Saturday, 8 December 2012

Moving on to Topslip

So this was the morning of our attempt for Broad-tailed Grassbird, a hike up the mountain to the rocky, grass covered steep slopes just visible from our hotel. 

Grassbird habitat

The day dawned bright and clear and the hardy few made it without too much bother and as I suspected the grassbirds weren’t tape responsive, probably due to too many birders/groups visiting the same site. We did get brief tail-end views and Jeff had a conclusive view of another bird but it was far from satisfactory, and all we really had to show for our efforts up here were a couple of Tickell’s Leaf-warblers, Ashy and Plain Prinias and a pair of Black-throated Munias. The walk down did give us nice looks at Indian Blue Robin and we flushed a small quail from beside the path that called agitatedly for ages in the undergrowth that must have been a Painted Bush-quail, but failed to show.

Nilgiri Flowerpecker

We also had Nilgiri Woodpigeon and Nilgiri Flowerpecker to add interest this morning before returning to the hotel and packing up for the drive to our next hotel at the base of the mountains that leads to Topslip – which as I said earlier is closed. Great! 

This is the Olive Brook Hotel

The drive took upwards of 4 hours during which we stopped for our packed lunch, and then again when a small herd of Indian Elephants were causing a parking melee and again later for coffee and ice-cream for some. Better them than me – well for the latter anyway. Good luck with that then! But we passed through varied scenery of huge rolling, forested hills before reaching the plains and passed through Chinnar National Park and then Animalai Tiger Reserve where Hanuman Langurs and Bonnet Macaques preyed on innocent parked cars. As we approached our nice digs a covey of Grey Francolins ran across a small field and after checking in we heard and had brief silhouetted flight views of a Mottled Wood-owl and also heard an Indian Scops-owl.

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