ATR - Day 40: Three tigers, one kill and the debate around who left; launching ATR Funnies tomorrow
The leaving of a female tiger from the kill scene sparked an interesting debate. We found a changeable hawk-eagle eating a red junglefowl. And we launch ATR Funnies tomorrow.
November 9, 2023
Thursday, 8:30 PM
In the morning safari in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, we did not find any tiger or any other creature worth pointing the camera at for a long time. Although we had an idea that the cow the two tigers had killed a day or so earlier would last a couple of days, the carcass of the killed cow was not in the straight line of sight, so the chances of spotting the tigers feeding on the kill and getting a picture were pretty slim. However, we were still hopeful that we could spot one of the two tigers going to or coming from the place where the carcass of the cow lay because a tiger cannot and does not eat such a large kill all at once, even if it’s two of them, as in this case. And we did find a tigress leaving the scene, but she quickly sprinted across the road and disappeared into the forest without giving many a chance to click any good pictures though I still got a few good ones.
But there were still two tigers — one male and one female — by the carcass deeper in the woods, which sparked a debate regarding which of the two tigresses — Mahaman Bachchi and Raa — had left and which had stayed back to feed on the kill with the male tiger called Dhamokar or Balwaan (the young male that was being pursued by the older female, Raa, the other day), which was also the same one who had joined Raa in killing the cow. Most of the people were of the opinion that Mahaman Bachchi had left the scene of the kill, having been chased away by Raa and the male tiger (Dhamokar/Balwaan), but only after she had already a few large bites of the kill while Raa and Dhamokar/Balwaan were away for a bit.
We also found a changeable hawk-eagle consuming her hard-earned and well-hunted prey, a female red junglefowl (Gallus gallus), on one of the branches of a luxurious tree with loads of crows crowing at her, presumably asking for a piece of the hunt, which the eagle had no intention of doing. And then another eagle came and sat right there, and we started expecting a fight. But it seems they had some kind of gentle-eagley conversation that we couldn’t hear, and the other eagle left the place to let the first eagle to eat in peace. And our hopes for a fight were dashed, and for an inconveniently long moment we felt like disappointed arms dealers after a successful round of peace talks between enemy nations, who could potentially engage in armed conflict. But we quickly trashed our disappointment and focused our camera on the hungry eagle wolfing down its well-defended grub.
But the crows continued, undeterred, to try stealing away precious pieces of the kill by constantly pestering the big bird. Not many succeeded and at one point of time the eagle spread its wings and put them around the kill, completely enclosing it to keep the intruders out — a shield or a fort of feathers, no matter how unlikely feathers might sound as building material for a fort or shield. The eagle tried and succeeded in warding off the crows and kept consuming the substantial prey it had hunted for a meal. It ate for a long time and we kept shooting for just as long. We got a lot of good pictures and excellent footage of the eagle nibbling away at the prey though some might find it gross (some interesting, of course).
But apart from that passing glimpse of a tigress (Mahaman Bachchhi) rushing away, we did not have any other tiger sighting in the morning safari in the Khitauli Zone today. The evening was complete empty of any sighting of any kind. So I clicked no notable pictures.
Also, we are launching another ATR segment called ATR Funnies (a series of ATR’s light moments), the first video of which is most likely to go live tomorrow (November 10, 2023) at noon (12:00 PM IST). Wait for it.