Memories from Maredumilli trip

Hyderabad Birding Pal’s 150th Birdwalk, 29th April to 1st May 2017

Birding was done mostly along the road

Day One

We reached Bhadrachalam early in the morning at 3 AM, stopped to have a tea brake. We heard Jungle Owlet calling from a tree just off the road in the premises of a bus station. It was difficult to see and we did not want to overly use torch. So I recorded the call and reported the sighting on ebird. Its presence was an indication that wilderness is not far and birding will start soon.

Initially the plan was to head to Bird’s Nest resort which is quiet ahead of Maredumilli, drop the luggage and then start birding. But seeing that not all cars had arrived still and we’ll miss the early morning birding if we go as planned, it was decided to start birding as we drove towards our resort. Turned out it was a good decision as just stopping along the road gave us excellent sightings.

Soon the sky lit up and our binoculars and cameras were out and ready. Before the hills started we got down hearing Indian Pitta calling, there were three of them. It was a lifer for me and I went to find the source of calls looking in the undergrowth and ground, as it prefers. It was constantly moving, I could trace the trail of calls coming from trees but no bird was visible. Saw it only when Sriram Anna called me back to the road and pointed to the tree top. Birds can surprise you or may be it was a consequence of its harmons tweeked in the breeding season (or I’m thinking too much). We also saw Alexandrine Parakeet, Black Drongo and Large Woodshirke there.

On the way we saw Scarlet Minivet, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, some Red Junglefowl and Racket Tailed Drongo in a hunting party with an unidentified Woodpecker.

Further ahead when the ghat road started after passing Chinturu, Sriram Anna pulled over the car to a known spot with few banana trees and a stream flowing through dense vegetation. It is called the Spiderhunter hotspot for the fact that it is teaming with birds. Little Spiderhunter were busy taking nectar from banana flowers, a flock of White-rumped Munia perched and flew from a bare tree, a male Orange Breasted Pigeon sat on a stump, Vernal Hanging-Parrot checked some flowers, Crimson Sunbird pair were vigorously scanning through a bush, Shy Red Junglefowl group were calling, Red-whiskered Bulbul seemed to moderate the progress of Little spiderhunters, occasionally alighting on the spots where the spiderhunters were. Soon all our colleagues joined. A Pale capped Pigeon flew past in a hurry, only to give a glimpse. Crested Goshawk was seen gliding down in the vegetation. Gray-headed Canary-Flycatcher picked insets mid air in a shady place. To top it all, we saw our first Malabar Trogon of the trip at the same place. We could have easily missed spotting it if we did not see it come down on a branch far in the thicket. It was a male with the crimson front facing us.

We kept on exploring the road side areas. Near a bush Asish Kumar Pradhan got Abbott’s Babbler by listening to its calls. Initially I thought it was a warbler, soon I realized what it is. It gave good views, also its call was recorded.

As we neared Maredumilli village, there was a location called Jala Tharangini, known for its waterfall. It was dry but yielded sightings of Indian Nuthatch, Rosy Minivet, Brown-capped Woodpecker, Indian Tit, Bronzed Drongo and Black-naped Monarch. A pair of Black-crested Bulbul was seen with nesting material in a bamboo bush.

More to come for day one.

Here is the complete checklist for the trip.