After long vacation at Singapore, I was back to Bangalore. Had 4 more days leave in my pocket. Quickly planned to Kgudi this is my favorite wildlife destination. Called up my friend and booked the room and enquired about the climate and wildlife sightings.
Same day we had to shop for eatables, rushed to VB Bakery and took KBC, Fruit Cake, mixtures for the outing.
29th June 2011 @ 4.30 AM our WildlifeOdyssey started towards BR Hills, Sindhu prepared a crude breakfast for the journey, finally we hit the Mysore road a long 3 and half hours journey took us to BR Hills forest check post at 7.45AM. Climate was awesome the day turned out to be cloudy and chilled weather welcomed us. Mind was ringing a bell “K Gudi never disappoints me”. The stretch from BR Hills check post to hotel was very calm yet filled with wilderness we were lucky to sight peacocks, hoopoe and kingfishers.
We checked in to hotel by 9.30 AM after having break fast at Giri Darshini.
Vasanna[Giri Darshini owner] took me to his newly constructed cottages and walked us through the property asked my opinion on the amenities in the cottage. It is a descent cottage / rooms available at BR Hills which is affordable to CM [common man].
By 12.00PM, Prashanth came to our room and we indulged in casual discussion regarding sightings, wildlife experiences. I also expressed my interest in distributing the used and neat attires to tribal people which we brought from Bangalore. The clothes distribution was scheduled the next day at 2.00PM after talking to the tribal head. You know joy of giving has to be experienced….
Hmmmm….time ticked 1.30PM when we thought of going for a drive till Kgudi and come back. The most anticipated game road welcomes us with a splendid sighting of Crested Serpent Eagle aka CSE perched on the tree.
It was half the way to K Gudi when a jeep overtook us and informed us about a Tiger sighting near a bridge. We were excited to hear this and went back to toss our luck but it had passed. Then we came to know the person who gave us the information was a new JLR manager Mr. Sunil a mysorian…
Very nice chap with lot of enthuse towards wildlife. He has done PhD on monkeys and exchanged much information with us. Offered a cup of coffee and we had a long casual chat with him. The time was around 4.30PM in the evening when we decided to leave to BR Hills.
Our luck was limited with a sambar deer which posed us for photo session. Reached back hotel by 6.00PM; in the chilled weather a cup of hot coffee was very much in need.
We called our day with a neat dinner at Giri Dharshini hotel. It was decided to wake up early morning and go for a drive to Kgudi.
Alarm kicked us out of the bed at 5.00 AM swiftly finished our morning routines and stared towards K Gudi. It was a scenic treat to the eyes, with lush green around us and bird chirps was a musical feast to ears.
After many years in BR Hills range I was lucky to sight MGS – Malabar Giant Squirrel on the perch of the tree.
It was 7.30AM when we reached Kgudi, had a nice coffee time with Sunil JLR manager for more than 2 hours regarding wildlife conservation activities. Started back to hotel at 9.45AM a slow drive from Kgudi to BRHills took more than an hour to reach the hotel. Settled down at hotel had unperturbed sleep for sometime. It was the last day to test out our luck. Planned a drive to Budhipadaga in the evening.
On our way to Budhipadaga we sighted a huge guar beside the road grazing peacefully it was huge solitary male which showcased all its muscular power. The Hunk on its back made all of us to stare with incredulous looks. It walked with us for more than 10 mins along the side path.
We were running out of fuel and made our way to Chamarajanagar to fuel. The guard at the check post reminded us about the closing the gate at 6.00PM sharp. We had left with short time to make it.
Quickly we reached Chamarajanagar at 5.15PM fueled the car and started back to BRHills. Before 6.00PM we were inside the check post and this was the time I was waiting for as it was almost dusk and time for predators to be active.
In anticipation of any such predator sighting we reached Kgudi without stopping much at Chamarajanagar range. We had to stop at least 3 times when we sighted Langurs, Peacocks and Lapwing which rushed inside bushes as we approached them.
The time was exactly 6.15PM when we reached K Gudi, guard reminded us not to stop on the way and reach BRHills as it is not allowed to travel after 6.00PM.
I was thrilled to start my real WildlifeOdyssey at twilight a perfect time for wildlife sightings and again it’s a sheer luck.
It dint take much time to prove this when we sighted Brown Fish owl with its snack in the beak on the branch of a tree. It dint give me much time to click, I could only manage a record shot of it.
An alarm call started after Basavana Kadu range, we stopped our vehicle for a min and silently tracked from where the call is coming. It was for sure a predator is on move.
The call was continuous for more than 5 mins, I insisted Prashanth to stop the vehicle at least for 5 mins and then move on. The pot of luck poured down on us, when I stopped my car and turned to my right, I couldn’t believe my eyes; what am I seeing??
Male leopard on a tree in peaceful mood. Phew it was feast to our eyes. I clicked clicked clicked that’s what I could do; we spent more than an hour with him. But time was limited already it was 7.15PM and had to reach BR Hills. Body & Soul was contented with an awesome sighting of the leopard.
Again I say “K GUDI NEVER DISSAPOINTS ME”…..