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  • Writer's pictureMike Curtis

Indian wildlife gallery updated

So I've added a few images from the 2016 Ranthambhore trip to the Indian Wildlife gallery, please have a look.

I thought I would start this post with a pretty rare sighting and image of a male Indian Leopard which we were lucky enough to see early one morning. I say lucky, but that's not true. We had just entered Route 1 of Ranthambhore, which at that moment was lacking tigers, when our fabulous guide and friend Mahesh Choudhary heard the a single Peacock alarm call (Their alarm call is like the honk of a model T Ford car horn). Our vehicle stopped and we all listened. Peafowl are probably the most unreliable alarm calls in the jungle, they get startled by their own shadows, so it was a surprise when Mahesh got the jeep to reverse back along the road to take a different track. After no longer than a minute Mahesh sighted the leopard and after another minute of manoeuvring the vehicle and pointing we all saw it. There were no other vehicles present which made this even more special. At that point in time it was a 2% sighting, as we'd only seen two leopards in one hundred drives into the park.

It transpires that although the entire area of RNP contains up to 50 leopards, unlike the tigers, the leopards do not have individual identities.

Closer inspection of the male leopard revealed a very distinctive oblong shaped notch in his right ear. Perhaps this can this can be used to positively ID this fella in the future. So I propose we call this guy 'Notch'.

This trip was also notable for seeing relatively small cubs for the first time, a 1% sighting for us. While the location of the sighting was not great for viewing or pictures, being in thick undergrowth and scrub, matters were made worse by the limited places were you could see the tigers having very restricted angles of view. It resulted in quite an uncomfortable log jam of vehicles, the passengers of which were all quite naturally desperate to see the tiger family. Still it was magical to see their behaviour especially when dad (T57) turned up.

I'm as guilty as anyone for zooming in for portrait images and close ups of tigers. They are so incredibly beautiful it's completely natural to want to see that beauty in as much detail as possible. However, I've been seeing a few photographers produce really great images of the tiger in its environment using wide angle lenses, so I tried a few. I like them, so I may do some more in the future if I'm brave enough to enter the park with a wide angle on my back up camera. I guess I need yet another camera body ;)

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