5 Jan 2014

5 Jan 14 - The Final Afternoon at Thattekad

The final afternoon of the trip with Brian & Vinod, but the good news from my viewpoint is I've still got 24 days left in India. So if your not already bored by Indian photos on this blog, then I've still got plenty of opportunity to change that. We had a last couple of hours to look around Thattekad for some final birds, before Brian was due to head off for the final 3 hour journey to Cochin. Fortunately, we found a decent bird flock in the last 30 minutes to finish off the trip. Even better this had a Fork-tailed Drongo Cuckoo in it. The Drongo Cuckoos look very similar on first appearances to a Drongo & it's was no surprise to find that they use Drongos as hosts to bring up their offspring.
Fork-tailed Drongo Cuckoo: Another recent split from Asian Drongo Cuckoo which has a square tail. The barring on the undertail coverts confirms this is a Drongo Cuckoo & not a Drongo
Cattle Egret: Providing a personal bug removal service to this cow
Black Baza: This small Baza must be one of the best Asian raptors
Common Koel: This is a commonly heard, but less frequently seen, Cuckoo
Black-hooded Oriole: Male
Malabar Woodshrike
Three-striped Palm Squirrel: This is the common striped Palm Squirrel of Peninsula India, but is replaced at higher elevations of the Western Ghats by Western Ghats Striped Squirrel
Nilgiri Palm Squirrel: This Palm Squirrel appears unstriped & has a strong rufous band in the tail so I am assuming its this species as Three-striped should have a grey tail (but would welcome comments)
Green Forest Lizard: This Lizard was about 9 inches long
Georgie & the car
End of trip photo
I couldn't stay at Thattekad & ask for some additional time looking for Owls from Vinod as he was booked to guide the people already staying in his homestay. So after saying goodbye to everybody, I headed back in a taxi, to the cooler temperatures of Munnar for a few days. The next few days were spent starting to plan for the rest of my time in India & doing some blog updates.
Vinod: A good bird guide for the Western Ghats
If anybody is considering a Western Ghats trip, then I can definitely recommend Vinod as a guide. He is a thoroughly likable guy, who knows a lot of good sites for the birds & mammals in the Western Ghats. This is especially true around Munnar & Thattekad where his local knowledge helped us see most of the remaining birds we needed in the last 2.5 days & he works hard in the field to find you the birds. Like a lot of the local guides, he struggled a bit with his Phyllos Warblers identification. But I quite liked that as it mean that I had to do the work to find the better Warblers amongst the Greenish & Tickell's Warblers & I didn't want to have all the birds just identified by somebody else for me. He also has a homestay at Thattekad with 2 rooms & a wife who cooks good Indian food. Unfortunately, for me both rooms were occupied while we were there & the tourists were expecting Vinod to take them out for a general wildlife experience. Vinod's contact details are (Vinod Narayanan, vinodnatu1@gmail.com, +91 9746248274 or +91 8943894087).