Here’s the third and the final installment of my post on the wildlife photography workshop at Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary organized by Darter. You can read the earlier posts here…Part I & Part II
We were getting back from the evening boat safari enjoying the beautiful sunset over the Bhadra backwaters, with the waters glistening in the golden yellow light of the setting sun.
The wind had picked up and our boat was rocking big time, with water splashing thick and hard.Some of splashes being unintentional but some were intentional, conspired by the Naturalist accompanying us and the boat driver :-)
All in all, the evening safari was a good one with good sightings and good opportunities for photography, thanks to better light.
After getting back, we headed to the Gol Ghar, as usual, for our evening tea and snacks. As we were having tea, we were contemplating as to what to do the next day morning, whether to go on a boat ride or take the jeep safari. That is when we noticed that a big and noisy group of college students had checked in and also came to know that they had just finished their jeep safari and were planning to go on a boat ride the next morning.That decided it for us, there was no way, we wanted to end up on a ride with that noisy group. We decided to take the jeep safari in the morning.
It was late evening by the time we finished with our tea and snacks and had decided upon what to do the next morning. After this we decided to go in for some macro hunting inside the JLR property. There were lots of spiders all around, but spotting them in the dark was tricky, Shreeram and Radha were very much adept at it. We spend some fun time with a few, taking turns in trying to photograph them. With multiple torch lights shining upon the spiders from different directions, Shreeram exclaimed that it looked like some kind of fashion shoot… :)
We observed some territorial fight amongst a couple of spiders and some hunting moments too.We then moved on to a common toad,again,each one taking turns to photograph and then onto a praying mantis, which was hunting ants out there.
Here are a couple of decent ones I could manage.( very tempted to buy a Macro lens soon… ;)
We were so engrossed in macro hunting that we didn’t get the sense of time. It was almost 9:30 and we decided to call it quits and head for dinner.
After dinner, we retired back to our rooms thinking about what the one final safari the next day morning might have in store for us.
The alarm blared at 5:15 AM. As I pulled myself out of the bed, couldn’t help but notice that it was raining!!
The night before when we went to bed, there was absolutely no signs of rain or any hint that it might rain. This was really surprising and shocking.I quickly went outside to check and it was just drizzling. Thought it might still be OK.
We quickly got ready and went to the Gol Ghar for some tea and biscuits.We were contemplating whether the safari would materialize in this climate or even if it does, would we sight anything!
As we start there drinking our cup of tea, to our dismay, the rain intensified. It stared pouring heavily, as they say…pouring ‘cats & dogs’…Our hopes were dwindling. On the brighter side, it was good that we chose the jeep safari. If we had chosen the boat safari, there was no way we would have been able to go on one.
After sometime, there was a brief let off and we quickly went back to our rooms to get our camera gear.
The rain had broken to a drizzle and we decided to go on with the safari in any case.Our jeep was ready and so was the jeep driver, Harish.
We started off and as we entered the reserve, the rain started getting heavier. Harish, our jeep driver exclaimed saying that he had made plans of the routes he wanted to take today to get some good sightings, but all were in vain, in this rain, we wouldn’t be able to go on those routes, as there were chances of the jeep getting stuck in the slush. I seemed to have the best seat in the house as one side of me towards the open side of the jeep was getting completely drenched. The rain water getting collected in the thick tarpaulin covers of the jeep poured onto me every time the jeep jerked :). As we stopped the jeep for sometime, our driver Harish, got down, picked up a small stick and stuck it between the tarpaulin and the jeep. This prevented the water from pouring onto me,instead was pouring out of the jeep now. A simple yet an ingenious idea :)
We then went to the backwaters’ area and parked our jeep there to wait and see if the rain would subside. After a while, the rain seemed to be subsiding and sunlight, finally, seemed to be breaking through. There were peacocks all over the place, dancing in full flow, trying to lure their lady love. Some huge competition out there…
As the rain had lightened up, we decided to move on to see if we could catch glimpses of anything before the close of the safari.
We spotted a small herd of Gaur, busy having their breakfast. One of them seemed to mock at us, as if saying,what kind of desperate people should these be,to be coming into the forest in this kind of a weather :) This is the expression he seemed to have…..
Further down, we spotted a big brown bird that flew into the thickets and sat on a branch, quite deep inside the forest. Radha, had to view through her camera to confirm that it was a Brown fish Owl. I did take some record shots as this was a first timer for me. So, it seemed that with the sunlight beginning to seep through now, activity in the forest had picked up.
As we moved on, a raptor, suddenly a flew in and sat on a branch, in front of our jeep. As I motioned to our driver to stop, he kindly obliged, stopped in time and switched off the engine too.Very thoughtful of him.
It was a Shikra, with what looked like, some sort of a lizard kill. Was in a good position and was able to manage a good shot of it.
Shikra with a kill..
This was like an icing on the cake for me and also this was towards the close of the safari too. Felt that all the efforts of sitting there getting drenched in the rain, finally paid off :)
A great end to the safari, which we, a couple of hours back, were wondering whether would happen or not.
We came back and headed for our breakfast. After breakfast went to our rooms to quickly freshen up and pack our bags. The time had come…..it was time for us to leave. Such a wonderful place, an amazing time we had over the couple of days. We were truly one with nature.
Wonderful, like minded company of Raghavendra, Prasad, Manula and Neha, along with the great experience and knowledge sharing of Darter experts, Radha and Shreeram.
I just couldn’t let go of the place, so decided to take a part of it back with me, through this photograph.
Overall, was a great learning and a wonderful experience for me and definitely hope to join Darter in many more of their tours.
Hope you all enjoyed reading this series as much as I did penning them down.