Drive to the Sahyadris
25 Jan 2017: Day 25 (Cotigao – Anshi, 82 km, 2 Hrs)
After a delicious breakfast, we commenced our drive reaching Anshi Nature Camp by 1000 Hrs. Within the camp grounds, we spotted several birds including Brown-breasted Flycatcher, Orange-headed Thrush and a Nilgiri Flowerpecker.
After lunch, we explored the area around the campsite and soon realized that the canopy was way too dense for any meaningful birding. So, we took to roadside birding and started driving slowly along the stream. Within a few minutes, Anjana spotted a pair of Brown Fish Owls roosting on a tree next to the stream followed by a Grey Junglefowl and a Black-naped Monarch.
It was another 100 yards when Rishi sighted a male Malabar Trogon well hidden behind branches but its bright red color gave its position away. Based on our field experience, we started looking around anticipating that the female would be perched somewhere in the open. But the Male Trogon proved us completely wrong as it came out of hiding and perched on an open branch curiously looking our way.
All excited, we continued our drive but were not able to spot anything for the next couple of kilometers. Just when our confidence was fading away, we spotted a flock of birds descending down on a tree. On having a closer look we realized that it was a mixed flock of bulbuls, Lesser Hill Myna, White-cheeked Barbets and Malabar Barbets. While the birds were feverishly feeding on the fruiting tree, we got an opportunity to not only observe them, but take a few pictures. On scanning the other side of the road, a pair of Malabar Parakeets was also spotted.
While returning, amazingly more Trogons were sighted perched on the roadside branches and we counted five individuals in a matter of two kilometers.
A rough map of the drive can be found here.
Anshi Nature Camp: A government run property in the middle of the forest is a good place to stay and appreciate the beauty of the evergreen forest. There are several trails that can be explored and roadside birding is also rewarding. While the camp offers both tents and cottages, we opted for a cottage and found it to be decent for the price. The cottages are wooden with an attached concrete bathroom. To book:
1. Contact the office of the Chief Conservator of Forests at directordatr(at)gmail(dot).com and/or +91 (0) 8284 231 585. Confirm room availability and block the dates.
2. Prepare a DD in favor of “CCF & Director, Dandeli Anshi Tiger Reserve, Dandeli”. Only nationalized bank DD is acceptable (SBI, SBM, Corporation, Canara, Syndicate & Karnataka Bank)
3. Courier the DD at:
Conservator of Forests & Director,
KALI Tiger Reserve,
(We always use Speed Post as it is cheap and delivery to government establishments is pretty fast)
4. Call back and confirm receipt of DD and booking.
Please feel free to ask us any question that you may have about our time at Anshi. Also, stay tuned for details on the next leg of our road trip.