SAI Sanctuary: The Birds & Animals

SAI Sanctuary is one of the most relaxing places ever to just kick back and watch the birds and animals.  One very pleasant surprise is the usually elusive and shy Sambar Deer.

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IMG_1656 IMG_1662Many different bird species frequent the stream, even the local chickens!

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Even the insects can be interesting!

IMG_2574 IMG_2513They have a rooftop deck which is a superb place to see the birdlife for miles around.  We were all up there when the heavens opened with a torrential downpour.  We had to retreat inside and wait it out.  While we were chatting under the roof, Anil heard a flock of Malabar Parakeets.  I grabbed my camera and ran as fast as I could and followed him to the rear deck,  but they were too fast and disappeared into the forest.  When the rain stopped, we went back out on the deck and I got a few shots of some other birds.

IMG_2575 IMG_2576 IMG_2578 IMG_2579 IMG_2581Another flock of Malabar Parakeets decided to surprise us, approaching from the rear without the usual parakeet squawking and flew over our heads.  Once again, I was too slow with the camera but at least I got to see a small flock of them!

India & Sri Lanka – Birding “On The Fly”

I usually plan trips at least a year in advance and book them when the last segment I need is within the 11 month booking window.  So hastily throwing together a trip to India & Sri Lanka was totally out of character for me.  I had been planning to do this trip in 2015 but when US Airways announced a major rebate promo, I couldn’t resist bringing it forward!

Malabar Parakeet AI knew which parrots I was targeting.  I never tire of seeing India’s beautiful Malabar Parakeets, Alexandrines and other psittaculas.  I was also dying to see the stunning Layard’s Parakeet, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot and many other bird species.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

I had enough miles to book us in business class on Thai outbound and Singapore return.   This is a Central Asian award.

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Since Sri Lankan Airlines hasn’t yet joined One World (only 4500 with Avios) and Air India hasn’t yet joined Star Alliance I had to pay for a bridging flight between Bangalore (via Chennai) and Colombo.  The cheapest flight was on Spice Jet which I booked on their website.

I spent a day reading reports of bird sightings and put together the itineraries for both countries based on which locations had my desired parrot species and as many other species.  In India, I knew I wanted to visit Coorg, Wayanad and Mudumalai.

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In Sri Lanka, I knew I wanted to visit Kithulgala & Sinharaja.