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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ranthambhore - Day 02

Happy with the great start of the day before, we woke up that morning with the hope to keep the luck standard that has helped us seeing tigers everyday up to that moment. We met our guide at the hotel, but he was a different guide and there was a different driver as well – in Ranthambhore there is apparently not a logic rule that may leave us attached to a fixed team of guide and driver.

After picking up the other guests at a neighbor hotel, we are informed that the permit was for Route 2 in that opportunity, one of the most western routes. This route has a different checkpoint, a busy one we should say, since there is a still active Ganesh God worship temple inside an ancient fortress. We can clearly appreciate the walls of the fort on the top of the hill settled on the borders of the cliff facing the entrance of the route.

We have learned that some people saw T.17, the same female tiger we saw on the day before, on Route 3, meaning that she went exactly to the opposite side of our route, been totally out of our track in that morning.

Peacock Display back to us
Peacock Diplays Back

Lesser-Adjutant Stork
Lesser-Adjutant Stork

In a certain point of the route we stood by a small canyon where the people on a canter supposedly saw a tiger or a leopard climbing one of the sides of the canyon. Unfortunately we arrived late and we could not see any animal moving or scaling the rocks of the canyon – the sunlight didn’t help either since the rocky wall was totally on the shadow and the sun was still behind it completely obfuscating our eyes. If there was indeed a bigcat there, it didn’t matter how big the animal could be we would not be able to spot it.

In the end of the game-drive, by the gate of the check-point we profited of our pause there to check-out the park to observe and laugh with the funny performances of the gang of langur monkeys.

Langur Troop on a Banyan Tree
Langur Troop at Banyan Tree

Apparently there was a kind of dispute between 2 gangs of langurs. They did not fight, but they used any sort of place to escape of each other, jumping on car roofs, leaping between branches of a majestic banyan-tree in the middle of the check-point square, or just climbing the walls of the buildings around the Fort entrance. The locals did not appreciate too much the monkeys messing up on the jeeps roofs, and they just tried innocently to scare them away using handkerchiefs, obviously without any success.

Man Scaring Langur Off the Car Roof
Man Scaring Langur Off the Car Roof

Langurs at the temple
Langurs at the Temple

Langur Perfect Portrait
Langur Perfect Portrait

The morning game-drive came to its end without a single tiger sighting for the first time in our journey, but we had still our afternoon game-drive, and after refreshing in the swimming pool, watching the birds in the lodge gardens, and having lunch, we took a jeep back to the park again.

Rose-ringed parakeet at the lodge gardens
Rose-Ringed Parakeet at Dev Vilas Garden>

In that afternoon, the area to be explored was set to Route 5, a very dry route following the most eastern edge of core area of the park. New safari team again. The target for that game-drive was to try finding the male tiger T.5, seen in the morning game-drive by other people in that same route.

T.5 has a sister (T.6) and a brother (T.7); the three of them were frequently seen still together in the end of Route 5 where it rests the territory of their mother. The 3 sub-adults had been already expelled by the mother, but they were still around her domains and under her subtle supervision.

The Route 5 has no natural waterholes and the artificial ones are very small what turned this route less attractive, in our opinion; since there were also poor chances of seeing the local fauna around the water bodies as usually we could see along the other routes.

Along the road we took back towards the beginning of the Route 5 we asked the crew to stop the immediately the car – we saw a scene that we recall of having seen in photography books and also in Elliot’s blog where he told that he always wished to take a picture of a Langur surrounded by blossoms of the flame-of-forest tree. Inspired by his idea, as we had just spotted a couple of langurs on the top of a tree full of flame-of-forest flowers, we definitely did a stop.

Langur with flame-of-forest blossoms
Langurs with Flame-of-Forest Blossoms

The langurs were initially in the left side of the road where the sunlight was coming from, spoiling our attempts of achieving the ideal level of clarity and detail, but as they were very unquiet monkeys, they fortunately decided to change from that tree to another in the other side of the road where we could then see them with a more soft contrast in a more colorful background, despite having sometimes a branch blocking the view. Finally we could make it; we have got some frames of that fabulous ape eating picking and eating blossom by blossom until the tree had been nearly cleaned of their red flowers.

Langur eating blossoms
Langurs with Flame-of-Forest Blossoms

The joy of being with the langurs on those trees for so much time had been suddenly saddened by the fact that we should face the reality that our chances of spotting a tiger or another bigcat, such as a leopard, were absolutely exhausted. We returned to the hotel. That was the first day in our entire journey at the Indian National Parks that we could not see any tiger.

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