A Common Hawk-cuckoo was called in nicely, then a Black Baza was scoped at the top of a tree, both Indian and Black-hooded Orioles showed well and Malabar White-headed Starlings put in constant appearances. Other goodies included Dollarbird, Plum-headed Parakeet, Verditer and Tickell’s Blue Flycatchers, Golden-fronted Leafbird, Black-headed Cuckooshrike and Orange Minivet. A trio of woodpeckers also made their way onto our lists with Black-rumped Flameback, the spectacular White-bellied Woodpecker, and Malabar Flameback. Overhead a flock of Indian Swiftlets were joined by a cruising Indian White-rumped Spinetail and several stunning Brown-backed Needletails.
More endemics were also seen on the treetops and several Malabar Grey Hornbills were nice, Grey-fronted Green-pigeons obliged, along with White-cheeked and Malabar Barbets as well. Dragging ourselves away from all of the action was hard but ample compensation came in the shape of a day roosting Sri Lanka Frogmouth just a metre away, Fork-tailed Drongo Cuckoo, a closer Malabar Grey Hornbill, and along a quiet forest track a few of the group managed to get on a calling Grey-headed Bulbul.
|Malabar Grey Hornbill|
There was also a trio of Oriental Honey-buzzards soaring overhead, Asian paradise-flycatcher, both Asian Brown and Brown-breasted Flycatchers and Jungle Owlet, but an extremely obliging Indian Pitta really stole the show.
It came straight into the tape and perched inside the bushes on a tree stump. And there it stayed for ages, even coming out into the open for a minute and allowed my best photos of this species so far. So what a morning and we then returned to the lodge for lunch and a rest over the hottest time of the day before setting out in the mid-afternoon….
And we continued our success with cracking views of several White-bellied Treepies – a much-wanted endemic as the saying goes! Also had a pair of very confiding Malabar Trogons that came into the tape, as well as Crested Serpent-eagle, Bronzed Drongo, and Crested Treeswift.
We returned to the lodge in the dark for a 7pm dinner and then set out again for some night birding. And pretty successful it was too, with an Indian Scops-owl called in first, followed by a pair of Jerdon’s Nightjars and ending up with a Brown Hawk-owl teed up in the scope to end proceedings.