The Mysterious Mangroves of Sundarban

#1 Dec 3rd, 2017, 20:09
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#1
Recently I went to a trip with six other Photographers for a two nights and three days long trip of the Sundarbans. Our primary goal was to see and photograph the elusive Swamp Tigers. Given the geography of the place which is impossible unless one is extremely lucky. We spent our nights at the boat and it was a very rewarding experience.

Sundarban from WIKI :
The Sundarbans National Park is a National Park, Tiger Reserve, and a Biosphere Reserve in West Bengal, India. It is part of the Sundarbans on the Ganges Delta, and adjacent to the Sundarban Reserve Forest in Bangladesh. The delta is densely covered by mangrove forests, and is one of the largest reserves for the Bengal tiger. It is also home to a variety of bird, reptile and invertebrate species, including the salt-water crocodile. The present Sundarban National Park was declared as the core area of Sundarban Tiger Reserve in 1973 and a wildlife sanctuary in 1977. On 4 May 1984 it was declared a National Park. It is a UNESCO world heritage site inscripted in 1987.[1] [2] It is considered as a World Network of Biosphere Reserve (Man and Biosphere Reserve) in 2001.

The first Forest Management Division to have jurisdiction over the Sundarbans was established in 1869. In 1875 a large portion of the mangrove forests was declared as reserved forests under the Forest Act, 1865 (Act VIII of 1865). The remaining portions of the forests were declared a reserve forest the following year and the forest, which was so far administered by the civil administration district, was placed under the control of the Forest Department. A Forest Division, which is the basic forest management and administration unit, was created in 1879 with the headquarters in Khulna, Bangladesh. The first management plan was written for the period 1893–98.[3][4]

TRIP DETAILS :

Date: 24th to 26th November 2017(3 full days)

Places covered: Sajnekhali, Sudhanyakhali, Dobanki, Pirkhali(1-5), Durga duani and Chora Gaji canal

Group members/Participants:7 ( Seven Nos.)

Number of Participants: 7 Birders/Wildlife Photographers, 1 dedicated Wildlife/Birding guide, 1 cook, 1 Boatman, 1 helper

Cost per head : Rs.14000/=

Guide : Mrityunjoy Mondol 097335 38169

Organizer : Mr. Chandramouli Ganguly 090889 08610

Type of Boat: 6 cylinder boat

Temperature:Cold in the early morning and late night and pleasant sunny weather at day time, 16-25°c

Type of Habitat: Mangrove forest

Birds that we have sighted:
1. Eastern Jungle Crow/ Indian jungle crow
2. Loten's sunbird
3. Eurasian curlew
4. Lesser adjutant stork
5. Green bee eater
6. Striated heron
7. Collared kingfisher
8. White throated kingfisher
9. Brown winged kingfisher
10. Common kingfisher
11. Pied kingfisher
12. Black capped kingfisher
12. Whimbrel
13. Osprey
14. Crested serpent eagle
15. White bellied sea eagle
16. Indian pond heron
17. Purple sunbird
18. Common myna
19. Little stint
20. Little ringed plover
21. Kentish plover
22. Common sandpiper
23. Grey heron

Mammals/Reptiles sightings:
1. Bengal Tiger
2. Spotted deer
3. Wild boar
4. Asian Water monitor lizard
5. Salt Water Crocodile
6. Various crabs

The Mangrove habitat




The Brown Winged KF, a winter visitor



The Collared Kingfisher


The Common / The Little Blue Kingfisher



The Black-capped KF

Osprey in flight


Salt Water Crocodile



We were rewarded with an unbelievable One and half hour long sighting of the notorious Alfa-Male tiger named "Nontu". He crossed three long canals and showed no fear. He has multiple human kills in his name , the last being a month ago , I saw the photograph of the victim , his body was rescued before Nontu ate him, it was a horrendous sight.

