Memories from Thattekad - II

_You can read the Part-I here._Morning, next day, as planned, we went in search of the Trogon and the Frogmouth.

Malabar Trogon is one of the most beautiful and colorful birds of south India.This bird is a resident here, in the evergreen forests of Thattekad.The Sri Lanka or the Ceylon Frogmouth is a resident here too.These are the two most important birds that most people come to see in Thattekad.

First attempt was to look around for Fogmouths.

From wikipedia, (

_The Sri Lanka Frogmouth or Ceylon Frogmouth (_Batrachostomus moniliger) is a small frogmouth found in the Western Ghats of south India and Sri Lanka. Related to the nightjars, they are nocturnal and are found in forest habitats. The plumage resembled that of dried leaves and the birds roost on branches, sitting still and appearing like a dry branch, making them extremely difficult to locate

Incidentally, these birds are so well camouflaged that there was hardly any chance of me finding them by just looking around :). Gireesh, however was able to spot them, a pair, happily resting deep within the intricate maze of the tree and shrub branches.( Forgmouths are nocturnal and hence sleep/rest through the day ). We couldn’t locate them until Gireesh pointed us towards it with the help of a torch light and there they were….. Have to say that, having seen pics of the Frogmouths on the web, had a mental picture of them being a decently sized birds, but, was surprised to see that they were actually quite small. They looked exactly like, just another dried leaf, sticking to the branch of the tree, what amazing camouflage !!……..

Light was very bad inside the forest, even at very high ISO, was getting very bad shutter speeds.Being there without a mono-pod, it was just impossible to get a decent shot. Finally, with the help of the light from Gireesh’s torch, managed to get a shot.Didn’t want to try too many things and disturb the birds.So,we, let them be and walked away. All the same, we were very happy to have gotten to see these amazing birds.

SriLanka/Ceylon Frogmouth pair...

After coming out, onto the road, Gireesh, pointed us to a tree, following up on the tree stump, we noticed a nest and a bird sitting on it.It was a Frogmouth !…….It was just sitting there guarding its egg, completely, unperturbed by the attention. Got to know from Gireesh, that it was a male, and during the day, the male sits in the nest protecting the egg, while the lady of the house goes out looking for food.At night, there is a reversal of role,was interesting to know.

Sri Lanka/Ceylon Frogmouth (male) sitting guard on its nest......

It was now time to look for the Malabar Trogon.

From wikipedia,(

_The Malabar Trogon (_Harpactes fasciatus) is a species of bird in the trogon family. It is found in the forests of Sri Lanka and peninsular India. In India it is mainly found in the Western Ghats, hill forests of central India and in parts of the Eastern Ghats. They are insectivorous and although they are not migratory, they may make seasonal movements in the hill regions.

Moments after entering the thick evergreen forests of Thattekad, Gireesh exclaimed that he saw something, which might be a Trogon. Was it luck or what I wouldn’t know, but that was pretty quick… :) We were extremely excited and with crossed fingers,stayed put,for sometime.After a while, there it was, finally, the Trogon, showed itself to us, but was still very much inside,amongst the trees. It slowly kept coming out, came and perched on a branch relatively close by for me to try and get a shot of the beauty. Here are a couple of shots I managed.

Malabar Trogon ( male, juvenile )
Malabar Trogon (male,adult)

Both were males, couldn’t get to see the female, may be the next time……We then came back to our room, freshened up, had a filling breakfast and lounged around in the balcony waiting for the afternoon session of birding. Unfortunately, that couldn’t materialize :( due to heavy thunderstorms. It rained like crazy through -out the evening and the night, with no let up whatsoever. Was wondering the next morning’s session,our last one, would happen or not.Thankfully, rain, did subside a bit in the morning and we were taken on a different trail this time, accompanied by Gireesh’s mother Sudha. She is an expert birder too, with great knowledge of the area and the flora and fauna around. She should be in her late 50s or early 60s, albeit, highly energetic. The morning’s trail was almost a mini trek and was quite tiring, but she was all energy, running around in all directions trying to spot them,birds.Really, hat’s off to her.

The sightings for the morning were quite slim, but still OK, considering the drastic change in climate overnight. Saw a Crested Goshawk, Ruby throated bulbul, Asian fairy blue bird, Small Minivets, lots of Hill Mynas, Malabar Giant Squirrels, and a few more.

Asian fairy blue...
Malabar Giant Squirrel...

Came back, packed everything up and had breakfast. It was now time to say adios.

A wonderful experience at one of the most beautiful places. Great place to stay, great hosts and great food. We couldn’t have asked for more.My wife, Sandhya, my daughter, Mahathi and I had a great time.

Our return was at night, from Cochin, so had a brief stop-over at our relative’s place. Birding is addictive and it drives people crazy. I am no exception :-) Even after the couple of days of birding at Thattekad, couldn’t let go of an opportunity. Got these in the front-yard of our relative’s.

Purple Sunbird...
Early bird gets the worm... (Oriental Magpie Robin)

Was a wonderful trip and hope to go there at least once a year and intend to make it in-season this year :)

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