I also had a very important meeting with a famous environment lawyer on Saturday, but the call from wild was strong and, though for a moment I was in dilemma but I chose passion again. The other reason was also that the visit was already planned couple of weeks ago and
I promised my presence there. So.. 14th February, Valentine’s Day was my ticket booked to Shahjahanpur which was also waiting for getting clearance of waiting. I packed my stuff, put my recently repaired Fujifilm S1500 and laptop in my backpack and headed off to Dudhwa. It is 6 hours journey from Delhi railway station to Shahjahanpur and train came late by 15 minutes. 9.20 PM train leaving station and it is packed from inside. Being late hours and no confirmed reservation it was indeed a struggle to find a place to keep my seat. I found a side berth where 2 people were sitting. One of them whispered in my ears, ‘Do you want seat, I have one.’ I was very tired and mentally stressed a lot over few things in past days. After a couple of conversation, we settled out for 100 bucks and I got a middle berth seat of his brother in next compartment. 9.50 PM I laid my back on the berth and had a sound rest. It was first time since April, 2012 when I was sleeping in a railway berth after a gap of 20 days.
|The Mugger basking at river bank of Suheli.|
|The road in Madhaa at night|
Dudhwa Day 2
|Crested Serpentine Eagle|
On the way we saw a raptor sitting on a tree quite far from our vehicle. We clicked few shots and Dr. Kalair looked upon through the binocular and confirmed it as White Crested Serpent Eagle. We took a path going parallel to a water canal called ‘South Khiri Canal’. Soon we saw Black Kite, Oriole and few other species around. Can you look something there? Oh it’s a spotted deer, I said. Rakeshji said, yes Chital, paani peene aa jaate hai yaha. Seeing our vehicle it ran across the road into the forest. Another one followed him.. another one… a younger one too… two more.. It was a family. By the moment we reached that place, they all have crossed the path and gazing on us. Till we could focus our camera they started running.
|A Spotted Deer standing in front of our Gypsy. Soon 4 more followed them and ran towards thick bush on right.|
|The railway line which goes through Dudhwa|
|Madhaa Forest Rest House|
Dudhwa Day 3
|Me with Rakeshji|
|The Wild Boars running across the jungle road.|
|The Common Kingfisher which excited Dr. Kalair.|
|Sarus Crane, an endemic crane species to India, This is also state bird of Uttar Pradesh.|
|South Khiri Canal. It is source of water for many wild animals at Madhaa.|
|Oriental Pied Hornbill.|
It was a hornbill that was sure and after watching it carefully by binoculars, Dr. Kalair said it’s Oriental Pied Hornbill which is seen rarely here. It filled all of us with joy getting to see so many birds today. Soon we saw Rufous Woodpecker and Black Rumped Woodpecker. After dropping Rakeshji at Madhaa rest house we headed straight towards Dudhwa which was atleast 25 km ahead. On the way to Dudhwa we came across Himalayan Griffon on dried trees along the road. Dr. Kalair informed that they are migratory raptors and have started visiting here after a long gap. I asked Dr. Kalair how to reach the place where Rhinos are present. He told me that we one first need to reach Salukhapur with vehicle from where elephant has to be hired to visit the Rhino habitat. He assured me that he will arrange some vehicle for tomorrow till Salukhapur in morning. Near about 3.15 PM we reached Dudhwa campus and rushed inside the meeting room straight.
|Cottage no. 5, the one behind, where we stayed last night at Dudhwa|
|Saal Forest Rest House, where I stayed the first day before moving to Madhaa.|
Dudhwa Day 4
|The Python which caught Jay's attention.|
|A group of Spotted Deer gazing at us at Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary near Jhaaditaal.|
|Jay Pratap Singh. This photograph was taken at Jhaaditaal watch tower.|
|Swamp Deers at Jhaaditaal. This is world's second largest habitat for this majestic species endemic to India.|
|Fauna of Jhaaditaal. Wonderful place!|
|The two head-to-head Muggers at Jhaaditaal which caught everyone's attention.|
|Spotted Deers at Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary.|
Some Special Features of Dudhwa
2. Jhaaditaal is the habitat for largest population of swamp deers and second largest in the world.
3. Dudhwa is the only place in Uttar Pradesh where you can see Rhonos. Rhinos were reintroduced here in 1980s. Other states which has Rhinos are Assam, West Bengal and Bihar.
4. Gharials of Katerniaghat are one of the three natural breeding habitats of the species in India.
5. Mugger crocodiles are quite common in the tiger reserve and have been observed living sympatric with gharials in Girwa river.
6. Gangetic dolphins and Elephants can be also sighted if one is lucky enough.
|The map of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve as displayed in Dudhwa campus.|
In case you don’t have your own vehicle
|Me, Dr. Jaswant Singh Kalair and Harkirat Singh in our Gypsy.|