A dense jungle stretched across the vast expanse of North India, Corbett National Park is a must-visit for any photography enthusiast. Known to be one of the country’s oldest national parks and tiger reserves, Corbett was established way back in 1936. The national park itself was named for legendary British naturalist and author Jim Corbett who brought fame to this northern home of tigers with his work Man-Eaters of Kumaon.
Birdwing’s recently concluded photography tour to Corbett brought forth memorable experiences that truly increased our reverence for nature and all forms of wildlife. A group of 7 shutterbugs headed out into the wild to enjoy an adventure in the lower Himalayan forest belt. Over a period of several days, we were fortunate to encounter many forms of avian and mammal wildlife while increasing our erudition in the field of our first love: nature photography.
Corbett forms an indispensable component of Uttarakhand wildlife tourism. This national park is spread over an area of 520 square kilometres and has a topography that comprises of dense forests, lush hills, riverine belts and a large lake. With over 600 species of plants, 600 species of birds, and more than 100 tigers, you better make sure to keep plenty of space free in your camera for every second is a frame waiting to be captured. In fact, Corbett is one of the few national parks in the country that offers an overnight stay within its premises to tourists.
The night stay in the forest is truly an experience to cherish. The navy-blue sky filled with stars illuminates the dense and rich vegetation all around. The softness of the air is broken only by the occasional twittering of birds and racket of insects. The chill in the air serves to remind you that you are within the territory of the Himalayan belt.
The Jim Corbett National Park provides one of the finest opportunities for birding in India. We were truly amazed to spot manifold species of birds during the course of our photography tour to Corbett. Some of the encounters were truly magnificent as they let us live the cycle of life in nature as it was in progress. For instance, we spotted the huge changeable hawk-eagle as it stalked and hunted down a red jungle fowl that it had chosen for its meal. The bird of prey took the fowl into the jungle to make a feast of it, completely oblivious to our wonderous gazes.
We also spotted common kingfishers as they relaxed by the shiny pebbles of the Ramganga river. From here we traversed a wooden bridge to the Par region of the national park which is home to its namesake tigress Parwali and her cubs. Our patience and stealth were rewarded when we spotted the big cat and truly clicked away to our hearts content.
Some of the other birds spotted while on tour included the crested serpent eagle, crimson sunbird, grey hornbill, long-tailed shrike, plum-headed parakeet, black stork, river tern, bank mynah, blue-throated barbet, pied bushchat, river lapwing, red jungle fowl, hen harrier, black stork, oriental white-eye, and blue whistling thrush, among others. The presence of such an eclectic mix of avian wildlife makes Corbett a haven for keen birdwatchers.
A winter photography tour to Corbett is incomplete with the chance to witness the majestic Asiatic elephant at home in these vast Himalayan grasslands. We were truly fortunate enough to spot a herd protecting their young calf. We kept at a distance so as not to disturb the cycle of life and captured frame after frame of these colossal creatures that truly inspire respect.
A photography tour to Corbett is also extremely rewarding in terms of the abounding landscape that provides multiple frames each worthy of being captured. From sunrise to sunset, we were truly thrilled at the opportunity to capture each moment of nature in all its unique colours and glory.
We left from Corbett with our hearts and cameras full and eagerly look forward to our next photo trip here this May!