Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Jungle Hut - out and about

We set out first thing on a misty morning, though the sun soon burned through the cloud:

Leaving a clear, sunny and warm morning, it was lovely weather and with a great view too:

Some interesting geology underfoot here for any rock-fondlers, looks like some layers of rock turned on their sides in some ancient upheaval and being eroded over time:

The area of forest-edge we were walking in really was quite stunning:

As well as the views we enjoyed seeing a lot of birds including the Ashy Prinia:

Black-headed Ibis:

Our shared target species for the whole holiday, Blue-bearded Bee-eater:

On one walk we encountered a group of wild buffalo, who seemed quite aggressive, but it turns out they weren't at all and turned tail as soon as we approached.  They'd been taking advantage of a muddy pool in the shade:

Indian Spotted Eagle:

We enjoyed watching a Jerdon's Bush-lark doing display flights and then singing its socks off on a high perch:

Jungle Babbler, all the babblers are great birds to watch as they more around in their babbling groups:

Long-tailed Shrike:

Paddyfield Pipit:

Plum-headed Parakeet, a wonderfully colourful bird:

A Spotted Owlet, trying to stay hidden:

One particularly memorable species was the White-belled Minivet.  We walked for a good hour in the afternoon sun searching for this bird (having done more than that the same morning), they have an extremely limited range in this part of India and are good candidates for being split as a species and then immediately getting protected status due to the small numbers in the overall area.  A local guide located a pair foraging, which then led to a forced march.  We found and tracked the birds for a few minutes, grabbing a snap here of the female:

However we were (a) very close to the spot where a tourist had been killed by forest elephants and (b) in close proximity to a group of forest elephants.  Once satisfied we'd seen the birds it was another forced march, this time in silence, with the guard arming himself with good sized rocks (also know as deterrents).  We knew the danger had passed when he reduced his ammo to a single hand... we were sweating profusely but had enjoyed seeing such an elusive species!

White-eared Barbet:

Walking back to the car to head back to Jungle Hut for dinner a Grey Francolin was calling from under a tree:

On another walk we were taken to the roost of a Brown Wood Owl, who seemed unperturbed by our being there:

All-in-all we really enjoyed our stay at the Jungle Hut and were sad to have to move on by way of a drive to Mysore.

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