23 Dec 2013

23 Dec 13 - The Early Birder Catches The Boat

The alarm went off at 04:00 (& this is supposed to be a holiday). Just time for a strong coffee before getting to the hotel door for 04:30. The driver showed up 10 minutes late, but we still caught the 05:00 ferry in the half light of dawn. A few minutes later we were driving through lagoons & mangroves, before entering some decent forest at a site called Jirgatna, on the opposite side of the bay to Port Blair. For the rest of the morning, we were birding along a road with lots of birds & a car every 15 minutes or so. Can't think of many places where forest birding from a road has been so pleasant. By the end of the morning we had seen 2/3rds of endemic Andaman birds.
Vikram showing how high this forest is
Long-tailed Parakeet
Andaman Coucal: For once not in a dense tangle of vegetation
Spot-breasted Pied Woodpecker: As with Great Spotted Woodpeckers, this is sexed based upon the extent of red on the head. This is a male
Spot-breasted Pied Woodpecker: The female has no red on the head
Andaman Cuckoo-shrike: Surprisely the only one we saw. Good job this bird performed well for the camera. The rusty throat indicates this is a 1st Winter bird
Andaman Cuckoo-shrike: Not a sharp picture, but shows the size of prey it eats. This lizard was dispatched pretty fast
Scarlet Minivet: Male. The females have yellow replacing the orange
Andaman Bulbul: Until fairly recently this was lumped with the widespread Black-headed Bulbul. Perhaps the lack of a black head gave them a clue about splitting it
Black-naped Oriole
Andaman Drongo: This is smaller than the superficially similar looking Black Drongo & is strictly a forest species, whereas the larger Black Drongos prefer open & degraded habitats
Andaman Treepie: They seemed to go around in parties with Andaman Drongos. Perhaps they enjoy watching the Andaman Drongos squabbling like these 2 birds
Andaman Butterfly: Saw similar looking Butterflies on other days so presume its a fairly common species
The Port Blair Bay Ferry: Very like a Scottish ferry on the face of it, but when loading/unloading it's a free for all of motorbikes & people trying to get on & off, with only the cars being organised by the crew
The Port Blair Bay Ferry: The jetty was sharply angled making it more tricky to get the car on
Indian House Crow: Ready to steal away on the next boat to Ireland!!!
House Sparrow: No prizes for identifying this one. This is the indicus subspecies