Cooling Marshes, Kent, 7th December 2014

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Beach waders and more: Alleppey, Feb'13

Forgive me, it's fairly inexcusable that come June I'm still dining out on February's trip to India but hey, here we are...last one.

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.
Our final stop, sort of, was (Fort) Cochin, the capital of Kerala. We stayed in the old town just like the guide book told us to. It was fine, nothing mind blowing but maybe that was just end of trip blues creeping in. I added Common Sandpiper to my beach waders list and admired the squadrons of Blue-tailed bee-eaters in the local park. We ate a nice meal in a place where cockroaches crawled all over the walls, but, it didn't matter, it was all an adventure. And a day or so later, we were saying goodbyes; Sal and I to Chennai and London, Bobby to Thailand and Kate to who-knows-where.

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


  1. Sounds and looks like a brilliant place! Great photos too :)

  2. Thanks Lou, it was really lovely, I recommend a visit ;)


  3. Alleppey in Kerala also called Alapuzha is famous for backwaters, so the attraction of the beach is sometimes overshadowed by the backwaters. There are beautiful beach resorts in Alleppey. They are situated at the sides of the sea beaches to attract the tourists to the place.