This is: THATTEKAD, KERALA
Next stop: BANGALORE, KARNATAKA
Beautiful jungles in India? I seriously wouldn't have picked it. BUT it's here and it's bloody awesome.
Our second stop in India was Thattekad Bird Sanctuary. We stayed at the Junglebird Homestay, the only accomodation in the area that is within the sanctuary itself, and we would highly recommend staying there if you plan to visit. Correction: when you plan to visit. Because you oh-so-totally should.
The homestay is home to Gireesh and his wonderful family, and has all the basics. Gireesh, one of the most enthusiastic and genuinely happy human beings I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, definitely makes the bird watching tours such an adventure.
The thing that surprised me the most was that I had way more fun than I expected! I thought Will (bird fanboy #1) would have enjoyed this far more than I did, but I think we both had a blast.
They’ll give you some binoculars and take you on the best nature hikes. I noticed it was so nice to just walk without looking out for cars or motorbikes or dogs or cows on the road, and the peace and the fresh air of the jungle was a very welcome change of pace from Kochi.
Sudah, Gireesh’s Mum, at 62 years old, is an avid bird watcher with an excellent and sharp set of eyes, and can tell you what any bird is simply by the sound of its call or by looking at its sillhouette. With hundreds of species in the jungle, you’re sure to be impressed by her birding skills.
I particularly enjoyed our last birding tour, where we ended up running through the heavy rain because Gireesh was determined to show us a rare Brown Fish Owl, and we found it! Spying on this giant beast-of-an-owl through the bushes whilst the Indian skies rained on us, is something I’ll definitely remember from this trip.