We drove a short distance to a nice open forest and walked along a dirt track and very quickly found a Jerdon’s Bushlark which I called in and then scoped on top of a small tree. It was nice views after yesterday’s events when rain stopped play. Then we continued our walk further along the track and picked up lots of Brahminy Starlings and eventually a few Rosy Starlings and Grey-headed Starlings as well.
Overhead both Indian and White-rumped Vultures were soaring around and towards the end of our walk we also saw a very low flying Red-headed Vulture.
Continuing the raptor theme and a Shaheen flew over – although only a race of Peregrine it was still nice to see. Flocks of Yellow-footed Green-pigeons were perched up nicely in the trees and Chris picked up a Brown-headed Barbet. As we were just about finished with our walk a wonderful White-bellied Minivet was spotted and everyone saw it very well. We also came across a lone Gaur crashing through the scrub, had a brief look at a Grey-headed Bulbul and White-rumped Shama, saw a Yellow-eyed Babbler very well, several Common Rosefinches and had reasonably close view of a Sykes’s Warbler.
Leaving Jungle Huts behind we set off on the drive north to Nagarhole, which was long and tedious but enlivened, inevitably, by some good new birds for the list. So we added Ashy-crowned Sparrow-lark and Indian Black Ibis and saw plenty of other commoner things.
Eventually after a four and a half hour drive we arrived at the wonderful Kabini River Lodge, and by now it was almost 2.45pm so went straight for lunch and then right onto the boat for our ‘safari’ along the huge reservoir. This turned out to be pretty good with hundreds of River Terns present, along with a few Whiskered Terns.
Some small islands held lots of Pygmy and Indian Cormorants, Oriental Darters, with a few Great Cormorants as well. Black-headed Ibis, Asian Openbill, Eurasian Spoonbills, a few Painted Storks, Purple and Grey Herons, and Black-crowned Night-herons all added to the spectacle.
Flocks of Pintail and Spot-billed Ducks also contained smaller numbers of Common Teal and Garganey which took flight as we sailed by. Raptors included several Brahminy Kites, an Osprey and best of all, a superb Grey-headed Fish-eagle which was perched prominently on one of the numerous dead trees protruding from the water.
On the grassy banks herds of Spotted Deer also included some Sambar, along with a few Wild Boar, however the Asian Elephants stole the show. Several groups were seen digging up the grass for food, and one small herd included a young baby!
As we watched this one particular group a Malabar Pied Hornbill flew over and gave really nice views against the clear blue sky.
|Malabar Pied Hornbill|
However, probably the best sighting this afternoon were of the 3 Small Pratincoles perched on a bank beside the water and were a species I had not expected to see on this tour.
We also saw Stork-billed and Lesser Pied Kingfishers as well. As the light began to fade huge flocks of River Terns congregated over the water, which made for a spectacular sight and a Brown-headed Gull was seen on one of the small islands. So by the end of the day we had seen 116 species, our biggest day total by far and by now had seen 98 endemics of varying degree! Not bad going, and we’d break the 100 barrier tomorrow as well…