Thattekad: Gone Birding in Fairyland

DSC01134

I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the tress. – Henry David Thoreau

Also known as Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Thattekad is indeed a heaven for aviary aficionados.

This birdman, interested in all things feathered and winged, spent 3 full days exploring various areas of the sanctuary with Vinod, my own personal ornithologist.

The First day took flight at 6am at a picturesque spot with flowering trees and bushes perfect for many of my feathered friends including Sunbirds, Bulbuls, Ioras, Orioles, Minivets, Leafbirds, Thrushes, Parrots, Hornbills and Woodpeckers to name a few.  It was an exciting morning watching them feed as the morning sun gave a glistening hue to their colourful feathers. The first spotting was magnificent – the Ceylon Frogmouth.

DSC_0230

Ceylon Frogmouth ( Batrachostomus moniliger)

After breakfast, we went looking for the Asian Paradise Flycatcher (PFC) adult male.  I refer to the male PFC as a gothic angel because of its combination of black head and beautiful white body with a marvellous long tail.  Instead we were greeted by a Malabar Trogan who struck a regal pose for us.  As we continued on our search, Brown Breasted Flycatcher, Monarch, Rusty Tailed Flycatcher joined us but no sign of the PFC.  After lunch, we followed another trail where we were greeted by the Black Baza for a few moments.  The Black Baza is not indigenous to the western Ghats and visits for only 3 months.  It’s not easily spotted, so perhaps I got lucky.  I was then called by this melodious shining bird, the Malabar Whistling Thrush.   Oh my, what an incredible combination of sight and sound!

The next two days was well spent spotting Indian Pitta, Nightjar, Black Baza, and at last my Gothic Angel.  Enjoy the pictures as I reflect and rejuvenate after my all-time favourite Avian experience!

By Robindro Saikhom
www.serenejourneys.co
Email: robin@serenejourneys.co
           steve@serenejourneys.co (enquiries from UK and Ireland)

Robin is the founder of Serene Journeys, a boutique travel company in India and a freelance travel photographer, birder and rural explorer.  Follow him on Instagram @ serenejourneys or Facebook @ Serene Journeys or tweet @serenejourneys1

Steve is Director (UK & Ireland) with Serene Journeys and a freelance travel writer and photographer.

How to reach Thattekad:  From Kochi airport, it is an hour and half drive.  Most hotels will arrange airport pickup and drop.
Where to stay in Thattekad:  Seventh Heaven Resort  http://www.7thheavenresort.in (upmarket) or Thattekad Birds Song Homestay http://www.thattekadhomestay.com (Budget)
Naturalist to contact in Thattekad:  Vinod, Mobile +91 9746 248274, +91 8943 894087, email at thattekkadhomestay@gmail.com
DSC_0014

Jungle Nightjar

DSC_0060

Plum-headed Parakeet

DSC_0072

White-cheeked Barbet or Small Green Barbet

DSC_0015

Rusty-tailed Flycatcher or Rufous-tailed Flycatcher

DSC_0024

Bronzed Drongo

DSC_0165

Golden-fronted Leafbird

DSC_0155

White-bellied Woodpecker

DSC_0255

Black Baza

DSC_0110

Asian Paradise Flycatcher (male) – Gothic Angel

DSC_0276

White-bellied Treepie or Southern Treepie

DSC_0310

Asian Paradise Flycatcher (female)

DSC_0089 (2)

Malabar Grey Hornbill

DSC_0354

Malabar Giant Squirrel

DSC_0322

Blue-throated Blue Flycatcher (female)

DSC_0506

Malabar Trogon (male)

DSC_0497

White-headed Starling

DSC_0193

Common or River Kingfisher

DSC_0241

Indian Pitta

DSC_0489

White-headed Starling

DSC_0366

Grey Junglefowl or Sonnerat’s Junglefowl

DSC_0083

Black-headed or Black-fronted Babbler

DSC_0484

White-headed Starling

DSC_0594

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

DSC_0635

Black-naped Monarch

DSC_0618

Black-naped Monarch

DSC_0622

Malabar or Blue-winged Parakeet

DSC_0640

Common Flameback or Goldenback

DSC_0638

Black-naped Monarch

DSC_0697

Malabar Whistling Thrush

DSC_0654

Oriental or Asian Scops Owl

DSC_0686

Yellow-browed Bulbul

DSC_0672

Flame-throated Bulbul

DSC_0658

Dollarbird or Broad-billed Roller

DSC_0549

Malabar Trogon

DSC_1137

Rusty-tailed Flycatcher

DSC_0745

Malabar Grey Hornbill

DSC_0873

Orange-headed Thrush

DSC_1023

Jungle Nightjar

DSC_0831 (2)

Lesser Whistling or Lesser Tree Duck

DSC_0730

Asian Paradise Flycatcher

DSC_0831

Scarlet Minivet or Orange Minivet (female))

DSC_1106

White-headed Starling

DSC_0790

Scarlet Minivet (male)

DSC_1025

Green Imperial Pigeon

DSC_0742

Flame-throated Bulbul

DSC01160

White-bellied Woodpecker

DSC_0879

Malabar Jungle Owlet

DSC_0997

Common Flameback or Goldenback

DSC_1070

Scarlet Minivet or Orange Minivet (female))

DSC_0922

Flame-throated Bulbul

DSC_0770

Malabar Grey Hornbill

DSC_0924

Malabar Grey Hornbill

DSC_0763

Scarlet Minivet (male)

DSC_0783

Shikra or Little Banded Goshawk

DSC_0815

Grey Junglefowl or Sonnerat’s Junglefowl

DSC_0774

Bronzed Drongo

DSC_0841

Grey Junglefowl or Sonnerat’s Junglefowl (female)

DSC_0789

Heart-spotted Woodpecker