Gharial Nesting 2013
Gharial nesting season is underway in Corbett. Being in the field this season has been exhilarating as well as rewarding. Nesting started in early April this year and way back in 2012 we found a single nest in Boksar which created much excitement…….this season was a revelation.
It does get quite hot in Corbett by mid day at this time of the year so surveys started quite early in the morning to beat the heat. We had a small team with Bunty doing the driving and running around, Bir Singh in helping with boat work and nest searches and the Corbett Tiger Reserve had one of their frontline staff join us to help us out and for our security, while I operated the boat and zeroed in on areas where nesting was likely to be taking place.
We surveyed the Boksar area quite a bit and on the first day itself we found that gharial had been climbing quite a bit leaving tell-tale body drag marks on the sand embankments. Gharial in Corbett climbed quite a bit upto distances of on an average over 10 metres in most cases.
As we surveyed the areas we noted down the locations of these sites with our GPS and measured sand, water and air temperatures as well as other site characteristics which would help us as we build a dataset of each of these sites.
The surveys lasted quite long and I stayed in Boksar for over three weeks……And did we make some important discoveries…..We found seven gharial nests in Boksar!!!!
Wanting to get a better idea of predators on gharial eggs,I set up some of our time lapse cameras and did find something very very interesting going on. It seems that gharial parents love their babies a bit more than we thought…… and they try to ward off predators by patrolling their nests…..we captured a gharial mom visiting her nest site in our time lapse cam. Enjoy the vid....!!!
Well……the work in Corbett is far from over and as we gear up for more surveys throughout the year stay tuned and catch up with us as we move along with our exciting work in Corbett.