Fresh pug marks (tiger tracks) had our senses tuned in, but to no avail – the tigers did not come out for us today. We did have great sightings of samba deer, which until this point have not been very co-operative. We also saw and photographed close to fifty different bird species, including the fantastic plum headed parakeet. Even without the tigers about there is such diversity in India that the cameras are clicking throughout the day!
We picked up exactly where we left off on day 2, with an amazing sighting of a female tiger in a new section of the reserve. We spent an hour with her, as she marked her territory and casually walked alongside our vehicle. The highlight of the sighting was when she approached an old tree which had fallen down – she framed herself perfectly beneath the tree allowing us to take some lovely images, and then jumped up and started scent marking the tree with her face! Absolutely brilliant.
This is what we came for – tigers, tigers and more tigers! Day 2 produced four different tigers and allowed us a fantastic three hours in the company of these magnificent cats! To make it even more special, the first tiger we saw stalked and chased a spotted deer, nearly catching it. All this action was right in front of us and out in the open, so the cameras were going crazy. The (nearly two year old) cubs we saw in the afternoon were equally obliging for the cameras, playing in the water and then with each other. Not a bad day at all…
Day 1 – always exciting! We started off this amazing safari with a good look at the rest of the players in the tiger reserve. Loads of spotted deer, barking deer and indian gaur, or indian bison, filled the cameras’ viewfinders, as well as the brilliant and ever-present langur monkeys. As for the tigers themselves, the best we managed was a fresh set of tracks for a female, heading to a nearby waterhole. We were confident she was in the area but she didn’t show herself – this only brews excitement, as the hope of seeing a tiger increases!
The final morning of the safari had a very nice surprise in store for us. We woke to an awesome snowfall, which added drastically to the atmosphere of the photos! To make the morning a little more special, a japanese serow made an appearance midway through the snowfall. This awkward looking antelope foraged on the cliffs above us for a solid hour before heading back into the hills. The snow monkeys were as obliging as ever, and had all concentrated in the hot spring because of the cold weather. All in all, it was the perfect way to end an amazing safari!