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Archive for May, 2016

Nikon D3000 travel cam catches a palm civet, jackals, wild boar, langur monkey and a semi-feral cat…!

Common Palm civet at Ken River Lodge in Panna Tiger Reserve

An Asian palm civet in a dry stream bed at the Ken River Lodge, Panna Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh, India…!

In March 2016, I made a trip to Panna Tiger Reserve in India after tigers. I was lucky catching two sisters, the offspring of T1, Panna’s first tiger reintroduced from near-by Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve. Poachers completely wiped out the big cat in Panna in one year during 2008 but there are 32 tigers thriving now which is an amazing conservation success story.

Jackal at Ken River Lodge in Panna Tiger Reserve, India

Jackal shown here bolting from the flash…! These canidae usually travel in pairs…!

I stayed at the Ken River Lodge outside the reserve several kilometers from the front gate to the park. Pugpundee Safari Company manages this hotel plus others in Bandhavgarh, Pench, Kanha and Satpura tiger reserves in the State of Madhya Pradesh.

Wild boar at Ken River Lodge in Panna Tiger Lodge, India

A wild boar scavenging in the stream bed…!

The owner wanted to see what was roaming the grounds and invited me to set a camera trap in a dry stream bed not far from my room.  After two weeks, I came back through to check the Nikon D3000 with a Nikon 24mm manual lens, one Nikon SB-28 flash and a SSII external sensor.

Indian langur in the Ken River Lodge - Panna Tiger Reserve

A gray or ‘Hanuman’ langur leaf monkey during the day….!

The cam caught a palm civet, a pair of jackals, a wild boar and a langur monkey plus a semi-feral cat. Although not as glamorous as a tiger or leopard, these wild creatures are still just as important to the ecosystem excluding the cat. Leopard tracks have been found near the river..!

Feral cat at Ken River Lodge in Panna Tiger Reserve, India

A semi-feral cat; sometimes this feline was found sleeping up at the resort…!

Tiger Hunter testing Nikon D3000 at Ken River Lodge

The ‘tiger hunter’ with knee pads walk-testing the D3000…!


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Vultures in India…important birds for the habitat…!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 posted by Bruce 3:41 PM

While I was on safari in April 2016, I was lucky to get some nice vulture shots on a carcass at Corbett Tiger Reserve and then at a cliff-face in Panna Tiger Reserve.

Vultures on a dead spotted deer in Corbett Tiger Reserve

Himalayan Griffon , Red headed and Cinereous vultures plus a crow on a carcass in the Dikhala grassland in Corbett Tiger Reserve…!

Vultures flying into a dead spotted deer in Corbett Tiger Reserv

A Himalayan Griffon vulture flying into a spotted deer carcass…!

Vultures on a cliff-face in Panna

Long-billed vultures an a cliff-face in Panna Tiger Reserve…!

Himalayain Vulture flying in Panna Tiger Reserve

A vulture on the wing in mid-morning in Panna Tiger Reserve…!

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A close call for my Nikon D700 DSLR trail cam…!

Friday, May 6, 2016 posted by Bruce 9:12 AM

The ‘Tiger Log’ is No More…!

D700 capture Indochinese tiger 2

An Indochinese tiger crossing ‘tiger log’ in the ‘Western Forest Complex’ of Thailand…!

Asian leopard crossing 'tiger log' in Huai Kha Khaeng, western Thailand

Asian leopard crossing ‘tiger log’ in the ‘daytime…!

Tiger log gone

‘Tiger Log’ is left in a long pile of ash after a serious forest fire in late-March, 2016…!

In early March of 2016 before my trip to India, I decided to move my old D700 trail cam as forest fire was edging closer and the fires this year were very intense due to serious drought conditions in Thailand.

Large Indian Civet in HKK, Western Thailand

A large Indian civet crossing the new log…!

This Nikon D700 full-frame DSLR with a 35mm Nikon manual lens in a Pelican 1150 case enclosed in an ‘elephant proof box’ has worked on the ‘tiger log’ in the Western Forest Complex for several years now.

black bear on new log in HKK, western Thailand

A black bear walking the log…!

In the past, I always moved my cameras out of the dryer deciduous areas (usually in March at the beginning of the dry season) to semi-evergreen forests that grow in profusion at higher elevations all year round. Due to moist conditions, these evergreen forests do not burn for the most part.

Male muntjac at the new log in HKK, Western Forest Complex, Thailand

A male muntjac (barking deer) about to cross….!

