August is the dry season in Tamilnadu, with howling winds daily across the great parched plains. Here, tucked at the foot of the Western Ghats, we are sheltered from those heavy winds and often steal a late afternoon rain shower from the South West monsoon. Even so, this month our 300 lake of the Kamaraji Dam near Dindigul, is half dry and a meeting place for Painted Storks, Pelicans, Cormorants, Spot-bill Ducks, White Ibis, Egrets and Herons. I was amazed to see a pair of Minivets, which had flown out of the hills. Flycatchers scoop drinking water on the wing as they skim our pond, where Kingfishers large and small come each evening to roost. Two families of Partridges come each early morning for their broken rice breakfast, followed by 5 Quail, followed by Spotted and Brown Doves, then Babblers and the odd Chipmunk.
Five schoolboys come bird-watching one Sunday morning each month, and they came early in August with their note-books and the birds they have spotted. Their list included a Pheasant-tailed Jacana. Probably a Yellow Lapwing, I suggested. No, they said very confidently, Definitely a jacana. Their idlies and dhosai were cooking and quickly they settled under a large Neem tree for their breakfast. Next day, scanning the lake with my binoculars during breakfast and forgetting the jacana claim, I saw six strange birds - three pairs of jacanas! Now I know how excited birdwatchers can get. Next day only one pair remained and each day for the past month we have watched a pair of Pheasant-tailed Jacanas and four grey, well camouflaged chicks as they work the long mud flat opposite our Lakeside Guest House. With that, the number of bird species recorded around Lakeside has risen to 185. If its birds you want, Tamil Nadu is well worth a visit.
Kanniwadi valley, close to the Kamaraj Dam
Number of Species
State Bird: Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
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Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
Madras Natural History Society
Madras Naturalists'Society (MNS) was formed in 1978 by a group of sixteen nature enthusiasts to bring together like minded persons in the city and to exchange news and views. It was formally registered in 1979 as a non-profit voluntary, non-governmental organization…
Bird Sanctuaries in Tamil Nadu
Annotated list of sanctuaries…
Forests of Tamil Nadu
From the sun drenched sea shores of Point Calimere to the teak forests of Mudumalai and Topslip, the green grassy hills of Nilgiris to the wet evergreen forests of Kalakkad and Mundanthurai, Tamil Nadu`s forests and animal life is as diverse as India itself…
Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve
Endowed with a combination of different ecosystems (mangroves, seagrasses and coral reefs); the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve (from here on referred to as the Reserve, supports over 3,600 species of plants and animals. The first of its kind in India, the Reserve encompasses a group of 21 small islands along the coast of the Gulf of Mannar in southern India…
Kunthakulam Bird Sanctuary
Kunthakulam bird sanctuary is situated 33-km south of Tirunelveli in Nanguneri taluk. Kunthakulam is a small and natural scenic village, which is covered with natural forests and ponds. During the season January to April every year more than 10 thousand birds from various countries like Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, USA, Australia migrate here and when the season is over the birds return…
Manjira Wildlife Sanctuary
Manjira wild life sanctuary spreads over an area of 20 sq.kms and is the abode of a number of resident and migratory birds and the marsh crocodiles…
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
ESTABLISHED: Mudumalai, 1940 as a sanctuary.Mudumalai wildlife reserve is a continuation of the Bandipur National Park…
Nagarhole National Park
Located right where the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala trijunct, Nagarhole National park is one of the premier forest of south India…
Nanmangalam Reserve Forest
The Coromandel coast once had extensive scrub forests which come under the classification of dry evergreen scrub consisting of many thorny plants, but less than 1% of the original forests remain due to population pressures (Meher Homji,1973). Such a type of habitat closest to Madras is the Guindy National Park, which occurs within city limits. However, this is a highly modified forest, many trees having been planted by the forest department over the years. A few other naturally occurring scrub forests around Madras and all over Tamil Nadu have been classified as wastelands and have been afforested in the Social Forestry scheme…
The topography of Tamil Nadu is delightfully varied and diverse. Of the 130,058sq km land area, 17.6 is covered with forest area. These spreads over the plain and on mountain slopes. Dry lands are bestowed with dry-decidious forests, thorn forests, scrubs and mangroves. The Western Ghats and a few cooler regions are endowed with moist decidious, wet evergreen forests, sholas and grasslands. There are 5 National Parks and 17 Wildlife Sactuaries in Tamil Nadu…
Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary
Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area in South India, declared in 2008, which covers forest area of 524.35 square kilometres (202 sq mi). It covers Sathyamangalam taluk and parts of Gobichettipalayam Taluk of Erode District in the north western Tamil Nadu. This Sanctuary is significant as a wildlife corridor in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve between the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats and a genetic link between the four other protected areas which it adjoins, including the Biligiriranga Swamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary, Sigur Plateau, Mudumalai National Park and Bandipur National Park…
Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary
Originally established in 1798, the official sanctuary covers only 30 hectares of Marshy land on the edge of Lake Vendanthangal. Unofficially, the bird's breeding ground covers an area of about 10 square kilometers, with habitats, including woodland, marsh and open grass, as well as several other lakes. It is an extraordinarily crowded place, with up to 1,00,000 birds of different species being recorded at peak season. As many of them are migratory, the best time to visit is from November to February, at the height of the breeding season.
