Birded the Doddabetta Road after a great breakfast at 7am and despite the foul weather with thick mist and drizzle we quickly found one of our main target species, a superb Nilgiri (Black-chinned) Laughingthrush feeding beside the path.
|Nilgiri (Black-chinned) Laughingthrush|
Well, to be honest they found us and were really rather bold as they foraged around the small shops & huts beside us! With poor visibility and the renowned skulking Nilgiri Blue Robin still to find, we knew a great deal of patience was required. In the meantime, as we staked out its favoured area, we were entertained by Indian Blackbird, Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher, Oriental White-eye, and both Tickell’s & Tytler’s Leaf-Warblers feeding right in front of us.
|Oriental White-eyes fed right in front of us|
|As did this Tickell's Leaf Warbler|
After a while a robin began singing but soon stopped when a Crested Goshawk flew in and landed right over where we thought it was singing! But it soon moved off and after a short wait, during which we saw a pair of Nilgiri Flycatchers, the Nilgiri Blue Robin appeared and eventually began feeding in an open area below the path where it remained for several minutes. Wow!
|Nigiri Blue Robin|
With further views of the Laughingthrushes we then headed down to a lake where we saw Indian Spot-billed Ducks, Common Coot, Green Sandpiper and a few White-throated Fantails.
|Indian Spot-billed Ducks|
After a lengthy lunchtime back at our swanky hotel we birded the botanical gardens and found it crowded with many people enjoying the improving weather. Despite the hustle and noise a stonking male Kashmir Flycatcher posed nicely in the Pine trees above us and was a real surprise as this species hasn’t been reported here this winter so far.
Then, a superb male Black-and-orange Flycatcher gave crippling views as it fed along a drainage channel just a metre away from us – the best views I’ve ever had actually.
|The stunning Black-and-orange Flycatcher|
We also saw Scaly-breasted Munia, confiding Blyth’s Reed Warbler, Nilgiri Flowerpecker and a brief Olive-backed Pipit. Not a bad little haul and we were back at the hotel at 5pm to enjoy the facilities and get ready for a full-on day tomorrow - and boy how we are loving the birding here in southern India.