Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Bandipur Tales

Leopard, Big Cat, Bandipur, Bandipur National Park, Karnataka, India, Wildlife Photography, Indian Wildlife, top indian wildlife photographers, top indian photographers, panthera


A big hello to my readers, its been long, really long since I posted here. This post is all about a three day stay followed by a one day round in Bandipur and Kabini respectively. I had the privilege of accompanying and guiding Alex who was visiting India purely for wildlife photography.

I wont be writing a lot here, but a few words here and there shouldn't do anyone harm.

I had just picked up my Nikon D4S and was dying to try it out in the field. Alex and I were both carrying similar equipment in terms of the main equipment. While he was using a Canon 1Dx and a Canon 600mm F4L IS II as his main camera, I was using the Nikon D4s with the Nikkor 600mm F4 VRII, as for secondary camera bodies, he was using a Canon 5D MkIII with a Canon 70-200mm F2.8L IS II, I was using my faithful D3s along with a Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 VR. The Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 was rented out from BookMyLens.

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Thats Alex in the middle with his big gun, Rantel and Myself behind and some of the other guests.

Anyway here goes, after the drive from Bangalore, we checked in at the Bandipur Safari Lodge and since we had an hour before lunch, we decided to drive down to the reception area in Bandipur in hope of a little birding. In fact we spent a couple of hours everyday here in between the safaris.

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Alex photographing a Bonnet Macaque

After lunch, we headed for our first where we spotted a few birds and spotted deer all over. As the light began to fade we were left with 15-20 min more in the forest. It was in those last few minutes that we came across this handsome male tiger cooling of in a water body. Locally know as Prince, this guy is huge and does not shy away from the tourist vehicles. Anyway he did give us some good photography opportunity and Alex was really happy to have come across and photograph a tiger on his very first safari.

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Bengal Tiger panthera tigris , yawning in waterhole

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Bengal Tiger Panthera tigris , shaking of water
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male Bengal Tiger Panther tigris walking towards us

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A Bengal Tiger Panthera tigris sniffing the air

On the way back we came across the Forest Dept doing a great job with burning and creating fire lines to reduce damage due to forest fires.

Controlled Forest Fire, Forest Fire, Forest Department, Karnataka
Controlled Forest Fire

After a quick meal we called it a day.

The next day started with me waking up late, and the last i think!! Anyway the morning safari was good in terms of spotting a leopard, we did miss getting a good photo of it, but nonetheless it was a good sighting. Here is a photo of it crossing in between the two safari vehicles.

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an Indian Leopard Panthera pardus fusca, crossing a forest path


Suddenly we heard some frantic spotted deer alarm calls and headed towards the water body from where it was coming, no luck, the predator must have just been passing by, but I did manage to make a quick video showing the alarm calling behavior of the spotted deer. (Video at the end)

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Spotted Deer Axis axis at a water body

Alarm Call by Spotted Deer

The evening safari was good in terms of spotting a small heard of elephants and also a leopard, and yes we missed a great photo opportunity again, as we realized its presence on a tree only when we were right under it, having seen us it shied away from us dissapearing into the thick bushes. We did also see and photograph the Brown Shrike multiple times.

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A bull Indian Elephant Elephas maximus indicus
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Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus on a Butea monosperma tree

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Male Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis

The next day we again had a mainly birding safari except for a wild boar sighting and pair of mongoose foraging for food.

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Wild Boar Sus scrofa

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Male Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis

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Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus strikes a pose

After returning to the lodge and finishing our breakfast we headed to a nearby lake in search of the Bar-headed Geese that we had heard of, they had stopped over during their migration to the south. This time Rantel who was present during our safaris and staying at the same lodge also joined us. We thrilled when we reached the lake, there were easily more than 100 bar-headed geese there along with some Rudy-shellducks and Northern Pintails. A few distant shots of them were all i could manage.

