We left Bangalore around 5:15AM, took a KSRTC bus from Bangalore to Mysore, as some of the conductors and drivers at the bus stand told us to take a bus from Bangalore to Mysore and then catching a Ooty bound bus, instead of waiting for the direct Ooty buses. Slept most of the journey, but spotted a few Black-headed Ibis, Black Ibis, Indian Rollers and a Crested Serpent Eagle. Reached Mysore and immediately got a bus heading to Ooty, most of these buses stop at Bandipur check-post or the reception area, we got of at the reception. The time being 10:30AM, we had missed the morning safaris, which are around 6:30AM, and were too early for the evening rounds(start at 4:00PM). Spoke to the receptionist about the different safari options, and we were told that they didn't have the jeep safari option and that we could take only the van/minibus safari.
The small canteen near the reception area didn't have food ready, so on enquiring about food we were told to ask some of the locals, one of the tribal ladies agreed to prepare food for the two of us at a very reasonable Rs. 20/- per person. She informed us that food would be served around 1:00-1:30PM.
Having roughly 2-2 1/2 hours before lunch, we decided to walk around a bit and look for the common birds found around the reception area.
The whether wasn't really on our side and kept drizzling, hence we saw almost no birds, which was pretty disappointing.
Vivek who took a fascination towards ants had plenty to photograph.
The photograph on the right is that of Vivek in action. Considering the gloomy weather, i guess i should have also tried some macro photography.
After quite a bit of walking around, i finally spotted a few Common/Hanuman Langurs and decided to photograph them. Made a few decent images of these langurs, especially of one juvenile.
At one instance the baby langur actually came upto me and touched my lens(damn Vivek, why didn't you take a pic of that). Stopped clicking after about 45 mins, as lunch was ready. The lunch(rice, sambar & rasam) was awesome. I just love homely food!! :)
Done with lunch, we headed towards a few benches and plonked ourselves there for some rest. The weather was slightly chilly and kept drizzling on and off. Out of nowhere we heard this loud trumpeting sound, on looking around we saw the tamed tusker being given his daily bath at a small pond nearby. Took a few pics:
Around 3:30PM we went and stood at the ticket counter so that we could get the front row seats. The counter opens at 4:00PM. Bought the tickets and waited for the safari to begin. At first we hardly saw anything, towards the end of the first safari we saw a few spotted deer, a few peacocks & peahens. I decided to photograph one instance where two male spotted deer were standing next to each other, i guess they had just fought, as on checking the photos later found one of the males had a cut on its face(most probably by the other male).
Also saw aGreen Sandpiper, first timer for me.
During the entire safari it was raining. No more sightings during this safari, not even Crested Serpent Eagles that we usually find on all our safaris.
After the first rather disappointing safari, we were contemplating on whether to take the next safari. Having nothing to loose, except Rs. 95 on for the ticket we took the next safari. Saw the same spotted deer, peacocks & peahens. After about 20min we were behind two
jeeps belonging to Tusker Trail lodge. The jeep right in front suddenly came to a halt, and we just about managed to see a pair of sloth bears in front, while the driver of the jeep didn't budge, i was totally disapointed and frustrated as the bears were in the open and i might just have been able to make a nice image of two bears(not very common). Only after the bears ran into the bushes did the driver finally move ahead. At the end of this safari, i was really pissed at that stupid driver, because of whom i didnt get a shot at those bears. He could easily have moved a few meters ahead. This way all three vehicles would have had a clear view.
With the rains and gloomy weather, and poor light, it really wasn't a field test for the new Canon EOS 1D MkII, this will probably have to wait till the rain gods show some mercy!!
Around 6:45PM we caught a bus coming from Coimbatore and headed to Gundalpet, from where we took a bus to Mysore, and then another to Bangalore. Reached Majestic bus stand by 11:45PM. Hopefully shall be back in the forest soon. :)
Lastly i am a photographer, not a writer, so please pardon the mistakes. ;)
All Images are Copyrighted Angad Achappa and may not be used in any form,website or print media without written permission of the Photographer. For any inquiry for the photographs please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org