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South India and Andaman Birding Tour

Cochin- Ooty- Mudumalai National Park- Munnar- Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary- Thattekad- Cochin - Port Blair- Wandur -Port Blair- Cochin
Day 1: Arrive Cochin

On arrival met at the airport and transfer to the hotel, O/N stay at hotel.

Day 2:Cochin-Ooty

We'll have a brief stop in Cochin before driving up to Ooty (short for Ootacamund). Perched up at 7250 feet Ooty is southern India's premier hill station and a retreat from the oppressive summer heat of the plains. Our route takes us through a patchwork of agricultural fields, wetlands and arid waste ground. We'll make several stops and search for such our first southern Indian specialities on our ascent to this sprawling, almost colonial town, high in the towering Nilgiris. Night in Ooty, a modern, bustling city that has a distinctly faded colonial charm.

Day 3 OOty

We'll spend the whole day around Ooty exploring a variety of areas close to the town and concentrating on finding some of the region's higher altitude specialities such as Black-chinned Laughingthrush, Black-and-orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Woodpigeon, Indian Blackbird and the skulking, but not uncommon, Nilgiri Blue Robin. We may also see our first strikingly patterned Nilgiri Langurs today. Night in Ooty.

Day 4 Ooty - Mudumalai

Leaving Ooty and the Nilgiri Hills we'll descend a short distance into the plains to our next accommodation just outside Mudumalai National Park. We'll stop to search for such delights as Nilgiri Thrush (a recent 'split' from the White's and Scaly Thrush complex) as well as Nilgiri Flycatcher, Malabar Lark, White-bellied Minivet and Booted Warbler. As with many of India's Tiger reserves, access in Mudumalai National Park is restricted and we'll spend much of our time exploring areas of dry deciduous forest and thorny scrub outside the park, searching for a variety of species including Red Spurfowl, both Grey-fronted and Yellow-footed Green-pigeons, Blue-faced Malkoha, Grey-headed Bulbul, Tawny-bellied Babbler and the elusive Painted Bush-quail. Up to 12 species of woodpecker can be found here and Mudumalai is also our best site for Indian Pitta. We'll spend two nights just outside the reserve.

Days 5-6 Mudumalai National Park

Venturing away from Mudumalai we'll explore two very different areas today, one an area of lowland, moist evergreen forest where we hope to find species such as Indian Rufous and Dark-fronted Babblers, Indian Blue Robin and, if we're very lucky, the enigmatic White-naped Tit. Later in the day we'll visit an area of scrub and arid grassland in search of specialities typical of the extensive tracts of dry deciduous forest. The latter include the endemic Grey Junglefowl, Pallid Harrier, White-eyed Buzzard and Blyth's Pipit. We'll return to Ooty for the night during the afternoon of Day 6.

Day 7 Mudumalai-Munnar

We'll leave Ooty and drive back down to the plains, through the bustling textile city of Coimbatore before climbing back up to Munnar, another hill station, but this time more famous for its tea than its tourism. We'll spend two nights at a comfortable lodge near Munnar.

Day 8: Munnar

Munnar is a convenient and comfortable base from which to explore the Rajamalai Sanctuary (part of the unique Eravikulam National Park) well above the highest of the tea plantations. The sanctuary consists of areas of high rolling grassy hills interspersed with valleys dotted with small patches of shola evergreen forest - a distinctive and biologically rich habitat and home to a number of equally specialised endemics. Once again we'll concentrate on the region's endemics, notably White-bellied Blue Robin, Kerala Laughingthrush and Nilgiri Pipit. Rajamalai is also a spectacular setting in which to search for Painted Bush-quail, Indian Scimitar-babbler and Nilgiri Flycatcher among many others. We are almost certain to encounter some of the rare Nilgiri Tahr, a large wild goat endemic to the grass hills of southern India.

Day 9: Munnar-Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

This morning we'll leave Munnar and make a stop to search for another of the region's endemics, Yellow-throated Bulbul, before continuing south to Periyar Sanctuary in the Cardamom Hills where we'll spend three nights.

Days 10-11: Periyar Wildlife Sanactuary

Periyar is probably the best known and most popular wildlife reserve in southern India and at 800 square kilometres is undoubtedly one of the subcontinent's largest. From our base beside the sprawling multi-fingered lake in the centre of the reserve, we'll explore many of its vast and varied habitats. The ornithological pace will be fast and furious and could include endemics or near-endemics such as Malabar Grey Hornbill, White-bellied Treepie, Wynaad Laughingthrush, Malabar Barbet, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Indian Rufous Babbler, Malabar Whistling-thrush or perhaps even a Ceylon Frogmouth or an Indian Pitta. Other targets include Great Hornbill, White-bellied and Heart-spotted Woodpeckers, Malabar Parakeet and Malabar Woodshrike while in the evening we'll search for some of the region's night birds. All our birding highlights may be rivalled by our many mammal sightings.

Days 12 Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary- Thattekad

Leaving Periyar we'll have a relatively short drive to Thattekad, another sanctuary in Kerala and one that's more visitor friendly. Thattekad shares many of the same birds as Periyar but some, perhaps more notably the night birds are easier to see here. Consequently we'll spend part of at least one night searching for specialities such as Brown Fish-owl, Ceylon Frogmouth and perhaps even Ceylon Bay Owl! Night at Thattekad.

Day 13 Thattekad

Spending a full day in this reserve we'll have plenty of time to search for species such as Malabar Grey Hornbill, gaudy Malabar Barbet, Yellow-browed and Flame-throated Bulbuls, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher and Black-throated Munia all occur here as does the attractive Asian Fairy Bluebird and the vociferous Lesser Hill-myna. Night at Thattekad.

Day 14 Thattekad-Cochin

Today we'll head back down to the lowlands arriving in Cochin in time for lunch. In the afternoon we'll head out into Cochin, a former Portuguese colonial town and now one of India's largest ports and naval bases. We'll have a chance to do some more birding, perhaps searching for a few waders such as Broad-billed and Terek Sandpipers though some of our time will be spent exploring the sights of this historic Portuguese settlement, visiting some of the 500-year old houses and the cantilevered Chinese fishing nets.

Day 15: Cochin- Port Blair

Morning transfer to airport time catch flight for port blair, on arrival met at the airport and transfer to the hotel, later birding around wandur national park.

Day 16: Port Blair-Wandur-Port Blair

Full day bird watching at Wandur, O/N stay at Port blair.

Day 17 : Port Blair

Morning after breakfast, full day birding at Chiriya Tapu. Please make use of early morning and late afternoons & evenings. Overnight stay in the hotel.

Day 18 : Port Blair

Morning after breakfast visit at Chiriya Tapu, afternoon to be spent at Sippighat Swamp. Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 19 : Port Blair - Cochin-Departure

Morning transfer to the airport time to catch flight for cochin to catch connecting flight for onward destination.

Tour and Services End
Bird Watching Tips


South India and Andaman Birding Tour (Tour Highlight)

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