Drive to the Sahyadris
14 Feb 2017: Day 45 (Coimbatore – Ooty – Masinagudi – Thirunelly, 293 km, 10 Hrs)
Since we were now returning back home, we decided to try our luck spotting some of the birds that we had missed out earlier. The first one on the list was the Legge’s Hawk Eagle and after contacting a few birder friends, we commenced our drive from Coimbatore at 1000 Hrs towards Ooty. While on the ghats of Ooty, Anjana spotted a bird that looked like a Grey-headed Bulbul, but we could not stop as a bus was following us. After about a km, we stopped and walked back looking for the bird, but could not locate it and it remained a mystery bird forever.
Just before reaching Ooty, Anjana again spotted a bird perched on a roadside tree and took a few pictures which was later identified as a Crested Goshawk.
However, we were not able to find the Legge’s Hawk Eagle anywhere and continued our drive on to the Ooty – Masinagudi Ghats. Still, no luck and eventually we reached Masinagudi where we met Sidhu and he advised to search for the bird at the Singara estate. Again, we could not find the bird and while Sidhu informed us that chances of a sighting is better early morning, we did not stay back and based on another friend’s advice, proceeded to Thirunelly.
We finally reached KTDC Thirunelly at 2030 Hrs after a couple of close encounters with an elephant.
15 Feb 2017: Day 46 (Thirunelly – Udupi, 305 km, 7 Hrs)
We visited the Vishnu Temple at Thirunelly and extensively searched the site and the adjoining forests for any sign of the Legge’s Hawk Eagle, but to no avail. Eventually, we gave up our search for the eagle and commenced our drive towards Goa where we had missed to spot the Vigors’s Sunbird earlier.
While we could not make it as far as Goa today, we settled in at a nice resort in Udupi.
16 Feb 2017: Day 47 (Udupi)
Paradise Lagoon at Udupi turned out to be an excellent property and we decided to take a mini break from our hectic schedule and spent one more day at this property. While the Manager at the resort kept prompting us to visit the nearby beach, we just spent the entire day relaxing and watching the Brahminy Kites fishing in the lagoon.
17 Feb 2017: Day 48 (Udupi – Goa, 304 km, 6 Hrs)
We continued our drive to Goa and reached Pale-Velsao by 1400 Hrs and went around the area searching for the Vigors’s Sunbird, but could not find it. Anyway, we decided to search for the bird the next morning.
18 Feb 2017: Day 49 (Goa – Pune, 489 km, 8 Hrs)
We carried out an extensive search of the area, but again the Vigors’s Sunbird remained elusive and by 1000 Hrs, we could not tolerate the morning heat and commenced our drive to Pune reaching by 1830 Hrs.