Weekend trip with Kalyan Varma.
Kalyan, Swarna and I took this weekend trip to K Gudi in mid-May 2006. Swarna and I hadn’t been to K Gudi in over a year and a half (since the previous INP meet in Feb 2005) and decided to combine a trip with Kalyan Varma. We stayed at the Jungle Lodges K Gudi Wilderness Camp.
We made maximum use of the weekend by reaching camp on late Friday night and making an early start back to Bangalore on Monday morning. We did a complete survey of the range covering most habitats of BR Hills – scrub, deciduous, riparian, evergreen sholas and grasslands (where the coffee estates are). The distances covered in each of our rides / safaris were substantial and Kalyan’s car suffered serious damage – and found its way straight to the service station! The key highlight of the trip occurred even before we reached camp.
We were driving at night (~8 PM) and were still a couple of kilometers to camp when we saw a leopard cub walking ahead of us on the road! It was totally unmindful of us (probably not good for it’s survival) and stayed ahead of us for over 15 minutes while we desperately fumbled trying get our packed cameras and lenses out of bags! We hardly made any images. Over the next 2-days we saw plenty of elephants – large families, small nuclear groups, lone tuskers and single tuskers. I have never seen this many elephants in K Gudi though the camp naturalists report observing over 50 elephants everyday through summer.
Two other mammals we saw in profusion were Gaur and Black-naped hares. The former dominated the day safaris and the latter dominated the night drives. I managed my first pictures of the hares. Amongst the birds, the highlight was great close-ups of the Blue-bearded Bee Eater – a bird I have been struggling with for a long time! We found a family very close to camp and Kalyan and I managed to creep really close with the help of a hide.
Cheers, –r@mki June 2006 | Bangalore See previous trip report: February 2005