Trip report on Kanha-Pench
by Soma Jha
Recently I spent four days in Kanha and Pench National Parks between 13th to 17th of May. We arrived in Nagpur from Kolkata and hired a transport to take us to to Kanha. On the way we stopped for breakfast at Rukhad and I got my first new bird in an old pipal tree. It was the T.s. nigropileus - a sub species of the Eurasian Blackbird referred to as the Indian Blackbird.
The tiger eluded us during four safaris to the Park. On the last hour of the fifth safari, when we ready to give up all hope, came that moment when out from the grass emerged this huge male, walking casually across the road, not bothered at all about our jeep just six feet away ! We saw him all by ourselves for no other jeep happened to venture on that route. It was a grand fifteen minutes of tiger viewing. On our way out of the park another one was seen at some distance, lazily relaxing on the ground, sometimes sitting up and sometimes lying stretched out on the ground.
We saw over sixty birds in Kanha that included Indian Scimiter Babbler, Jungle Owlet, White-Naped Woodpecker. Animals seen were - Barking Deer, Barasingha, lots of Indian Bisons from close quarters, two playful Dholes running round and round around a tree trunk, three baby jackals playing with each other, a Ruddy Mongoose, Tree Shrew, Flapshell Turtle. A few good butterflies like an Oakleaf, Baronet, Spot Swordtail.
We had just two safaris in Pench but we were not disappointed at all. We got some good birds like the Crested Treeswift, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Eurasian Thicknee,White-Eyed Buzzard and a tiger from quite a distance away.
We also saw five jackals with a kill. But the grand finale was seeing a tigress with five cubs ! The cubs were about seven months old and they were playing in the water as the mother looked on protectively. We left with a word of prayer hoping that all the adult tigers that we had seen grow to a ripe old age and that the cubs too survive and live full lives.