…Continued from: Andaman Endemic Birds Day 3
Day 4. Morning session
One of the birds on our list of Endemic Andaman birds was the Andaman cuckoo dove. On an earlier session Gopal had spotted it feeding on a fruiting tree in the forested patch in Shoal Bay (I had nicknamed this place Kabristan. See Day 2).
Also I was not very happy with my images of the spot-breasted woodpecker and our best sightings were in this area.
So it was decided that we spend the morning session of Day 4 at the Kabristan in Shoal Bay.
En route we stopped to investigate the bushy area that held the reed-warblers. We did spot oriental reed-warblers and clamorous reed-warblers from the road. Just as we were preparing to walk towards the bushes (about 30 metres off the road) to get a closer look Vikram pointed out to a watercock foraging nearby. Reed-warblers forgotten, we set up our tripods began to shoot it.
A large bird flew by and sat on a stump in the middle of the bushes. Excitedly Vikram identified it as a changeable hawk eagle. This time the watercock was forgotten as we swung the cameras to focus on this new arrival!
A stork-billed kingfisher zipped by in the distance and I practiced my (woefully inadequate) birds-in-flight skills!
What started out as a session for reed-warblers, turned out to be anything but that. Not that we were complaining!
Driving on, we passed the mangroves without stopping as we already had seen the ruddy kingfisher and went straight to the ‘kabristan’ area.
A few Asian fairy-bluebirds were on the fruiting tree by the roadside. Also feeding here were white headed starlings.
Further into the jungle Vikram heard the call of a Violet Cuckoo, and spotted it high in the branches of a bare tree.
Also spotted here was a red-breasted parakeet.
And, a little later, the endemic long-tailed parakeet.
The spot-breasted woodpeckers were still here and this time I got much better images.
A red collared dove posed for this lovely image.
The pair of bar-bellied cuckoo shrikes we saw on our previous visit, were still around, and from the twigs they were carrying, the were still serious about starting a family.
I also got better shots of an Asian brown flycatcher.
We heard the call of an Andaman crake. Vikram uses the sound recording on his phone to mimic a reply, and he gets a response! We walk off the path a short distance into the forest and freeze. Our eyes glued to the direction from which the calls are coming. The crake’s responses to Vikram’s calls get closer and closer. Then silence.
Vikram’s repeated calls are not reciprocated. The bird had sensed our presence. Dissapointed we moved back the the road.
The morning wore on. As yet no signs of the cuckoo dove. Then, just as we were beginning to resign ourselves to the fact that we would have to add this bird to our next trip’s list along with the Andaman crake and the Andaman nightjar (yes, without a doubt, I will be back!), Gopal spots one flying by.
We rushed to try and get at least a shot to document the sighting.
Looking back, hurry was completely unnecessary. This bird was going nowhere. For the next half hour we shot some beautiful images of this extraordinary bird as it fed on the berries of the fruiting tree!
Completing the morning sighting, of note, were some glossy starlings and this large cuckooshrike.
Day 4. Evening Session.
This was our last evening session. We went back to ‘Kabristan’ in Shoal Bay to try and see Andaman nightjar that had eluded us so far. Also we had heard several calls of the Andaman scops owl on Day 2.
On the way, we did stop to take images of Andaman green pigeons, white-bellied woodswallows and a group of Andaman treepies high in the bare branches of a tree.
Back at Kabristan after sundown, we tried for the Nightjar without success but did get a great image of an Andaman’s scops owl.
Go to: Andaman Endemic Birds Day 5