Monday, June 5, 2017

Bandhavgarh, India 2017 Part II.

 A  month went by without me posting a blog and will be mostly gone for the next 3 months.  The peacock is to India what the Bald Eagle is to the USA.  It is common in the forest, and during April when I was there, they were busy displaying to attract the peahens, and most often, after the fancy displays, the peahens just walked away.  At times you see several peacocks displaying closely while being watched by the peahens.  If one is accepted, the peahen walks to him; they do the thing, and part their ways. The fish-eating owl next is often seen and I believe they are territorial since I had seen them on the same spots during prior years. During previous visits I saw one blinded in one eye but not this time. And lastly, the same behavior applies to the snake-eating owl.

 The Indian roller is common but not as beautiful as the Lilac-Breasted roller from Africa.  Still it is an attractive bird, always very active. The rollers were in their nesting season so the males were offering worms to lure the females. The hornbills were also busy feeding their chicks; they always nest in tree cavities.  And then, the common kingfishers; what an appropriate name, they were everywhere but hard to photograph. By the way, the most common beer in India is named Kingfisher and so was a now defunct airline. Typical of these birds they have favorite perches that they defend by dive-bombing any intruders.

 Below is a Red Wattled Plover that I had not seen before; there is always some new species to see no matter how many times you go to India.  And then there is the Mynah bird, very common and sold at the pet stores here.  The Ringneck parakeets (really parrots), also sold in pet stores, were always in groups and noisy; the one below is feasting in the flowers.

 The Spotted Owlet was seen daily at his hollow in the tree; there were really two but every time I got there, one would hide.  The Red-headed vultures could be found at sunrise and sunset at the same perching trees where they spent the night. They are scavengers but I did not see them feeding; with the amount of spotted deer I was expecting to see them having a feast. Why the black and white photo?  I thought these birds look creepier than they already in those colors. By the way, certain populations of vultures in India are threatened with extinction due to viral infections and diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug administered to cattle, that died, and are eaten by these birds.

 There were more than birds - such as monitor lizards; these were abundant and not shy, easy to photograph.  Jackals were also common and mostly seen early in the morning; always moving at a fast pace, they kept their distance.

 The gaur, also known as the Indian Bison, is a forest animal and the largest bovine in India and tallest in the world.  They are very powerful and aggressive, when we encountered one in the forest trails; we waited until they moved on. Notice the white legs.  The sambars are the favorite prey of the tigers, below are pair that were refreshing in a waterhole; they are nervous and will run if you just make a hand gesture. 

 While waiting for something to happen, I could hear the sound of raindrops but there was no rain.  I finally realized that during this season there is a bloom of caterpillars that eats the leaves in the canopy and that what I was hearing was their droppings when hitting the forest floor covered with dead leaves. If you go to my previous year blog about India, you will images of these creatures.  When I arrived in Bandhavgarh, the trees were sprouting leaves and flowerings, by the third day, all was green and flowering. There is a noticeable fragrance from the flowers that are eaten by some of the birds and the bees were active but there are not hummingbirds, here they have sunbirds occupying the same niche as Africa. Have so much material from India; next Kanha.