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Old 25th January 2017, 21:26   #1
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Default Bird watching in Nilgiris

Recently I've had a new found fascination for birds and I've started observing them even more and have been trying to delve into their small but beautiful world through photos. So the opportunity came for a road trip to Ooty, the Queen of hills, and I grabbed it with both hands. Although Ooty is a tried and tested destination, it still is a haven for birds and I decided to check them out.

The festival weekend of Pongal was the occasion. Took permission and left early on Friday from office. Rooms were booked. I have 3 days at my disposal.

Day 1

Started at 11am from Palakkad, Kerala. The team.. Me and wifey in our trusted steed i20.

Stopped enroute for lunch at Kurinji Garden in L&T bypass road Coimbatore. Was more like a dhaba. Food was OK. Since we were both hungry the food tasted even better.

With stomachs full, filled up the tank and started off on our journey. Google maps showed route through Annur as a faster option. Distance was 20kms more than usual route through Coimbatore city. But decided to take that route to avoid the city traffic. The route taken is shown below.

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Reached Coonoor by around 3pm. The climate was cold. The roads are in good condition. Traffic was heavy as if the flood gates opened up and vehicles were pouring down the hill.

Our plan was to explore the offbeat destinations. So decided to check out Dolphin's nose in Coonoor. The road condition was very bad at some stretches.

After a seemingly tedious drive reached the place. It was a view point offering a distant view of a waterfall. A guy with telescope was standing there at the view point. One can pay him and get a closer view of the waterfall. We didn't bother. Took some snaps and proceeded back.

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Saw a diversion to Lamb's rock on the way back to Coonoor. It was hardly 1km away and hence decided to visit the place. Immediately at the parking area a guy started accompanying our car giving directions to park. Then he asked whether we needed a guide. We politely said no.

Took entry tickets and proceeded to the destination. The area was a forest. At that time no one could be seen there. There were two roads diverging from the starting point. The ticket vendor also disappeared some where. There were no sign boards indicating which way to take. This so called guide and his friend again approached us and started threatening us telling that it is a forest. You could get lost. You have a valuable camera. Think of how much it costs. Hire us and be safe and so on. We ignored them and started walking. They kept on shouting that we are heading the wrong way and so on. Wifey got scared and we decided to drop the plan and go back.

On our way back we saw a lot of families coming our way. They were coming without any guides. Ensured by this sight wifey gave the green signal to go ahead and we went on to the view point.

Nothing spectacular. But a good view altogether.

On our way back saw a couple coming along with one of those crooked guides. Indeed they would have succeeded in trapping them. My advice to fellow bhpians to be aware of such unscrupulous elements and not to fall into their trap.

I even had an experience of a guy refusing to show me the proper way when I was confused and asked for correct route. He wanted me to take him as a guide. Only then he would show me the way. Business everywhere.

Meanwhile it was getting late. Drove back to Coonoor and headed for Ooty. Reached Ooty by around 7pm. Checked into our room booked at Hotel Khems near Charring Cross.

A budget hotel with a small but clean room. Climate was very cold by now. We decided to walk out and enjoy the chillness. Had some hot soup from Hotel Tharavadu. Finally decided to call it a day.

Day 2

Got up early as we expected huge weekend crowds. Had a quick breakfast from Hotel Durga. Temperature was chilling at 9 degrees. Proceeded towards Pykara lake. Went along slowly as we were also on the lookout for birds.

The route was scenic. A lot of birds chirping could be heard. Stopped at a particular spot and could spot lots of bulbuls and Nilgiri wood pigeon. But they disappeared too fast. So had to satisfy with this pic.

Bird watching in Nilgiris-enroute-pykara.jpg

Saw some Nilgiri langur on the way. Managed to get a shot through the foliage.

Bird watching in Nilgiris-nilgiri-langur.jpg

Stopped over at the cine shooting spot on the way. Hardly any crowd. The morning Sun was providing a welcome relief from the cold. Took some snaps.

Distant views

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Common kestrel

Bird watching in Nilgiris-common-kestrel.jpg

Red whiskered bulbul

Bird watching in Nilgiris-red-whiskered-bulbul.jpg

Singing bush larks

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Unknown bird

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This guy was quite shy but curious

Bird watching in Nilgiris-horse.jpg

Macaque enjoying the morning Sun

Bird watching in Nilgiris-macaque.jpg

Continued the journey to Pykara. Reached the lake parking spot by 9am. The crowd had already started gathering. Had the plan of doing speed boating at Pykara. But was disappointed to know that 8 member boats were only available and it cost 750rs for 20min ride. So took some snaps and returned.

Pykara lake

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Lonely tree

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Cormorant or Jesus bird

Bird watching in Nilgiris-cormorant.jpg

Heard about Pykara waterfalls and went there. Had to walk almost 1km to reach the ticket counter. Spotted some of these during the walk.

Red vented bulbul

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Long tailed shrike

Bird watching in Nilgiris-long-tailed-shrike.jpg

Pied bushchat

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A pied bushchat

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Took the tickets and climbed down the stairs to reach the river.

Pine trees

Bird watching in Nilgiris-pine-trees.jpg

Beautiful scenery

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Very less water as expected.

Bird watching in Nilgiris-less-water.jpg

A Grey wagtail

Bird watching in Nilgiris-grey-wagtail.jpg

By the time we left crowd started pouring in. On our way back the cine shooting spot was crowded to the brim. Luckily we planned well and early.

