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Monday, December 3, 2012

Nauradehi - Wild India

My eyes begin to scour the jungle as soon as we enter the sanctuary. From the gate it is a short ride to the Rest House at Mohali Range. We unpack and settle down for a hot cup of chai. Me and Peter both relish the chai, me without milk and Peter makes his own concoction with milk. Peter Gould (UK) my guest is an avid wild-lifer and birding enthusiast with years of experience.   

Having made many stops for birding on the way to Nauradehi from Jabalpur we could not reach in the early morning hours. Anyway there was much in store as we reached the Khapra Kedha Lake. We were greeted by the Black Storks, Wooly Necked Storks and Lesser Adjutant Storks besides Great Cormorant and vast assortment of avian species. A lone raptor Crested Hawk Eagle sat silently on a dead tree trunk at the top.   

From here we moved on to Jamna Rashi water body and on the way we saw a Chinkara. At the reservoir we saw Little Cormorants, Common Chiff Chaff, Tailor Bird, Plain Prinia, Wryneck and Little Grebe. We then returned to the RH via the Mohali Village where we saw a Striated Grassbird ?  Peter did not agree...but we had little time to watch the avian.

At the Mohuli Rest House we saw Honey Buzzard, White Eyes, White Browed Fantail, Short Toed Snake Eagle in Flight.   

The evening at Cheola Lake was little interesting as few heads of Sambar, Axis Deer and Nilgai Rolled by. We saw Northern Pintail and Lesser Whistling Teals and some wagtails. We shook hands with a baby Chinkara in captivity before moving back to the RH. On the way back we saw a Black Naped Hare in the settling dusk. That was all for the day no wolf in store. 

At RH we meet with the young energetic DFO Mr. Devakaran. He is busy with work but does take out time to exchange views. He is dedicated to the chore and enthusiastic, he shows us a photograph of Indian Wolf he has taken and that of many birds. With young dedicated people at helm the Sanctuary has a brighter future. He has a tough task at hand...he does not seem to dither     

Next day we move out a bit late as our guide wishes us to see the Mugger. We visit some other places and Khapra Taloa before reaching the Chakai Pond on River Bamner. At Khapra Lake we saw a Bonelli's Eagle besides Grey Heron and Lesser Adjutant Storks.

At Chakai Backwater we saw about four mugger crocodiles and some birds. An Indian Eagle Owl was chased away by Large Billed Crow before we can photograph it. We saw White Browed Fantail, White Bellied Drongo, Sulphur Bellied Warbler, Gray Headed Canary Flycatcher and Crested Serpent Eagle.

We than move on to another water body and find six seven muggers basking in the Sun on the rock at the bank. On return we see  White Eyed Buzzard and Bay Backed Shrike fly past. NWLS is always buzzing with life.   

In the evening we went to the highest spot at Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary. On the top we spotted tiger scat I mean something that looked like it. We picked it for analysis at the Veterinary College in Jabalpur.  This would be a major find if it belongs to the tiger. We wait for some time and enjoy the antics of Plain Billed Flower Pecker on the teak tree. 

As we roll down we see some Indian Gazelle on the banks of a large water body. Much to our surprise the pug marks of leopard show a hurried pace as if it resulted in a chase. We see more Chinkara as we drive down to the RH.   

The safari has come to an end Peter has mixed feeling,"Too  much for too little. I do not feel so since I did have to shelve a penny from my pocket. He!He! The package cost is high keeping the accommodation, arrangements and gate fees etc into consideration. The forest department staff has been good to us both in terms of hospitality and jungle exploration. The team is active in conserving the forests and its denizens.  

Anyway Noradehi is a must visit sanctuary since you get a different ecosystem to see and many less seen animals are often seen here. The Crocodiles number more than 200 hundred in Vyarama and Bamner River. The Sloth Bear population also seems to be high and so does that of the Wolf...as I am informed. The Tiger and the Leopard are elusive by all means in this once robust tiger country. This is a good place for birding and much more discoveries await you.   

With greater conservation measures in place, the sanctuary has a promising future. 

Reaching Noradehi : Jabalpur to Patan - TenduKheda - Jhalon to Jhapan Gate. Mr. Avinash Pathak organizes wild safaris at Nauradehi through his company Indiana Safari based in Jabalpur, MP.

Accommodation : The visitors usually make a day trip from Jabalpur, Bhopal or Sagar in MP. For those who wish to stay overnight the Mohali Rest House has to be booked from DFO Office at Sagar. The RH is well maintained but one should take supplements like ration and warm coverings.  
The best season is the winters. But summer safari/birding could also yield exciting surprises.