What can one write about Kabini JLR that is not already written? I personally believe that it’s the most beautiful property among the ones that I have visited. The staff here is amazing and ensures you have a comfortable stay. The naturalists are patient and are always ready to answer questions thrown at them. Most being: how many leopards or tigers have you seen? Have you seen a tiger kill? Will the leopard attack us? There was also a question where someone wanted to know if the Crested Serpent Eagle would attack the jeep. Of course they answered all with a smile even though I am sure they have answered these a million times.
So this time I thought I will write about my most memorable sightings and observations.
There is always an expectation of seeing wildcats when in Kabini, the sighting is purely a matter of luck. This time around lady luck was kind to me, I got to see leopards in two out of the 4 safari I went on. While the first was a fleeting glimpse during the jeep safari; the second was on a boat safari, where I was running from one end of the boat to the other to get pictures. The second sighting is more memorable just because of the people involved. While the safari started most of us were lost in our own thoughts, some looked at the birds while other asked about the lone tuskers on the banks. Suddenly on the way back, someone shouted leopard and everybody on the boat was alive and looking out. Once we saw him the cameras were out, fortunately or unfortunately my camera had a slightly better zoom. Soon everyone was making way for me to get atleast one decent shot. Once done e-mail IDs were exchanges and copies of the picture was requested for. But this also helped make new friends and the evening was spent narrating the leopard sighting.
The other exciting sighting for me was to watch the Osprey fish. While the bird was too far away to take pictures, the whole episode will remain in my memory forever.
Seeing an otter pup was the other highlight. We were on the jeep safari along the backwater and had stopped to observe an elephant and we noticed there were 4 otters on the bank. Looking through the binoculars we noticed the group had pup. It was about half the size of the adult and kept following the group. When the group got into water one adult stayed on the bank waited till the rest went in and followed them. They swam close to the shore and soon went out of sight.
While I looked forward to the safaris, time spent between the safaris turned out to be quite interesting as well. Since JLR had 100% occupancy on both days, there were a lot of people around.
The group I observed the most were a bunch of 5th graders from a school in Bangalore. It was amazing to listen to them talk. The girls mostly spoke about mid-night party they had, while the boys spoke of different things the saw during the day. One particular conversation I remember is about stopping Tiger Poaching.
The 2 boys were having dinner, they had just come back from the video screening at JLR. From the conversation I assumed that the topic of poaching was touched upon. One of the boys wanted to have electrical fence around the forest so that poachers would not be able to get in, on hearing this the other boy dismissed the idea saying the tiger’s coat could also get burnt by the ectrical fence and hence they needed a better plan. They finally decided that they would build walls around the forest. This way the tiger could jump over and cross when it needed to and the poacher would not get across. Even if the tiger crashed against the wall since it’s big and strong it will survive and a human would break his bones. The smile on my face must have given me away because the boys realized I had eve’s dropping and changed table.
The other quote that I heard as we waited for the safari jeep was “ I am not perfect but I can run”
Nature walks were another place where I got to interact with people specially kids. There was one who wanted me to name animal he had just seen. When he finally found his animal and pointed it to me it was a pill bug. The kid was so excited when I touched it and it curled up. But he didn’t want me to hold it as he thought it will bite me. It was fun answering his questions and clarifying things.
Then there was a couple fascinated by the kingfisher. Every time we saw the bird we would stop so that they could get a picture.They kept calling it the blue bird
I also met a couple whose interests were so different, while the wife loved outdoor and nature; the husband loved to sit indoors and take office calls or play games. It was interesting to watch both. While one was excited about birds and spiders, the other wanted only the wild cats.
Kabini JLR has never failed to impress me and it lived up to my expectation but this trip also gave me a insight into people and their thoughts.
More Pictures in the link below
Streak Throated Woodpecker
White Bellied Woodpecker
Brown Fish Owl
Grey headed Eagle
Crested Serpent Eagle
Changeable Hawk Eagle
White Breasted Kingfisher
Spot Billed Duck
Black Shouldered Kite
Black headed Munia
Pied Bush Chat
Common Cuckoo Shrike
Long Tailed Shrike
Rose Ringed Parakeet
Asian Paradise Flycather
White Cheeked Barbet
Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark
Racket Tail Drongo
White Bellied Drongo
Purple Rumped Sunbird
Pale Billed Flower Pecker