Western Ghats – 3rd December (Day 9)

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We were up at 05:45, loaded the car and then drove to Cairn Hill Park just outside of Ooty to get better views of a couple of the endemics to be found here after our last visit on 1st December when the weather was terrible.

As we entered the park there were three Black-and-Orange Flycatcher showing very well, albeit in rather dark forest conditions. We also caught up with Nilgiri Robin and Nilgiri Laughingthrush once again but the light levels were far too low for decent photographs – it was nice to see the birds when it was not pouring with rain through.

We then headed for the Ooty Botanical Garden for around an hour, this is where a Kashmir Flycatcher usually winters but we had no luck with this bird but did see Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, , , Nilgiri Flycatcher and Nilgiri Flowerpecker amongst the well-kept gardens with local people enjoying Sunday and taking innumerable ‘selfies’.

Black-and-Orange Flycatcher – Cairn Hill Park, Ooty

Black-and-Orange Flycatcher – Cairn Hill Park, Ooty

Nilgiri Robin – Cairn Hill Park, Ooty

Greenish Warbler – Ooty Botanical Garden

Greenish Warbler – Ooty Botanical Garden

Nilgiri Flowerpecker – Ooty Botanical Garden

Oriental White-eye – Ooty Botanical Garden

Oriental White-eye – Ooty Botanical Garden

Large-billed Crow – Ooty Botanical Garden

Large-billed Crow – Ooty Botanical Garden

Great Tit of subspecies mahrattarum – Ooty Botanical Garden

Velvet-fronted Nuthatch – Ooty Botanical Garden

Nilgiri Flycatcher – Ooty Botanical Garden

Greenish Warbler – Ooty Botanical Garden

Ooty Botanical Garden

Outskirts of Ooty

Bonnet – Mettupalayam viewpoint

Lady selling flowers at the Mettupalayam viewpoint

Wild Gaur outside of Ooty

Wild Gaur outside of Ooty

Entrance to Anamalas Tiger Reserve

in the Anamalas Tiger Reserve

Playful young Bonnet Macaques – Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

Green Imperial-pigeon – Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

We then headed on the long drive to Munnar in the knowledge that we had probably faffed around too late in the park to get to Munnar at a sensible time. We passed through spectacular mountain landscapes clad with tea plantations, and plantation forest but sadly with little remaining natural forest. We stopped at Chinnar Wildlife Park just across the state border in Kerala. This is a site where roosting Spot-bellied Eagle Owl is seen but we had no luck and it materialised that the bird had not been seen for a few weeks.

We did see Green Imperial-pigeon, Brown-headed Barbet, Coppersmith Barbet, Yellow-browed Bulbul and brief views of Yellow-throated Bulbul but we were a little disappointed that the Eagle owl was not present. From the Chinnar Wildlife Park we had a 56km drive to Munnar, this took around 2.5 hours due to slow winding road with moderately heavy traffic and the whole journey was a bit of an ordeal so we were glad to arrive at the Hotel Tea County in Munnar at 20:30.

 

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Simon Colenutt

Simon Colenutt

I began birdwatching at the age of nine when living on the Isle of Wight. After obtaining a copy of the Isle of Wight Bird Report from 1976 I realised that Manx Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua and Black Tern were regularly seen at St.Catherine's Point, only five miles from my home village of Chale Green. To a nine year old these birds were near mythical and so I just had to go and try to see them. Little did I know that these birds were seasonal and after a long winter of seeing nothing I eventually started to bump into other birdwatchers as March drew to a close. It was then that Dave Hunnybun, Dave Wooldridge, Paul Castle, Peter Gandy and Audrey Wilkinson introduced me to the art of seawatching and the joys of bird migration, I have not looked back since.

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Simon Colenutt

Simon Colenutt

I began birdwatching at the age of nine when living on the Isle of Wight. After obtaining a copy of the Isle of Wight Bird Report from 1976 I realised that Manx Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua and Black Tern were regularly seen at St.Catherine's Point, only five miles from my home village of Chale Green. To a nine year old these birds were near mythical and so I just had to go and try to see them. Little did I know that these birds were seasonal and after a long winter of seeing nothing I eventually started to bump into other birdwatchers as March drew to a close. It was then that Dave Hunnybun, Dave Wooldridge, Paul Castle, Peter Gandy and Audrey Wilkinson introduced me to the art of seawatching and the joys of bird migration, I have not looked back since.

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unusual coloring but cute as ever.