As the norm is, being to a national park or reserve invariably means watching a big cat. The success of visit always depends on having a sight or not having it. This over enthusiasm of looking for a tiger or a lion actually robs one of the ‘thrill of the unexpected’. Every jungle has its own beauty, even in terms of the wildlife. In search of expected, we miss the ‘unexpected other’ which actually make the jungle beautiful.
So for all those, who return with their heads down after missing on the big cat, here are few ‘non-cat’ moments from a recent safari in the GIR national park and wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat. Known as only haven for Asiatic Lions in the wild in world, this dry deciduous forest has a fair share of other wildlife- 39 species of mammals, 37 species of reptiles, 300 species of birds and more than 2000 species of insects.
Spotted deer (Chital) are almost 45,000 in GIR and are most commonly found. Watching them is always fun and delightful.
Chital always make a cute good photograph in whatever they do-
Here one male enjoys holding its crown (antlers)-
GIR also has a good number of Chinkara and Four-horned antelope among the deer family and Nilgai (most commonly found in Indian heartland) as you can see one female here basking in glory-
Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) is considered to be the largest among Asian antelope family but a male Sambhar deer is considered to be the largest in whole deer family few of them may even weigh more than 500 kgs. They look majestic, like this one-
But then, a jungle has much more than deer and their predators. Such as wild boars which are considered to be widest-ranging mammal in the world. This big game animal is known as ancestor to our domestic pigs. Its a brave animal, although cat family and wolf are its main predators but wild boars have history of fighting cat family in self-defence.
A Golden Jackal (Indian Jackal) in the GIR looking for some small prey-
Monitor Lizards are also common to forests of Indian subcontinent. They have been referred to mythologically and historically in many contexts in various scriptures. Might look repulsive to many, but they have been often considered as friend to humans. Here a monitor lizard quickly hides itself into a tree, not interested in showing its face to us-
And here in a rare photograph, you can see a baby monitor lizard, learning the tricks of the world-
A brown fish owl, very closely monitoring our moments. Owls might be common but you need sharp eyes to spot them in the trees.
Last but not the least, another tough photograph of a Indian Paradise Flycatcher. Tough in the sense that they are too quick for you to catch them in you camera frame. A beautiful bird found in the Indian subcontinent is a genus of monarch flycatchers.SO, next time you visit a national park or wildlife sanctuary, don’t just look for the big ones. Keep your eyes open for the unexpected beauties round the corner.