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Fisherman's Cove

Fisherman's Cove is a hotel on the coast, south of Chennai. The area is one of lakes, palms and beach. The hotel gardens held House Crow, Red-vented Bulbul, Common Myna and two or three tiny birds, whizzing around like hummingbirds high in the trees. These were my first Purple-rumped Sunbirds. The nearby lakes held three Green Bee-eaters, Pied and White-throated Kingfishers, and in the distance we saw a flock of about 3000 Lesser Flamingoes (a bird with a very restricted range in southern India).

On the journey between Fisherman's Cove and the Ideal Beach Resort I saw Hoopoe, Black Drongo, House and Large-billed Crows, one Small Minivet, Ashy Woodswallow, Spotted Dove, White-browed Wagtail, Indian Roller and, of course, White-throated Kingfisher.

Rocky grassland at Fisherman's Cove

Rocky grassland at
Fisherman's Cove

In December 2002 I was back at Fisherman's Cove, this time staying for one night and so I had time to have a look around the grounds. The first good bird here was heard long before it was seen. We sat out in the evening and could hear this bird calling in the distance, Since it was dark I wondered if it was some kind of nightjar. Despite hunting for it with a torch I could not track the bird down. It called almost constantly from 10pm until at least 2am when I went to bed. Next morning I was walking along the edge of the river by some trees and I heard the call again. This time the bird could not hide and I got good views: it was a Common Hawk Cuckoo.

The river area proved very productive. There were a few tall trees, lots of smaller bushes and areas of open mud. The bushes held a few Blyth's Reed-warblers and Little Green Bee-eaters. A bird on a telegraph wire proved to be a Pied or Jacobin Cuckoo. The mud held Pintail Snipe, at least eight birds, Red- and Yellow-wattled Lapwings and a couple of Great Thick-knees.

Further up a small hill, where the ground was more open and rocky I added Brahminy Starling, Indian Roller and Spotted Dove. A pair of small birds suddenly appeared and tried to remain hidden amongst the rocks. Eventually I managed to get a good view of them and so saw my first Ashy-crowned Sparrow-larks. Asian Palm-swifts were common in the air above me and there were quite a few Hoopoes about.

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