Left after breakfast and drove for a couple of hours to Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, seeing a Crested Goshawk perched at eye-level beside the road.
Along the way we stopped in a good area for Yellow-throated Bulbul and after a short while we enjoyed great views of a bird close to the road. This forest here was alive with birds and in particular one large flock had Brown-headed Barbet, Large Cuckooshrike, Common Woodshrike, Jerdon’s Leafbird, Orange Minivet and White-browed Bulbul.
Driving along the road a pair of Yellow-legged Buttonquails scuttled across in front of us and we saw the male fly away. There was also a perched Shaheen and a soaring Black Eagle as well, plus a close Blue-faced Malkoha.
|Forest Eagle Owl|
Once at Chinnar we walked into the open forest and scrub to some tall trees where Sudeesh quickly located a roosting Spot-bellied (Forest) Eagle Owl near the top of a huge tree and we spent quite some time admiring this huge beast through the scope. Just a few metres away was a roosting Jerdon’s Nightjar as well.
This forested area was also jumping with birds and a calling Jungle Prinia was a little bit of a surprise, but there was also a brief Black-headed Cuckooshrike, Common Woodshrike, Green Warbler, Yellow-eyed Babbler, Red-rumped Swallow, Ashy Woodswallow, Black-shouldered Kite, Yellow-billed Babblers, Malabar Parakeet, Common Iora, White-bellied Drongo, Indian Robin and Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher.
After a packed lunch at the HQ we drove through Anamalai Tiger Reserve and on up to Topslip, seeing Indian Peafowl, Brown-backed Needletail, Coppersmith Barbets, Yellow-crowned Woodpecker, Indian Roller, and Malabar Whistling-Thrush. But we didn’t hang around and drove back down to our digs for the night, the wonderfully named Banyan Tree Lodge. By now it was almost 6pm so after dumping our gear in the rooms we had a quick walk in the grounds and saw a flyover Green Sandpiper and a Spotted Owlet being mobbed by an Asian Paradise-Flycatcher.
It had also been a good day for mammals with the cool-looking Nilgiri Langur, Bonnet Macaque and Hanuman Langur seen. With Barking Deer and Spotted Deer and even a huge bull Gaur spotted as well. But one hair-raising incident will linger with us for a while… As we waited at some roadworks in Anamalai Tiger Reserve, where a gang of labourers were resurfacing the road a huge bull Indian Elephant came out of the forest and walked towards us. It knocked flat a large sign and was clearly ‘angry’ as his ears were flaring and he was moving at a fair speed right towards us. We couldn’t drive forward to escape as there was a large steam roller blocking our escape, and still the Elephant came on. Just in the nick of time the road was cleared and we sped off….. Mmmmm