Wednesday, December 1, 2010

(2nd Batch) Thattekad & Munnar - Twitching for the Endemic Birds (29th Jan - 1st Feb '2011)

Once again .....after an overwhelming response to our first batch to Thattekad and Eravikulam N.P., Munnar, Kerala ..... Nature India announces a 2nd batch to this Paradise.....

Date: 29th January, 2011 to 1st February, 2011 (travels days excluded). The bookings for Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary / Eravikulam N.P. bird-watching trip are on… your seats now (see the details at the end).....Birdwatch in one of the India's richest birding hot-spots within the place revered as "God's Own Country" with Nature India...


Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Thattekkad

Thattekkad is the richest bird habitat in peninsular India, comparable only with the eastern Himalayas” this is how Dr.Salim Ali described the place when he visited Thattekkad in 1930’s.

If you desire to see Western Ghat endemic bird species at one place, then Thattekkad & Munnar "Is" the place. This lesser known place untill now is fast becoming a favorite destination of birders not just across India but also the world as it offers the variety, quality and ambience that can be rivaled by few places.

Please check this link for Trip Report by Dr. Pradnya & Sujit Shenoy, who participated inNature India's previous trip (12-16 Jan.2010)

Thattekkad bird sanctuary located at an approximate distance of 20 kilometers from Kothamangalam on the Kochi Munnar route situated in Idukki district. The serene sanctuary came into being in the year 1983 and was discovered by Dr. Salim Ali the famous ornithologist. This 25 sq.kms sanctuary is home to 250 plus species of birds and other birds that migrate to this place during the migratory seasons. This sanctuary has since being named as "Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary" in honour of the great man.

Nestled among evergreen forests this sanctuary is home to endemic birds like the Malabar grey & Pied Hornbill , Malabar black woodpecker, Blue winged parakeet, Flame-throated Bulbul, Dark-fronted & Rufous Babbler, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Malabar Trogon, Crimson-throated Barbet, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, White-bellied Treepie,.................

Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Grey Jungle Fowl, Grey-headed and Yellow-browed Bulbul, Crimson-backed Sunbird, Spot-bellied Eagle Owl, Black throated Munia, Crimson-fronted Barbet, Jerdon’s Nightjar, Southern Hill Myna etc…… But the most celebrated species here would be the Sri Lanka Frogmouth, perhaps due to the ease at which it is seen here and most of the photographs taken in India of this species are from this place.

The other uncommon species that can also be encountered regular here are Black Baza, Black Eagle, Great-eared Nightjar, Dollar Bird, Red Spurfowl, Lesser Yellow-nape Woodpecker, Speckled Piculet, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Drongo Cuckoo, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Mottled Wood Owl, Green Imperial Pigeon, Crested Goshawk, Malayan Night Heron, Indian Blue Robin…… This list will lure any birder to come running here :-)

Apart from the birdlife there are various mammals that are recorded from here including leopard, porcupine, bear, deer and various other animals and the majestic elephants. Cobras and pythons are common among the reptiles. The place is also noted for the majestic king cobra which is revered through out India.

The sanctuary also is abounding in plant life with mahogany, teak and rosewood vying for places. There are also a variety of plants which are endogenous to the region .These huge trees provide the lush canopy. The thick forest coverer apart from being a safe haven for birds is also a treat for wildlife lovers and bird enthusiasts alike.

Munnar & Eravikulam National Park

Not very far, Munnar compliments the Thattekkad Sanctuary well due to its altitude. It is a hill station 125 kms from Kochi to the West. The altitude above 1600 m above MSL means an agreeable climate throughout the year, though in December-January the temperatures can fall to the single digits. The rain fall of over 300 cm is recorded mainly during June to September. The shola-grassland eco- system so typical of Munnar is home to large numbers of birds, many of them endemic. Sightings of endemics like the Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Nilgiri Pipit, Greyheaded Bulbul, Black & Orange Flycatcher, Broadtailed Grassbird, Crimsonbacked Sunbird, Greybreasted Laughing Thrush, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Indian Rufous Babbler, Whitebellied Blue Flycatcher, Whitebellied Shortwing, Whitebellied Treepie & the Wyanad Laughing Thrush can be the highlights of a birding trip to Munnar & surroundings.

Eravikulam National Park is 97 sq. km. in extent, situated along the crest of the Western Ghats in the High Ranges of Idukki district of Kerala state, India. The Park holds the largest viable population of the endangered (IUCN) Nilgiri Tahr (Hemitragus hylocrius).

