The honor for the image of the Month for August 2013 goes to Praveen Siddannavar's Gaur chasing Tiger image.
This image gets the nod over the other competing images for the Image of the Month on two counts: rare behaviour and action. The drama unfolding in good light is memorable.
PS: Sorry for the delay in announcing the Image of the Month as I have been on the road since first week of this month.
The action as told by Praveen Siddannavar (Excerpts from the original text) shared below:
March 2, 2013 @ 5:30pm, a day that will be in my memory forever. I and a few friends were at Rajiv Gandhi National Park, Nagarhole, Kabini, we took the evening game drive and decided to head to the sunset point on the backwaters of River Kabini, the sight at this location was very disturbing and disappointing, it was only after 30 long years the backwaters had gone completely dry
However we spotted a huge tiger resting underneath the shade of dried bamboo bushes. After a while the tiger started walking in the open, loud alarm went on by Chitals and also the Sambar deers. The tiger ignored these calls; he had a full belly and straight away headed towards the culvert to cool himself in a muddle.
A culvert is a drain or pipe that allows water to flow under a road or man-made tracks in forests. I noticed that the tiger scent marked his territory by urinating on the dead tree stump. A herd of Gaurs too were seen heading towards the culvert to quench their thirst. I was excited, amazed and was sure to see some action. One of the gaurs picks up the scent of the tiger and they all become alert.
The gaurs seem uncomfortable upon seeing the tiger and decide to launch an offensive attack. I also documented one of the gaurs snorting and now seen in an aggressive mood. In no time the entire herd made an excellent ambush around the culvert, after showing a lot of aggression and continuous snorting by gaurs, finally the tiger decides to run away.
However in a state of panic he heads in the opposite direction of the culvert and bangs himself against the stone wall. The tiger quickly realizes his mistake and now tries to escape, he runs for his life, with a gaur chasing him. What an unbelievable sight this is, I have never seen such a high action packed drama before. The gaur is now seen in a very aggressive mood and he almost attacks the tiger. The tiger takes a long leap and one of the gaurs chases him, at one point it was too close, the tail of the tiger was almost touching the gaurs mouth.
Gaurs can be really dangerous; their main strength lies in their sharp and strong horns that can even kill a predator like a tiger. However the tiger is seen sprinting with long leaps and finally manages to have a narrow escape. The tiger seems exhausted and also very embarrassed as he is watched by a group of Chital (spotted deers) as mute spectators. The tiger now looks back unable to digest the plight he had just been in and heads back to the bamboo bushes, the place where it all began…
Camera - Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon f4 500mm lens + 1.4x TC
EXIF - ISO 800 Av 5.6 Tv 1/800 sec EC +0.3 Focal length 700mm, small crop for composition, Shooting against sunlight