|Sri Lanka Frogmouth|
After a week in the dry Indian state of Gujarat (see the following three posts), Bill Watson and I met up with Sandra Watson and Glenn Scherf in Delhi for a bit of cultural activity around Agra (more on that later) before flying to Kochi, the capital of Kerala state in the south-west of the country. We were looking forward to the change of scenery and birds.
Kochi-based Kalypso Adventures organised our 12-day trip through Kerala and Tamil Nadu states, and they did an excellent job. We opted not to have a birding guide full-time, using locals on occasion, but we wanted a driver who more-or-less knew where to go for the birds. That driver, Joji, was very good and is highly recommended. Our first call was three nights at Hornbill Camp, birding the Thattekkad area in the forests of the Western Ghats.
|Local guide Danish Trogon in the Western Ghats|
Our local guide at the camp, Danish Trogon, proved to excellent at tracking down specialties. Contrary to what has been written in some reports, you do not need to visit Periyar for the regional specialties.
Around the camp, common birds included the Western Ghats endemic, White-cheeked Babbler, and Jungle Babbler.
Our first morning saw us in an excellent dry forest patch amid rocky outcrops at Kallypar. Here we scored the elusive Grey-headed Bulbul, a Ghats endemic along with fellow regional endemic bulbuls Flame-throated and Yellow-browed.
The birds came thick and fast and we had quickly ticked off Malabar Trogon, Malabar Parakeet, the soon-to-be-split Fork-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo, Black-headed Cuckoo-shrike and Malabar Woodshrike.
|Black-headed Cuckoo-shrike female|
|Malabar Grey Hornbill|