Into the New Year and Ranthambhore seems to have come alive with promises foretold. Dispersing tigers, ungulates in their dazzling winter morphs and a host of birds – migratory and resident – all go to demonstrate that the forest is flourishing. At
Sher Bagh, successive guests, some expert photographers among them, have had an incredible run at capturing this moving feast over the last couple of weeks. In the coming weeks, our guest blogs will feature more of their work, in their own words but for now, we bring you a snippet, a mere taster, of why Ranthambhore truly is the beating heart of India’s wildscape.
Tigers are “burning bright” in Ranthambhore’s dry, deciduous forests (touchwood) and the likelihood of coming across the felines is higher than ever before. This young female, one of Noor’s (T39) sub-adults peers at Sambar deer in the distance, though she eventually decided not to bite of more than she could chew, in this case. Photograph by Yusuf Ansari.
A group of male Nilgai, or Bluebulls investigate a possible threat. These somewhat incongruous creatures are marvellously photogenic, particularly in the deep winter light when they are at their most handsome. From the SUJÁN Archives.
The Cheetal, or Spotted deer are so numerous and so often seen in Ranthambhore that photographers tend to sometimes overlook them. Yet Ranthambhore in winter offers fantastic opportunities of photographing these keystone prey species in winter morph and new antlers. Photograph by Yusuf Ansari.
Despite a very healthy, and flourishing population of leopards, this is not a sight you often see in Ranthambhore; a large male leopard walking down the game track, exactly as a tiger would. Luckily for this particular male, there were no tigers waiting on the sidelines, lucky for our guests too! Photograph by Yusuf Ansari.
A pair of Golden Jackals catch a snooze and absorb some ground-heat on a cold winter day. As the day wears on, these charismatic scavengers will set out to find food for their young ones, never venturing too far from their den sites. In sections of Ranthambhore, the jackal population is visibly rising. Photograph by Yusuf Ansari.
An iconic predator and among the largest eagles in our part of the world, a Crested Serpent Eagle demonstrates why it derives that name. Photograph by Yusuf Ansari.
A group of Cormorants of all ages dry themselves in the dew seeping January sun, early in the morning. Despite temperatures plummeting and the waters of the lakes turning into freezing wetlands, Cormorants and other waterfowl must feed and use branches overlying the water to dry out, in between frequent fishing expeditions. Can you spot the odd bird out in this photograph? Photograph by Yusuf Ansari.
Spotted owlets abound and are at their best looking in winter morph. Largely nocturnal, it is a rare sight to come across one in broad daylight, outside of its nesting hole. By night, their distinctive calls bounce through the dark, a sound that is haunting and characteristic of our forests. Photograph by Yusuf Ansari.