Thattekad Diaries – Day 4

The fourth day of the Thattekad trip.

Though Birds were our primary focus, the serenity of Periyar river seen from the bridge on the main road had captivated us. We decided to head to the bridge early in the morning before the birding session. We were hoping to get some pictures of the river at dawn before and after sunrise. We spent some time here admiring the beautiful scene that unfolded before us as the Sun came into view.

Dispelling Darkness

A new day dawns

After getting some pictures we went with Eldhose to his home. He had informed us that Common Hill Mynas had come to the feeding station on the day we had been to Munnar. He was expecting them to come again. The first birds to come to the feeding station were the Malabar Grey Hornbills followed in close stead by the White-cheeked Barbets and the Rufous Treepies.

Hornbill Leader

White-cheeked Barbet

Rufous Treepie

The Hill Mynas took their sweet time and the other birds tried to shoo them away when they tried to grab a bite. We got some wonderful closeup shots of these lovely birds.

Common Hill Myna

As we were leaving we saw a Black-naped Hare being chased by a dog nearby. We had breakfast at Pappalil Restaurant and headed to the core area of the sanctuary. The first sighting was of the beautiful Asian Fairy-bluebird which was partially hidden by leaves. It gave us few seconds before disappearing into the thicket.

Asian Fairy Bluebird

Then came the Common Iora, Crimson-backed Sunbird and the Little Spiderhunter. Though the Iora allowed us to take some pictures, we did not manage to get shots of the other two tiny birds. Flocks of Hill Mynas could be seen high up in the trees. Their shrill haunting sounds could be heard for quite some time.

The next sighting was of a White-bellied Blue Flycatcher.

White-bellied Blue Flycatcher

A Dark-fronted Babbler darted into the bushes allowing us only a brief glimpse like the previous day. The Black Drongo could be seen for a while. A female Purple-rumped Sunbird was busy drinking nectar to take any notice of us. We went in search of the Kingfishers in vain. A Crested Serpent Eagle could be seen far away. The Malabar Trogon gave a peek-a-boo appearance with no chance of us being able to even see it properly let alone take pictures. A Little Minivet could be seen high up on a tree.

We returned exhausted to the homestay and indulged in some sumptuous lunch followed by a brief siesta. When we stepped out for the evening session we realized that a Eurasian Golden Oriole was right outside the homestay. It allowed us to take a few pictures.

Eurasian Golden Oriole

We headed towards the rocky area of Kalipara. We had to pass through a rubber plantation followed by a climb up a stream interspersed with boulders and low hanging bushes. Leeches were thriving here and lost no opportunity in clinging onto us. We somehow zipped through and reached the rocky section which was devoid of any form of vegetation and no leeches therefore. The only bird that we spotted along the way was a Malabar Woodshrike.

Malabar Woodshrike


The sightings were scant. We saw the Brown-backed Needletail and White-rumped Needletail flocks flying high. A flock of noisy Plum-headed Parakeets could be seen at a distance.

White-rumped Needletail

We didn’t spend much time here given the clouds and we didn’t want to go back through the leech laden path in darkness! As we came back to the rubber plantation we spotted a frog in the well. Soon it started raining and we had to rush to the jeep.


We headed to a restaurant in Punnekadu village and had some snacks and tea while waiting for the rain to stop. When the rain subsided we went to the same place where we had spotted the Nightjar on the first day. We wanted to get the colourful Indian Pitta this time. It was getting dark by the time we reached there.

We saw a Dollarbird high up on a tree and managed to get only a silhouetted picture of it due to bad light. A Rufous Woodpecker scurried away.


After a while we sensed the presence of the Pitta. We chased it around for a while and managed to get decent pictures with the help of Eldhose’s torch.

Indian Pitta

It was soon pitch dark and the day had come to an end for us. We headed back to the homestay for some lip smacking dinner.

Bird Log

Common Name Species Family
Babbler, Dark fronted Rhopocichla atriceps Timaliidae
Babbler, Puff throated Pellorneum ruficeps Timaliidae
Barbet, White cheeked Megalaima viridis Megalaimidae
Bluebird, Asian Fairy Irena puella Irenidae
Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis Coraciidae
Dove, Emerald Chalcophaps indica Columbidae
Drongo, Ashy Dicrurus leucophaeus Dicruridae
Drongo, Black Dicrurus macrocercus Dicruridae
Eagle, Crested Serpent Spilornis cheela Accipitridae
Flycatcher, Asian Brown Muscicapa dauurica Muscicapidae
Flycatcher, Asian Paradise Terpsiphone paradisi Monarchidae
Flycatcher, Blue throated Cyornis rubeculoides Muscicapidae
Flycatcher, White bellied blue Cyornis pallipes Muscicapidae
Hornbill, Malabar Grey Ocyceros griseus Bucerotidae
Iora, Common Aegithina tiphia Aegithinidae
Minivet, Little Pericrocotus lansbergei Campephagidae
Myna, Hill Gracula religiosa Sturnidae
Myna, Jungle Acridotheres fuscus Sturnidae
Needletail, Brown backed Hirundapus giganteus Apodidae
Needletail, White rumped Zoonavena sylvatica Apodidae
Nightjar, Jerdon’s Caprimulgus atripennis Caprimulgidae
Oriole, Eurasian Golden Oriolus oriolus Oriolidae
Parakeet, Plum headed Psittacula cyanocephala Psittaculidae
Pigeon, Pompadour Green Treron pompadora Columbidae
Pitta, Indian Pitta brachyura Pittidae
Robin, Indian Blue Luscinia brunnea Muscicapidae
Spiderhunter, Little Arachnothera longirostra Nectariniidae
Sunbird, Crimson backed Leptocoma minima Nectariniidae
Treepie, Rufous Dendrocitta vagabunda Corvidae
Trogon, Malabar Harpactes fasciatus Trogonidae
Warbler, Large billed Leaf Phylloscopus magnirostris Phylloscopidae
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