I’ve been to Kabini many times and its always been a new and a rich experience to me. This was one of the many experiences and it was published in the Orange County Blog, which I had managed for a while. Meanwhile, here are the glorious skies of Kabini as well,the many moods , which have been photographed during my many trips – my contribution to Skywatch
I am lost for a moment looking at the vast expanse of green fields bordering the hills. It paints such a contrast from the dense forests and the silent river that greeted me a while ago. An alpine swift, a migratory visitor just whizzes past us . And then it happens all of a sudden. A moving mass of dark clouds sweeps across the field heading towards us. I stop dead in my tracks as the others shout, “ Run ,the rain is coming.”I stand there amazed, watching the rain move from across the hills, drenching the fields and shaking me up.
As we dry ourselves in a thatched shelter the naturalist says,” Its common here, we can actually see the rains coming, but what is uncommon is we don’t know when it will rain.” And this is not the only unpredictable feature in Kabini. The birds, the beasts are rather unpredictable too. “Everyday, there is something different here , “ he says. I take his word for it.
Later in the day, when the sun’s rays caress the river Kabini, we see a variety of avifauna in the water. Suddenly the entire atmosphere comes alive. A tree full of Malabar pied hornbills, painted storks and woolly necked storks on the shore, the peregrine falcon and the osprey rub wings with the cormorants and darters that grace the river. And then there is a hush. The boat suddenly changes directions . “We are going towards the Bandipur bank now,” announces the naturalist . “Can you see a tusker there ? He just swam yesterday from the Kabini side towards the other bank.”
We arrive only to find two boats full of tourists from the neighbouring resorts taking photographs of the tusker working hard on the bamboo branches. He attacks it with his trunk and thrusts one of his legs forward pushing the branch on the ground, As the shutterbugs keep clicking, he turns to give us a look and then attacks the bamboo again. It is almost like a protest ,a display of his irritation on us humans interrupting him on his task. While the tusker is at it, the naturalist explains that come summer the banks of both sides are littered with elephants and one can see them swimming across the river too. I look around and see a crocodile basking in the sun while a peacock makes its appearance.
We sail back amidst murmurs of tusker talk while I get excited by a noisy flock of Malabar pied hornbills. A sambar deer peeps behind the peacock and darts into the undergrowth again, while the spotted variety watch us. A purple heron looks away while something blue catches Vikram’s attention . “That’s the common kingfisher ,which is actually a misnomer- the white breasted kingfisher is more common.”As we discuss the bird, we see the pied kingfisher and the stork billed kingfisher before returning to the resort. It’s a memorable boat ride with a lot of memories for company.
And to see beautiful skies around the world, visit Skywatch every Friday.