Trip report summary below by Tour Leader: Adam Walleyn
Above: Tiger by Ansar Khan
Our Nature Manitoba tour of India took place during March 13th to 24th, 2019. The tour was a huge success. We observed 9 Tigers and perhaps even more impressively, 5 Leopards. Amongst a tally of 29 species of mammals other highlights included Striped Hyaena, Gaur, Chinkara and Bengal Fox. We also observed nearly 200 species of birds including 5 species of owl and 5 species of vulture. Herpetological highlights included Mugger Crocodile, Dhaman Rat Snake and Bengal Monitor. We also took in some of the most famous cultural highlights of the country; the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and the incredible temples of Khajuraho. We even got into the thick of things in the Hindu festival of Holi. Excellent food and friendly people thoughout rounded off a trip we will not soon forget!
We met up in New Delhi and headed to Ranthambore National Park by train. Within just minutes of arrival we were shocked to have an incredible sighting of a Tigress with her 2 very young cubs. Over the course of the 3 days here we ended up seeing 2 more Tigers and had an absolutely incredible encounter spending nearly 2 hours with 4 Leopards. This sighting involved a male attacking a female. After the female chased off the male she emerged with her 2 large cubs, one of which wandered right up to our vehicle! Of course we saw many more mammals here – Sambar, Chital, Chinkara, Blue Bull, Wild Boar, Ruddy Mongoose, Northern Plains Langur, Rhesus Macaque and more! Birding was excellent as well with numerous water birds as well as birds typical to the arid state of Rajasthan such as Painted Sandgrouse, White-eyed Buzzard and Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark to name but a few. A final highlight was a night drive on our last night which netted us amazing views of 2 Striped Hyaenas plus an Asiatic Wild Cat.
From here we moved on to the birding paradise of Bharatpur where we recorded over 100 species of birds and literally tens of thousands of individual birds. Some highlights here included Painted Stork, Greater Flamingo, Dalmatian Pelican and 5 Dusky Eagle Owls. Next up was a visit to Agra which included visits to both the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort.
Our final major destination of the trip was Bandhavgarh National Park. Here we enjoyed 4 more Tigers, including a huge male crossing the road just a few feet in front of us. Other mammalian highlights here included Gaur, another Leopard (this one at night), Bengal Fox as well as Southern Treeshrew. Birding was great as well and we encountered a variety of interesting woodland birds such as Mottled Wood Owl, Jungle Owlet and Jerdon’s Leafbird. We also recorded 5 species of vulture in and around this park! The celebration of the Holi festival here will also go down as a big highlight!
Rounding off the tour we also visited Panna Tiger Reserve and the amazing, thousand year old temples of Khajuraho.
After the success of this tour, we are hoping to announce soon another tour to Madagascar, so please stay tuned for that.