24 Dec 2013

24 Dec 13 - I Thought Punk Died Out At The End Of The 70s

Another early start to get to Chiriya Tapu soon after dawn. The forest birding was as good as the previous morning, but with a handful more cars on the road. When a tuk-tuk appeared & stopped, we expected the usual Indian gorping & greeting of "What is your good name" or "From what country are you coming" etc ad nauseum, but it was Dave Willis who was on an extended trip to the Andamans, along with another Indian birder from SW India. After paying their driver off, we had another couple of pairs of eyes on the road that morning.
Andaman Woodpecker: The star of the morning's birding. I thought the Punk look had ended in the 70s!
Andaman Bulbul: Couldn't resist for photos of this great looking Bulbul
White-headed Starling: I'm sure they want to be Woodpeckers as they were frequently clambering around the trees looking for food
Monitor Lizard sp.: This was about 2 ft long
Just in case your wondering why some of the photos are cropped: The trees round here get big
Me: With essential forest birding kit of bins, camera & coffee cup
We finally pushed onto the coastal edge, but didn't linger long before finding another woodland patch to look for Andaman Crake. The best thing about looking for Andaman Crakes is your focusing on the ground & not 30 or 40 metres up in the tree tops. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see any Crakes.
Collared Kingfisher: One of the few birds on the coastal edge
Forest Wagtail: A shy skulking forest species
Andaman Shama: Always happy to see Shama's. They are very elegant & good songsters & they keep fairly low down
As we were leaving Chiriya Tapu to head back to Port Blair for some food, we bumped into a Violet Cuckoo. This is a miniature Asian Cuckoo that I've not seen for over a decade. It is a difficult bird to see in India, given its limited resident range of the Andamans & Nicobars, as well as being a scarce summer visitor to parts of NE India.
Violet Cuckoo
After a break for lunch, we were back at Chiriya Tapu for the late afternoon. The highlight was our first Andaman Cuckoo Dove.
Andaman Cuckoo Dove: I'm always surprised about how small headed Cuckoo Doves are
Obviously we looked for Owls again given it's dark soon after 17:30.
Oriental (Walden's) Scops Owl