Big Cats of India Tour
Duration 2- 14 April 2017
By – Shyam S. Sharma–
Naturalist and Guide Asian Adventures
Day 1- Velavadar National Park.
The Velavadar National Park, in Gujarat, India, is beautifully set between 2 rivers. The best time to visit the park is between the months of February to April. The Park closes in mid-June, through the Monsoons in India till the month of October.
With 2 wildlife Safaris and a night walk at the Velavadar National Park, we sighted Blackbuck, Jungle Cat, Wild Boar, Desert Hare, and Nilgai. We also spotted some good birds like Greater Spotted Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Montagu’s Harrier, Streak-throated Swallow. Rufous-tailed, Ashy-crowned, and Crested Lark. Yellow Bittern, Indian Thick-knee, Clamorous Reed Warbler, etc.
Day 2 & 3 – Gir National Park.
The Gir National Park, in Sasan Gujarat, is the home to the Asiatic Lions. The Summer temperatures are soaring and the best time to visit is October to March. We were visiting in the first week of April and we still managed to get lovely sightings of 11 Asiatic Lions, in the three jungle Safaris spread across 2 days. It was a pleasure to see 7 lions on a kill, 3 were spotted near water holes and 1 on track.
Besides we even spotted an Indian Porcupine, he was running slowly in the forest about 150 ft. away from us. The Birds sighted at Gir were the Jungle Nightjar, Brown Fish Owl, Red-naped Ibis, Red-headed Vulture, Barred Buttonquail, Coppersmith Barbet to name a few.
Day 4 & 5 Little Rann of Kutch
The Little Rann of Kutch is open throughout the year, however, the best sightings are said to be made in the winter months from November to February, as it is that time when the migratory birds visit in large numbers. Even though we were visiting at the beginning of Summer we were delighted with our sightings of the Asiatic Wild Ass, Desert Fox, Nilgai, and Sand Colored Rat. We even spotted a Sykes's Nightjar with three chicks.
Day 6 & 7 – Satpura National Park, Madhya Pradesh, Central India.
Satpura is a haven for the Naturalist, with a variety of Flora & Fauna. It is a picturesque park with many rivulets adding to its beauty. We took safaris during the day and night and spotted Leopard, Jungle cat, Indian giant squirrel, and a large variety of birds – Indian Skimmer (about 22 birds), Black-bellied Tern, White-Naped Woodpecker, Barred Buttonquail, White-eyed Buzzard to name a few.
Day 8 & 9 Pench National Park. Madhya Pradesh
Pench National Park is named after the Pench river which flows across the park. The best time to visit is during the pleasant weather between October to March. We were in Pench for 2 days and took a total of 3 safaris. Mammals spotted were Leopard, Flying squirrel, Wild Dog, Indian Golden Jackal, Gaur, Spotted deer, Samber, Nilgai, wild boar. The birds spotted were the Mottled Wood Owl, Jungle Owlet, Orange-headed Thrush, Black-hooded Oriole, Indian Vulture, and many more.
Day 10 & 11 Tadoba National Park. Maharashtra
Tadoba National park is the largest national park in Maharashtra, with densely forested hills. During our two days at Tadoba, we took 4 safaris and spotted the tiger, Sloth bear, Southern tree shrew, Small Indian civet, and Chowsingha.
Mammals and birds list
Total Mammals = 35
Total Birds = 198
1- Asiatic Lion
2- Royal Bengal Tiger
4- Sloth Bear
5- Jungle Cat
6- Indian Palm Civet
7- Small Indian Civet
8- Indian Grey Mongoose
9- Ruddy Mongoose
10 Indian Giant Squirrel (central)
11- Flying Squirrel ( phillippensis )
12- Five-striped or Northern Palm Squirrel
13- Three-striped Palm Squirrel
14- Southern or Madras Tree Shrew
15- Sand-coloured Rat
16- Sambar Deer
17- Red Muntjak or Barking Deer
18- Cheetal or Spotted Deer
19-Four-horned Antelope or Chowsinga
21- Indian Gazelle or Chinkara
22- Nilgai or Bluebell
23- Indian Gaur
24- Northern Plains Langue
25- Rhesus Macaque
26- Indian Crested Porcupine
27- Desert Hare
28- Black-naped Hare
29- Indian Golden Jackal
30- Dhole or Indian Wild Dog
31- Desert Fox
32- Indian Wild Pig or Boar
33- Indian Flying Fox
34- Greater Short Nosed Fruit Bat
35- Indian Pygmy Pipistrelle