Ranthambore – May 2019 – tour report
Ranthambore National Park is widely known as a favourite hunting ground for the Royals of Jaipur. Tigers, Leopards and Marsh Crocodiles living in the forests attract wildlife lovers to spot them and photograph them at close vicinities. When spotting a Tiger is considered to be luck by chance moment, Ranthambore opens up to provide opportunities to witness Tigers spending time in their natural habitat.
Photographers get ample sightings to capture the real life of the predators hunting to find their prey or nurturing their offsprings. Our photography tour at Ranthambore gave us valuable time with abundant wildlife and magnificent forests.
Grand entrance of Noori
We arrived at the Resort on Thursday at noon. After a quick lip-smacking lunch, our Tour mentor gave an overview of Ranthambore National Park and its zones briefing about the plan for the next 3 days.
We took our first entry to the park with Sun blasting at 44 deg centigrade. We looked out for the famous Tigress Noori (Daughter of Noor). As she was spotted in the morning, we decided to gamble on her sighting. We were checking a few drying water holes when we heard a Sambar deer’s alarm call. The entire forest resonated with the alarm call, as we frantically drove towards the direction of the call. We spotted Noori walking towards a ‘nallah’. She disappeared into the thickets in no time and played a waiting game with us.
After about 3 dozen minutes later, we decided to move towards other water holes to find more wildlife. We returned after a while to an open space where the 30 feet nallah was widely visible. We could not trace Noori yet even though we knew she was somewhere near the water. Hoping for some luck to spot Noori, we shifted ourselves to a different location. We could not still manage to see her when our Naturalist guide took us to ‘Kishni de’ where Noori could possibly be spotted.
We patiently waited near the water hole in ‘Kishni de’. We knew if Noori arrived, we will be alerted by the Spotted Deer, Sambar Deer, Peacocks and Langurs loitering in the area. Till then, we decided to relax and watched birds. White-bellied Drongos, Black Drongos, Chestnut-Shouldered Petronia, Barn Swallows, Common Wood Shrike sipped water as they flew very close to the water hole. Striking yellow ‘Indian Oriole’ appeared on a branch and danced in front of us before it flew away.
A gust of wind disturbed us with noise, we knew Noori was nearing us. Our driver pointed and exclaimed, “Sir, Tiger!” took our cameras as our eyes looked in the direction of our Driver’s fingers. Few Sambar Deer climbed the hill slope and stunned us with no alarm call. Noori emerged from behind a Palm tree. She made a small sprint to climb on the dam’s wall and scanned the place before stepping on the grass. She thoroughly cleaned herself and slept on the grass bed. She enjoyed the caressing breeze and tempted us to drop our cameras down to join her and relish the forest breeze. We left Noori as the Sun went down and proceeded towards the gate.
Next day morning, a Sloth bear welcomed us at the entrance. He seemed like foraging the forest floor for the berries. We moved further ahead to a river stream, to find T-19 (Krishna) lying in the pool, being oblivious of all the commotion happening around her. As the sun blazed again, we headed back to the resort to feasting on the food.
Our evening safari started with a hard drive on the rocky terrain of Zone 6 and we noticed a few jeeps in a distance. We entered the zone, to the Chowkidar informing us about a Tiger resting under the shade near a stream. It was Jay – Son of Ladli (T8). We observed him under the shade, repositioning his head every now and then. He even looked at our vehicle as if to check if we had lost interest in him and had left. In the meanwhile, we noticed a male Asian Paradise-flycatcher with its long white tail, taking a dip in the water. Soon after, we bid adieu to Jay as he never changed his supine position.
On our third day, we planned to a zone where mating tigers were seen in the previous evening. We learned from the guide, that the ritual was going on for the past 3 days and we could have a bleak chance of seeing a Tiger couple together. Our cameras were more excited to see them, however, we found out that the couple had separated on the previous night itself. We were disappointed but completed our safari spotting a ‘Savanna Nightjar’ and ‘Brown Fish Owl’ chicks.
On our evening drive, we headed towards Zone 4 to spot T19 (Krishna). We could see her from atop sitting between the grasses. Our guide advised us to get to a different location to spot a female cub of Krishna. We waited for 10 minutes and decided to try our luck to find a Leopard. As we approached to climb a slope, we were startled to see the little cub sneaking out through the bushes. She went inside a puddle to cool herself down and soon jumped to a higher ground offering us fantastic photographic moments.
On the final day of our Photography Tour, we proceeded towards Zone 1. Again, a sloth bear welcomed us through the gates sitting on a tree. We quickly checked all the water holes and arrived near Zone 6 connecting area. We enquired the Chowkidar if there were any signs of Big Cats in Zone 6. He gave us an unfavorable answer. Our guide continued talking to him when our mentor got down from the vehicle to attend nature’s call. Just a few steps forward, a large male Leopard emerged from behind the Chowki. Our tour mentor and Chowkidar quickly sprinted into the jeep. The thirsty Leopard headed towards the water hole when we quickly positioned ourselves to get amazing images of the Leopard.
The Ranthambore Photography Tour provided us great safari experiences and big cat sightings. The National Park makes an ideal place to photograph our National animal – Tigers. Our tour was largely a Tiger Photography Tour and a Leopard being our guest. We fill our minds with the treasure of memories for a lifetime and left with revitalized energy levels in our souls.