The mystical winters of Kabini are magical, The winters had arrived, temperatures dropped, that morning the air was cold with lots of mist & fog around which made the forest look even more beautiful, I had every reason to fall more n more in love with the smell of the fresh air, silence of the woods & the wilderness.
We embarked on the morning safari, with carefully checking for any cat movement on the 5km road of Nagarhole tiger reserve with no luck, our driver & naturalist decide to check & head towards EPT (Elephant proof trench) which divides the forest from human habitation.
As we cautiously & carefully continued our drive 25mins into the safari we hear strong alarm call of a peacock & our heart beat skipped.
Hearing a alarm call while you are near EPT (Elephant proof trench) is always special as you are on the fringes of the forest which separates the forests from human civilization, we stopped the Jeep turning off the engine with pin drop silence, making sure which direction to head & started again, we followed towards the peacocks alarm call which was strong & loud,
The light was very low as the winters had arrived, heavily fogged & visibility less than 200 meters as we slowly moved ahead keeping our eyes & ears open and we stuck GOLD,
"TIGER TIGERR TIGERRRRR".... whispered our naturalist & driver together
To our luck we saw this beautiful Tigress stalking right on the safari track, but to our surprise we had no clue what she was stalking as we couldn't see any prey from our naked eyes, with less than a minute after we spotted she jumped across the EPT & the Adrenaline rush of the blood to hear a wild boar cry for life echoed loud & we now knew the tigress made a kill in the agricultural fields & to our surprise it was a group of wild boars.
Within seconds we hear the wild boar cry for life & other wild boars run for their lives we were assured that the tigress had made a kill, it was now just a matter of time for the tigress to come out with the kill, our naturalist was absolutely sure that it would come back sooner than expected as tigers won't hang around longer anywhere close to human habitation, with our engine off, fingers crossed, pin drop silence, Aperture, Shutter speed, ISO & AF point set, my eyes in the view finder of the camera & BANG...... there came this beautiful lady with her prize catch after a few minutes of making the kill,
She jumped across into the forest again with a wild boar kill for herself, dragging it, She stops on the track gives me opportunities to make images & vanishes into the thick foliage of the woods giving me memories for a lifetime.
This was the 2nd time in years of their duty that our driver & naturalist had ever spotted a big cat near EPT for the sole reason big cats usually avoid wandering anywhere close to human habitation, but then the forest is full of surprises as always, with some luck on your side & instincts taking you to the right place at the right time, it may be your D-day.