Guides & Tour Operators
All India Birding Tours
Your Birding itinerary depends upon your interests, the duration of the planned trip, and other matters such as your budget…
Anytime Tours - 13-Days Birding the Western Ghats & South India
This tour focuses on the endemic birds of the Western Ghats and South India. There is a good chance of picking up most of the endemic bird species associated with the Western Ghats. Species include White-bellied Treepie, Crimson-backed Sunbird, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Malabar Parakeet, Nilgiri Woodpigeon and Nilgiri Flycatcher, Ceylon Frogmouth, Malabar Trogon and Indian Pitta…
Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…
Eldhose Bird Tours
Eldhose Bird Tours arranges Birding Expeditons to Kerala and other bird-rich areas of South India- Tamilnadu & Karnataka. We want all of our clients to share in the excitement and fun of a top-notch birding adventure, and we want to provide the best service possible to both our tour participants and our independent travel clients. We are delighted by what seems to be success in both categories. we have a large and loyal following, many of whom have been more than couple of times or in some cases, dozens of tours with us, and these clients,in turn, are our greatest advertising--most of our new clients come to us by word of mouth via a friend who suggested they "must" try Birding with Eldhose…
Ficus Wildlife and Natural History Tour
We organize natural history tours in south India and specialize in tours to the Western Ghats of south India, a mountainous eco-region, which are considered as a global biodiversity hotspot. We offer custom made itineraries to individuals and groups with specific interests on birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians as well for those with a broad interest in the natural history of the region…
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
2010 [03 March] - Ficus - Ghermalam
Typical for these mountain evergreen forests we see Black Bulbul groups, Malabar Whistling Thrush skulking in the lower thickets of the forest and Common Kestrel soaring against the wind, waiting to swoop down to catch prey in the grassland. We also see a pair of majestic Black Eagles, incredibly dextrous for its size, skimming the forest canopy. As we reach the Lantana on our way back, we see an elephant, barely visible above the five feet high thickets, and apparently part of larger herd, invisible to us…
2011 [03 March] - Ravi Kailas - South India Endemics
We saw small colonies of River Terns, Spot-billed Ducks, Cormorants, Ibis, Herons and Storks regularly as well birds of prey including Osprey, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Brahminy Kite and notably Tawny Eagle, by the river. The river is reputedly rich in fish life and the numerous birds and presence of Mugger Crocodile (of which we had a sighting) seem to indicate its continuing status as such. Forest birds included relative rarities such as Heart-spotted and Malabar Woodpeckers and Red Spurfowl, among a good number of commoner species…
2016 [03 March] - James Eaton - Kashmir, Andamans & Western Ghats
Places to Stay
Fortune Resort Sullivan Court - Ooty
123, Selbourne Road, Ooty - 643001, Tamil Nadu Phone :+91-423-2441415 Fax :+91-423-2441417
Hotel Sinclairs Ooty
Ooty is one of India's most popular hill resorts, located at 2240 metres above sea level in the Niligiri Hills of southern India. Hotel Sinclairs Ooty has 88 beautifully appointed rooms and suites, wall-to-wall carpeting, satellite TV, direct-dial telephones, attached bath with hot and cold running water and room service. It also enjoys the distinction of being Ooty's only centrally heated hotel.
Jungle Hut Resort - Mudumalai National Park
The resort is well planted with many bird-pollinated plants and possesses numerous ponds, allowing our guests to view a richness of bird species without even having to step off their veranda. We also cater to the avid birder, with a range of hikes, treks or bird walks accompanied by our resident naturalist and ornithologist who has 29 years of experience combing the area by sound and sight for birds and other wildlife. These treks can last from 2-8 hours depending on your preferences!
Wonderful wildlife, helpful staff and friendly owners - Fatbirder recommended
Lakeside Guest House - Athoor, Dindigul
Excellent cuisine and accommodation, Organized South Indian Bird Watching Tours organized: local birding tours a speciality…
Mayuram Eco Lodge
Mayuram Eco Lodge is situated on a 350 acre farm right at the foot of the Western Ghats, which form a magnificent backdrop to the property. The land adjoins the Kalakkad - Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve; our conservation and restoration programmes have greatly improved the quality of the habitat, attracting a great variety of fauna, especially from the reserve adjacent. The Eco-Lodge is a building with strongly local architectural character; a bit rustic, but airy and spacious…
O'Land Plantation Stay
Get away from it all to a hidden gem in the Nilgiris where nature reigns supreme. Just an hour’s drive from Coonoor and Ooty and yet a world apart – O’land Plantation is a 120 acre estate that grows tea, coffee, pepper and cloves. It also offers luxury stays for those who feel a special connection with nature and are looking for truly eco-friendly homestay.
Kiran Kashyap's Photologue
Tucked away from the city limits, in the middle of the forests is a place with abundant wildlife culture. Sangama is a popular destination for more than one reason. It is said that the river Kaveri meets it's tributaries at this place. A holy trademark for all pilgrims who'd take an anxious dip in the river to wipe off their sins.