Thursday, February 2, 2012
Periyar, Kerala - into the jungle
(to get to the other side, obviously)
After picking up Raj in the village and hailing a tuk tuk just as dawn began to break, we reached the small car park a couple of km within the reserve shortly afterwards, and were immediately into quality birds - before the first coach trip of the day rolled in, we enjoyed brief trackside views of both Grey Junglefowls (male, above) and Red Spurfowls (below); the following morning, we tried again a little earlier, and scored prolonged and closer views of both species.
From there, we made our way to the guide's cabin on the lake shore, where we decked ourselves out in leech-resistant stockings; an essential part of the kit, as we were soon to find out. Although by no means leech-proof, the material at least served as a barrier to the countless thousands of blood-suckers we were soon to be sharing trails and clearings with.
The guide's cabin (left), and the path to the bank (centre)....
.... and the transport across the lake and into the reserve proper
Raj - note colour-coordinated pen and visiting bug
From there, a bamboo raft across the lake and onto the opposite bank, where Raj produced his secret weapon - tobacco powder, sprinkled over and inside shoes, giving us total protection against the leeches; and then, into the jungle, and two consecutive mornings brimming with natural wonders and bouts of sensory overload.
(bird and wildlife photos to follow)