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Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus
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Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus
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Bar-headed Geese Anser indicus along with a few Northern Pintails Anas acuta in flight

We drove down yet again to the Bandipur Reception area where I met a friend who told us a few birding locations, after driving for about 20 minutes, I spotted none other than our target bird hovering quite low, it was the majestic Black Eagle, a raptor not so easy to photograph, anyway all we could manage were a few shots of this bird in flight.

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Black Eagle Ictinaetus malaiensis in flight

As the evening safari began, we were exited as we had found two sets of fresh pug marks, one of a female and the other of a male. We drove around quite a bit, but in vain, no cats were to be seen. We did find a few Crested Serpent Eagles and a beautiful Peacock on a nice open branch of which I made some photos.

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Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus in Bandipur

After an early dinner we retired to our room and were deciding on where to head the next day after the Safari and checking out.

The last and final morning with only the leopard in our mind, yes the leopard, since we hadnt yet got a good photo of it from this trip, we headed into the forest for our final Bandipur drive. The safari turned out to be quite dry with a sighting of a White-eyed Buzzard in the distance. Returned to the lodge, packed our bags and checked out. We had had a great four day stay in Bandipur with some great sightings. The staff at the lodge was very helpful and friendly as ever and I cannot thank them more for their hospitality.

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a male Grey Junglefowl Gallus sonneratii
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White-eyed Buzzard Butastur teesa in the distance

We decided to head to Kabini from Bandipur. We had already spotted the tiger and the leopard in Bandipur, but had missed out on the other carnivore from there, the Dhole, also known as the Indian Wild Dog. The Kabini evening safari gave some lovely opportunity to spend almost 20 minutes and photograph a pack of Dholes.

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A Dhole Cuon alpinus strikes a pose 
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A male Dhole Cuon alpinus scent marks his territory

I must also mention that whenever we got a lot of opportunity to click baby Bonnet Macaques and Langurs, and below is one of my favorite photos ever, it shows the strong bond between the mother and the baby.

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The bond, Bonnet Macaque Macaca radiata

After this nice journey into the wild it was time to say bye to Alex as we was heading to Orissa for some birding with another friend of ours. I do have a lot many more photos from this trip which I will share in the days to come, I hope you enjoyed your visit here. For suggestions and feed back do use the comment form bellow.

Alex's Photos @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/alexantal/
Rantel's Photos @ Rantel Pereira Photography
Anupam's (my dear friend through whom I met Alex) Photos @ Anupam Dash's Photography
Sverker's website @ Tigressa.com

For me all the days were a great learning experience thanks to Alex, especially the use of this simple to use software for sorting and filtering out raw files on the move FastPictureViewer, you can download a trial of the software from their website HERE.

EQUIPMENT USED:
Nikon D4S

Nikon D3S
Nikon 600mm F4 VR II
Nikon 70-200mm F2.8 VR

Some usefull links:

Jungle Lodges: 
2nd Floor, Shrungar Shopping Centre
M.G.Road
Bengaluru, Karnataka
Ph no.: 080 25584111
website: http://www.junglelodges.com/

Book My Lens: 
No 745, 18th Main
1st A Cross 6th Block
Koramangala
Bangalore 560 095
Ph. no: 080 41633669 / +919611234528
website: http://www.bookmylens.com/

Join me on Facebook: Angad Achappa Photography
For tailored wildlife photography trips please get in touch at: angadachappaphotography@hotmail.com
All Images are Copyrighted Angad Achappa and may not be used in any form, website or print/online media without written permission of the Photographer. For any inquiry for the photographs please contact: angadachappaphotography@hotmail.com

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Birding at Nandi Hills - Part 3 - Nilgiri Wood Pigeon

Its been so long, that I almost forgot what was supposed to be the third species in this list. :)

Well, here it is, the Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, another commonly found and photographed bird in this region.

