Sunday, 10 December 2017

Western Ghats - 9th and 10th December (Day 15 and 16)

9th December
Another sleepless night due to a bad cough and I was somewhat relieved when the alarm went off and it was time to get up. We headed to an area of forest known as Oolanthanni outside of Thattekad located at the end of the road that extends south-east from Kuttampuzha. We had one remaining target, Flame-throated Bulbul, and saw this as we ate breakfast out of the back of the mini-bus. Walking along the track through the forest we came across another small flock of five Flame-throated Bulbul with two Yellow-browed Bubul. We headed off the track a short way and marvelled at a pair of Sri Lanka Frogmouth perched on a horizontal branch just above head height, sitting tight and relying on their cryptic plumage to avoid detection. They looked remarkably like a bundle of dead leaves. We spent the remaining couple of hours birding in a clearing and at a watch point where we saw Malabar Barbet, Indian Swiftlet, Imperial Green Pigeon, Nilgiri Imperial Pigeon, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Large Hawk-cuckoo, Grey-capped Green Pigeon and Southern Hill Myna. It was time to head back to Hornbill Lodge pack our bags and have some lunch. The journey to Cochin International Airport took around one hour 40 minutes and we checked in with two hours before our 18:00 Spice Jet flight back to Chennai. We landed at 18:30 and taxied to our hotel, the rather grand Hotel Accord after a somewhat protracted check-in process we quickly changed and enjoyed a fabulous Indian buffet before crashing at around 23:00.

Sri Lanka Frogmouth - Oolanthanni, Thattekad

Flame-throated Bulbul - Oolanthanni, Thattekad

Large Hawk-cuckoo - Oolanthanni, Thattekad

Large Hawk-cuckoo - Oolanthanni, Thattekad

 Oolanthanni, Thattekad

View Point at Oolanthanni, Thattekad

The view from Hornbill Camp - Thattekad

Hornbill Camp, Thattekad

10th December
I was up at 03:50 for my taxi to Chennai International Airport after a swift check-in and security check I relaxed in the airport lounge awaiting my 07:30 flight to London Heathrow. The flight left on time and I relaxed with a couple of glasses of wine and caught up with my notes. It had been a fantastic couple of weeks of intensive birding. We flew over the snow-capped mountain ranges of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, over the open expanse of the Karakum Desert over the Caspian Sea and into Europe landing one hour ahead of schedule at 12:30. But, as we landed it was snowing and we had to wait to obtain a stand, we were 44th in the queue! The issue seemed to be that there were few flights departing and those that were required de-icing before leaving the stands, some planes having been on stand for six hours waiting to depart. We eventually disembarked at 18:00 having spent 5.5 hours waiting on the plane.

List of Birds Recorded in the Western Ghats
We recorded 210 species 71 of which were ticks for me (shown in bold).

