Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sunset over the Kabini

Just back from 3 days at the Kabini River Lodge. This is perhaps the finest "value for money", "world class" wildlife resort in South India. This is all the more significant because it's run by an Indian state government organization - Jungle Lodges and Resorts (JLR) which runs the Kabini River Lodge is a unit of the Government of Karnataka's Tourism Department.

The wildlife density in the jungles just outside the gates of the resort is so high that no trekking is allowed - only escorted jeep or boat safaris. Leopard and tiger sightings were freely reported (with photographs to prove them) by other groups on each of the days that I was there. Unfortunately for me, neither leopard nor tiger wanted to see my mug so I had to be content with close encounters of other kinds like:

- Wild elephant (including several lone tuskers, a 4 day old calf with an irritable mother and a family of 7 that was fast asleep on the roadside when we surprised them)
- wild boar
- mongoose
- spotted deer
- gaur
- sambhar
- langur
- malabar giant squirrel
- jungle fowl
- blue jay (indian roller)
- jungle babbler
- white bellied woodpecker
- flame back woodpecker (this is what the naturalist called it but I can't seem to find it in the The Book Of Indian Birds)
- scalybellied green woodpecker
- jungle owlet
- magpie robin
- jungle myna
- common myna
- green imperial pigeon
- red wattled lapwing
- crested serpent eagle
- changeable hawk eagle
- peacock and peahen (including an enchanting dance by a lovestruck peacock. The peahen didn't give a damn and just plonked on by)
- hoopoe
- racket-tailed drongo
- kingfisher
- great cormorant
- hornbill in flight - not one but three! (next to impossible to see when you are on foot inside the jungle. We saw this from a boat by the river bank)

...and numerous other splendid creatures that nobody had the time to help me identify.

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