Jackdaw

Looks like a good place to loose ourselves.

Waterhen

The best things in life aren't things.

Jungles of Tadoba

Fear exists in the one place you can never escape... Your mind.

Chariot - Hampi

Let go of the past and the past will let go of you.

Tigress

Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.

Little Ringed Plover

Clear conscience never fears midnight knocking.

Malabar Pied Hornbill

The reason birds can fly is because they take themselves lightly.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Monsoon Magic - The real land of the Tiger

The Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Monsoon is Magical

The Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) covers the hilly area known as the Chimur Hills. The Sanctuary stretches over the Moharli and Kolsa ranges towards the south of the park and Tadoba to the north.  

Kolsa range is now marked as core and tourist are not allowed (its the same place we sighted the cubs during our last trip in 2012)

Tadoba Lake is practically at the centre of the Tadoba Reserve and is a crucial perennial water source for the region. The Reserve does have several other lakes and has large meadows too.
Map - Tatr
With arrival of monsoon, National parks across the nation remain closed for approximately three months i.e from June 30 to October 15th 2014.

Tadoba is the only reserve which welcomes wild life enthusiasts even during this period. The forest department had not only allowed safaris on the paved roads (19kms) in this season but also extended the trail upto tadoba lake through till NaveGaon Gate (totally approx 32Kms).

It is believed that with onset of monsoon mating season of wild animals begin, though Sanjay (our guide) mentioned that he had witnessed the matings even in other months of the year.

Rather than writing too much narration for the four safaris we took between 22nd August 2014 and 24th August 2014, felt let every wildlife enthusiast use their own creative thinking after watching the pictures, to feel the forest.


Our safari's began from Moharli Gate in a gypsy which was hood-less. 

Hoodless 4x4 - Gypsy
The Reserve was indeed  beautiful at this time of the year. The sheer delight to sight wildlife in numbers in midst of the greens was magical. "Monsoon Magic" is what came to our mind to describe the surely pristine, unique Eco-system, endowed with rich biodiversity.
       Tar roads                                                                        Track roads        
Wild Dog
Wild Boar with piglets
Wild Dog
Bison
Sambar
During the first safari (evening) sanjay (our guide) showed us the remains of a kill, it seems just about two- three days back a spotted deer had fallen prey to the Katezari Male. The aroma of the kill was still lingering in the vicinity, though nothing much was left except its remains.Later in the evening we sighted the tiger resting on the edge of the lake.
Spot the tiger 
Tadoba lake homes a lot of crocodiles and were seen swimming elegantly.
Crocodile
Being off season no advance booking can be done online for the safaris. Only 10 vehicles are allowed on first come first serve basis daily. Hence, woke up early and stood at the main gate by 5am.
We drove through the tar road towards Tadoba lake. Enroute, as we were climbing the small gradient, noticed fresh tiger pug marks. These pug marks were showing movement away from the lake. 

Pug Marks
Suddenly the monotony of our discussions was shattered by a Spotted Deer alarm call. We immediately turned around  and drove back. There it was, by the time we stopped, saw it move into the thick forest. Anticipating it would head straight towards the open area where the alarm call was been heard.
Tiger Male - Katezari
Taking a few strides it turned around and walked away on the stretch which was closed. His face had some scars, maybe a face off with another male of the territory.
Strides away into the dense forest
The days and evenings are very pleasant with just few droplets falling. 

We had been lucky as all the safaris we were the first to enter the reserve.

Early morning on the following day sighted a leopard walking on the left side of the road. Hearing the vehicle, it disappeared into the jungle. Sanjay anticipated it wanted to cross the road and asked Prashant (the driver) to shut the engine and wait. 

Within minutes, saw it watching us gracefully.
Leopard
Within seconds swiftly crossed the road
Leopard
Birding was quite low compared to winter and summer sightings, however, the Changeable hawk eagle, Parakeets, Pied starling, Grey junglefowl, White-eyed buzzard, Crested serpent eagle, Spotted Owlet, Asian openbill stork, Red-naped ibis and plenty of doves were seen.
Indian Hare
Sambar Deer
Spotted Deer

Traveling to Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve:
  • Option One - By Air: Nagpur is the nearest airport and is 150km from Tadoba.
  • Option Two - By Rail: Chandrapur is 45km from Tadoba and is the nearest railway station. Nagpur is 150km away and is well-connected too.
Moharli is the village at the entrance of the park which we prefer.Taxis from Nagpur to Tadoba costs Rs 3000 one way.

Traveling inside Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve:

Sanjay arranged the 4x4 gypsy and acted as our guide as well. He can be contacted on sanjumonde@rediffmail.com (+91 7620674918)

There are elephants at Moharli and they are excellent for Tiger tracking but not that good for photography. (closed for the time being)

Best time to go to Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve:

November to March is most pleasant. However, mammal sightings including tigers increase most during the peak summer months of April and May. Felt monsoon gives a complete different feel. The park entry timings were from 6am to 11am in the morning and 2pm to 6.30pm in the evening.


Park is closed on Tuesdays.

Accommodation at Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve:

The govt run Maharastra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) rest house has decent accommodation. Check availability at the Maharastra tourism website.

It has an excellent location right on the edge of the Irai dam back waters.

Credits : Mr. Gopinath Kollur , Mr. Sanjay Mondhe, Mr. Prashant and Yash Kothiala (YK) my 16 year old son for providing me some images to compliment the trip report. All Images are in full frame and no crop has been used.


Thank you friends for spending your time here.

Happy Birding!
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