There is never any time to write. Its now Satyendra's and my busiest time here for guests and with rushing back and forth to Delhi for doctor visits and trying to keep my diaries on schedule what time is there to sit at the computer! And then again what news have I to tell as I know Satyendra has written much in the last week or so.
Anyway the truth is things are looking up. My health has significately improved to the point I am visiting the park and the headaches are virtually gone which makes a hell of a difference. Even the doctor is pleased enough to drop the medication significantly with an order to let him know of any changes for the worst in my condition. This is the annoyance of this dam desease as it can reoccur at any point in ones life and I have to be careful not to ignore things and course further problems.
So to some news. Spending even two days in the park with guests was a thrill! They had the most incredible two days amongst others who saw little. Day one morning was a sleepy tiger from elephant, a young four year old male son of Pyari in Chakradhara returned to try and take some territory in Tala Range. The boy P10 yet to be named. Then the afternoon brought two, two year old cubs of Tulsi on the road. Again asleep at first but later stalking barking deer. How could it get better? It did though with a sighting of B2 Sundar resting on the nallah bank as we drove away from the sighting of the two Tulsi cubs. This meant three different sightings for the day and four different tigers. Most unusual for this time of year and extremely lucky for the guests.
Could the following day be any better. No one believed it could. In fact it did not promise great things at the start with a miss of three tigers on route C the route we had had the previous day. However, we had a good sighting of the male P10 again from elephant as he sat lazily on a rock ledge listening to the growling of the resident male Shaki and the female Lakshmi amongst bamboo on the opposite side of the road. The Forest Department thought the two to be in mating so would not show them but it turned out that Lakshmi had no interest to be with Shaki and we were later to see the two as they crossed the road and lay in a dry gully snarling at each other. A second elephant viewing and all in all three different tigers. Everyone was well pleased including myself as this is my first sighting of Shaki and Lakshmi this season due to so few visits in the park. But this was not the end of it. As we awaited our second elephant trip we went birding on the river in Jumunia where we saw three Stork Billed Kingfishers, very unusual, and the Fish Owls. Many vehicles had indeed been bird watching in the area but all left. Amidst the bird spotting we had heard alarm calls of chital but had thought nothing of it. There could not be another tiger in the area as all three that resided in Jumunia were at the one spot in Chorbehra. However as we drove back towards the river junction we saw chital running from a clump of bamboo but giving no call. Strange we thought. Then suddenly I spotted tiger stripes amongst the bamboo and as Satyendra stopped the vehicle a tiger sat down hardly visible amongst the dense undergrowth. So which tiger was this. We waited to see if it moved and finally it did. It turned out to be the tigress P13 sister of P10 now named Heera meaning Diamond in Hindi. She was well out of her territory but now interested to mark and spray Lakshmi's space. The tigress crossed the road onto the river where she sat and drank. Then she walked along the bank opposite as we drove along watching her. She sprayed trees and even clawed another. What a great sighting of this normally secretive and difficult tigress. Thankfully with only us present and later for a short time only two other vehicles coming from the fort and going to it the tigress semed settled. We watched her for almost one hour until she crossed the road and climbed the hill away towards her own territory. An incredible morning!
So what could the afternoon possibly bring. We were little interested to try for the tigers in Chorbehra as we knew Shaki to be vehicle shy and that it would be P10 we saw if any tiger. So we thought to enjoy Rajbehra and possibly see if the Tulsi cubs were in the same area as they were in the previous day. As we quietly drove towrds Rajbehra we came across several vehicles on the Bathan Road listening to alarm calls of langur monkey, chital and sambar. The tigress Durga and cubs were in the area and it was thought one had already crossed the road while a second was sitting amongst bamboo just visible against the glare of the sun. What luck. Yet another different tiger. Then the clients got eveh luckier as the bolder of the female cubs came and sat in the road. Its sister also later crossed and stood next to a tree giving Satyendra a wonderful picture. We watched these cubs for over an hour before leaving the spot. The clients had seen nine different tigers in just four drives and had been incredibly lucky indeed.
I was thrilled and happy and have gathered plenty of material for my diary. Our guests were extremely happy too and had indeed had a great time. Now it is so expensive to enter the park without guests and with the worry of no future business next season due to the ressession I tend to ask guests if there is space for me to go with them. I am indeed very thankful to those people who allow me to go with them inside the park and to those who accept my English driving when I do on occassions drive our guests also.
Before I go I must add the news that it is thought the tigress in Bamera Dam in Panpatha Range has two cubs. This tigress is the second sister of P10 and it is either him or his brother P11 who is the father of ther cubs. This makes a grand total of 33 tigers we know of in the park with most using Tala Range, the prime tourist area as a safe haven. Many youngsters have disappeared to an unknown fate.