February, 2023, winter in Ladakh in the north-west of India and the quest is to find and photograph the elusive snow leopard. At an altitude of approximately 4000 metres and with overnight temperatures dropping as low as minus 20 Celsius, you need to be prepared. Wildlife is often viewed at a distance, neccessitating the use of long telephoto lenses and a bit of luck too.
Whilst the leopard was our main target (and will be the subject of a future post), there were other interesting species to be seen as well.
White-winged Redstart, Ladakh, India
The White-winged Redstart is a relatively common bird seen in this region. In this case the bird was attempting to catch an insect on the wing. Although at this magnification it's hard to see, the hapless insect can be seen in the frame. At full resolution it's more obvious, you'll just have to take my word for it!
Ladakh Urial in winter landscape, Ladakh, India
The Urial is a species of wild sheep that is well adapted to the harsh environment. Incredibly agile and sure-footed, the Urial scours the mountainsides for the meagre vegetation to feed on. We observed the species in small flocks of 8 to 12 individuals.
Red Fox, Ladakh, India
The Red Fox is also fairly common in the region. Like much of the wildlife, this animal was seen and photographed at a distance requiring the longest telephoto lens available.
Ladakh Urial, Ladakh, India
The older male Urial is distinguished by his black "beard". The species can move over rocky terrain with seeming ease and speed. This species is one of the primary prey species of the snow leopard.
In a followup posting I'll look at the snow leopard specifically. As I'm currently "on the road", internet connectivity is a bit unpredictable. Stay tuned! ~KD.