Saturday, 26 March 2011

Kerala, India February 2011 (05.03.11) Day 2

Day 2  05.03.11

So yesterday had been an extermely long day.  Due to a night flight from Dubai I had very little sleep. So took an early night last night.  I was due to get up at 6am but was woken abruptly at 5am to VERY loud music coming from a nearby Hindu temple.  Think of the catchiest and noisiest songs from any Bollywood movie played on loudspeakers to be heard for miles and then imagine that is what you awake to at 5am !!  To say I felt a little groggy that morning would be a huge understatement.   However I was on the road at 7:15am after a lovely breakfast provided by the guys at the camp.  Jijo and Shibu were as lively as ever which perked me up somewhat.   The morning was spent up in the forested hills of Thattekad National Park, a little misty to start with but the sun was soon shining and the humidty rising !  This was to be the weather theme for the rest of my stay at Thattekad before moving on to Munnar.  If you would like to contact my Birding guide  just click his name, Jijo Matthew

Species seen today included :

Lesser Whistling Duck Chestnut-headed Bee-eater [sp] Greenish Warbler [sp]
Grey Junglefowl Malabar Grey Hornbill Grey-breasted Prinia [sp]
Oriental Darter White-cheeked Barbet Asian Fairy-bluebird [sp]
Little Egret [sp] Brown-capped Woodpecker [sp] Asian Brown Flycatcher
Crested Serpent Eagle [sp] Heart-spotted Woodpecker Blue-throated Flycatcher [sp]
Shikra [sp] Common Iora [sp] Malabar Whistling Thrush
Mountain Hawk-eagle [sp] Scarlet Minivet [sp] Orange-headed Thrush [sp]
Pin-tailed Snipe Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike [sp] Southern Hill Myna
Pompadour Green Pigeon [sp] Eurasian Golden Oriole [sp] Golden-fronted Leafbird [sp]
Green Imperial Pigeon [sp] Ashy Drongo [sp] Plain Flowerpecker [sp]
Malabar Parakeet Bronzed Drongo [sp] Crimson-backed Sunbird
Common Hawk-cuckoo [sp] Greater Racket-tailed Drongo [sp] Long-billed Sunbird [sp]
Jungle Owlet [sp] White-bellied Treepie Little Spiderhunter [sp]
Common Kingfisher [sp] Black-headed Bulbul [sp] Grey Wagtail [sp]

Black-crested Bulbul [sp]

Red-whiskered Bulbul [sp]

 Indian Pond Heron
Ardeola grayii

 Southern Hill Myna
Gracula indica

 Jungle Owlet
Glaucidium radiatum

 Malabar Parakeet
Psittacula columboides

 Golden Fronted-Leafbird
Chloropsis aurifrons

 White-Bellied Treepie
Dendrocitta leucogastra

 Common Hawk Cuckoo
Hierococcyx varius

 Intermediate Egret
Egretta intermedia

  Indian Pond Heron
Ardeola grayii

 White-Browed Wagtail
Motacilla maderaspatensis

 Indian Darter
Anhinga melanogaster

 Common Kingfisher
Alcedo atthis

 Lesser Whistling-Duck
Dendrocygna javanica

 Grey-Breasted Prinia
Prinia hodgsonii

 Red-Whiskered Bulbul
Pycnonotus jocosus

 Greater Recket-Tailed Drongo
Dicrurus paradiseus

Pin-Tailed Snipe
Gallinago stenura

Bar-Winged Flycatcher-shriker
Hemipus picatus

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Kerala, India February 2011 Thattekad (04.03.11) Day 1

Ok, not exactly UAE Birding but thought I would share my trip to Kerala in India.  I had organised this through an Indian company Birds of Kerala. This was to be an 8 day trip staying at various locations.

In the early hours (2:45am to be precise) on Friday 4th March  I departed Dubai headed for Cochin (Kochi) where I would land about 8:30am and meet my driver.   Shibu was my drivers name and over the course of the week we got to know each other quite well.   He was an excellent driver and knew is way around well.  He would also be responsible for one or two pics that I would have missed without his keen observation ! 

We set off from the airport to Thattekad where we arrived at Hornbill Camp (a tented camp) around 11:00am where I met my guide for the week Jijo Matthew.  And what a guide he turned out to be, I cannot recommend him enough !

After unpacking I was keen to get out around the camp before our 3:30pm excursion.  It was mid-day,  the light was very harsh and it was hot and humid but I was in my element.    Managed to capture some images of Purple-Rumped and Loten's Sunbirds (Long-Billed Sunbird) and one or two other species such as Jungle Babbler and Oriental Magpie-Robin.  Decided it was best to get some lunch and a little sleep before our afternoon sortie.

3:30pm soon arrived and feeling a little groggy ventured out with Shibu and Jijo to a local birding spot for a few ours, birds of note included Brown-Capped Woodpecker, Chestnut-tailed Starling and endemic White-cheeked Barbet.   Jijo also managed to re-find a Mottle Wood Owl (extremely shy) from a week earlier, a skill I that was going to impress me more and more as the week went on.

As I went back to the camp I reflected on 39 species seen in my first couple of hours.

 Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis)
 Loten's Sunbird (Cinnyris lotenius)
Loten's Sunbird (Cinnyris lotenius)
 Mottled Wood Owl (Strix ocellata)

 White-Cheeked Barbet (Megalaima viridis)
 Chestnut-Tailed Starling (Sturnia malabarica)
 Brown-Capped Woodpecker (Dendrocopos moluccensis)