Yesterday I moved from Kottayam to Kothamangalam. Starting at 6am from the hotel in Kottayam I was in Kothamangalam at 12am, and immediately go to Thattekaad Bird Sanctuary. I understood I have only 2 or 3 hour of time to birding. I went directly to the spots where I saw most of all species in my last visits. In the road to the top of mountain I found birds activity and stayed some times. My first and most expecting record of the day was the pair of Heart-spotted Woodpeckers. Also I played with female Asian Fairy-Bluebird. I was replying to each whistle of this bird, after sixth or seventh reply bird came to me and give me a chance to take photo. Next time I noticed a medium-sized bird moved from one tree to another, I thought it's Fairy-Bluebird again, but it was Emerald Dove. Dove was shy but curious, it stayed in shadow of tree but all the time was looking to me, not fly away.
When I finished my birding I ask the staff where I can to find Frogmouth? The staff answered it's impossible in this side, but in another side of Sanctuary I can find not only Frogmouth but Black Baza, Owls and Nightjars too. Great! Should to ask important questions to other people more often.
So today me and my guide Mani at 6.45 started to birding in another part of Sanctuary. Mani promised to find Black Baza, Sri-Lanka Frogmouth and Malabar Trogon. All three birds were found finally. Firstly we reached the large rock bordered by the trees with dry bold branches. We were waiting Black Bazas, but this time I also took photos of other birds, such as Dollarbird, Flame-throated Bulbul etc. When Bazas not come until 8am, Mani said - should to move to other spots. We went by the road and Mani said – Elephant smell. It really was Elephant smell, I remember this smell in Zoo. There are wild Elephants in this area. After the short time Mani show me Black Baza perching in dry branch behind the trees. My first Baza! During the next half an hour I watched about six or seven Bazas. One of Baza was eating prey, the green insect. Baza feeds insects? All the Bazas were staying in the top of trees. But in the bottom of trees we regularly listened and watched Malabar Trogons. We dept to forest and found not only Trogons but the pair of Frogmouth too. Also in this part of forest Mani saw White-bellied Woodpecker, very interesting bird to me, but unfortunately I didn't see it. Three hours of birding were finished. Thank you, Mani, very much! You are really very good guide!
But my birding continued in other side, which is more familiar to me. After the significant records such as Black Baza and Frogmouth, I wanted just walking with camera without any targets. But I found Besra, Orange-headed Thrushes, Fire-fronted Leafbird, Greater Goldenbacks both male (drumming) and female, and some more birds, which are also nice decoration of my today triplist.
1. Sri Lanka Frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger)
2. Heart-spotted Woodpecker (Hemicircus canente)
3. White-bellied Treepie (Dendrocitta leucogastra)
4. Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica)
5. Indian Giant Squirrel
6. Malabar Parakeet (Psittacula columboides)
7. Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis)
8. Flame-throated Bulbul (Pycnonotus gularis)
9. Black Baza (Aviceda leuphotes)
10. Yellow-browed Bulbul (Iole indica)
11. Orange-headed Thrush (Geokichla citrina)
12. Asian Fairy-bluebird (Irena puella)
13. Besra (Accipiter virgatus)
14. Greater Flameback (Chrysocolaptes guttacristatus)
15. Golden-fronted Leafbird (Chloropsis aurifrons)
16. Lesser Yellownape (Picus chlorolophus)
17. Paris Peacock Butterfly
I am really excited to see all the great pix and articles you have posted from South India. I am from Sri Lanka which is much smaller yet still full of birds.
I generally do a little birding in Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata in Dec-feb, but I plan to visit Chennai in July, and Kochin in Aug as well. What do you think?
Hello Paul. I was in Kerala in Oct-Dec, it was a good time for birding. But I can to say nothing about birding in August, sorry. In August 2018 there was the big flood in Kerala, because a lot of showers, so I can guess August no so good time.
© Askar Isabekov
Eravikulam National Park. Munnar, Kerala.