I vividly remember my last trip to Valparai and the various challenges we had in sighting, photographing the Lion-tailed Macaque. You can read more about that experience in the land of the Lion-tailed Macaque. So on this trip to Valparai, I wasn’t expecting much and would have been content getting good pictures of an Alpha male of the endangered Lion-tailed Macaque species.
On this trip, we stayed at Stanmore Bungalow, owned by the Woodbriar group. The next morning we were taken to Puthuttotam annexure, another property of the Woodbriar group, which is known for sightings of the endangered Lion-tailed Macaque. Supposedly a couple of troops of Lion-tailed Macaques frequently visit Puthuttotam Annexure. As we entered the property, we were welcomed by a a large group of Lion-tailed Macaques foraging around the entrance to the property. I quickly parked my car to the side of the estate road and setup my camera quietly and took this first picture (below) of a Lion-tailed Macaque of this trip.
A little further away on the same roof sat another Lion-tailed Macaque with a young one tucked in her arms. I waited for her to turn in my direction and took this picture (above). After a few moments, the mother took hold of her infant and moved away. This Platoon of Lion-tailed Macaques were feasting on Jack fruits growing around in the estate. I followed another female with a young one to one of the Jack fruits that had fallen to the ground and got a few pictures of her feeding on the same. The feature image (first picture) was another male Lion-tailed Macaque feeding on a freshly plucked Jack Fruit.
I was spoilt for choice with so many Lion-tailed Macaques around me. I only wished the light was a little more camera friendly, to allow for higher shutter speeds. Most pictures were shot around 1/100s at 600mm focal length and barely shake free. While I was photographing the Lion-tailed Macaques taking turns to feed on the fruit, I suddenly noticed the Alpha male of this platoon casually walk towards another Jack fruit. I readied my camera with the hope of getting a couple of shake free images of this massive Lion-tailed Macaque and got this picture while he posed for a few seconds.
Soon it was clear that this troop of Macaques were very comfortable in the Puthuttotam annexure surroundings and it was playtime for some of the younger members. Their action was so fast and at 1/100s it was literally impossible to get a blur-free image. Therefore it was nearly a miracle that at 1/40s, the eye of the Macaque (below) was photographed shake-free.
I was pleasantly surprised when these endangered Lion-tailed Macaques turned their attention to my X3. They seemed drawn to the windows and were curiously exploring their reflections. I was immensely pleased to watch the endangered Lion-tailed Macaque casually playing around on my X3, a moment that will remain a highlight of this trip. As the troop moved away deeper into the tea estate, we decided to drive to the Puthuttotam Annexure bungalow. We did not know that a pleasant surprise awaited as we arrived at the bungalow. Read more about that in the next post on these endangered Lion-tailed Macaque.