Left Ooty early doors (well at 6.30am) and drove to Mudumalai and the rather uninspiringly named Jungle Huts Lodge – our base for the night. It took a good 3 hours to get to the first birding spot where we found a flyover Indian Spotted Eagle, a Sykes’s Warbler feeding in some small weeds, and many Brahminy Starlings.
After a while our local guide appeared and took us on a whirlwind birding day of the highest calibre. First up, after a bit of a hike, was a Brown Fish Owl that looked superb in the scope. The same area held Lesser Yellownape, White-rumped Shama, Black-naped Monarch and Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher.
|Brown Fish Owl|
Then we walked on to see a roosting Brown Wood Owl in a different area, where we also had Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, Indian Scimitar-Babbler, Puff-throated Babbler and a surprising female White-bellied Blue Flycatcher.
|Brown Wood Owl|
Continuing our trek into the late morning we then located a ridiculously confiding Indian Pitta that just sat preening for 20 minutes right in front of us. And then it was nearly 1pm and time for our picnic lunch during which we saw Forest Wagtail, Indian Nuthatch, Taiga Flycatcher, Black-headed Cuckooshrike, and a few Tricoloured Munias.
Then we drove to another scrubby area and quickly found Malabar Lark, along with several Paddyfield Pipits. Nearby our local guide took us to a Jungle Nightjar sat roosting on a tree, and then on to a Savanna Nightjar trying hard to be invisible in the grass underneath a bush.
We also saw Eurasian Hoopoe, Brown-capped Pygmy and Yellow-crowned Woodpeckers, Wire-tailed Swallow, Small Minivet, Bay-backed Shrike, Crested Hawk-Eagle, Black Eagle, Common Iora, Common Woodshrike, White-browed Fantail, and even our first Common Kestrel …….
|White-bellied Minivet (female)|
Then we drove back to Jungle Huts and looked for the previously reported Nilgiri Thrush, but we drew a blank. So we drove out to look for the usually tricky White-bellied Minivet, seeing 4 Woolly-necked Storks in a bare tree along the way, and after a short search found 2 female minivets feeding low down in a dense bushy area. Meanwhile an Indian Vulture flying over was a surprise, and there was also Grey Francolin, and we also saw another Sykes’s Warbler.
|Jungle Bush-Quail - best views ever!|
Driving back we saw a group of Yellow-footed Green-Pigeons and amazingly a covey of Jungle Bush-Quail feeding beside the road that hung around for ages, totally unconcerned by our minibus and other passing traffic. Wow! What a day.