The first ever Bubo Birding tour was a great success, with excellent views of most of our target endemic birds of the Western Ghats, some fantastic places visited, great food, and lots of fun cross-cultural discussion thanks to our mixed American, British and Indian group!
The itinerary was slightly shortened from our typical plan and concentrated mainly on Western Ghats forest endemics. Instead of starting from Bangalore and spending our first three days in the lowlands, we began in Coimbatore and made Ooty, in the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu, our first stop. Thereafter, and having been joined by Katie, we headed to Top Slip in the Anamalai Hills, Munnar back in Nilgiri tea country in Kerala, Periyar Tiger Reserve, and finally to the extremely birdy Thattekad Bird Sanctuary.
We saw 218 species of birds altogether, which included most of the endemics (29 in total) and a further 45 near endemics, many of which only otherwise occur in Sri Lanka. Most of our targets gave exceptional views, such as the rare Kashmir Flycatcher, both endemic species of Sholakili and ‘Chilappans’, and Nilgiri Pipit just 3 m away! One of the big successes was lovely views of many species of owls in daylight, although we completely missed Spotted Owlet: the most common owl throughout India!