I'll wrap it up quickly now and that's fine because, after neglecting my travelling companions while I whistled around Thattekad, the last week or so on the Keralan coast was more about beaches and swimming and memorable encounters in state-run liquor stores than anything else. But that said, I still managed to see some amazing birds, just less effort went into it.
|Jungle Owlet (Glaucidium radiatum) Alleppey, Kerala. |
I found these two birds in a palm just round the corner from our homestay on an early morning walk. The rufous colouring suggests these are of the Malabar subspecies malabaricum
|Nesting in the same palm as the owls was this White-cheeked Barbet (Megalaima viridis), a Western Ghats endemic|
|Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) Alleppey beach|
|It was great to watch a good number of wintering Greenshank scurry back and forth in the surf. Hot, sandy beaches and waders are an excellent combination if you ask me...|
|Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii) Marari beach. Further up the coast at this awesome beach I found several sand plovers, Greater and Lesser, along with a lone Kentish Plover|
|Western Reef Egret (dark/blue morph) (Egretta gularis) Marari beach, Feb '13|
|Good times, Marari beach, Kerala 2013|
The highlight of our stay in Alleppey was an overnight cruise on the backwaters. Boy, did we live up to every possible tourist stereotype but y'know, it was worth it. After an unnecessary amount of haggling, we eventually settled on a boat and a crew whose promise of 5 large, COLD beers had sealed the deal. With that, we set off and kicked back as the world drifted by. We were waited on hand and foot while avian highlights included dozens of Purple swamphens, an Osprey perched briefly, Baya Weaver and more kites, egrets and little cormorants than you could possibly ever imagine. It was heaven.
|a House Crow invites itself to tea, Alleppey backwaters cruise|
|Black Kite (Milvus migrans) Left and Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) sharing air time in Fort Cochin, Kerala|
|Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus) with an ubiquitous Black Kite in the distance. I love this photo.|
My trip list topped off just short of 170 species and I'm still checking a couple for splits since. IN short, it was an amazing trip, full of wonderful birds and sights and I can't wait to go back. Cheers!
Alleppey accomodation: Malayalam Homestay
Recommended eating: Kreme Korner
Best place: Marari Beach