About 120 species of birds have been recorded which include endemics like black and ornage flycatcher, Nilgiri pipit, Nilgiri wood pegeon, white bellied shortwing, Nilgiri verditer flycatcher and Kerala laughing thrush. Endemics confined to the shola-grass land ecosystem like the red disk bushbrown and Palni fourwing are among the 100 odd butterflies listed inside the park.

Have a look at some of these wonderful trip experiences...
(click for part 1 to 6)

Click below to get the Bird Checklist of Thattekkad


Tour Itinerary: Cochin to Cochin

1. Saturday, 29th January, 2011:Pick-up at Cochin Station / Airport at 03.30pm ….. Departure in jeep for Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary......Check-in at Jungle Bird Homestay- Light Snacks and Birdwatching for Nightjars and Owls - Dinner and Early Bed.

2. Sunday, 30th January, 2011: Whole Day Birding in Thattekkad Sanctuary and surrounding areas for the Western Ghat Endemics on foot.....Luch - visit the Bhoothathankettu forests (The place is famous for its natural rocky topography, which according to the myth is believed to have been built by bhootams (spirits/demons)....a wonderful birding place not very far from TBS - Stay at Jungle Bird Homestay.

3. Monday, 31st January 2011: Start early morning for Munnar and Eravikulam National Park to watch Nilgiri Pipit, Black & Orange Flycatchers, White-bellied Shortwings, Nilgiri Laughing Thrush, Whistling Thrus, Nilgiri Wood Pigeons, Mountain Imperial Pigeons, Nilgiri Flycatcher and other endemics of the shola forests...... Lunch at Munnar ---- continue watching birds and return back to Thattekkad for night stay.

4. Tuesday, 1st February, 2011: Early morning birding in Thattekkad - Lunch - Continue birding in TBS and adjoining areas - Dinner - drop at Railway Station by 9 pm to Board 12431 Rajdhani Express at 22:35

Travel Options: (to be done by participants, however we can provide assistance if required)
1) 28th Jan, 2011: Train No. 2201 KCVL Garib Rath from Mumbai (Departure 16:55) to Ernakulam (Arrival 15:50) on 29th Jan'11.

or Train No.6345 Netravathi Exp from Mumbai (Dep.11:40) to Ernakulam (Arr.14:05) on 29th Jan'11

2) 1st Feb, 2011: Train No.12431 Rajdhani Express from Ernakulam (Dep.22:35) to Mumbai (Panvel 18:05), (Vasai 19.30) on 2nd Feb'11.

3) Air Travel: Regular flights from Mumbai - Cochin & Bangalore - Cochin

Trip charges : (Cochin to Cochin only)…. Rs. 8700 /-

Includes Twin / Triple sharing in Gireesh's Jungle Bird Homestay, Local transport , one time Park entry charges, local guide charges, All meals (veg/non-veg food), Entry permits , Articles on Thattekkad & Munnar and bird checklist, on board mineral water and snacks………

This does not include Mumbai - Cochin - Mumbai travel charges or any other charges and also any individual camera charges ....Individuals will have to pay additional charges if any to the forest dept. as per the rules.

Please note: Since the accomodation is limited (Only 4 rooms on twin sharing), preferance will be given for twin sharing on first come basis or to couples (same charges).. However the stay is very clean and food is to be experienced to really appreciate.

Stay Arrangements

Jungle Bird Homestay; Birdwatching ; Gireesh's mother and Grandmother ; Gireesh Chandran

Registration: You can register by sending a confirmatory mail to and by paying a non refundable Advance of Rs.4000/- after getting registration mail by us (The seats will only be confirmed after receiving the advance amount) …..the remaining amount will be collected during the trip.......

Please Register at the earliest as only 12 seats are available.

Resource Persons: Mr.Gireesh Chandran and his Mother Sudha (Both are excellent guides), Mr.Adesh Shivkar & Mr.Mandar Khadilkar.

Mode of Payment: You can either
1. Transfer non-refundable advance amount of Rs. 4000/- directly to Mandar's HDFC A/c : (please call Mandar @ 9967518665 / 9930318665 for A/c no.) .... please mention your name, date and other details….
2. Courier a cheque of Rs.4000/- to the following address
Name: Mr.Mandar Khadilkar
Address: B-702, Neha Apartments, Ashish Complex, Dahisar – East, Mumbai-400068.

Please Note:
1. Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 4000/- is strictly non-refunadable
2. Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours
3. Visit

Please revert on ID, in case you need any clarification.

For any other queries we are available on 9930318665 / 9967518665 (Mandar) or 9869071091 (Adesh) or visit our webpage

Hope to see you for this wonderful trip

Thanks for your patience.

Warm Regards,

Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India
Appreciate, Respect & Conserve

1 comment:

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