Sunday, January 29, 2012

Vulture Estimation Panna Tiger Reserve 2011

I must thank Mr Murthy, Field Director Panna Ntl Park who got a highly professional job done by most amateurs. Secondly I thank camp staff who made our stay comfortable where we were drinking mineral water, eating fresh vegetables and drinking tea made out of fresh milk.
I started my journey from my house at about 3 AM in the morning on 20th Jan. to board Sarnath Express from Umaria. When I reached Satna at about 0800 hrs vehicles were already waiting for us. All the luggage in one Dagga and most of us set in another Dagga (Tata 407 Mini truck).Road up till Panna is good and than up till Madla it's as it is anywhere else in M.P.
It was a chaos at Madla rest house. No one knew what is our duty or what we have to do until the arrival of  Deputy Director. There were many participants who arrived there without registration. After these formalities and lunch we were asked to jump in available vehicles for a short introductory park round and then we will be dropped in our respected camps.
At Dhundhva we saw more than 100 vultures on one roosting site and about 70 vultures i could count in one of my photograph. Majority of them were Long Billed Vulture.

After collecting our Dinner packets we were waiting for our names to be called with allocated vehicle when some 11 participants who came from Delhi decided to withdraw their names from this program. This was very late to withdraw the names but their wish and they were firm. This disrupted the whole program and it took another 30 minutes or so to sort out the names.
We reached our camp site at about 0800 PM. After putting the bags everyone rush to the Fire. Yes it was cold. Next morning we heard the message about frost on wireless.

Staff kept the fire burning throughout the night. Our rooms were filled with smoke. It was difficult situation. I slept first half of the night and got up at about 2 AM. Straight to fire. Some other participant soon joined me near the fire. I made tea at about 0500 AM for everyone who were awake. I think it was too early for others.

We left camp sharp at 7 for our first Vulture Estimation count. One party went to check the cliffs and we went to look around Jatan Ki Matiya Pahadiya. First day we did not see any vulture nest or roosting site. One abondoned nest was found on a tree. I did not see any sign of life on this nest. No new branches were added recently and nor we saw any recent droppings. At about 10AM we saw two Red Headed Vultures flying.
Leopard pug-marks were seen almost on all the roads and footpath we used. We came back to abandoned  Raipura village at about 1100 AM. Raipura village was relocated Nadiya beehad near Rajgarh village in 2005. These villagers left their cattle free in the forest. Probably that time carrying the cattle along with them may be costly affair, more than the cost of cattle's probably. Now these feral cattle's are breeding in the park. They are not use to of human being so one clap can alert them. We faced a bull who was not at all happy with our presence in his area. Forest staff was also concerned about his mood so they quickly grab the stick for safety.

We were told that there are many vultures can be seen near the river but we didn't find any except few Long Billed and one Egyptian vulture was seen flying high.
Last night we heard lots of spotted deer alarm calls near the camp but we did not had a good enough torch to explore the area so I asked the guard to arrange some battery for their torch. He quickly brought some from a nearby village shop.
Our programme after lunch was to check the transit line that we could do with great difficulty because after some time we lost the sign of transit lines. Nothing was seen.
In nut shell I will say that this was a very good effort of Forest Deptt. Many people learned about Vultures and their importance in nature. Last day we heard that total 1700 vultures are recorded by all of us. Good figure. Hope to do this again next year.
At about