Chasing Dreams and Night Calls: Capturing the Elusive Beauty of Thattekad's Endemic Wonders

Nov 15, 2023

Have you ever embarked on a quest so captivating that it kept you on the edge of anticipation, with each moment revealing a new chapter of excitement and challenges? Join me and my dear friend Anup as we recount our recent photographic odyssey to Thattekad, a place that had eluded us in the past but beckoned us with promises of capturing rare avian gems.

Day 1: The Journey Begins

Our alarms blared at 3 AM, signaling the start of an epic journey from Bangalore to Thattekad. Negotiating the twists and turns between Erode and Coimbatore, we reached our destination just in time for lunch. Thanks to our guides Danish and Sanu, everything was meticulously arranged for our three-day stay.

Day 1 Afternoon: Into the Wilderness

After a quick lunch, we set out to explore the Kothamangalam forest, home to elusive species like the Malabar Trogon and Malabar Barbet. While we managed to capture captivating shots of Malabar Grey Hornbills, White-Bellied Treepies, and the dazzling Rocket-Tailed Drongo, the Trogon remained a challenge, hidden within the dense canopy.

Nightfall: The Camouflaged Mysteries

As the sun dipped below the horizon, our quest shifted to the mysteries of the night. With Sanu's expertise, we navigated the darkness to capture the secretive Sri Lanka Frogmouth. Oriental Scops Owls and Mottled Wood Owls also graced our lenses in the moonlit silence.

Day 2: Kothamangalam's Secrets

Our second day in the heart of Kothamangalam forest was dedicated to unraveling the secrets of flycatchers and other elusive species. Though the Malabar Trogon remained hidden, the day unfolded with captivating encounters with the avian inhabitants of the forest.

Day 3: Munnar's Heights

On the third day, we embarked on a picturesque drive to Munnar, where the Nilgiri Sholakili awaited. Nilgiri Pipit and Palani Laughing Thrush posed for our lenses, but the elusive Sholakili, the bird that fueled my passion for bird photography a decade ago, continued to evade us, leaving us with a decade-long quest still in progress.

The Unexpected Turn

As we began our journey back to Bangalore on Saturday, disappointment lingered in the air. Little did we know that fate had a surprise in store. An hour and a half into the drive, a call from our guide Danish shattered the monotony. The Sri Lanka Bay Owl had been spotted! A U-turn later, we found ourselves face-to-face with the elusive creature, capturing the moment we had longed for.

In the end, our Thattekad escapade wasn't just about capturing photographs; it was about the relentless pursuit of a passion, the camaraderie forged in the face of challenges, and the unexpected twists that make every adventure memorable. Special thanks to Danish for going the extra mile, turning what seemed like a missed opportunity into a triumphant finale.