Following an overnight flight via Dubai we arrived at Chennai around 8.15am and made our way to the delightful Hotel Pride. Meeting up with Pete & Margaret from Australia we had a little siesta followed by lunch before heading to Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, a little over 2 hours drive away. Arriving at 4pm we walked along the bund, shaded from the sun by large trees and thoroughly enjoyed our time watching the activity at the largest breeding rookery I’ve ever seen in Asia…! I mean there are 1000’s of birds nesting on the bushes out in the lake and they are not too far away to get a sensory overload of sound and smell..! The majority of species are made up of Painted Storks and Asian Openbills, with slightly lesser numbers of Black-crowned Night-Herons, Black-headed Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbills, Great, Little and Indian Cormorants, and flocks of Glossy Ibis continually flew over. Masses of locals were also visiting today but it didn’t hamper our short birding session and we also pulled out Striated Heron, a few Oriental Darters, Indian Golden Oriole, Common Hawk Cuckoo at close range, Southern Coucal, Asian Koel, a pair of White-throated Kingfishers positively glowing in the late afternoon sunshine, our first Yellow-billed Babblers and a nice close perched Shikra. In the rice fields were lots of Indian Pond-herons, as well as Grey Francolin, Indian Spot-billed Duck, Indian Roller, White-browed Wagtail, Wood Sandpipers, Red-wattled Lapwings and Blue-tailed Bee-eaters.
Returning to the coach an Oriental Magpie Robin, Indian Robin and an unobtrusive Blyth’s Reed Warbler were seen. And that was our day so we returned to the hotel and enjoyed a delicious hot buffet dinner.