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January 22, 2008
Thattekhad “ The” Birding destination of South India-Dec 2007 ( Part I)
-Posted by Partha Pal in Delhibird yahoo group
Roughly 25 odd square kilometer of area but it boasts of 270 species and above. Two and half days of birding yielding 33 lifers and the greed to continue was still there,
unfortunately time didn’t allow.
Reached Thattekad around 11 a.m . Ashy wood swallow were the first ones to greet perched on the wire across the river. Happy with the good omen I continued and reached the sanctuary gate.
Sudeesh the young guide who is under tutelage of Eldhose was wating for me at the sanctuary gate. Since Eldhose was already booked for that day Sudeesh took me around for the first part of the day . My staying arrangements were done with a family who lives
within the sanctuary. Fresh home food and family atmosphere, very good host added to the good birding. The lady of the house Mrs.Sudha and other family members were extremely nice and caring. Incidentally her son is lawyer and also a
birding guide . His free time is taken up as birding guide.
My first foray into the forest - actually before that ,just next to the gate
a pair of brown hawk owl were roosting.(1st lifer of the trip) 12 hours of bus journey in normal circumstances I would have been sleeping like a log but here I was excited like a kid who has just been given a free hand. Late morning visit resulted in sighting
of five Srilanka frogmouth (really strange looking birds infact the way they sit still – just like statues.
Sudeesh advised that they won’t move unless you touch the bush they are sitting on.
We saw Giant wood spider with a huge web , fleeting yellow
browed bulbuls, Greater racket tailed drongo as common as black drongo in north, Bronzed drongo, Black napped monarch, Asian paradise Flycatcher, Forest wagtail and of course The Pit Viper (We managed to go as close as 12 inches . It lay lazily ,tummy was bloated
,must have good kill.
(Continued in next part)