Our room here at Black Buck Lodge is very spacious and comfortable but unfortunately I've started yet another cold (3rd one this Winter) and woke up at 4.30am to get a glass of water and tissues. I looked out of the window and was stunned to see scores of blackbucks (mostly female/juveniles which are tan coloured) grazing outside our bungalow and right up close to our patio – I was so excited I had to wake David (no mean feat). But he agreed the sight was worth being woken for.
Our cameras aren't up to taking decent night time photos so all we could do was watch them grazing for a while and go back to bed.
This morning we went to the restaurant building to find we were the only guests in residence. David went straight in and helped himself to a bowl of cereal but I just wanted fruit juice. We didn't realise there is a formulaic breakfast served and David had spoilt their routine ….
Firstly we were served with these delicious bowls of granola and dried fruits with yoghurt and sliced apple. David tried to send his back but the waiter was adamant he should try it as an energy food (obviously recognised that David definitely isn't a morning person and needed some help) !
Then came a huge bowl of freshly prepared local fruits, pineapples, melon, mango and the tiny little grapes I love here – they look like jelly beans (torpedo shaped). David's face fell – he really isn't into healthy fruits and salads so I struggled through and made a bit of a dent in the mountain. Omelettes turned up (plain for him and masala for me) followed by toast and preserves. I don't know who controls portion sizes here but they sent out 8 slices of toast for the two of us! Crazy!
I think the restaurant staff are bored, each time we've walked past today they've asked if we want snacks or coffee but we're happy being back to eating just two meals a day. We did settle for fresh lime soda drinks this afternoon - they were delicious.
After breakfast we went for a walk and headed for one of the 'tent/hides' to watch the wildlife/birdlife. Hide is not dignified enough to describe the luxurious shady seating areas …. pictures of a couple of them
This was the smallest one at the side of one of the lakes - it had a couple of loungers and a cupboard/table top but it was a welcome haven from the hot sun - the animals and birds are used to seeing them and seem to ignore them
This was a bigger one close to our bungalow
This was the largest and obviously intended for when there are more guests staying at the lodge ... we spent a bit of time at this one as there were a couple of dead trees in the centre of the lake which were in regular use by Kingfishers (3 different types), green Bee Eaters and Drongoes
As I'm feeling very full of cold it has been lovely to just chill today and watch the animals/birds. The temperature is 36 deg / 97 deg which is just too hot for doing lots of sightseeing. I think we'll do much the same thing tomorrow. Having heard from the 'outgoing' tour group yesterday that they didn't think much of the drives in the main National Park (and had to pay £15 each camera charge) we might as well stay put.
Sadly, our penultimate bottle of wine enjoyed on our patio yesterday turned out to be our final bottle. We got through our secret hoard sooner than anticipated this trip although we did share a few bottles at the Olivipe Homestay.
The restaurant here has apparently been drunk dry by the tour group so has no beer or wine left – just vodka and whisky. David is grumpy – he hadn't realised Gujerat is a 'dry' state so any alcohol provided is done almost surreptitiously . I think he's writen his own blog post so I won't say any more on the subject!
I must say I LOVE the outdoor shower - such a novelty. Its in a totally walled garden area but open to the sky. Its a fab place to dry washing. We've caught up on laundering shirts/blouses/underwear and everything dries in under 2 hours! We'll be heading off to Mumbai with no dirty laundry in our cases which is a bonus.
Black bucks (Indian antelopes)
The adult males appear to spend most of their time strutting around looking very superior although the ladies seemed to be leading them a merry dance ... its obviously the season for the ladies' attention to stray and they had to be constantly rounded up and brought back into the harem
This one had a nice 'smiley' face I think
Females and juveniles are light coloured and I think this is a young male .. although I've read that the females can also grown horns sometimes
Boing, boing ... bouncing black buck females
There was a bit of male rivalry going on here - vying for the female's attention
As we left the restaurant after breakfast David spotted this huge lizard but it was so immobile we weren't sure if it was a carving or the 'real thing' ... so I gave it a little poke (as you do)
and up curled its tail ...... it was real
then David spotted another one nearby ... this one had a raised crest though but I think they're the same type. Overall we reckon they're around 15" long (the tails account for most of the length)
and one of the cows which roam around the grounds of the Lodge ... well it wouldn't be India without a cow or two!
There are lots of squirrels everywhere - very similar to the Barbary Ground Squirrels found on Fuerteventura (commonly known there as Chipmunks). They are much smaller than European squirrels and have striped bodies.
and some other bugs seen near the water
Well it's been a long and hot day and we need to catch up on sleep so will call a halt here.
I'll sort out some bird pics taken today and post them tomorrow ... wifi permitting.