BR Hills is a stunning location for wildlife photography, since this is the only property of Jungle Lodges and Resorts that is situated deep inside the reserve forest boundaries in Southern India. We are given to understand that this property is soon going to be shut down since the government is moving all resorts to outside the boundaries of the Indian wilderness. So we did a trip to BR Hills wildlife sanctuary in the middle of last winter.
We went on a morning safari braving the winter mist and nippy conditions. The forest was dark because of the mist cover and the cold weather also ensured that birds had not come out into the open yet. As we were driving slowly, our naturalist and driver spotted something at a distant tree and called it out to be the Nilgiri Wood Pigeon. It was so well camouflaged against the dark forest canopy that it took us a good 2-3 minutes to follow our guide’s directions to spot it. What made it spectacular was that this Pigeon is an endangered species found only in the Nilgiri Hills and Western Ghats.
We had switched off the Jeep engines to observe this beautiful subject. After a few minutes, the Pigeon realized that its camouflage had been breached and it had been spotted. It turned around to face us and and check if we were a threat. Once it decided that we weren’t a threat, it hopped onto a branch, a little higher in the canopy, and went back into its morning slumber.