Flitting between high branches a Malabar pied hornbill issues a strident call. Excitedly you look up only to be distracted by a brilliant colour-riot in the garb of a Malabar trogon. Further afield the calls of a Mountain hawk-eagle stop you in your tracks. As you scan for it, a Red spurfowl crosses your path leaving you reeling in waves of visual delight.
If you love birds and photographing them, it’s not long before you realise why Thattekad is a goldmine. And this Tour will bring you the best of this avian wonderland and make it endemic to your heart.
Having immense years of experience in the area, some of our expert photographers know the forest like they know their home town. For Birding lovers and enthusiasts we can offer a variety of Thattekad birding tour packages to travel and enjoy the avian wonders of Thattekad. Join us on one of our expert-photographer-guided Thattekad birding tours, or join a group tour with like-minded individuals as your fellow-travellers. If you prefer to travel on your own terms, in your style, we can offer you a package in any of the lovely stays around here keeping in mind the budget, taste, and style of travel that fits your needs.
There are three different ways to explore Thattekad. Depending on the kind of traveller you are, we welcome you to choose your preferred Thattekad birding tour packages.
Sandwiched between two branches of the Periyar River, the Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is a little oasis of rare treats. The montane moist deciduous forest forms a fascinating setting that provides sanctuary to more than 250 species.
Famously described by Dr. Salim Ali as “the richest bird habitat in Peninsular India, comparable only to Eastern Himalayas,” it was notified a sanctuary in 1983 and its diminutive size of merely 25km2 is in contrast to the immense riches it harbours.
Thattekad is most famously an endemism hotspot, and many species among its prime attractions are found only here or in the Western Ghats.
While Indian scimitar babbler, Pompadour green pigeon and Flame-throated bulbul adorn the daytime scene, Jerdon’s nightjar and Collared scops owl create a sensation by the crepuscule. But perhaps Thattekad’s most captivating attraction is the Sri Lanka Frogmouth, to photograph which there is probably no better place on Earth. A relative of the Nightjar, the Frogmouth is a striking bird equipped with binocular vision and amazing camouflage, and captures the imagination with its remarkably quirky looks.
In a more flamboyant bracket, the comely Nilgiri and White-bellied blue Flycatchers and Crimson-backed Sunbird are eminently photogenic, and a stroke of favourable fortune can yield that most coveted of all sittings with the whimsical Black Baza.
This apart, the somewhat outspoken denizens such as the White-bellied Treepie and Dark-fronted Babbler inhabit the understorey rather raucously and ensure that there is never a dull moment.
Unlike travel agents who plan your holiday from a remote destination to places they sometimes haven’t experienced themselves, Photo Tours offer a comprehensive toehold to experience a place through the guidance of a professional photographer. The common ingredients in all our Photo Tours are fun and a lot of learning and knowledge-sharing. Besides, most or all of our Tour participants are photography enthusiasts, which keeps the group in harmony and helps make your experience focused.
Of course! Please talk to our capable Camera Rent team or mention what gear you’d like to hire while registering for the tour. Guess what? We offer you a 10% off on camera rent while on the tour.
Absolutely! This Tour is meant for fledgling as well as experienced photographers. Beginners get all the advantages of learning on and off the field from Toehold’s eminent Skippers. In fact if you are a newbie, you should jump on this terrific learning opportunity and sign up right away!
However, in order to make the most of the Tour photographically, we recommend that you be familiar with photography fundamentals. If you’re not, we suggest you join an Art and Science of Photography Workshop before the Tour.
We leave Cochin at around 11:30 a.m. and reach Thattekad after a road journey lasting around two hours. After checking in, we venture out on a birding trail near the camp and afterwards enjoy a homely dinner before retiring for the night.
We enjoy full-day’s guided trekking in the Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary looking for the prime attractions of the Tour. This effort offers a high chance of producing the sight of a frogmouth. We will also spend sizeable time near the lodge and surrounding areas, where birds and opportunities are aplenty. Later in the evening we go in search of owls and nightjars. All the while, your Toehold Skipper will assist you in every way possible to ensure a productive time.
After a last morning’s birding in Thattekad, we gather for a conclusive huddle and are transferred back to Cochin from where we depart for our abodes.
All figures per person.
Please note: The date of written (email) communication of intent to cancel is the date considered for calculation of the cancellation fees.
Anybody with an interest in birding, photography or birding will thoroughly enjoy this Tour. And although this Tour is optimized for photographers, non-photographers are most welcome too. There are no eligibility criteria except that you must be over 18 unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.