Saturday, 8 December 2012

Ooty At Last!

Right before sunrise a few of us were lucky enough to get the Mottled Wood-owl in the scope just as it headed off to roost, before we set off on a little walk around the local vicinity. A few new birds were found starting with Common Woodshrike, followed by Black-shouldered Kite, Red-throated Flycatcher, Siberian Chiffchaff and White-browed Bulbul. Other birds seen included Grey Francolin, Shikra, Asian Paradise-flycatcher, Common Iora and others. After breakfast we set off on the long 5 hour journey to the hill station of Ooty, noting Wire-tailed Swallow, Brahminy and Black Kites along the way. As the road began winding its way up into the hills the temperature dropped quite quickly and a bumpy last stretch of road took us to a viewpoint teeming with people. 

Black-chinned Laughingthrush

Indian Blackbird

But behind the stalls selling all manner of goods, lots of rubbish and wasted food had been thrown and here numerous Black-chinned Laughingthrushes and Indian Blackbirds were present, feeding on the scraps. The latter species is now a good split from Eurasian Blackbird and is quite different as you can see from the above photo. They even came up to the stalls on occasion to scrounge for more food. Amazing!  

Nilgiri Blue Robin

Nilgiri Blue Robin

It took a few minutes longer to get onto Nilgiri Blue Robin, but sure enough we did and enjoyed great views of this little skulker.  This used to be called Nilgiri Shortwing and it's hard to fathom why it was ever called that considering its jizz and behaviour! But it's a great little bird all the same and one of my favourites on the tour so far. And that was it but we hung around for a while enjoying repeated views of all these species before heading off to a great hotel and fabulous buffet dinner.

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