In the land of Roar, Song and Trumpet
This post is probably delayed by a fortnight on account of my commitments at Ranthambhore, however took a break from safari today to complete this, an account on my visit to Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve also known as the land of Roar, Song & Trumpet. While visiting Dhikala on day one of opening post monsoon was on Wishlist for long time, finally managed to visit this year.
On arrival did two safaris in the Bijrani zone of Corbett which was already open, this zone has been made famous by Sharmilee- a resident tigress with four cubs who has been obliging visitors with some great sightings over the last two seasons. The cubs are already sub-adults on their way to finding new territories for themselves. One of the female cubs has settled into some part of mother’s erstwhile territory around Batiya no 4 and adjacent areas. Mother Sharmilee has been pushed further by another female tiger living around Chital Road who is supposedly rearing two cubs. Within a few minutes of entry in the zone, we sighted this young female- Sharmilee’s daughter. She was walking comfortably on the road before making a quick exit in the nearby nallah.
The next day we started the day early & entered Dhikala early morning. As we drove through the main road exploring areas famous for frequent sightings, waiting for alarm calls and signs of big cat presence magic of Corbett had already mesmerized us. This year park has had lesser rains & the effect is quite visible all across water bodies & mighty Ramganga river which flows through the park-lifeline of entire flora & fauna. The jungle was unusually quiet, pretty much on account of road repair works by labour which kept animals away from frequented tracks, especially during day time. As we approached the Dhikala campus, and heard the news of the sighting of a tiger closer to FRH, hopes remained intact. It was good to meet some familiar faces at FRH whom I have known over the last few years.
Here also the impact of lesser rains was pretty much visible at Dhikala reservoir adjacent to campus. Herds of elephants, though smaller are already present in Grassland. They have been my favourite subject apart from Tigers & I love spending time with families with small calves as they are full of action. Day one evening was spent with one such family around Leed kahliya & for a change decided to stay put despite knowing about the presence of a tiger nearby. Sambhar Road from Dhikala campus along the river bed has got a complete makeover. A new road has been laid out along with river bank by removing dense Lantana thickets. I am sure this initiative would ensure some great sighting opportunities in the coming months, especially in summer as this path is used by both elephants & tigers.
Overall, it was a great trip with the sighting of four individual tigers around Dhikala FRH, main road & Kamarpatta area while we missed another two by a whisker. All these sightings were of young females with breeding potential which is always great news to ears. Tigers of Corbett are anyway shy in nature & one needs a lot of patience complemented with excellent tracking skills as the sightings are mostly for a brief period. The best part is that you would always expect one to appear in front of you at the next turn, without any warning calls & sometimes it does happen. It is always special to see the king of these forests walking through the Saal forests of Corbett. Thank you, Corbett, for being so nice and obliging. Looking forward to my next trip soon.