Like this elephant family that we finally saw near the lake. Since the dry season has gone on for so long, the grass is very sparse. So the elephant moves its foot back and forth over the grass to loosen it at the roots, and manages to get slightly more quantity that way. It was wonderful to see this in person, and also see it explained in a documentary later that day, sort of like seeing National Geographic scenes in person, but sad ones :(.
More of the spotted Chital that were really in large groups near the lake.
This elephant was reaching out to the bamboo leaves with its trunk so I had to try capturing it of course.
Me at the end of the day at the reservoir/water body close to our cottage.
The larger and slightly less common sambar deer - they are plain brown and can really blend into the background. Not as tourist friendly except for the occasional one which literally posed for the camera! This one I caught just before it ran away.
I was very thrilled with this photo - we had stopped to watch the gaur up close. First one bird came and sat on its head so I started clicking away, then to my delight 2 birds sitting in such lovely synchronicity :) ! Fun fact about gaur: There are no bison in India, all the large buffalo like ones are actually the cow family and are Gaur. Bison are the buffalo family. Realized that on our Thekkady trip even the guide was talking about Bison, so this fact really stood in my mind!
More posing by the Chital, loved the angle of its neck in this one
Another unusual one, for me atleast. Caught the peacock sitting on a tree stump and displaying its feathers so beautifully!
Took so many photos of the Blue Jay with my powerful zoom and then finally we saw one so close up so got a lovely detailed pic!
The supposed unusual sighting we had on the second day was a group of wild dogs (thankfully at a good distance) who were eating their kill, a deer. This was early in the morning and the photos are pretty blurry, which was good in a way as I really did not want too much detail for this scene :(.
For the record, we DID NOT see any leopards(rare) or tigers(even more elusive) so my respect and mystery for these majestic animals is more than ever (yeah you can call it sour grapes too ;)). On our Day 2 safari, we encountered our safari guide/driver from the previous evening and he had seen 2 leopards that day! So just the luck of the draw.
The humans on the safari, I am sure the animals find us as much of a spectacle as we them. :)
Added later: D is at such a lovely sensitive age now when she picks up on everything around her. We watched a documentary at the end of the first day which told us about how the animals find it really tough in the dry season, and once the rains come how green the forest becomes again. We did not discuss this at all afterward, so I really didn't know how much D comprehended. But last evening's rain brought out a statement from her that made me proud - "Amma, now the forest will be green again and the animals will have food !".