30 Dec 2013

30 Dec 13 - The Highest Peak In Southern India

After lunch in the Highland hotel, near Ooty, we headed off for our first visit to the nearby Doddabetta Peak. This is the highest peak in Southern India & is a popular tourist destination. Unfortunately, that lead to a lot of loud, noisy Indian tourists & made it more difficult to see the local birds.
Doddabetta Peak: It says it's the highest peak, so it must be true
Views from Doddabetta Peak: The views are pretty spectacular
Food sellers: There were a number of food vendors at the entrance track to the peak
Nilgiri Tea shop: Guess the Tea Dust doesn't translate as literally as it doesn't sound very appealing
We walked park of the entrance road & saw a few Nilgiri Laughingthrushes & Greenish Warblers. There is a narrow path from the car park, with some bushes & small trees, which leads to the main tourist viewpoint. There were a few more Nilgiri Laughingthrushes & Indian Blackbirds visible from this path. A few more species were seen from the viewpoint.
Nilgiri Laughingthrush: Good views could be obtained despite this endemic Laughingthrush being fairly skulky
Indian White-eye
Red-whiskered Bulbul
Indian Blackbird: Another recent Subcontinent split from Blackbird
Greenish Warbler: This worn individual didn't have any obvious wingbar
Pied Bushchat: Female
Grey-headed Flycatcher
Cinereous Tit: Another recent Subcontinent split from Great Tit 
As we drove back to the hotel at dusk, we ran into the first Grey Junglefowls & a party of Gaur feeding in a field next to the road.
Grey Junglefowl
Gaur: Also called Indian Bison by the local population