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Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Columba elphinstonii

The Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Columba elphinstonii , is a large pigeon found mainly in the Western Ghats and Nilgiri region of Southern India. They are mainly frugivorous, i.e, their diet mainly consists of fruits. They have a distinctive checkerboard pattern on the nape. They are closely related to the Ceylon Wood pigeon and the Ashy Wood Pigeon. They forage singly or in groups usually up in the fruit trees, but are seen foraging on the ground for fallen fruits as well. They play a vital role in dispersing seeds of the fruits they consume.


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Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Columba elphinstonii

Part - 1 of this series: Tickell's Blue Flycatcher
Part - 2 of this series: Blue-capped Rock Thrush EQUIPMENT USED:

Nikon D3S / Canon EOS 20D
AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR / CANON EF 600mm F4L IS
Gitzo + Wimberley

Join me on Facebook: Angad Achappa Photography

For tailored wildlife photography trips please get in touch at: angadachappaphotography@hotmail.com

All Images are Copyrighted Angad Achappa and may not be used in any form, website or print/online media without written permission of the Photographer. For any inquiry for the photographs please contact: angadachappaphotography@hotmail.com

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Birding at Nandi HIlls - Part 2 - Blue-capped Rock Thrush




This is the second post in the three part series. The first post can be viewed at the link specified at the end of the post.The Blue-capped Rock Thrush is another species quite commonly spotted at Nandi Hills.

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Blue-capped Rock Thrush (male), Monticola cinclorhynchus


The Blue-capped Rock Thrush winters mainly in Western Ghats and is a summer visitor in the Himalayas. It is 15-17cm in length and feeds mainly on insects. The male has a blue crown or cap and throat with the remaining underpart orange in color, while the female has an olive-brown with barred and whitish underparts which are heavily scaled. They are usually found in moist forests an well wooded areas during the winters and in open dry forests during the summers.
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Blue-capped Rock Thrush (female), Monticola cinclorhynchus
Part - 1 of this series: Tickell's Blue Flycatcher

EQUIPMENT USED:
Nikon D3S / Canon EOS 20D
AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR / CANON EF 600mm F4L IS
Gitzo + Wimberley

Join me on Facebook: Angad Achappa Photography

For tailored wildlife photography trips please get in touch at: angadachappaphotography@hotmail.com

All Images are Copyrighted Angad Achappa and may not be used in any form, website or print/online media without written permission of the Photographer. For any inquiry for the photographs please contact: angadachappaphotography@hotmail.com

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Birding at Nandi HIlls - Part 1 - Tickell's Blue Flycatcher

As usual, its been a while since my last post, in this four part post, i will put up images of three species commonly found at our local birding hotspot Nandi Hills.

Nandi Hills is an old hill fortress in the Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka. It is approximately 60 Km from Bangalore City. Nandi Hills has typical high hill vegetation. Every morning the trees of the forest are covered with water as the forest acts as a substrate for cloud condensation. The patch of forest on the top of the hill is evergreen and makes for a favored wintering location of many winter migrant species such as flycatchers, warblers and thrushes.

I will start of with the most common and easy to photograph species here, the Tickell's Blue Flycatcher.

The tickell's blue flycacther is a small passerine bird of the flycatcher family. It is 11-12cm in length and feeds mainly on insects. The male is bright blue with a deep orange/reddish throat with the remaining underpart whitish in color, while the female is a duller shade of blue. They are usually found in thick cover and shade.

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Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Cyornis tickelliae

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Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Cyornis tickelliae
Part - II of this series will be on the Blue-capped Rock Thrush

EQUIPMENT USED:
Nikon D3S
AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR
Gitzo + Wimberley

Join me on Facebook: Angad Achappa Photography

For tailored wildlife photography trips please get in touch at: angadachappaphotography@hotmail.com

All Images are Copyrighted Angad Achappa and may not be used in any form, website or print/online media without written permission of the Photographer. For any inquiry for the photographs please contact: angadachappaphotography@hotmail.com

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Blue-eyed Bush Frog

When id decided to go photographing in the Sharavathi region of the Western Ghats, the Blue-eyed Bush Frog Philautus neelanethrus now known as the Coorg Yellow Bush Frog Raorchestes luteolus was amongst the top of my species list.