However, I did have a good run on the log and was lucky to get some really great tiger and leopard shots plus other creatures, big and small. Another location in the semi-evergreen forest was chosen where fires never reach and this year, it was a good thing that I moved my camera as disaster would have killed it on the ‘tiger log’.

Female Muntjac at log in HKK, Western Forest Complex, Thailand

A female muntjac sniffing some scent (Thai fish sauce)…!

When I got back from India, I made a trip into the forest and when I got to the ‘tiger log’, I was shocked. The dead tree had been completely burnt to the ground. All that was left was a long pile of gray ash. If I had left the cam, the old D700 would have been a goner of melted plastic, metal and glass.

Elephant trunk, foot and leg in HKK, Western Forest Complex, Thailand

A big elephant crossing the log…if not tightly secured, the trunk and foot can wreak havoc on cams…!

Here is a collection of images I got from the new log yet to be named. It was OK for a first set but I want to fine-tune the cam (only one flash was working) and also be on the lookout for other ‘log’ locations in the meantime. Fortunately, the first rains have come through and there is no more danger of fire this year. More to follow from the new log…!

Porcupine on New log in HKK

A lightweight porcupine on the log…!

me crossing the new tiger log in Huai Kha Khaeng W.S., western Thailand

A heavyweight ‘tiger hunter’ testing the D700…!

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Land of the Flying Antelope…!

Monday, May 2, 2016 posted by Bruce 12:02 PM

Beautiful herbivores with spiraled horns endemic to the Indian subcontinent…!

Blackbuck National Park – Velavadar

Blackbuck male 1 flying Blackbuck National Park - Veladavere

A young male blackbuck in mid-air over the grasslands at the Blackbuck National Park in Velavadar, Gujarat State, western India…!

A dream ever since I saw my first pictures of an Indian blackbuck antelope was to photograph these magnificent creatures one day. It has taken me 20 years since I saw them in a book titled ‘Wild India’ by English photographer Gerald Cubitt published in 1985. This was actually my first book on wildlife photography where I got an inspiration to become a wildlife photographer.

Blackbuck male 1 Blackbuck National Park - Veladavere

A mature male blackbuck seeking a female in heat early the first morning of my safari…!

I have seen many photographs of blackbuck since then in many other books on India, and on Facebook. I decided that a trip to the blackbuck sanctuary in Gujarat, western India this time around would be part of my month-long safari through March and April, 2016.

Blackbuck female 1 Blackbuck National Park - Veladavere

A female blackbuck in mid-air on the second morning while on safari in Velavadar…!

I left Delhi by plane and arrived in the city Ahmedabad for an overnight stay at a nice hotel in the city. The next morning after breakfast, my taxi from the night before picked me up and we headed out.

Blackbuck females flying Blackbuck National Park - Veladavere, India

Female blackbuck antelopes in the air after crossing the road in front of our jeep…!

The drive took about 4 hours to the Blackbuck National Park in Velavadar, and I saw the herbivores crossing the road as we entered the national park. I knew then that I was in the right place.

Blackbucks on the run in Blackbuck National Park - Veladavor

Blackbuck males and females in the grasslands…this herd was several hundred strong…!

The hotel named ‘The Blackbuck Lodge’ is a great place to stay and I must congratulate Mr. Mickey Desai for his 6-star hotel in the middle of nowhere. He has made many trips to Africa and other places around the world, and brought those ideas incorporating them into his place. It was truly a comfortable stay and I rested up for the next morning’s safari into the park at 6am.

Blackbuck male 1 Blackbuck National Park, Veladavere, India

A male photographed by the ‘Blackbuck Lodge’ in the late afternoon on my last day…!

As we entered the gate the following morning, we immediately bumped into a large herd of blackbuck and I started shooting. I was looking for a particular shot but it didn’t happen the first day. I wanted these nimble herbivores in mid-air having seen many photographs on Facebook. My guide Mr. Siddharth Jhadav had been there for sometime and he told me the conditions had to be right. We also bumped into several animals like nilgai, striped hyena and Indian fox.

Nilgai Blue Bull antelope in Velavador, Gujarat, India

A Nilgai also known as ‘blue bull’ in the Blackbuck National Park…!

The next day, as we were motoring along, a large herd of a several hundred or more blackbuck on our left began to move across the road. Then the females began to jump and the rest of the herd followed. The older darker males however were lazy and only ran across. It was fun trying to catch them in mid-air and my dream to photograph this beautiful and amazing antelope has come true…!



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