Red Spurfowl
Indian Peafowl
Painted Bush-quail
Grey Junglefowl
Rock Dove
Nilgiri Woodpigeon
Eurasian Collared-dove
Western Spotted Dove
Grey-capped Emerald Dove
Grey-fronted Green-pigeon
Yellow-footed Green-pigeon
Green Imperial-pigeon
Nilgiri Imperial-pigeon
Sri Lanka Frogmouth
Jungle Nightjar
Jerdon's Nightjar
Indian Nightjar
Crested Treeswift
White-rumped Spinetail
Brown-backed Needletail
Indian Swiftlet
Asian Palm-swift
Alpine Swift
Pacific Swift
Little Swift
Lesser Coucal
Blue-faced Malkoha
Western Koel
Banded Bay Cuckoo
Grey-bellied Cuckoo
Fork-tailed Drongo-cuckoo
Large Hawk-cuckoo
Common Hawk-cuckoo
White-breasted Waterhen
Purple Swamphen
Asian Openbill
Indian Pond-heron
Cattle Egret
Grey Heron
Great White Egret
Intermediate Egret
Little Cormorant
Great Cormorant
Yellow-wattled Lapwing
Red-wattled Lapwing
Common Sandpiper
Green Sandpiper
Whiskered Tern
River Tern
Sri Lanka Bay-owl
Jungle Owlet
Spotted Owlet
Indian Scops-owl
Oriental Scops-owl
Mottled Wood-owl
Brown Fish-owl
Black-winged Kite
Oriental Honey-buzzard
Crested Serpent-eagle
Rufous-bellied Eagle
Black Eagle
Bonelli's Eagle
Booted Eagle
Western Marsh-harrier
Pallid Harrier
Crested Goshawk
Lesser Fish-eagle
Brahminy Kite
Black Kite
Malabar Trogon
Malabar Grey Hornbill
Common Hoopoe
Asian Green Bee-eater
Chestnut-headed Bee-eater
Blue-tailed Bee-eater
Pied Kingfisher
Stork-billed Kingfisher
White-breasted Kingfisher
Coppersmith Barbet
Malabar Barbet
Brown-headed Barbet
White-cheeked Barbet
Greater Flameback
Common Flameback
Black-rumped Flameback
Rufous Woodpecker
Indian Pygmy Woodpecker
Yellow-crowned Woodpecker
Common Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Vernal Hanging-parrot
Plum-headed Parakeet
Malabar Parakeet
Indian Pitta
Black-hooded Oriole
Indian Golden Oriole
Small Minivet
Scarlet Minivet
Indian Cuckooshrike
Black-headed Cuckooshrike
Ashy Woodswallow
Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike
Malabar Woodshrike
Common Iora
White-browed Fantail
White-spotted Fantail
Black Drongo
Ashy Drongo
Bronzed Drongo
Greater Racquet-tailed Drongo
Indian Paradise-flycatcher
Brown Shrike
Bay-backed Shrike
Long-tailed Shrike
Rufous Treepie
White-bellied Treepie
House Crow
Large-billed Crow
Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher
Great Tit
Black-lored Tit
Malabar Lark
Jungle Prinia
Common Tailorbird
Sykes's Warbler
Blyth’s Reed-warbler
Clamorous Reed-warbler
Common Grasshopper-warbler
Red-rumped Swallow
House Swallow
Barn Swallow
Dusky Crag Martin
Square-tailed Bulbul
Flame-throated Bulbul
Red-whiskered Bulbul
Red-vented Bulbul
Yellow-throated Bulbul
White-browed Bulbul
Grey-headed Bulbul
Yellow-browed Bulbul
Tytler's Leaf-warbler
Tickell's Leaf-warbler
Green Warbler
Greenish Warbler
Large-billed Leaf-warbler
Western Crowned Leaf-warbler
Lesser Whitethroat
Oriental White-eye
Indian Scimitar-babbler
Dark-fronted Babbler
Puff-throated Babbler
Brown-cheeked Fulvetta
Rufous Babbler
Jungle Babbler
Yellow-billed Babbler
Wynaad Laughingthrush
Palani Laughingthrush
Nilgiri Laughingthrush
Indian Nuthatch
Velvet-fronted Nuthatch
Chestnut-tailed Starling
Jungle Myna
Southern Hill Myna
White's Thrush
Orange-headed Thrush
Indian Blackbird
Oriental Magpie-robin
Indian Robin
White-rumped Shama
Brown-breasted Flycatcher
Asian Brown Flycatcher
Nilgiri Flycatcher
White-bellied Blue-flycatcher
Tickell's Blue-flycatcher
Blue-throated Blue-flycatcher
Indian Blue Robin
Nilgiri Blue Robin
White-bellied Blue Robin
Malabar Whistling-thrush
Rusty-tailed Flycatcher
Black-and-orange Flycatcher
Blue Rock-thrush
Pied Bushchat
Asian Fairy-bluebird
Golden-fronted Leafbird
Jerdon's Leafbird
Pale-billed Flowerpecker
Nilgiri Flowerpecker
Little Spiderhunter
Purple-rumped Sunbird
Crimson-backed Sunbird
Purple Sunbird
Loten's Sunbird
White-rumped Munia
Scaly-breasted Munia
Black-throated Munia
House Sparrow
Chestnut-shouldered Bush-sparrow
Olive-backed Pipit
Nilgiri Pipit
Paddyfield Pipit
Grey Wagtail
White-browed Wagtail
Common Rosefinch

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