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SOUTHERN INDIA & SRI LANKA

Tuesday 29th October - Saturday 23rd November 2013

Dave Farrow

Nilgiri Laughingthrush (Dave Farrow)

Nilgiri Laughingthrush (Dave Farrow)

This years’ tour to Southern India and Sri Lanka was once again a very successful and enjoyable affair, with almost all endemics found, and an incredible 36 individual Owls of 13 species seen. We began in the Andaman Islands where we recorded all 21 endemics, with Andaman Scops and Walden’s Scops Owls, Andaman and Hume’s Hawk Owls leading the way, good looks at Andaman Crake, Andaman Woodpigeon and Andaman Cuckoo Dove, plus all others with the pre-fix ‘Andaman’ (although the Barn Owl was a heard only.) A rich suite of other birds was seen such as Oriental Pratincole, Long-toed Stint, Grey-headed Lapwing, Long-tailed Parakeets, Mangrove Whistler, Lanceolated and Rusty-rumped Warbler. In Southern India we birded our way from the Nilgiri Hills to the lowland forests of Kerala finding Painted Bush Quail, White-naped and Heart-spotted Woodpeckers, Malabar Flameback, Malabar Trogons, Malabar Barbet and Malabar Parakeets, Oriental Scops Owl, Brown Hawk Owls, Brown Wood Owl, Ceylon Frogmouths, Grey-fronted Green Pigeons, Nilgiri Woodpigeon, Indian Pitta, Jerdon's Bushlarks, Malabar Larks, Malabar Woodshrike, Black-headed Cuckooshrike, Black-and-orange, Nilgiri, Brown-breasted and Rusty-tailed Flycatchers, Nilgiri and White-bellied Blue Robin, Nilgiri and Kerala Laughingthrushes, Dark-fronted Babblers, Indian Rufous Babblers, Western Crowned Warbler, Indian Nuthatch, Indian Yellow Tit, Indian Blackbird, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Hill Swallows, Nilgiri Pipits, White-bellied Minivets, Grey-headed Bulbul, Flame-throated and Yellow-browed Bulbuls, Crimson-backed Sunbirds, Nilgiri Flowerpecker, and the stunning endemic White-bellied Treepie. Skipping across the straits to Sri Lanka we again recorded all 33 endemics, however just one was a ‘heard-only’. Highlights included Crimson-backed Flameback, Green-billed Coucals, Chestnut-backed Owlet, noisy Ceylon Spurfowl, Ceylon Woodpigeons, Brown-capped Babbler, Spot-winged Ground Thrush at a nest, mixed flocks at Sinharaja containing Ashy-headed Laughingthrushes, Red-faced Malkohas and Ceylon Scimitar Babblers, the super elusive Ceylon Scaly Thrush, stunning close views of Ceylon Blue Magpies, the scarce White-faced Starling, Yellow-eared Bulbul, and our bird of the trip - Ceylon Whistling Thrush. We also saw Jerdon's Baza, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Legge’s Hawk Eagle, Yellow-wattled Lapwings, Small Pratincoles, Great Thick-knees, Malabar Pied Hornbills, Malabar Trogons, Grey-bellied Cuckoo, Blue-faced and Sirkeer Malkohas, Orange-breasted Green Pigeon, Indian Pittas, Jerdon's Leafbird, Kashmir Flycatcher, Jungle Prinia, Blyth's Pipits, Forest Wagtails, Loten's Sunbird, Black-throated Munias, and the Nightbird theme continued with more roosting Ceylon Frogmouths, Indian Little Nightjar, Jerdon's Nightjar, Indian Scops Owls, Brown Fish Owls, Brown Wood Owls, and a grand finale of a Forest Eagle Owl.

Sri Lanka Magpie (Dave Farrow)

Sri Lanka Magpie (Dave Farrow)