Monday, December 26, 2016

Thattekkad & Munnar - The Richest bird habitat in Western Ghats (25th March - 28th March,2017)

It is said that if you want to get almost all of Western Ghats bird species then its here, where Dr.Salim Ali once said "Thatekkad is the richest bird habitat in Peninsular India, perhaps only comparable to the Eastern Himalayas" .... if you want this and more to experience, then embark for a Birdwatching trip to one of the India's richest birding hot-spots within the place revered as "God's Own Country" with Nature India...

Date: 25th March, 2017 to 28th March, 2017 (travels days included). The bookings for Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary / Munnar bird-watching trip are open… your seats now (for complete details about charges, itinerary etc. see at the end).....

See one of the previous report.....


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.

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.

(PS: Some images for this blog has been taken from internet)

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


Complete Trip Details

Tour Itinerary: Ernakulam to Ernakulam (Cochin to Cochin)

1. Saturday, 25th March, 2017:Pick-up at Ernakulam / Cochin Airport at 09.30am ….. Departure in jeep for Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary......Check-in at Jungle Bird Homestay- Birding trail around Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary.... Lunch .... eve. birding trail - Light Snacks and Birdwatching for Nightjars and Owls - Dinner and Early Bed. 

2. Sunday, 26th March, 2017: Whole Day Birding in Thattekkad Sanctuary and surrounding areas for the Western Ghat Endemics on foot.....Lunch - 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, 27th March 2017: (Strenuous day) Start early morning (@05:00 am) for Munnar to watch Nilgiri Pipit, Black & Orange Flycatchers, White-bellied Shortwings, Nilgiri Laughing Thrush, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Indian Scimitar Babbler, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Painted Bush Quail and other endemics of the shola forests...... Lunch at Munnar ---- continue watching birds and return back to Thattekkad for night stay. 
Note: Munnar trip is purposely kept on Monday to avoid weekend rush

4. Tuesday, 28th March, 2017: Early morning birding in Thattekkad - Lunch -  drop at Ernakulam / Cochin Airport by 5pm 

Travel Options: To be done by participants

Air Travel:

Mumbai to Cochin: 25th March 2017
Jet airways flight no. 9W-436, Mumbai (06.20 hours) to Cochin (08.15 hours)
Air India flight no. AI-54, Mumbai (05.30 hours) to Cochin (07.25 hours)

Cochin to Mumbai: 28th March 2017

Spicejet flight no. SG - 154, Cochin (18.55 hours) to Mumbai (20.55 hours)
GoAir flight no. G8 - 345, Cochin (19.35 hours) to Mumbai (21.25 hours) 

Trip charges : (Ernakulam to Ernakulam only)…. Rs. 14800/-

Includes Twin sharing in Gireesh's Jungle Bird Home-stay, Local transport , all 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.

Stay Arrangements

(images below) Jungle Bird Homestay; Birdwatching ; Giresh'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.8000/- and  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 limited seats are available.

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

Mode of Payment: You can either

1. Transfer non-refundable advance amount of Rs. 8500/- directly to Adesh's HDFC A/c : (please call Adesh @ 09820455713 for A/c no.) .... please mention your name, date and other details….OR

2. Courier a cheque of Rs.8500/- to the following address
Name: Mr. Adesh Shivkar
Address: D-8, The Adi Janata Society, Behind HP Petrolpump, Near Sion Signal, Sion (East), Mumbai - 400022
Ph.: +91-9820455713

Please Note:
1) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 8500/- is strictly non-refundable
2) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on all Nature India Tours
3) Nest photography or any collection of specimens is prohibited
4) Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with  
 Nature India's rules and policies 

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

For any queries we are also available on 9930318665 / 9967518665 (Mandar) or 9869071091 / 9820455713 (Adesh) ..... 

Hope to see you for this wonderful trip

Thanks for your patience.

Warm Regards,


Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Birding in Assam (Kaziranga National Park & Gibbon WLS, Assam - 12th March to 16th March 2017

In Sanskrit, "Asom" means unparellel or uneven. Both meaning suits the land of Assam perfectly. It is believed that the name Assam is derived from "Asom". Assam, a gateway to North-East India, is one of the hottest bio-diversity spots in India.

Nature India has meticulously planned and organized bird watching & wildlife trip to Kaziranga National Park and Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary in Assam from 12th March to 16th March 2017. Only few seats are available, hence please register very fast. (See details at the end).....

Kaziranga National Park

A girl named Ranga, from a nearby village, and a youth named Kazi, from Karbi Community, fell in love. This match was not acceptable to their families and the couple disappeared into the forest, never to be seen again, and the forest was named after them as Kaziranga.

