Saturday, 2 December 2017

Western Ghats - 2nd December (Day 8)

Today we were up at 06:15 to a rather overcast morning with light drizzle. We had time for a coffee and biscuits in the Jungle Hut lodge then headed out to area of grassland and scattered trees and scrub at Mudumalai. It was a very enjoyable morning with good numbers of birds to be seen. The highlight was Indian Nuthatch plus Hill Swallow, Bay-backed Shrike, Indian RobinYellow-wattled Lapwing, Plum-headed Parakeet, Syke’s Warbler, Blyth’s Reed-warbler, Lesser Whitethroat (of the subspecies althaea, sometimes split as Hume's Whitethroat)  Pallid Harrier and Pale-billed Flowerpecker. Having seen the Nuthatch, the main target here, we headed to a bamboo dominated gully at the back of the lodge. By now it was sunny and fairly hot which was a welcome change to the recent wet weather. In the bamboo we found Tickell’s Blue-flycatcher, Malabar Whistling-thrush and Orange-headed Thrush but the main target Nilgiri Thrush, gave only poor views, briefly on the ground and in flight. Nilgiri Thrush is not yet split by HBW Alive and remains a subspecies, neilgherriensis, of White’s Thursh albeit that it is recognised as a potential future split given further study and evidence to suggest a separate species. After a superb breakfast we headed back into the bamboo for the Nilgiri Thrush which eventually gave good views as it fed on the ground amongst the bamboo stands occasionally being chased by a Malabar Whistling-thrush. In addition, we recorded Puff-throated Babbler, Indian Blackbird, Common Tailorbird and Oriental Magpie-robin.

Bay-backed Shrike - Mudumalai

Indian Robin - Mudumalai

Lesser Whitethroat of subspecies althaea - Mudumalai

Indian Nuthatch - Mudumalai

Blyth's Reed-warbler  - Mudumalai

Pale-billed Flowerpecker - Mudumalai

White-browed Wagtail - Mudumalai

Yellow-billed Babbler - Mudumalai

Yellow-wattled Lapwing - Mudumalai

Habitat at Mudumalai

Northern Lime Swallowtail Papilio demoleus - Mudumalai (see here)

Hoopoe - Forest Hut, Mudumalai

Indian Pond-heron - Forest Hut, Mudumalai

Greenish Warbler - Forest Hut, Mudumalai

Tickell's Blue-flycatcher - Forest Hut, Mudumalai

Oriental Magpie-robin - Forest Hut, Mudumalai

Orange-headed Thrush - Forest Hut, Mudumalai

White's Thrush of the subspecies neilgherriensis, a possible future split as Nilgiri Thrush  - Forest Hut, Mudumalai

We packed our bags at 13:30, loaded the mini-bus and began the drive back to Ooty. We stopped at the small but colourful village of Kallatty for Painted Bush-quail where a flock of five with two chicks quickly gave fairly good but brief views amongst the scrub and rock on the outskirts of the village. We then walked up the road above the village through plantation woodland and secondary growth seeing Nilgiri Flycatcher, plus Greenish Warbler, Blyth’s Reed Warbler, Bar-wing Flycatcher-shrike, Pied Bushchat (of the subspecies nilgiriensis), Dusky Crag Martin and Tickell’s Leaf-warbler. We then drove back to Ooty arriving at 17:30 and checked back into the Taj Savoy hotel where we had stayed in on 30th November. We relaxed for a while and then had dinner but were disappointed to find that there was a religious festival ‘Milad Un Nabi” and no alcohol was being served. Fortunately, Clive had brought with him a stash of Famous Grouse and so we retreated to his room to do the log and savour a ‘wee dram’.

Kallatty Area

Kallatty Area

Kallatty Area

Kallatty Area

Kallatty Area

Kallatty Area

Bonnet Macaque - Kallatty

Red-whiskered Bulbul - Kallatty

Red-whiskered Bulbul - Kallatty

Nilgiri Flycatcher - Kallatty

Blyth's Reed-warbler - Kallatty

Crested Goshawk - Kallatty

Pied Stonechat - Kallatty

Pied Stonechat - Kallatty

Pied Stonechat - Kallatty

Doom and Gloom at dinner time

Whisky and the log

Links to Other Days of the Trip (Click to View)