Our final jeep safari into Ranthambhore saw us travelling along Route 3, and this turned out to be not only a very scenic area but also held more birds than other sections of the park we had visited. At the entrance gate inside the park a flock of Plum-headed Parakeets were feeding on the floor right beside us, and a Peacock was rather unobtrusive. We had a close pair of Painted Spurfowls, which was a great way to start.
There were several lakes that held a lot of the usual birds and we spent some time observing the overall scene as Marsh Muggers cruised by close to shore and all the usual egrets, herons and waders were dotted along the water’s edge. At the first lake there was a distant Crested Serpent-eagle which was new for the tour, but best of all was an Indian Stone-curlew standing in the shade of a tree next to another lake.
We’d spent a few hours going around all of the good areas and were just about thinking of leaving when a canter went speeding by us in the opposite direction. They were obviously aware of something we weren’t so followed them in hot pursuit and after a bumpy, dusty fast drive we pulled up behind a group of 6 or 7 other jeeps and sure enough, there was a rather large female Tiger sitting amongst some bushes under the trees. She was partially obscured but kept moving around and she looked huge compared to the other Tiger we saw a few days ago.
|Our Second Tiger|
After 20 minutes or so she got up and went over to her recently killed Sambar and dragged some branches and leaves over it and walked off into the jungle. And that was it. The whole episode made us fully appreciate the amazing encounter with our first beast the other day. On the way out of the park we had a close perched Indian Vulture, followed by a soaring Red-headed Vulture, and a Rat Snake to end our wildlife encounters here.
In the afternoon we drove to Mansarovar Lake for a quick look and was surprised to find 9 Great Black-headed Gulls present, as well as a whole bunch of common birds but had nothing new to add to our lists since the Common Iora in the car park of our lodge. All that remained to do was make our way to Sawai Modhpur train station and catch the overnight sleeper train to Delhi – and all the chaos that always surrounds such an event!