Sun 11 July: I am 62 years old today. Woke up 5:00a, but it doesn’t get light until 6:30a. Drove and walked to a spot where Broad-tailed Grassbird is seen, Saw the Grassbird and returned for breakfast. Then we drove for 2 hours to a spot in Tamil Nadu overlooking the plains. Saw Yellow-throated Bulbul and other scrub birds. Then drove 2 hours more to Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary in foothills 35 miles east of Munnar. Sayed in Periyar River Lodge in Kuttanpuzha. Commander Thomas visited, but didn’t stay for dinner. In spite of all the travel, got 23 new birds.
Mon 12 July: Left lodge 6:00a and, before breakfast, got 15 new birds. After breakfast, we went into tall forest and got 7 more new birds. Saw Stork-billed Kingfisher form the lodge while waiting for lunch. After lunch, we got another 7 birds for a staggering total of 30 new birds. We spend an hour waiting for Great-eared Nightjar to fly by without success. Otherwise, we had excellent success.
Tues 13 July: Got Mottled Wood-Owl early on. Then the day got slow. In the first three days, I saw most of the new birds that are possible. Went to Edamalayar Dam and took a 3 km (one way) walk. We heard Puff-throated Babbler, but Eldhose’s recorder would not record, so we missed the Babbler. Got Brown-backed Needletail about 3:30p and headed for the airport. 6 New Birds
If you add up the new birds for the four days, you get 76. In fact 4 of the birds that I thought were new I had seen previously, and the total of new birds was 72. But 72 new birds in 4 days is phenomenal!! Eldhose kept talking me how many more birds there are in winter. Eldhose leads a 10 day trip in Sept in which he charges $800 for 10 days, and he guarantees seeing all 70 endemics of Southern India. He says Jan is the best time to see birds in the Kerala area
Eldhose was phenomenal. He could identify all the birds by call. He didn’t have a tape player, which is a drawback. And he didn’t have a scope. The scope is not a limitation. But if he had had a tape player and prerecorded calls of the birds, we would have seen a few more.
July is in the middle of the monsoon season. It rained every day, but the rain was tolerable. It would often rain for 20 min and would stop, and the sun would poke through the clouds
There are 16 Endemics of the Western Ghats
I saw all except the last two.
Tour options for non-birding spouse/friends:
Ronald Saldino, Niels
Poul Dryer, Ketil Knudsen
Hill Top, Kalimpong, 73430, India
Phone & Fax: +91-3552-255204
Mobile: +91 94340- 47372