Southern India is home to some of the best National parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India. Most of these parks are located on the sides of the Western Ghats, one of the 35 bio-diversity ‘hot spots’ on earth due to its large volume of endemic species and diversity. The South India Endemic Birding Tour will take us through the lowland forests of Thattekkad to Periyar Tiger Reserve and onwards to the high altitude montane forests & grasslands at Munnar, Ooty, the dry forests at Chinnar & Mudumalai & ending up at Ranganthittu near Mysore.
Day 1, 2 , 3 – Thattekkad
Thattekkad is a lowland forest with several types of eco-systems – riverine, grasslands, evergreen, scrub, dry deciduous, lowland forest, enabling it to be one of the best birding destinations in India. This is also home to most of the endemics of the Western Ghats. One should sight the Whitebellied Treepie, Rufous Babbler, Crimsonbacked Sunbird, White Bellied Blue Flycatcher, Wayanad Laughing Thrush, Malabar Parakeet and Malabar Grey Hornbill besides owls like the Mottled Wood Owl, Oriental Bay Owl, Oriental scopes owl, Brown Fish Owl, Oriental Scopes Owl and Spotbellied Eagle Owl. You should also be able to sight the Red Spurfowl, Grey Jungle Fowl, Indian Pitta, Black-throated Munia and the Grey headed fishing eagle.
Day 4 & 5 – Periyar
Periyar Tiger Reserve is one of the finest wildlife & birding destinations in South India. With over 320 bird species identified and a leading habitat for the Bengal Tiger, this sanctuary is an ideal destination of the tour. Periyar National Park contains a variety of habitats from grassland and dry deciduous forest to evergreen forest and riverside scrub. As a result of its wide range of habitats Periyar boasts an impressive list of resident species including about half the peninsular endemics and near-endemics We will spend the day searching here for some very special species including the Waynad Laughingthrush. Other birds to look out for include White-rumped and Brown-backed Needletails, Oriental Honey-Buzzard, Black Eagle, the striking Black Baza, Pompadour Green and Mountain Imperial Pigeon, the migratory Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Gray-breasted Prinia, Thick-billed Warbler, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, and the Asian Fairy Bluebird among other more widespread species. We may also sight the Woolly-necked Stork, Besra, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Jungle Owlet, White-rumped Spinetail, Black-naped Monarch and the Little Spiderhunter.
Day 6 & 7 – Munnar
We will leave for Munnar via the Ghats to Khambam where we should sight the Large Grey Babbler, Common Babbler, Jungle Bush Quail and the Grey Fancolin. We will proceed to Bodi Ghats en-route Munnar and stop over for sighting the rare Yellow Throated Bulbul, Indian Robin, Sirkeer Malkoha, Short Toed Snake Eagle, Bluefaced Malkoha and the Black eagle. We will reach Munnar by evening. The next day we will go birding in the sholas (high altitude montane forests) and grasslands for the Nilgiri Pipit, Painted Bush Quail, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Black & Orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Whitebellied Shortwing, Broadtailed Grassbird and Grasshopper Warbler.
Day 8– Ooty
We will start early in the morning birding at Chinnar (dry scrub forest) looking for White-bellied Drongo, Blue faced Malkoha, White-naped woodpecker, Blue-beared bee-eater, Sirkeer Malkoha, Jungle Bush Quail and the Yellow-legged Button quail. From here taking the long drive, we will reach Ooty by evening. Ooty - a hill station, at about 2,200m in the Nilgiri Hills - is where we will look for the endemic Nilgiri Laughing Thrush, White-bellied Shortwing, and Black-and-rufous, Rusty-tailed and Nilgiri Flycatchers.
Day 9, 10 – Masinagudi/ Mudumalai
After birding at Ooty, we will make our way to Mudumalai located at the foot of the of the Nilgiris hills. The terrain is varied with hills, valleys, ravines, watercourses and swamps, moist deciduous forests, dry deciduous forests and scrub forests and hence is ideal birding country. Here we can spot the Jerdon’s Bushlark, Sirkeer Malkoha, Indian Blue Robin, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, White-bellied Minivet, Yellow-billed Babbler, White-bellied Woodpecker, Large Cuckooshrike, Banded-bay Cuckoo, Thick-billed Warbler, Malabar Lark and Painted Bush Quail.
Day 11– Mysore
We will proceed towards Mysore birding along the way. Here we have a chance to look for any of the endemics missed especially the very rare Broadtailed Grassbird near the Bandipur Reserve. Also seen are the Paddyfield Pipit, Richards Pipit and the Ashcrowned Finch Lark.
Day 12– Bangalore
We depart early morning to visit the famous heronry on an islands on the Cauvery River at the Ranganthittu Wildlife sanctuary. Rowing boat cruise enables view of Eurasian spoonbill, Black-crowned night heron, three species of Cormorant, River Tern and Thick Knee, and many others. Transfer to Bangalore birding along the way. Check into the airport hotel by late evening.
Day 13– Depart
Drop to the airport. We end our South India Birding Tour.
2 to 3 persons travelling: USD 2200 per person
4 to 5 persons travelling: USD 1850 per person
6 to 8 persons travelling: USD 1670 per person
Single Room Supplement: USD 410
Includes:Accommodation with all meals, all surface transportation, driver’s allowances, parking fees & toll, birding guide, bottled water, birding walks, safaris and boat rides as in itinerary, entrance fees to parks & sanctuaries and all taxes.\
Climate: June to September are the monsoon months. Rains may occasionally extend to October and early November. The temperatures in the plains are likely to be high during March to May.
Best Time: August to May
Kalypso Adventures, welcomes you to an interesting and productive birding trip to South India.
