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        Srinivas Raju and I started at 2:30 am on the saturday, the 24th and headed towards Mysore. With a short break for coffee in the CoffeeDay, we reached Jungle lodges Bandipur at 6:15 am and headed towards Ooty.   

Common Wood Shrike in Bandipur
Common Wood Shrike in Bandipur

 Our  birding started as soon as we left from the JLR, just a few mins later when we saw a groups of jungle fowls.  We stopped again immediately for a not so common bird and Srinivas said softly, “its a Common woodShrike”.  We then went ahead till the Bandipur checkpost and decided to take the left that led to Tusker trails and Cicada. It was a great disspointment to miss the Tawny babblers which flew in front of our car so many times, but we couldn’t make a single image of them. It was a pleasure to see the Black Headed Oriole which actually was a surprise, we also got a couple of images of the Streak Throated Woodpecker and some very nice lighted images of White Browed Fantail.          

Breakfast time and had idlis and dosa in the TTDC Hotel Tamil Nadu near the Mudumali checkpost and headed towards Ooty. Initially, we thought we would check in to a hotel in Mudumalai which we got it after  speaking to the range officer in Mudumali. On the way, we found some bird activity in the main road and realized that there were at least 6 species of birds hunting the flies, that were a result of the recent rains. We waited there to make some images of the Bronzed  Drongo,  White bellied Drongo, small minivets, White Browed Bulbul and the Brown-Headed Barbet was a bonus. (All images in http://www.weekendventures.net).  Ooty being the final destination, we reached by 12:00pm and went to the Potato Research farm. Srinivas had promised me the Grey headed Canary Flycatcher and he was very keen about the Black & Orange flycatcher. It was a sheer disappointment with the weather and the place was a mess with the dump and slush. I did see a few canary flycatchers and Crismson Backed Sunbirds, but after a while there was absolutely no activity.    

Grey Headed Canary Fly Catcher
Grey Headed Canary Fly Catcher

Srini went to a place where he had seen the B&OFC last time he had been, but couldnt find any. We waited for a few more minutes in the same place standing near the undergrowth and there came a B&O FlyCatcher in about 2 feet which was much inside the min focus distance and so lost foucs of it. I had too be contended with the sighting and had to move out of the place as it started raining.  We had our lunch in a near by hotel and then moved to Doddabetta. I had high hopes there are I had heard about this place from a couple of people in Bangalore. Very dull light and windy fog in Doddabetta and were able to see the Great Tits at the entrance trying to steel away the groudnuts, sold by the hawkers. That being a saturday, there were a lot of visitors and never stopped coming in. We heard some wierd laughing sound near a fence in the pathway and then suddenly the rare endemic Nilgiri Laughing  Thrush popped out. Infact, there was a couple of them and we waited for them to come down to the ground. We made some images of the Laughing thrush and the Eurasian BlackBirds that came down on the ground for the groundnuts. What a pity it was to see the rare endemic laughing thrush picking up food from the trash cans outside on the pathway.

Eurasian Black Bird
Eurasian Black Bird

    

     We made some good images of the Eursian Black bird, Nilgiri Laughing Thrush and the great tits. Srini was very lucky to get just only a couple of shots of the White bellied Shortwing and I could only manage a recordshot of it. We drove back to Ooty that evening, had a sound sleep and were ready in the morning for another day of shoot. The day was very foggy and had no signs of the sky clearing up. We had our breakfast and got into the famous Botanical Garden. Very bad light and was in no mood to spend our money on the entry tickets and the car parking fees. Srini took me to the left side of the park where we a few Oriental White eyes and some water hens. We came back to the spot where there was a big patch of red flowers and waited there as Srini was very sure of the crimson backed sunbirds coming there. Then came a couple of restless CBSunbirds, posed for a few mins and went away.  We only whished that we had good light there and decided to come back again on a sunny day.    

Crimson Backed Sunbird in Ooty
Crimson Backed Sunbird in Ooty

   

   We decided to go back to Mudumalai and started driving down. We did approach a guide in a private resort seeking help on birding, spend a couple of hours to get some record shots of Brown cheeked fulveta, leaf bird and a few bulbuls. We decided to go back home and on the way, we planned to come back to  Mudumali and Ooty on a very sunny day and we are just waiting for that day to come.  On the way back, I told Srini that we will get a Changeable Hawk Eagle and he asked me to stop thinking so wishfully, but then we did see a huge raptor flying from our left and perched on a tree to the right. We pulled out our bazookas in the rain and got a few images of the eagle getting drenched in the rain. Srini exclaimed, “what a shot to end the trip! ”         

Changeable Hawk Eagle to close the trip

Changeable Hawk Eagle to close the trip

 

  For more images from the trip, visit http://weekendventures.net/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=13

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