Keeping with the trend of having a "wild" christmas... ( last year we spent it appreciatively sniffing tiger pee and prodding at tiger poo ) this year we spent it with the black bucks at maidanhalli.
Our last trip to maidanhalli was mostly about finding the way to it and by the time we got there, we were too tired to go looking for blackbucks.
This time, we were prepared. With no map ( Keshav had it burnt into his memory ) we set out at the the unearthly hour of 4:15am. That said, we were looking at black buck around 9:30am.
Ofcourse, we stopped along the way a couple of times to stretch, to attend to natures call and to snap a few beautiful scenes. We were blessed with lovely weather, it was nice and chilly and once we had left the highway and major roads we were enveloped in a thick fog.
This added to travel time, and I am happy to say, we bumped along with a little more care on the potholed roads. Dodda-pot-hole-ana-halli is as before, so drive carefully and keep all camera equipment seat belted in the back seat to keep it from bouncing around.
Our first stop was to take in a rather misty sunrise and the next was at a lake that had a few large herons (couldn't make out which kind from the distance and fog) and a couple of painted storks.
Following this we stopped at a field of unknown grain (pls help id this ) to try and photograph a flock of weaver birds at breakfast. The poor light and fog (not to mention my incompetence) resulted in less than satisfactory photos for me. Keshav had better luck though.
Once we were past Purvara village and then off the tar and onto mud roads, our next stop was a good-sized flock of rosy pastors snacking on the Ragi (millet) ( please correct me if I'm wrong ). By now, the sun was up and the mist had disappeared and the photos are a lot more presentable.
Our first sighting of the black buck came soon after with a black male leading a small group of about 8-10 caramel colored animals across the road right in front of us. They walked off the roadside and were soon far away. We drove ahead and with not many sightings turned back and decided to park and trek after them in the general direction where they were last headed.
After a good trek, we found them again and in very healthy numbers it would appear, there may have been easily 50 or more animals in the heard. Lot of brownish males with shortish horns and the hornless does.
They were alert to us way before we had spotted them, and were probably amused at being photographed by Santa with bazooka and his chubby little elf. :)
Mobile network is strong but I got a sms from Airtel welcoming me to AndhraPradesh while I was photographing the blackbuck.
I wore sneakers and found that little sharp seeds from the grass had latched on to my shoes and got into my socks, turning my feet into pin cushions.
Driving Directions are covered at length in previous post.