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Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bhitarkanika – 23rd to 26th January 2016!

My bird images from this trip - click here! (includes Mangalajodi images till Brown-winged Kingfisher)

Salt Water Srocodile (Crocodile porosus).

Lying in the estuarine region of Brahmani- Baitarani in the North-Eastern corner of Kendrapara district of Odisha, A protected area since 1975, Bhitarkanika includes mangrove forests, rivers, creeks, estuaries, back water, accreted land and mud flats. The area is intersected by a network of creeks with Bay of Bengal on the East. Its 672 sq.kms. of mangrove forest and wetland, designated as a National Park since 1998, is a refuge for the endangered Salt Water Crocodile (Crocodile porosus).

Spotted Deer in the Mangrove! 
Drinking salt water...?
23rd was a very long day! We were up at 5am for our final session at Mangalajodi. After breakfast we drove back to Bhubaneshwar and had an early lunch at the Mayfair hotel and quickly proceed towards Bhitarkanika via Cuttack.

The 160 kms drive from Bhubaneshwar took us a long time as the roads were bad and we reached Dangamal after dark (6pm) and quickly checked into our place of stay for the next three days -> “Nature Camp” ! Basic tents. Decent food and very friendly staff! Felt good… 

We were up at first light and were taken straight to a boat by our able guide “Bijay Kumar Das”. Next three days we spent a lot of time on the boat!

Leopard Cat!

This day 24th January 2016, I shall never forget! This was the day I saw my first leopard cat in the wild! Simple, we were in the boat looking to photograph Kingfishers when our guide uttered the magic words “Leopard Cat”! There it was, sitting in the open, sunning itself in this vast expanse of mangrove! Miracle!

Leopard Cat
 We then went up and down the water and saw a lot of  salt water crocodiles! of various sizes, some about 20ft long. There were over 1600+ of them in the area Bijay tells me…

The short walk to the meadow through the mangroves was wonderful! We saw a couple of "Water Monitors".

Water Monitor
In the end we were able to get some decent shots of the “Brown-winged Kingfisher” which was our target in the first place! … and in the process had loads of fun!

Black-capped Kingfisher
Brown-winged Kingfisher
Misty morning on a boat looking for kingfishers...
We were able to photograph 6 species of kingfishers here!
26th we took the 7.30 pm flight back to Bengaluru to reach home just after midnight! Another wonderful “all is well, that ends well” trip! Thanks Ananth, Ganesh, Aravind for the superb company! Thanks Panchami and Avinash for all the support.

White-bellied Sea Eagle
 See you soon..

Vijay Cavale
January 2016