Unexpected predatory guests with deadly stingers turning up during birding trips are a common experience when at Dandeli Tiger Reserve.
It was the second day of the new year 2019. I had woken up at early hours of dawn. The plan was to go on a bird-watching trip to the Dandeli Tiger Reserve. I reached there bright and early and got very few shots of our feathered friends. It was a little disappointing birding trip, as the majority of the birds were in motion, thus preventing good stills. My usual haunts were providing me no better results. I realised the lateness of the hour, when I noticed it pointed to 2pm in my wristwatch, reminding me of the need to stop and have lunch. I hurriedly gobbled my lunch and returned to my favourite spot to resume my watch of the avians. The second time proved lucky and I got a few good shots of the birds congregated at a short distance.
Birding is a thirsty business, where you have to sit for hours in a particular spot in hopes of the perfect shot. Imagine my shock and horror when I turned back from my watch to grab my bottle and found a great guest just behind me! Somehow I managed not to scream. Rather, I shifted my equipment slowly and instead started taking close-ranged shots of the arachnid with my OnePlus 6 phone camera. To tell the truth, I was a bit afraid as the consequences of a close range encounter with a scorpion can prove to be fatal. I managed to overcome my fright and took some snaps till the forest official came to the rescue. He transported the scorpion with his rescue equipment and thus ended my adventure for the day. I vowed to remind myself of avoiding to be aware of my surroundings while birding, especially in Dandeli. It is quite common of birders to come face-to-face with unexpected guests like snakes, reptiles and arachnids. So my advice is to check your surroundings the next time you go birding lest you meet someone who may have lain in wait to pounce, slither or sting!