of leopard sightings, complexes and sighs…

Visiting a sanctuary/jungle for me has always been a very very exciting proposition. The mere mention of watching a herd of Deer grazing freely in their natural habitat or watching a Hornbill flap its wings in the jungle jumping from tree to tree, a cat on prowl, the jungle plotting against the predator and warning each other thrills me like no end. I can safely act as a watchman of any society a couple of nights before I am off to a jungle safari as I cannot sleep a bit. The excitement climbs over me, I wonder of how I will track a tiger and how it will pose and roam about my jeep. How I am going to be watching so many animals. Most of my trips have been pretty much decent when it comes to spotting animals and birds. Apart from Corbett where I spotted unbelievable number of animals most other forests have also not disappointed. One trip to Gir during monsoon was particularly depressing as we could not spot much more than peacocks. Peacocks with due respect are unbelievably beautiful birds, however having them in my own colony and watching them every other day somehow robs them of their exotic appeal for me.

I remember a strange incident, in Corbett, during my honeymoon, yes, my wife too is a wild life / nature enthusiast, we were tracking wild elephants following their pugmarks and remarking on how fresh their dung smelled. πŸ˜› πŸ˜› We spent about 2 hours with no avail of any wild elephant herd. Then at one point we were at a view point over looking the reservoir of Ramganga river at Dhikala when we spotted a couple of elephants near the water and we were kinda excited that wow !! Finally we spotted wild elephants !!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Suddenly our guide stepped up and told us they were not wild elephants but the elephants used for the elephant ride in safari and we kinda were so totally disappointed at that fact utterance and we totally stopped admiring the PETS !!!! I mean who came to Corbett to watch a couple of PETS ! We were there to see Wild Animals not Domestic ones…. not as if the Elephants lost any of their characteristics. Just the mere fact that they were used to human’s around them and they were friendly didn’t for one minute take away either their sheer size or magnanimity. We did realise a little later that an Elephant was an Elephant after all and it remained an amazingly huge beast and its mannerisms could be studied so much more when they allowed you to go so near it.

Off late, the camera has been an obsession and watching wild life pics which has always been a hobby always wanted me to capture some stunning shots of the animals in their natural habitat. Now, having started with an SLR first came the news that with an 18-55 lens the possibility of capturing animals up-close was remote unless they were domestic and allowed me near them. Many attempts and even the squirrel’s, pigeon pics seemed too far out with the 18-55. So when you get a friend who has a 55-200mm lens join you for a visit to a jungle that promises almost sure sighting of leopards you are thrilled. The fact that you will capture a picture of the leopard licking its fur, sitting on a tree with its tail dangling with a back drop of a sunset was almost a given now. Atleast to the naive me over expectedness, over excitedness are a norm. Even if those were not english words I trust it explains to you the state of my mind. I couldn’t sleep two nights, I couldn’t even take my most loved afternoon siesta and after driving a whole night without blinking the eye when we reached the hotel in Sheoganj at 10 in the morning to the news that the safari would begin at 4pm I still couldn’t rest.

Then when in the jungle finally after a 2 hour vigil we spotted two jackals that were too far… although there were no rules in Sheoganj and so we got off the jeep and chased behind the jackals who were sly, smart and much faster, they didn’t let us get a clear shot of them. We huffed and puffed back to our jeep. When we finally heard that two leopards were spotted sitting on a cliff we zoomed to the spot getting our camera’s ready for a shoot with the beast. Only to reach the spot and being hushed to keep the jeep’s motor down, many other’s had taken position, as we kept quizzing where was the leopard these all were looking at our guide handed us the binoculars and they seemed atleast 500-800 meters high up on the cliff. You couldn’t see it with your naked eyes and needed the binoculars. Then you see the group full of photo enthusiasts with len’s that are atleast 8-10 times bigger than yours and you actually feel as tiny as the leopard seemed about 500 meters up the slope. 😦 😦 😦

DSC_0089Well we actually thought it was a better idea to shoot these guys than shooting the leopards. 😦

And then when we beat all these wise cracks to spot the leopard from very near in pitch darkness all to ourselves 15 yards from our jeep, fools, yes, us, instead of admiring the beauty, poise, grace of the beast were busy trying to click it like mad when the lack of light would just not let the camera click…. no wonder I have my photo blog id as Amateur clicker …. Sigh…. So much for expectations all we came up of leopard shots when it was really close to us were these 😦 😦 😦

This one was taken in program mode and hence the lens remained open for a lil while longer and so the light was captured more than the leopard πŸ˜₯

DSC_0121 (2)

The other shot, I think will atleast please Sakshi :mrgreen:, well, that was just about what I could capture of it for you SIGH.. though I must admit the sight that we captured with our eyes will always stay with us.

DSC_0122 (2)

Well, human’s as they say, are a bundle of desires and let me say none of my desires are diminishing as yet, if anything they just keep getting longer, bigger and deeper. Sigh… Life is so short and so so many things to do. πŸ˜€


19 thoughts on “of leopard sightings, complexes and sighs…

    • hitchy says:

      I guess sometimes we do get over obsessed and sometimes miss the simple joy of actually seeing things ! But well eventually we will find a right balance πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ Nothing is good or bad… I guess its an experience either ways ! πŸ˜€

  1. Anonymously Disguised says:

    I can’t even hold the camera if I see a cat crossing my path…so Wild Life Photography is not gonna happen in this janam!

    Btw if you get me a REAL nice back photo of human beings, I might be pleased and gift you that lens you want okie? :mrgreen:

    Sheesh a leopard butt for me?? 😑

  2. Smitha says:

    Wow! You do lead an interesting life! One day , I so want to go on animal tracking. I’ve just been once, when we were still in school on a trek, where we saw just crows:(

    These days I get to see wild animals only when we cross the jungle while traveling to Wayanad. And we certainly don’t have cameras like yours, good enough to capture leopard butts:)

    • hitchy says:

      Crows ! πŸ˜› Lol… ! This is the second time I spotted a leopard in a jungle earlier we did so on foot in Gir… we mistook it for a dog in the shade when it suddenly jumped in the light to cross the river and we realised it was a leopard ! Wonderful moment that was too ! that time we couldnt capture it ! I guess once you start going on animal trails… its like a drug… you cant stop ! πŸ˜›

      I am off to Ranthambhore to track tigers next month… hopefully I will get better pictures πŸ˜€

      I am increasingly getting attracted to Wayanad ! I think i must visit it sometime soon !

  3. Ashwathy says:

    You went adventuring during your honeymoon also?? πŸ˜› πŸ˜› I would definitely prefer a laidback beach resort (or even hill resort) honeymoon than wildlife!! :mrgreen:

      • Ashwathy says:

        Actually it’s the other way round. You are old to each other (since you had known each other for so long before marriage) so to find excitement you have to head to see wildlife!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ While we are new to each other, so our excitement lies in getting to know each other leisurely at a beach resort… you know, you know!! :mrgreen:

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