Nagarhole - Rajiv Gandhi National Park

Nagarhole literally means the "abode of the Serpents." It is a fine forest which is rich in flora and fauna & spread over the districts of Mysore & Kodagu (Coorg). To the south lies the Kabini river, south West is the Wayanad Sanctuary in Kerala. It is 235 kms South West of Bangalore & 95 kms SW of Mysore.
The Jungle Lodges & Resorts is rated by Tattler's of London as one of the top 5 wildlife resorts in the world. It was once the hunting Lodge of the Maharajas of Mysore. The resort is on a huge campus on the banks of the Kabini River which on its own deserves considerable exploration. I was allotted a tent which overlooked a promising woodland and beyond that a view of the Kabini river. Besides tent accommodation there are also colonial style cottages available. But frankly I would not exchange them with the charming ambiance of my tent.
Nor did the forest disappoint; despite the thick forest, it was possible to see a good amount of bird-life. But the auspicious start of our safari was the real icing on the cake! yes a Leopard and not one but two as what our very knowledgeable guide Siva described as Mother and son. After some waiting and breathless moments, there emerged the mother who cautiously crossed the road, to retrieve her son and thereafter take him back with her to the other side. A real life drama in the wild! It is moments like these that enliven the wild feel: the wait - may be futile or worthwhile; the straining of eyes to see through the foliage and the aha moment of a full view, & no sooner the show closes. Here are some of the exciting moments captured on my lens.

Waiting for a catch - Common Kingfisher
The next morning was a boat-ride on the Kabini River. A nice experience, but frankly I would have rather replaced it with a Jungle Safari. If you are an experienced Birder who has seen most of the commoners - herons, egrets, cormorants etc,. then this will give you nothing new. However, if you are new to birding, then this ride is definitely recommended as it will give you a chance to see many common birds at close range.
Common Kingfisher

Malabar Pied Hornbill taken at a great distance

Southern Coucal

Like Bandipur, Nagarhole also has a good population of the Crested Serpent Eagle

Southern Coucal
Grey Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

Large Cormorant nesting - though nest photography is frowned upon & even prohibited in many forums, rest assured that these photographs have been taken at a considerable distance without causing disturbance to the birds


Barn Swallows galore on the Kabini River!

nesting of the Greater Cormorant

A good view of the River Terns from the boat


Barn Swallows roosting on a tree on the Kabini River

Black-headed Gull


Painted Stork - a commoner worthy of photographing!

pair of Painted Storks

the trees decorated with flocks of Barn Swallows

Grey-headed Fish Eagle


Grey Heron
Following the Morning Boat ride & a sumptuous breakfast, it was time for a nature walk to explore the rich campus of the lodge - a real treasure trove of bio-diversity, no not of the  dangerous  but of the micro kind, though some equally carniverous in nature! Here are some of the finds

nest of Weaver Ants

Giant Wood Spider cleaning out its abode

Common Wanderer

Greater Flameback

This deadly looking creature is the Black Wood Spider - found it during the nature walk in the campus

Black Wood Spider - frontal view

Stick Insect on the wooden bar of Ketki's cottage

Caterpillar of the Lily Moth in the campus

On the way to the dining area would meet this Giant Wood spider

Signature Spider - frontal view

Signature Spider a quiet neighbour near my tent
The last safari the next morning was a short one & being cloudy did not yield much sightings; but it was fun just feeling the forest. Time to pack up and leave for Bangalore but not before a brief stopover at a small bird sanctuary - Ranganathathittu near Mysore.

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