Thursday, December 25, 2008

Day 2: A meet with the Jungle cat!

After an eventful first day in the wonderland of Bharatpur, we all ventured in again the next with loads of hope for that day as well. As we had deferred the plan of going for boating for another day we again ended up in having no fixed plan in place. Almost a kind of 'shoot at sight' methodology. For me, I was just recovering from last days extravaganza and for God sake not wanted any more yet again in the morning :).I wanted some time to settle the feeling that I had experienced the last day.

Morning was welcomed by the usual mist and as and when I say a first jackal, I jumped out from the cycle rickshaw and went into the grassland to better its image! Then realised that in fact there were 4 of them. After successful a stalking ended up in having 'none'! But in the mean time found a good flock of yellow footed green pigeons perched on a dead tree.I had never seen so many of them together. Very lovely birds.

When I was back on the cycle, just a few yards ahead Shiv and Pramod were busy in hunting for Spotted Owlet.The rickshaw walas told that there are three of them!

As my luck with these small owlets was not that great, I decided to try my luck again and joined the other two who were waiting for them to show up from the hole in a dead tree trunk. Enjoyed the company with them and as guests we had a Hoopoe and three black rumped flamebacks as well.

By the time the Sun came up on our head we had decided to explore the 'brick road'. As the name says this small pathway is made up using bricks and it forms a boundary between the marshy land and the open scrub forest with a patch of small grasslands as well. The trees grown on both sides of the path way makes it a very nice location.

When we were walking on this brick road we saw something very far coming on the path directly towards us! Initially I thought it could be a Jackal, then Shiv saw this through his 600mm (300mm+2x) and said - "hay...its a Jungle Cat". I was thrilled. All three became statue the next moment, not moving an inch. The handsome came for few feet in the same way and then decided to get away from the road and went towards the marshy land. All three waited for nearly 45 min for it to come back. The wait went in vein.

As Shiv and Pramod decided to explore other possibilities around they have decided to head back. I stayed there...sitting alone silently. After some 5 min, I heard the ducks in the marsh flying away making lot of noise. I thought the Cat might have attacked them. Then the chances of returning to the place where I was waiting for it started looking gloomy. I decided to wait further to try my luck and so kept on was noon and was calm everywhere.

I was feeling the silence and just sitting quietly. Then I saw a mongoose coming in the same way the as the Cat had come. I thought something is better than nothing and kept looking at it through the viewfinder. It looked brave and came quite close before disappearing into the tall grass on my left side.

As it turned away, I just turned my lens view to my right just casually and what I saw made me thrilled.....two eyes....glowing eyes....which are starring at me.... It took me sometime to recover from that thrill and realize what I was seeing!! It was a Jungle Cat! First time in my life I am seeing that close! What a charm!! I went full 'fidaa' on those eyes. It starred at me for some time before it started crawling to the other side of the road! God saved me from fainting after seeing that crawl!!

After having this prize for the day, I realised that it is already 1:30 and we had to get back to the cycle rickshaw where our food would arrive and we had decided to have food at the "Kevaladev Temple' premise. After a round of small rest we went to the watch tower to have a view.

Evening plan was not fixed. I was thinking to try some luck with 'Jackals with Sunset' kind of opportunity. So decided to stick to the main road which is quite good for witnessing the sunset from some points and if one is lucky he will get to see some mammals as well in the foreground.

As my luck was shining that day got some images which I wanted to make. Even though not perfect as I wanted but got some images which made me happy at the end of the day.

Many times I had tried making images with controlled out of focus of the subject either by deliberately focusing on something in the foreground or my manually out of focusing the subject. That evening, when the sun fully set and the light was dim, there were couple of Nilgais around in the grassland and the very soft light was tempting me to try experiment some images which may give a painting like feel. I tries several attempts and happy with some of them where I think it imparts some kind of canvas feel to the image. In the below image the focus on the grass was intentional to make the Nilgai behind it slightly out of focus which gave it a very unsharpen-soft feel. The trees and branches behind along with the grass are imparting a nice mood to me in the image.

All in all a very lucky day for me which gave some unique and rare experiences in the wild...and what made me even more happy was yet again! :)


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