into position, sprayed a tree and disappeared into the jungle.

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Everyone dispersed and so did we. Bomma said nothing, but took a route on which there was no one else until he stopped by another kere, this one called Venkatappana pala. He thought the tiger was likely to traverse by this lake and asked everyone to keep still. He’d hardy finished his sentence when a lone langur atop a nearby tree set up a hysterical alarm. A second later the tiger stepped into view, not far from us.

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A second jeep had meanwhile materialized behind us, and both jeeps backed up while the tiger walked nonchalantly, cutting across to step onto the road between the jeeps. Unfortunately behind us. He completely ignored our presence, and strode up the road, with both jeeps backing up in front of, and behind him.

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We followed him for a while before he stepped off the road and into the jungle.  This was possibly the closest I’ve seen a tiger pass by in South India – he was about fifteen feet away from where I sat as he passed.

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The morning’s safari was a quiet one, and I spend most of it looking at the Big Five – Kari mathi (Terminalia tomentosa), teak (Tectona grandis), axlewood (Anogeissus latifolia), FOTF (Butea monosperma), and Indian gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica).

That tree in Bandipur which I am unable to ID continues to haunt me (I had mentioned it in a previous post). It is called Jaldha mara or Dhoopa locally. I checked with Karthik and with Nagendra (Kabini naturalist Ravi’s brother who is in Bandipur). My inadequate and possibly faulty description made it tough for them to figure out what I was seeing. Ailanthus malabarica and Vateria indica were suggested, but this seems to be neither.

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Birds

  1. Asian paradise flycatcher
  2. Brahminy starling
  3. Brown shrike
  4. Changeable hawk eagle
  5. Coucal (calls)
  6. Crested serpent eagle
  7. Flameback (Lesser?)
  8. Green barbet
  9. Green bee-eater
  10. Grey junglefowl
  11. Indian blackbird
  12. Indian robin
  13. Jungle babbler
  14. Painted bush quail
  15. Jungle myna
  16. Magpie robin
  17. Malabar parakeet
  18. Peafowl
  19. Pied bushchat
  20. Pied kingfisher
  21. Pipit (species not recognized)
  22. Plum-headed parakeet
  23. Puff-throated babbler (calls)
  24. Purple-rumped sunbird
  25. Red vented bulbul
  26. Red whiskered bulbul
  27. Rose-ringed parakeet
  28. Spotted dove
  29. Spotted owlet
  30. White-bellied drongo
  31. White-breasted waterhen
  32. White-browed fantail
  33. White-throated kingfisher

Mammals

  1. Barking deer
  2. Bonnet macaque
  3. Chital
  4. Elephant
  5. Gaur
  6. Malabar giant squirrel
  7. Sambar
  8. Stripe-necked mongoose
  9. Three-striped palm squirrel
  10. Tiger
  11. Tufted langur
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4 thoughts on “Trip Report: Bandipur, Aug ’15

  1. Ravindra says:

    Wow that’s really a wonderful sighting of the Tiger and Tusker!

  2. shesh says:

    Superb Sighting of the Prince Badri .. loved the Tusker too !!!

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