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Blue-eyed Bush Frog Philautus Neelanethrus


This species features under the 'endangered' category in the IUCN list of endangered species and is endemic to India. The bright blue ring running around its protruding eyes is what gives the frog its common name, its scientific name neelanthrus mean 'blue eyes' in Sanskrit. This species is considered a 'new' species as it was discovered only in 2007.

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Blue-eyed Bush Frog Philautus Neelanethrus on a leaf

The blue-eyed bush frog avoids barren lands and areas involving human activity such as agricultural fields or urbanisation.
The main threats to this species are loss of habitat due to building of dams and conversation of forests to agricultural land.

EQUIPMENT USED:
Nikon D3S
AF-S Micro NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8
Nikon SB-700 speedlight


Join me on Facebook: Angad Achappa Photography

For tailored wildlife photography trips please get in touch at: angadachappaphotography@hotmail.com

All Images are Copyrighted Angad Achappa and may not be used in any form, website or print/online media without written permission of the Photographer. For any inquiry for the photographs please contact: angadachappaphotography@hotmail.com

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

In search of frogs and snakes - Herping expeditions

Its been a while since I posted here, actually a long time. The last few months have changed my photography a tad bit, I have developed a new love for macro photography and photographing snakes and frogs, yes SNAKES and FROGS.

There is so little known about these species that one hardly notices that beautiful little frog, not more than 1.5-2 cm in length sitting right beside the path one is walking. Snakes on the other hand seem to scare the hell out of people. Even non-venomous snakes are often mercilessly killed. I think a little knowledge, even basics, can save the lives of a number of snakes.

To start of with, I shall post a couple of images from my earlier trips to Shimoga District and Uttara Kannada(North Canara) both in the state of Karnataka.

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Green Vine Snake Ahaetulla nasuta
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A closeup of a green vine snake to show it camouflage in it surroundings
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Malabar Pit Viper Trimeresurus malabaricus flicking its tongue
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Closeup of an Indian Bullfrog Hoplobatrachus tigerinus
Stay tuned for more detailed posts on individual species!!

EQUIPMENT USED:
Nikon D3S

AF-S Micro NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8
Nikon SB-700 speedlight


Join me on Facebook: Angad Achappa Photography
For tailored wildlife photography trips please get in touch at: angadachappaphotography@hotmail.com
All Images are Copyrighted Angad Achappa and may not be used in any form, website or print/online media without written permission of the Photographer. For any inquiry for the photographs please contact: angadachappaphotography@hotmail.com

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dhole - Indian Wild Dog

The Dhole, also know as the Indian Wild Dog is one of the most successful hunters from the Indian Forests. They have been placed under the 'endangered' category by IUCN due to loss of habitat and possible transfer of diseases from domestic and ferral dogs.

They are highly social animals, and hunt in packs, often chasing their prey to exhaustion. They often start tearing into their prey even before it is dead. Since they often travel in numbers, they are bold enough to take on much larger animals, like gaurs, sambhars and often chase tigers and leopards away.

Here, after finishing an evening safari at Bandipur National Park, while returning to our lodge around 6:30 PM, we came across two dholes sitting right next to the highway. The light was quite low, and I was thrilled at trying out a few High ISO shots with the D3S. Here is one of them.

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Dhole, Bandipur National Park, May 2013
Equipment used:
Nikon D3S
Nikkor 600mm F4 VR

For info on wildlife photography in India, feel free to drop in a mail, or leave a message on my Facebook page mentioned below.



Join me on Facebook: Angad Achappa Photography
All Images are Copyrighted Angad Achappa and may not be used in any form, website or print/online media without written permission of the Photographer. For any inquiry for the photographs please contact: angadachappaphotography@hotmail.com