INFORMATION ON WEATHER, CLIMATE & CLOTHING
In general the weather will be warm and pleasant – hot during the day, except in the hills, where it will be cooler. Please look at the chart below for details.
The coldest months are from December to February. The hottest months are April & May. The monsoon rains are abundant from June to September, with July being the peak rainy month.
You will need cotton wear, with full sleeves for evenings, except at Ooty & Munnar where it will be colder. A raincoat is always a welcome addition since it may rain even in ‘non-rainy’ season while you are out birding. Suggested list of essentials is given under ‘Logistics’.
Your birding guide will be with you throughout the tour. He would be responsible for birding as well as sorting all your logistics during the tour.
All accommodation on the tour have been carefully chosen for their cleanliness, cuisine, ‘birding-friendly’ and nearness to birding areas.
FOOD & WATER
Food provided by the hotels will be safe for you – there is little risk to your health. If you wish to buy your own food, snacks or beverages at any time, we recommend that you ask for advice from your guide. In general – hot beverages (tea and coffee) are fine. Fruit juices should be avoided unless freshly squeezed (but you would need to feel comfortable about the cleanliness of the glasses). Fresh fruit for eating that has a skin that can be peeled is fine – e.g. bananas, pineapple, oranges. Snacks that are deep fried in oil are usually fine, providing that the oil is fresh.
India is located in south Asia. Its climate is mostly tropical or sub-tropical and subject to seasonal monsoon winds, especially the southwest rain during summer. (Dec to Mar are dry months)
India is an economically developing democratic republic and has worked very hard to control diseases. Adequate medical care is available in the major population centers, but is usually limited in the rural areas of the country. Many developed countries are utilizing the state-of-the-art medical services available in India. The cost of treatment is much cheaper here in comparison to the same facilities available in advanced countries.
The most important cause of illness of travelers in India is food and waterborne diseases. Viruses, bacteria, or parasites can cause diarrhea. Infections may cause simple diarrhea and vomiting, fever, or, in extreme cases, liver damage (hepatitis). Malaria is a preventable infection that can create trouble if left untreated. One can prevent infection by taking prescribed anti-malarial drugs and protecting against mosquito bites. The regions you will be passing is Malaria-free.
Make sure that your insurance company covers illnesses and accidents abroad.
During this birding trip you need not worry about your fitness if you take simple precautions.:-.
• Carry all the important presc
• Wear a sun hat when exposed.
• Drink plenty of fluids. Do not drink tap water. Use only bottled mineral water which is always kept in the back of your vehicle.
• Carry your personal medical kit and insect repellent.
• To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot.
• Do not eat food purchased from street vendors.
• Do not drink beverages with ice.
• Do not eat dairy products unless it is known that they have been pasteurized.
• Avoid handling animals (especially monkeys, dogs, and cats) to avoid bites and serious diseases.
Although yellow fever does not occur in India, proof of appropriate vaccination may be required depending on countries visited before coming to India. Any person (except infants up to the age of six months) arriving by air or sea without a certificate is detained in isolation for a period up to six days if he or she:
• Arrives within six days of departure from an infected area, or
• Has been in such an area in transit.
• Has come on a ship which has started from or touched at any port in a yellow fever infected area within 30 days of its arrival in India provided such ship has not been disinfected in accordance with the procedure laid down by WHO, or has come by an aircraft that has been in an infected area and has not been disinfected in accordance with Indian or WHO regulations
The following countries and areas are regarded by India as infected:
Angola, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central
African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Ecuador,
Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea,
Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Peru,
Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan,
Surinam, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania,
Venezuela, Zaire, Zambia.
No other vaccination certificate is mandatory, though you may like to
consult your doctor for inoculation against typhoid, hepatitis A, and meningitis.
Visit your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before the trip to allow time for shots to take effect. The following vaccinations can be thought about depending upon your doctor’s advice:-
Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG);
Japanese encephalitis, only if planning to visit rural areas for four weeks or more;
Rabies, if someone is exposed to wild or domestic animals during recreation.
Malaria: The areas you pass through are malaria-free.
Medical Information Update
Information given above are liable to change from time to time and one should contact the Indian missions of the respective country or the government tourist offices for more information.
• Trekking/ walking or running shoes ( trainers)
• Campshoes or throngs ( flip-flops)
• Socks – Cotton. One pair woolen or polypropylene
• Sweater or light jacket
• Hiking shorts or skirts
• Light Waterproof jacket / poncho
• Hiking pants
• T-shirts or Blouses
• Sunhat (wide brim preferable)
• Swimwear (optional)
• Small Rucksack (day pack)
• Water bottle
• Flashlight with spare batteries and bulb
• Toilet articles
• Swiss knife
• Sunblock ( at least SPF-35 for the higher altitudes)
• Hand Towels for day use
• Laundry soap
• Personal medical kit
• Pre-moistened towelets
• Sewing kit
• Bandana / sweatband
• Sun glasses
• Tripods/ telescopes & allied equipment
• Global positioning system GPS
• Laptop or Notebook for recording bird lists etc
How to pack ?
Daypack: is a small backpack carried personally through out. We suggest you pack in it –
• Spare pair of socks, hankie and hand towel
• Camera & film
• Binoculars, and bird book
• Bandana / scarf, and sun hat
• Flash light / head light with spare cells
• Sun block lotion
• Chocolates, candy, dry fruit as per choice
• Personal medication
• Sweater or light jacket (when going up the hills)
• Personal documents
Holdall bag / Suitcase:
Pack what you need for overnight and subsequent days. Items you are likely to need –
• Sets of spare clothing,
• Trainers and camp slippers
• Spare underwear and hankies
• Personal toilet bag
• Wet-bag for carrying wet clothing
Water Bottle: Suggest carry on person either in day pack or on belt.