Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Western Ghats - 6th December (Day 12)

We had the whole day around the Periyar Tiger Reserve area beginning the day taking a bamboo raft across the dam to an area of forest. The raft consisted of bamboo stems lashed together with string and with bamboo stem seats, it was around 10m in length and while sounding flimsy was actually fairly sturdy but did let on a lot of water. The raft was connected at either bank by rope and was simply pulled across the open water. We wandered a relatively short distance through the forest seeing a few birds including Jungle OwletWhite-bellied Blue-flycatcher, Indian Paradise-flycatcherWestern Crowned Leaf-warbler, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, Jungle Babbler, Common Flameback, Malabar Grey Hornbill and best of all a Sri Lanka Frogmouth roosting within a vine tangle. Come late morning we headed back across on the raft and boarded the bus and headed to the Abad Forest Hotel in Kumily where we drank tea but the main purpose was to see a stunning pair of Indian Scop’s-owl roosting beneath the eaves of one of the hotel buildings.

The dam at Periyar Tiger Reserve at dawn

Crossing the dam on a bamboo raft

Crossing the dam on a bamboo raft

Leach sock day

Malabar Grey Hornbill, endemic to the Western Ghats - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Malabar Grey Hornbill, endemic to the Western Ghats - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Indian Paradise Flycatcher (male) - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Indian Paradise Flycatcher (female) - Periyar Tiger Reserve

The dam at Periyar Tiger Reserve

White-bellied Blue-flycatcher, endemic to the Western Ghats - Periyar Tiger Reserve

White-bellied Blue-flycatcher, endemic to the Western Ghats - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Orange-headed Thrush - White-bellied Blue-flycatcher - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Common Flameback of the subspecies malabaricum which is isolated from other populations in extreme NE India and further east to SE Asia -  Periyar Tiger Reserve

Common Flameback - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Common Flameback - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Indian Giant Squirrel - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Sri Lanka Frogmouth - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Birding Periyar Tiger Reserve

Fisherman - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Leachsocks

Bonnet Macaque - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Indian Scops-owl - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Jijo with essential supplies

After a superb curry lunch and a brief siesta at the hotel we walked a loop from the reserve entrance through woodland and grassland and then back through the village. After viewing a Paper Wasp nest, Jijo promptly grabbed a wasp for us to see and on release it made a beeline for my nose and stung me much to the hilarity of Ian. Just around the corner was a cracking Jungle Owlet which took my mind off the sting. It was generally fairly slow going but we came across a mixed flock within one of the woodland blocks containing Bronze Drongo, Greater Racqet-tailed Drongo, Rufous Treepie, stunning White-bellied Treepie and one of our few remaining targets a pair of very confiding Malabar Trogon. A short way on we bumped into a female Grey Junglefowl and then enjoyed a flock of around 40 Grey-fronted Green Pigeon in a fruiting tree. As we walked back through the village Ian announced that his crotch region felt moist and sticking his hands down his trousers pulled out blood soaked fingers – two leaches had managed to attach themselves to, and feast on, his knob. Much hilarity ensued much to the amusement of the locals and in particular to a heavily moustachioed and beetle-nut chewing elderly gentleman. Cold beers and curry back at the hotel passed away the evening after another great day in the field.

Paperwasp just before I got nailed by one on the nose

Jungle Owlet of the subspecies malabaricum and a possible split as Nilgiri Owlet - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Jungle Owlet - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Changeable Hawk-eagle - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Sambar Deer - Periyar Tiger Reserve

White-bellied Treepie, endemic to the Western Ghats - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Malabar Grey Hornbill - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Greater Racquet-tailed Drongo - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Malabar Trogon (male) - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Malabar Trogon (male) - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Malabar Trogon (female) - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Malabar Trogon (female) - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Ian snapping the locals

Part of a flock of around 40 Grey-fronted Green-Pigeon, endemic to the Western Ghats - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Asian Brown Flycatcher - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Tickell's Blue-flycatcher - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Our well stocked minibar welcoming us back after a long day in the field


A couple of sound recordings from today, the first is the simple song of Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, here of the nominate race poioicephala which is endemic to the Western Ghats. The second recording is of a perched Malabar Grey Hornbill that was associating with a feeding flock of Greater Racquet-tailed Drone, White-bellied Treepie and Malabar Trogon.