A world heritage site, Kaziranga NP, covers an area of 378 sq. km. Northern & Eastern boundaries of park are covered by Bramhaputra river. The park hosts two-third of the world’s Great One-horned Rhinoceros. You can see a vast expanse of tall elephant grass (ideal for Rhinos), marshland and dense tropical moist forest. Kaziranga has one of the highest densities of Tigers among protected areas of the world, though sighting one is difficult in the tall grass. The park is also known for large breeding population of Indian Elephants, Wild Buffalo and Swamp Deer.

Declared as Important Bird Area (IBA) by Birdlife International, Kaziranga has about 478 bird species including resident and migratory birds. Some important birds seen in Kaziranga NP are Bengal Florican, Spot-winged Starling, Swamp Francolin, Green-billed Malkoha, Jerdon’s Babbler, Marsh Babbler, Bristled Grassbird, Black-breasted Parrotbill, Rufous-vented Prinia, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Grey-headed Lapwing, Hill Myna, Rufous-capped Babbler to name a few.

The park has three routes open for visitors, namely, Central, Eastern and Western. Central route is most visited one, as it covers high population of mammal species found in Kaziranga NP. Central route is also good for birds like Spot-winged Starling, Swamp Francolin etc. Eastern route, part of which goes along side huge Brahmaputra river is well known for waterfowls like Lesser-white Fronted Goose, Ferruginous and Bear’s Pochard and forest birds like Blue-naped Pitta, Green-billed Malkoha, Great Pied Hornbill etc.

Birding in Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary, Eastern Assam

Perhaps the best known site to see India’s only Ape, the Hoolock Gibbon is situated in Jorhat district of Assam – The Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary, formerly known as the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary. "An oasis in the desert" is the metaphor that well suits the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary. It is an island of dense evergreen rain forest patch in the midst of sprawling tea gardens all around. The sanctuary was officially constituted and renamed in 1997 and is approx.22 sq.kms. Set aside initially in 1881, its forests used to extend to the foothills of the Patkai mountain range. Since then, the forest has been fragmented and surrounded by tea gardens and small villages. In the early 1900s, artificial regeneration was used to develop well-stocked forest, resulting in the site's rich biodiversity.

The sanctuary has a rich biodiversity and is home to the only apes in India, the Western Hoolock Gibbon (Hoolock hoolock), and Northeastern India's only nocturnal primate – the Bengal Slow Loris. The upper canopy of the forest is dominated by the Hollong tree (Dipterocarpus macrocarpus), while the Nahar (Mesua ferrea) dominates the middle canopy. The lower canopy consists of evergreen shrubs and herbs. The Forest had been named after the species of trees - Hollong and Agar. The habitat is however, threatened by illegal logging, encroachment of human settlements, and habitat fragmentation.

Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary is popularly known for its staggering primate community and it is one of the highest primate density areas in the world. Other primates include the Stump-tailed Macaque (Macaca arctoides), Northern Pig-tailed Macaque (Macaca leonina), Eastern Assamese Macaque (Macaca assamensis assamensis), Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta), and Capped Langur (Trachypithecus pileatus). Also found at the sanctuary are Indian elephants, tigers (Panthera tigris), leopards (Panthera pardus), jungle cats (Felis chaus), wild boar (Sus scrofa), three types of civet, four types of squirrel, and several other types of mammal.

At least 230 species of birds are recorded from this small sanctuary making it a must visit for any birder visiting the nearby Kaziranga National Park. The varied birdlife here includes some North-east exotic species like Collard Treepie, Green-tailed & Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Sultan Tit, Rufous-bellied & Large Niltava’s, Beautiful & Long-tailed Sibia, Mountain Tailorbird, Abbot’s & Marsh Babblers, Great & Oriental Pied Hornbills, Speckled & White-browed Piculet, Ashy & Purple Wood Pigeons, Red-headed Trogon, Several species of Minivets, Woodpeckers, Owls, Parakeets, Barbets, Bulbuls, Bee-eaters, Laughing Thrushes, Yuhina’s & Flycatchers……an amazing density and diversity of birds !!

Click here to see the impressive list of Birdlife in Gibbon Sanctuary….

Click on below links to see trip images by Nature India Participants...

Come, explore the amazing wildlife in Assam...

"Bogakoi Bogoli Boholai Bohise Bolukat Biyoli Bela"
.... a famous tongue twister in Assamese meaning,
"The white cranes are spreading their wings wide, sitting on the sand in the evening."


