Pre-monsoon trip covering Top Slip, Chinar, Amaravathi & Valparai ranges. This was a great trip!
For the first time, I managed to cover every major range in the Anamalais (in Tamil Nadu). The Anamalais does extend into Kerala (Eravikulam NP, Chinar WS, etc. are part of the Kerala Anamalais). Over six days, we covered Top Slip (incl. Karian shola), Chinar range, Amaravathi, Varagaliar, Pannathiar (a mind-blowing shola), Annagundhi shola and the upper reaches at Valparai and Upper Aliyar. The range of habitats of the Anamalais was amazing and I could record a wide range of species. Thanks to Suraj (of Discoverwild, Tiruppur) and Poornima (a researcher from FRI, Dehradun) for accompanying us to all the above places.
Swarna had to leave half-way to Bangalore to attend to some urgent work. Highlights were excellent sightings of Nilgiri Tahr (Valparai) and Lion-tailed Macaques (both in Anagundhi shola and Valparai). Tried very hard and very unsuccessfully to nab the Wayanad Laughing Thrush (WLT) in the bamboo jungles near Top Slip. Came very close (< 10 ft!) on two occassions but couldn’ make a single image. Our tribal guide – Arumugam – has a 100% accuracy in locating WLT flocks.
This bird is the greatest skulker of all given the fact that’s it’s so easy to get the other two south Indian endemic LTs – the Grey Breasted LT and the Nilgiri LT in Munnar and Ooty respectively. Anyway, I will keep coming back to try to photograph the WLT! Here is a map of the Anamalais (courtesy – Discoverwild Foundation):
Enjoy the images! Cheers, –r@mki