It was afternoon. So we checked into our room booked at Delightz Inn resorts, Tiger Hill.

The location was a bit too far and roads were not in very good shape. Rooms were spacious with good facilities. Had lunch and slept off for an hour.

Started from the resort by 3pm and decided to explore the regular Ooty. First stop.. Botanical Garden.

People were thronging the streets leading to Botanical Garden. Managed to find a private valet parking space.

There was absolute pandemonium at the ticket counter. Although it was expected, we were overwhelmed. Inside the garden one could hardly free their arms and walk. Some stage show was being conducted and they were playing some blatant loud music through speakers and we could hardly hear each other speak, leave alone the sweet chirping of birds. Indeed a dismal picture of uncontrolled commercialisation.

To get away from the crowd, we moved on to the upper garden. Luckily it was less crowded. There were birds still here in the upper reaches of the garden.

Oriental white eye eyeing for nectar

Bird watching in Nilgiris-oriental-white-eye-1.jpg

Yellow wagtail near a pond

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Huge tree

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Wanted to see sunset at Ooty lake. So headed out and reached there just in time. The place can be best described as chaotic but beautiful.

Evening sky

Bird watching in Nilgiris-evening-sky.jpg


Last edited by i20ian : 26th January 2017 at 19:51.
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Old 25th January 2017, 21:36   #2
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Default Re: Bird watching in Nilgiris

Some more snaps from Ooty lake

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Spot billed ducks

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We left before dark and reached our resort. Had dinner. There was camp fire and Pongal celebrations at the resort. Since it was too cold and we were tired, we Called it a day.

Day 3

Woke up early. The morning Sun was setting the pine tree tops to life. The view from our room verandah.

Bird watching in Nilgiris-sunrise-resort.jpg

Our plan for the day was to head back home via Kalhatty- Masinagudi- Mudumalai- Gudalur- Nilambur- Mannarkad- Palakkad. Route

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After a sumptuous breakfast, We moved leisurely enjoying the scenic beauty and slowly bidding adieu to the Queen of Hills. Road conditions are excellent throughout the Kalhatty Ghat section. A few shots from Kalhatty Ghat.

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A jungle myna

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The valley view

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Got down the Ghats in no time and entered the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve.

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The roads are very narrow and hardly two vehicles could pass through. It was like playing a video game where you should watch out for the speeding on coming vehicles and also should not get off the tarmac. Was a challenging task indeed.

Just after crossing Masinagudi, we were stopped by some people asking for Jeep safari ride. We politely refused and moved on. Entered the core area of the reserve. Roads were wider now. A welcome relief.

The vegetation was all dried up. A huge male deer and two fawns crossed in front of us and disappeared in flash of a second.

Bird watching in Nilgiris-mudumalai-road.jpg

Managed to click some birds from the core area.

A white throated kingfisher

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Green bee eater

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Brahminy Starling

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Peafowl peeping out

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A lonely Sunbird

Bird watching in Nilgiris-lone-sunbird.jpg

Couldn't spot any wildlife. Reached Gudalur and had lunch from Shastapuri Restaurant.

Moved ahead through the tea estates of Gudalur and finally said goodbye to the Nilgiris. Negotiated the Nadugani ghat section and reached Nilambur.

The famous teak forests flanked both sides of the road. The teak museum was open but the crowd pulled us back.

After an uneventful drive, reached home by evening 5pm. The memories of exploring Nilgiris etched in our minds.

Hopefully next time planning to explore the other side of Nilgiris by taking up Manjur- Mulli- Lovedale- avalanche- Ooty and also hoping to trek up the Mukurthi National Park.

As the saying goes.. "There's always a next time!!".

Last edited by i20ian : 26th January 2017 at 19:54.
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Old 26th January 2017, 23:17   #3
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Default Re: Bird watching in Nilgiris

Moving out of Assembly Line. Thank you for sharing. - Support Team
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Old 28th January 2017, 06:05   #4
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Default Re: Bird watching in Nilgiris

Excellent Snaps @i20ian!!
Could you please share the details of the camera and lens used for this shoot?

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Old 1st February 2017, 11:23   #5
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Originally Posted by aghate View Post
Excellent Snaps @i20ian!!
Could you please share the details of the camera and lens used for this shoot?

Thank you. Canon EOS 1300D with 55-250mm lens.
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Old 1st February 2017, 11:45   #6
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Default Re: Bird watching in Nilgiris

@i20ian! Wonderful shots Nice long weekend trip. Pls correct me if I am wrong - you did not stay at Coonoor and you stayed at 2 places at Ooty? Any particular reason for the same as Coonoor does not have many palces to visit? Thanks!
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Old 1st February 2017, 20:39   #7
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Originally Posted by r.K View Post
@i20ian! Wonderful shots Nice long weekend trip. Pls correct me if I am wrong - you did not stay at Coonoor and you stayed at 2 places at Ooty? Any particular reason for the same as Coonoor does not have many palces to visit? Thanks!
Thank you.. Yes I stayed at ooty for two days at two places. Coonoor was on the way to ooty. I have heard about a couple of places in Coonoor but have not visited them in the past. So decided to check them out on the way to ooty. Also thought that Coonoor will be less crowded than ooty. Since I wanted to explore pykara and surroundings of ooty, booked stay in ooty.
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