The going was slow along the winding road but eventually we passed into the reserve and started seeing a few new birds, with a cracking Crested Hawk-eagle and our first Brahminy Starlings and Indian Black Robin.
Having been slightly worried by the name of our next lodge, simply called Jungle Huts, my imagination had been running riot and I feared the worst – but upon arrival we were all pleasantly surprised. A couple of neat blocks of rooms in some well-wooded sprawling grounds were very clean and comfortable, and we even had hot showers! A Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher greeted us and as our host tried to show us to our rooms we became distracted by a flock of Orange Minivets and a Taiga Flycatcher. After lunch we drove a short distance and then walked along a lane and into a very open forest where we were shown a White-naped Flameback in its nest hole, and had some very good views of another one flying around and perched in a bare tree. The same spot also had Coppersmith Barbet, Bay-backed Shrike, a lovely Indian Nuthatch and a Streak-throated Woodpecker.
Unfortunately the low mist covering the surrounding crags materialised into rain and we had to take shelter a couple of times in people’s houses! So our attempt at Jerdon’s Bushlark didn’t end to our liking and we had to settle for a few Malabar Larks and Yellow-throated Sparrow instead.
One of the local guides accompanying us took us to a day roosting Savannah Nightjar and we also had nice views of an adult Bonelli’s Eagle flying over and perched in a big tree, as well as Yellow-crowned Woodpecker. By 5.30pm we had had enough, drenched to the bone and thankful of Francis (our driver) suddenly appearing in his minibus.
Before dinner I spotlighted a Brown Fish-owl in the garden and eventually an Oriental Scops-owl as well – our 12th species of owl on the tour so far.....