Steve had planned to visit India after a gap of 5 years. Knowing that am a nature freak, he expressed his desire to visit one of the Tiger sanctuaries to get a glimpse of the Royal Bengal Tiger, the pride of India.
Well, first thing that came to my mind was of course Nagarhole National park, popularly known as Kabini. Predator movements were high as a result of drought. Obviously, the resorts in that area had zero availability due to the overwhelming demand to experience the wilderness.
The next option that came to my mind was "River Tern Lodge, Bhadra". I knew that predator sightings in this area was not as common as Kabini, but I kept my hopes high and booked our accommodation there. All I wanted was a joyful ride so that Steve would take back good memories from here.
River Tern Lodge is managed and owned by Jungle Lodges and Resorts, located on the banks of Bhadra reservoir, Lakkavalli (250 kms from Bengaluru).
Bhadra wildlife sanctuary is yet another beautiful vast landscape that consists of various wildlife species with a diverse culture of green patch. The deltas formed in the backwaters acts as a paradise for a particular bird-- "River Tern". Thousands of River terns congregate here to enhance their race.
|River Tern on a dead tree stump.|
|Mating of River terns.|
|Terns cleaning themselves.|
We opted for a boat ride on the first day hoping for the best sightings. An amazing ride started off with so many River terns followed by Small pratincoles. But my observation said the count of River terns had decreased over the years because of habitat distribution.
We cruised through the reservoir watching tons of jelly fish gracefully wading underwater. The naturalists were busy searching for the big cats on the banks of the reservoir.
Few minutes later, the phantom appeared from the bushes in search of prey. A young male Indian Leopard walked towards us to show it's formidable presence. This amazing creature adapts to its surrounding so very well in order to conquer the prey.
|The Phantom walks.|
|Stalking it's prey.|
|Display to paparazzi.|
|Pose of an Indian Leopard.|
|On high alert.|
Leopards take the advantage of the body texture as it gels well with the dry habitat. Their camouflage abilities are really outstanding.
This one gave us a proper 10 mins before it disappeared into the bushes and we continued our safari on the rough waters.
Now it was the turn for the raptors. Ospreys and Grey headed fish eagles were the highlights. We were fortunate to see them in action.
|Osprey with a fish.|
|Grey Headed Fish Eagle.|
|A portrait of Grey Headed fish eagle.|
We were super thrilled to have seen these beautiful creatures during the boat safari. The naturalists claimed that the Leopard sighting during a boat safari on the banks of Bhadra is a rare moment. I was fully satisfied with the trip thus far and was looking forward to the morning jeep safari.
|Crested Serpent Eagle.|
We went on a jeep ride into the forests of Bhadra in search of mammals. Early morning sun rays made the grasslands glow like gold. The thick forest attracted us.
|Malabar Giant Squirrel.|
Back at the Lodge, this tiny bird surprised us.
|The Navarangi bird.|
I was really impressed by the forest although the mammal sightings were slim. Peace, serenity, lovely diversity of flora and fauna. I was bestowed with the beauty of the nature. I only wish that the forests of Bhadra continues to impress us for generations.
Place: The River Tern Lodge, Jungle lodges and Resorts, Lakkavalli.
Distance: 260 kms from Bengaluru.
Ebird checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/india/view/checklist/S37033389
More photos on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/79335872@N06/sets/72157681049645293