Fleeting glimpse of Madhuri’s cubs – Tadoba 12
Tiger Trails and Tall Tales – Episode Twelve
Our last ride was slated for the buffer zone. We arrived at the Agarzari Gate quite early. With spare time in our hands, we wandered towards the opposite gate i.e. the Devada Gate. Monsieur Didier had seen a flying squirrel earlier, on the outskirts and asked us to keep a watch. Just outside the gate on the right there were a few large trees. We moved under their shade and waited.
Suddenly as if a magic wand was waved, they were all there. Magpie robins, racquet tailed drongos, flycatchers, oriental white eyes, fan tails, monarchs, rufus treepies, were putting up a show. We were like kids in a chocolate factory not knowing what to see and what to shoot.
While we were in a shooting frenzy, Manish ambled across to inform that the gates were being opened and we should get back on the jeep. With a heavy heart we moved on.
This afternoon like the earlier ones was a game of patience. The Tadoba weather notched up a few degrees too. We were experiencing temperatures of 44 degree plus. Litres of water were being gulped to prevent dehydration and we were thankful to have stocked an extra case. Like day two, this afternoon ride was firing blanks at every site.
As we were calling it a day, news filtered in that Madhuri’s cubs were spotted near the lake. Not wanting to miss the sighting, the driver raced the jeep through the trails. We were holding on the bars for dear life, while trying to duck and escape the thorn pricks from the tall bushes on the sides. Reaching the spot, the guide checked out the possible route from where the cubs would emerge and parked the vehicle accordingly. The tall trees and undergrowth hid the cubs out of view, despite our craning necks and straining eyes.
In some time, the cubs moved towards a high area across the other side towards the lake. We saw them chase a mongoose and shifted to the other side to catch a glimpse. The vibrations and sound from the vehicle must have warned them as one of them peeped towards us tentatively. A short stare and it backed off into the bushes and decided to lie low.
By now it was low light with the sun having already called it a day. We too followed the example of the sun and rode back to Hornbill Tadoba.