#2 Dec 3rd, 2017, 20:21
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Very informative! And wonderful photographs...
#3 Dec 3rd, 2017, 20:25
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Aren't man-eaters killed as a matter of policy? What are they waiting for?
#4 Dec 3rd, 2017, 20:27
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Originally Posted by atala View Post Aren't man-eaters killed as a matter of policy? What are they waiting for?
Sundarbans is the exception. All the tigers there are assumed to be man-eaters. There are different schools of thought about this phenomena and the underlying reasons.
#5 Dec 3rd, 2017, 20:29
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Originally Posted by Prakaant View Post Very informative! And wonderful photographs...
Thanks Prakaant
#6 Dec 3rd, 2017, 20:31
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Man Eating Tigers Of The Sundarbans - BBC

#7 Dec 3rd, 2017, 20:37
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Originally Posted by iamsomnath View Post Sundarbans is the exception. All the tigers there are assumed to be man-eaters. There are different schools of thought about this phenomena and the underlying reasons.
Wow. Dangerous place to live. What scares me most are the crocs though.
#8 Dec 3rd, 2017, 21:35
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Originally Posted by atala View Post Wow. Dangerous place to live. What scares me most are the crocs though.
I agree with the feelings that the Crocs generate. But the tigers are the real things here in the Mangroves , quite unlike the rest of their cousins elsewhere , have a mean and extremely aggresive look and demeanor. I still have goosebumps recounting the sighting
#9 Dec 3rd, 2017, 21:46
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I have watched the above youtube video. The fuss people make about the survival of tigers in the wild remains a mystery to me, esp in comparison to what happens to people in South Asia, esp girls and women.
#10 Dec 3rd, 2017, 22:14
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Originally Posted by atala View Post I have watched the above youtube video. The fuss people make about the survival of tigers in the wild remains a mystery to me, esp in comparison to what happens to people in South Asia, esp girls and women.
These are two disparate issues. Tiger , being at the apex of the ecosystem is essential for the system to survive, let alone thrive. The plight of the humans are more of a social problem, wiping out tigers won't improve their situation in any way , would it ?
#11 Dec 4th, 2017, 04:25
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#11
Fascinating preview Som! Such a lovely photo of Nontu - reminds you of sherkhan doesn't he Your hard work of staying overnight on the boat seems to have paid off.

p.s. far more dangerous to live in urban India with our stray dogs.
#12 Dec 4th, 2017, 08:33
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#12
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Originally Posted by vaibhav_arora View Post Fascinating preview Som! Such a lovely photo of Nontu - reminds you of sherkhan doesn't he Your hard work of staying overnight on the boat seems to have paid off.

p.s. far more dangerous to live in urban India with our stray dogs.
Thanks VA . The tiger sighting is sheer luck. Our staying overnight on the boat used to facilitate very early starts , hence perhaps was helpful for bird sightings. The tiger was sighted at the fag end of the 3rd day , when we lost all our hopes and was actually contemplating to call it off earlier. Nontu , in line of our finest tradition in dramatic entry of a hero , came late and stole the show

Cheers

PS : This is not a "preview" , this is the full TR . Kept it concise this time.
#13 Dec 4th, 2017, 09:46
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#13
Very nice photos of Sunderban mangroves. The tiger seems to swim in the waters freely, wondering isn’t it scary to sleep in the boat? Do you happen to have a photo of the boat you all spent the nights in. I know a boat is different from a cruise ship. Wondering how the sleeping in boat was? Is it too wobbly?

Since you mentioned spending nights in boat, how do you do sight-seeing during day time? Is it in smaller boats? Or get down on land and walk carefully. The place seems very scary.

I am sure you’ve many more photos of the surroundings. Can you please post more photos?
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"Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards." – Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001)
#14 Dec 4th, 2017, 09:54
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#14
Nice report with beautiful photos , somnathda. That's a huge tiger ! Really a rare sighting in the mangrove, that too for one & a half hours !! Been there twice . As usual no tiger-show for us. Now planning another 2N/3D trip in Jan. Let's see if it happens.
#15 Dec 4th, 2017, 10:04
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#15
Your bird photographs are very spectacular and simply awesome.

Please share your images with Oriental Bird Club (OBC) to get more visibility and recognition.

Please contribute to Oriental Bird Images.
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