This is last post from my visit to Panna Tiger Reserve and National Park last month. And this one is not about tigers. I had always enjoyed wild, whether there is sighting of a big cat or not. Wild is always beautiful. Wanna Tiger Reserve and National Park has a beautiful topography and it owes much to the beautiful Ken river flowing through the reserve. It works as a lifeline for the forest and the wildlife here as you can see in the image below.
A pair of Nilgai, no jungle in India is complete without them!
A male sambhar crossing the road. This is one of the favourite foods of big cats.
Something I captured for the first time- a spotted deer making a mating call to his partner. Novices will often misjudge a deer’s mating call as an alarm call for the tiger sighting. But it’s different from that.
Deer and monkeys resting together in summer heat. Jungles are well known for stories of friendship between deers and monkeys. And this is for real. Both of them will alert each other for an approaching hunting predator- mostly a big cat- a tiger or a leopard. All forest guides use their alarm calls to track the tigers and show them to tourists. A monkey has a very sharp sight, so it will climb up the tree and keep an eye on the tigers and once it notices any, it will raise an alarm call, apparently to alarm its deer friends. Similarly, a deer has a very sharp sense of smell. It can smell a big cat and not just that, it can also sense whether the tiger is in hunting mood. It will then raise an alarm call for monkeys to alert them. Beauty of nature! Isn’t it!!
This is another of my first time captures, an Indian nightjar. It was hard to locate despite being very close and guide pointing towards it, because it was so beautifully camouflaged between dry grass and stones, that one can’t notice it on a cursory glance. Then, it was also surprising for us to see that this bird was sitting so calmly in such a scorching morning sunlight. A wonderful sight though.
Kingfishers are always my favourite birds, hence I was delighted to see this stork-billed kingfisher enjoying its day in Panna.
After Dandeli reserve in Karnataka, this was my second chance to encounter a woolly-necked stork. Looks so majestic.
Ken river also has a large number of crocodiles. After crossing Panna Tiger Reserve, Ken also has a crocodile and Gharial sanctuary. Here we can see a crocodile calmly swimming in Ken through the core area of Tiger Reserve. Though it is tough to locate crocs during summers as they like to remain inside the water to keep themselves cool. In winters we can easily see them lying on rocks alongside the river enjoying sunlight.
It is also possible to do a boat safari in Panna Tiger Reserve. This is a hard an hour safari at a very nominal price. On your luckier days, you can also get a chance to see some wildlife on both sides of river, and who knows… may be tiger too. There have been instances of tiger swimming across the river for either hunting or changing territories.