Date: 12th March 2017 (Sunday) 02.30 pm to 16th March 2017 (Thursday) 02.00 pm (travel days included)

Mode of Travel :
Mumbai - Dibugarh & Guwahati - Mumbai (by Air/Rail on personal expenses)
Local travel in jeep from Dibrugarh – Jorhat - Kaziranga - Guwahati (By Nature India)

From Mumbai to Dibrugarh & Guwahati to Mumbai (To be taken care by participants themselves)

By Air: We suggest you to book tickets for following flight;

Mumbai - Dibrugarh - 12th March 2017
  • Indigo Flight No. 6E - 3612, Mumbai (6.20 hours) to Dibrugarh (13.25 hours)
  • Indigo Flight No. 6E - 6227, Mumbai (7.45 hours) to Dibrugarh (14.10 hours)
Guwahati - Mumbai - 16th March 2017 
  • Indigo Flight no. 6E-433 (non stop), Guwahati (16.35 hours) to Mumbai (20.05 hours)
  • Jet Airways flight no. 9W - 7068, Guwahati (16.00 hours) to Mumbai (21.50 hours)
There are other flights also available.... Please check the arrival timing at Dibrugarh & departure timing at Guwahati for to & fro flights.

By Rail:
One can reach Dibrugarh by Dibrugarh express, but it runs only on Fridays and takes about 53 hours :-(
*Nature India will not assist in booking for air/train tickets*

1. Sunday, 12
th March, 2017: Pick-up at Dibrugarh Airport at 2.30pm…..Departure in jeep for Jorhat. ..... Stay overnight at hotel in Jorhat. 

2. Monday, 13th March, 2017: Full Day  bird & butterfly watching at Hoollangapar Gibbon Sanctuary... .... Overnight Stay  at hotel in Jorhat..

3. Tuesday, 14th March 2017: Early morning start for Kaziranga... Hotel check in... Morning safari in Cerntral range...return to resort for lunch... evening safari in Western range - Stay in Aaranya Resort, Kaziranga for night.

4. Wednesday, 15th March, 2017: Morning safari in Eastern Range...return to resort for lunch ..... Afternoon safari in Central Range...  Return to Stay in Aaranya Resort, Kaziranga for night.

5. Thursday, 16th March, 2017: Breakfast - Proceed to Guwahati and reach by 2.00 pm. 

More details on the itinerary will be given to those who register....

Trip charges : Rs.21400/- (Dibrugarh to Guwahati)….

Includes Stay in Twin sharing basis in Aaranya resort in Kaziranga and Hotel in Jorhat, Pick-up & Drop in Non-AC Sumo/Tavera from Dibrugarh Airport to Jorhat to Kaziranga to Guwahati, Local transport by Jeeps, Park entry charges, Safari by 4x4 open gypsies, local guide charges, All meals (Veg. / Non-Veg food), Articles on Gibbon WLS & Kaziranga NP and bird checklist, on board mineral water and snacks………

This does not include 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.
Stay Arrangement

Aaranya Resort, Kaziranga (Twin/tripple Sharing stay)

PS: Unfortunately, if the flight from Dibrugarh to Mumbai is cancelled due to bad weather or for any other reasons, Nature India will not to be responsible for making stay arrangements. Although, Nature India will assist for hotel bookings.

Registration: You can register by sending a confirmatory mail to and by paying a non refundable Advance of Rs.9000/- after getting a registration mail from us. (The seats will only be confirmed after receiving the advance amount) …..the remaining amount can be sent by 15th Dec'2016.......Please Register at the earliest as only 12 seats are available. 

Payment terms:

Phase 1 - Rs. 9000/- as non-refundable Advance to be paid immediately. We need to forward this as an advance for logistics & to block our seats.
Phase 2 - Remaining amount by 15th Jan'2017.

Resource Persons: Mr.Mandar Khadilkar

Mode of Payment: You can either
  1. Transfer the advance money directly to HDFC A/c : (please call Adesh @ 9820455713 for HDFC A/c no.) .... please mention your name, date and other details….
  2. Courier a cheque of Rs.9000/- to the following address
    Name: Mr. Adesh Shivkar

    Address: D-8, The Adi Janata Society, Behind HP Petrolpump, Near Sion Signal, Sion (East), Mumbai-400022.
Please Note:
  1. Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 9000/- is strictly non-refundable
  2. Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on all 
    Nature India 
  3. This is primarily a Wild-life watching trip
  4. Nature India will not be responsible for any days lost due to bad weather. 
  5. Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with Nature India's rules and policies

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

For any other queries we are available on 9869071091 / 9820455713(Adesh) or 9930318665 / 9967518665 (Mandar).........

Hope to see you for this wonderful trip

Thanks for your patience.

Warm Regards,

Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar

About Me

Appreciate, Respect & Care for Nature