Wednesday, 15 April 2015

India - Part 3 - Khana

After a six and a half hour drive, probably only take 4 hours in the UK, we arrived at the Chitvan Lodge just 10 minutes drive to the date into the Khana National Park. We had the rest of the afternoon to relax and have a swim before our 5 hour game drive the next morning. Again it was up at silly O'clock to be at the gates and booked in for a 6 am start.

One other bit of information for anyone doing these parks, is that you have to have your passport with you on entry, everyone going in and out is recorded, just in case you try and take a Tiger home with you. Also the setup at Khana is different to Bandvargahr in that there are only 2 gates there, from the one you cover the south of the park and the other the north, but the drives do overlap as we found out. Our lodge was not allowed to use their own guide in the park, so they way it works is that a Jeep comes and picks you up from the lodge at 5:30 for the morning drive and takes you to the gate where you get checked in and allocated a guide. So each drive you get a different driver and a different guide. From what we saw this depends a bit on which lodge you are in, as we did see some people with their own lodge guide, plus a park guide, plus a driver, the down side to this, is that you have three people to tip!

Anyway onto the wildlife and day 1, drives 1 & 2 .......

We entered the park at 6 am promptly and started the drive into the main part of the park, it was still only just light and after we had bee driving about 20 minutes, this happened:
A couple of Jeeps had stopped just ahead of us, so we did too, this Tiger then stepped out of the forest, walked across the track and was gone, the whole thing lasted about 1 minute, as you can see from the photo the light was very poor, so the shutter speed was low, hence the very blurry legs, but it just shows it pays to have the camera ready all the time, I think I only managed four shots before she disappeared. But Kahna had delivered and we'd only been in there 20 minutes, it was a good job as well, as this was the only sighting of the day.

The rest of our wildlife for the day:
Indian Scops Owl
Little Cormorant
Indian Pond Heron & Common Myna
Yellow-wattled Lapwing
White-eyed Buzzards
Indian Peafowl
Lesser Whistling Duck
Grey-headed Fish Eagle
Red-naped Ibis
Gaur (Bison)
Swamp Deer
Spotted Deer
Indian Rollers
White-rumped Vulture
Termite Mound
Graceful Prinia
Who's the lucky girl then?
Wild Boar

Day 2 drives 3 and 4. The morning drive today was pretty much the same as yesterday this time with no Tiger sighting, that's the luck of the draw.
 Langur Monkey
 Indian Vulture
 Domestic Elephant
 I have to add that the Elephants in the park are used by the rangers when patrolling, for moving trees etc and when there are reports of Tigers outside the park in the villages, they are used to try and drive the Tigers back into the park.
Black Stork
 Stag Swamp Deer
 Jackal, chilling out!

 Soft-shelled Turtle
 Indian Pond Heron

The afternoon drive was a totally different affair, we were in the south side of the park on VIP tickets, in the afternoon the south side has a much smaller number of jeeps and because of that you can go off the main tracks, the guides were also top notch and were listening constantly for alarm calls and looking for Tiger signs. We did a lot of racing around which was exhilarating if uncomfortable at times, but well, well worth it:
We found this female at a watering hole, she quickly turned her back on us, before I could get focused and the wandered off into the bush, we tried to fond her again, but with no luck.

So birding wise there was not much to add as this drive was most certainly a Tiger drive with few birding opportunities. An exciting find at the end of the drive was a pack of Indian Wild Dogs, the guides were ecstatic as these are very rare:
 Sunset at Khana

This has turned into a lengthy post, so I will leave it there and conclude Khana with another post.

No comments:

Post a Comment