The Western Ghats of Southwestern India, locally known as the Sahyadri Hills, are formed by the Malabar Plains and the chain of mountains running parallel to India's western coast, about 30 to 50 kilometers inland. The Western Ghats intercepts the Southwestern Monsoon winds. The Western slopes of the mountains experience heavy annual rainfall (with 80 percent of it falling during the southwest monsoon from June to September), while the Eastern slopes are drier; rainfall also decreases from South to North. Dozens of rivers originate in these mountains, including the peninsula’s three major eastward-flowing rivers. The wide variation of rainfall patterns in the Western Ghats, coupled with the region’s complex geography, produces a great variety of vegetation types. These include scrub forests in the low-lying rain shadow areas and the plains, deciduous and tropical rainforests up to about 1,500 meters, and a unique mosaic of cloud forests and rolling grasslands above 1,500 meters. It is no wonder then that the changing eco-tones and the vast variety of eco-systems are home to numerous endemic species of birds, mammals & vegetation.This 8-day Western Ghats Endemics Birding Tour is an intense birding trip with little time for sightseeing. The tour covers the lowland forests at Thattekkad, the famed Periyar Tiger Reserve and the shola-grasslands of Munnar & Ooty.
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 White-bellied 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 – 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 Wynaad 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 5, 6 – 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, Grasshopper Warbler.
Day 7 – 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 8 – Kochi.
After birding at Ooty, we will make our way to Mudumalai located at the foot of the of the Nilgiri 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, you can see 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. Drive to Kochi by late evening & end the Western Ghats Endemic Birding Tour.
Kalypso Adventures welcomes you to an interesting and productive birding trip to South India. This document provides information about your holiday including information about modes of transport, your guide and about the weather and equipment.
The design of this tour is focused on the selected bird-rich areas covering hot spots inKerala & Tamil Nadu. The tour spans the entire range of altitudes and habitats, thus presenting a unique birding opportunity
ALL VISITORS TO INDIA MUST OBTAIN A VISA BEFORE DEPARTURE
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. The coldest months are from December to February. The hottest months are April & May.
The monsoon months are 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.
General: 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: The regions you will be passing is Malaria-free.
Insurance: We recommended that you take your insurance that covers illnesses and accidents abroad.
Precautions: During this birding trip you need not worry about your fitness if you take simple
• Carry all the important prescriptions and OTC medicines. Do not forget to have the brand names as well as the generic names of the medicines one needs to have.
• 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.
Yellow fever: 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.
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
Water Bottle: Suggest carry on person either in day pack or on belt.