I planned my trip for 2 days and 1 night hence needed to stay nearby and went for the forest guest house within the reserve.
One can book the guest house from the forest department either at Bangalore, Tumkur or at Madhugiri. I booked through Tumkur.
People around/Care takers of the guest house were good and have good knowledge about the reserve and wildlife.
I booked for 2 days and realized 1 day means 1 night. So 1 day booking is for 2 days and 1 night stay.
Here now I’ll start my trip report without wasting much time.
This was my first trip ever into any forest or reserve, so was wondering how it would be.
Rented an Indica cab as I was alone, for 2 days on 250KM per day basis and started from home at 7:15am on 26th October.
Had breakfast in Hotel Kamat on Tumkur highway, and reached the CFO office at 10am.
I waited for CFO for about 45 mins and came to know that he’s on leave.
The staff were very co-operative and processed my guest house allotment papers in next 15 mins.
I started from there reached Maidanahalli at 1:15pm, the road through Tumkur is very average(4.5 out of 10).
Please see the following discussion for more information on route and accommodation.
Route and Accommodation
I have to wait 45 mins at the guest house to get the keys as it was the lunch time.
I quickly finished my lunch which I have packed and started for Black Buck sighting at 2:30pm.
I got assisted by the care taker of the guest house and he was my guide till 5pm.
We had to drive through a very rough routes/paths and also on some rocky places where one feels he/she would have come by a SUV.
I avoided my car for the same reason
So better vehicles to opt for – SUVs or Jeeps etc.
Just after a few minutes drive we were able to find some Black Bucks gazing on some grass.
And suddenly I have seen a raptor soaring high and was coming towards us.
I started capturing it while coming closer and looked like a Tawny Eagle.
The below is a record shot. The images were not processed very accurately due the huge volume and time constraint.
Sorry for the quality. Also please correct/provide the IDs.
We stayed there for some time and I have found a Grey Francolin and tried to approach, but it was too fast and disappeared in seconds.
Our guide suggested us another route for better sightings.
It was horrible place to drive but my drive was very kind enough to drive on that route.
We were able see a huge group, 100+ Black Bucks, walking with utmost discipline.
A raptor appeared suddenly, A Tawny and able to capture it for a record, the following.
We followed the group for about 10 mins very slowly, and the guide was explaining their behavior.
The rain started suddenly and some started jumping and running in that group, it was good to watch and most challenging to photograph as the lens and camera was getting wet along with the Car and Car seats too!
So I closed the window glass and watching them but my guide and driver want me to capture those moments, so I have started taking some picture, following are some.
Some are standing still while raining.
Just after the rain, want it to present in the low light mood.
Returned back and took another route on our guide’s suggestion, as it may not be possible to drive back if we stay more because of the mud.
This is where I found a small mammal running beside a Black Buck and immediately realized it’s an Indian Fox!
very exciting siting that was! and we followed it for few seconds.
It stopped and looking at us whether we were doing anything, we stayed in the car itself and I clicked few snaps.
It got some confidence that nothing much harmful and quietly walked into nearby bushes.
After sometime I walked on the rocks to see the wildlife around.
There were lot of birds flying around may be Sandgrouse and a beautiful butterfly.
Pic 9: Blue Pansy
Other butterflies I have captured,
Pic 10: Danaid Eggfly
Pic 12: Tawny Coaster
Then I have observed the light and landscapes, it was too good and the following were moments, captured over some time.
And a final one:
Link to my India Nature Watch image
We returned back to the guest house and it was 5 pm, the time for the shift change for the attenders.
It took half an hour to get one more person to guide us and it was getting dark because of the cloudy weather.
With the new guide we went again in the routes he suggested, Suddenly I found two bucks started fighting.
We stopped our car and observed their behaviuor for 15 mins and captured some moments.
I had to bumo up my ISO to 1600 to capture the moment sue to the low light.
Looks like a male was trying to enter into other group with another male. There the fight started.
Once the fight was over they returned to their original routes.
Went on exploring for Wild Boars and a Bear. No luck, returned back around 6:30 pm and chit chatted with our guide.
It was good discussion today and got good information about the wild life. To summarize some,
1. There are around 1400 Black Bucks + Deers in and around the reserve.
2. Only one bear exists in the reserve and not so often sighted.
3. Three probable places where a sighting of Indian Fox is possible, rare though.
4. Wolves can be seen in dry season in the reserve boarders, near to sheep herds.
5. Chances of sighting of mammals is good in the evenings.
6. Birding is best in the morning before 9 am.
7. Black Bucks can be sighted through out the day, mostly in nearby farm land than the reserve.
8. Same is applicable to the deer.
9. The wild life here generally roam around in 20kms radius for food sometimes, especially Wolves and Hyenas.
10. Hyenas are extremely rare.
11. Peacocks do not present here.
12. The last learning: If you find horns its a Black Buck, without horns – Deers
Copied the photographs taken to my laptop and HDD and cleaned my memory card.
Here there was a good learning, I realized the UV filter on my lens killed the clarity and details, even more the Bokeh.
I Immediately removed it.
Had dinner that I brought from home at 8:00 pm and slept at 9:15 pm. Day 1 ended
The only issue with the guest house is the bathrooms, they were not so clean, one has to adjust. Rest all are very good.
Also the power is very unreliable. I was lucky and the power was there from 7 pm to morning 9 am.
But the most admiring part of my trip was there were no mosquitoes in the guest house and surroundings!!!
Got up at 6 am and waited for my driver and the guide till 7 am before I started.
In the meantime I took some misty hills and some flowers which I noticed the previous day.
As expected there were lot of birds in the morning.
This one went and sat on a tree afterwards for sometime.
And some Black Bucks too, males some were alone without any groups…
And I think these are the deer (without horns :))
Saw a Kestrel and asked driver to approach slowly and was trying to get the Black Buck in the frame.
Got only couple of shots before the Kestrel flew off.
Got another Kestrel on the drive back, but these were not like the Bangalore ones, these are shy
Never stayed even a second after spotting our car even from far distance!
Here is the only one I was managed:
Link to my India Nature Watch image
Returned back guest house at 10 am and had breakfast Cup Noodles
My driver’s breakfast was not ready and hence I have to wait. So I decided to go for some photos in the nearby areas.
That fetched the following interesting behavioral shots.
First time I have seen how ants build the molds, they bring the mud from the earth and leaves it outside restlessly!
Other insects shots
And a glance of another raptor, looks like Bonelli’s eagle.
Started for the last trip at 11 am for good Black Buck photos.
I have observed again a raptor approaching towards us from very far off distance and asked the driver to slow down.
It approached little nearer and looked like a Pallid Harrier.
This time of the day saw lot of Green Bee Eaters!
Link to my India Nature Watch image
Couple of other Black Buck images where I was able to shoot from a good distance.
A day learning of their behavior made these possible.
Also an afternoon fight too…
Returned guest house at 1 pm, had ready made food as lunch and started from this beautiful place at 1:45 pm.
We took the Dobbaspet route on return and it took exactly 3 house to reach my home.
The road was very good expect few areas (6/10).
I reached at 4:45 pm and thanked my driver for his extended help on driving in the places from where roads were few miles away.
Luckily for me, even he enjoyed the trip and even he was very happy.
I relaxed for few minutes with a cup of tea and started preparations for my 5 day trip, leaving Bangalore at 4:30 am the next day, to Kabini and Bandipur National Park.
It was as a whole a good 7 day life in forests in wild in nature…
Many thanks for your time and reading.
Have a great day!