The Frogmouth Trail – Bird Photography Tour of Thattekad and Munnar

Photograph the charismatic birds of the Western Ghats - February 15-18, 2018

  • The richest bird habitat on peninsular India! That’s not just our opinion. The great ornithologist Salim Ali had said this of Thattekad, a rich evergreen lowland forest located in between the branches of the Periyar River in Kerala.

    Thattekad Bird Sanctuary (or Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary as it is popularly known) is a birder’s paradise. Located at the foothills of the Western Ghats, this beautiful forest is home to charismatic birds, some of which are found only in the Western Ghats. Including the mysterious (and amazingly camouflaged) Sri Lankan Frogmouth, the elegant White-bellied Treepie, the graceful Malabar Grey Hornbill, the gregarious Blue-Winged Parakeets, the chattering Wayanad Laughingthrushes and the colorful Malabar Trogon.

    This February, join Darter Photography on a journey to Thattekad. Experience an action-packed 4-day tour to this birding heaven in the Western Ghats and photograph a wide variety of birds.

    Jump to ◆ ItineraryHighlightsIs this tour for you?Tour PricePhotography MentorGetting to ThattekadPrevious Trip ReportsSign Up

  • Tour Dates

    February 15-18, 2018

    Tour Price – ₹34,850/-

    Max group size: 5 only


Day 1: Arrive at Aluva Railway Station and transfer to resort. After breakfast, we’ll have an orientation session on the forests and bird life of Thattekad. We’ll then head out on a bird watching trail to observe and photograph the rich variety of birdlife here. After lunch, we’ll have a session on the basics of bird watching techniques and bird identification tips. We then head out for another bird watching trail till sundown. Around dinner, we’ll discuss about the observations of the day and make our personal checklists of the birds seen. After dinner, we retire for the day.

Day 2: We start the day early (around sunrise) to  get the best of morning activity and good light for photography. During the day, we’ll explore different areas around Thattekad to see and photograph the rich birdlife here, with breaks for breakfast and lunch. In the evening, your photography mentor will review your photographs. We’ll discuss about the observations of the day and make our personal checklists of the birds seen.

Day 3: Today, we start well before sunrise and drive out towards Munnar. Being at an altitude, Munnar hosts many species of the highlands and shola forests including White-bellied Blue Robin, Black-and-orange Flycatcher, Palani Laughingthrush and Nilgiri Pipit. We’ll spend the day around Munnar, returning to Thattekad late in the evening.

Day 4: We’ll head out for one We have another early start as we head out on a bird watching session around sunrise. Around breakfast, we discuss the observations of the tour so far and plan the rest of the day to cover the species of the birds that we might have missed. After lunch, we head out on another bird watching trail. As evening sets in, it is time to head out from this bird watching paradise with everlasting memories and full memory cards. We’ll transfer to Kothamangalam from where we take the bus to our hometowns.

Please note that the itinerary above is subject to fair weather and other factors. Darter Photography reserves the right to make  changes to the above itinerary at any point of time. Also, please note that photographing the wildlife mentioned above and pictured in the slideshow is indicative and dependent on various external factors, including weather and their presence in the park at that time.

Tour Highlights

    • Witness and photograph charismatic species of birds, some of which are endemic to the Western Ghats
    • Day-trip to Munnar to photograph some of the highland and shola forest species of birds
    • On-field assistance from a photography as well as a naturalist’s perspective
    • Insights into wildlife photography, natural history and conservation
    • Photography review sessions everyday to give you feedback on your photographs

Is this tour for you?

This wildlife photography tour is designed for photographers of all levels of expertise – amateur and serious – who would like to photograph the birds of Thattekad and Munnar. As in all our tours, the group size would be limited so that the Darter Photography Expert can interact closely with every participant.

Wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers who are not photographers, but are keen to see and experience the wildlife at Thattekad and Munnar, are also welcome to join this group. This trip, covering various habitats, will keep you enthralled from start to finish.

Our tour is designed in such a way that we

    • work closely with every photographer
    • help beginners understand the basic nuances of photography and get beautiful images
    • facilitate expert photographers to visit and capture the various habitats of Tal Chapar, assisting them further when necessary
    • allow wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers to explore the biodiversity of Thattekad and Munnar.

Tour Price

The price of the Wildlife Photography Tour of Thattekad and Munnar is Rs.34,850 per person (inclusive of all taxes). The tour starts and ends in Thattekad.

The price includes

  • Accommodation on twin sharing basis at a basic but comfortable birding lodge at Thattekad
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner on all days
  • Birding visits into habitats around Thattekad and Munnar starting after breakfast on Day 1 and ending with dinner on Day 4
  • All entry fees
  • Photography sessions, on-field assistance and image reviews

The cost does not include

  • Transport from your location to Thattekad and back. We’ll facilitate logistics and cab-pooling from Kochi/Aluva if needed.
  • Camera fees, if any, levied at the protected areas
  • Additional beverages, snacks and mineral water ordered at the guest house
  • Medical and Insurance costs
  • Tips and other expenses not mentioned in the includes list above

Cancellation Policy for the Wildlife Photography Tour of Thattekad and Munnar is:
– 20% of full tour fee is charged as cancellation fee for cancellation on or before January 14, 2018
– 50% of full tour fee is charged as cancellation fee for cancellation between January 15 and January 29, 2018
– 75% of full tour fee is is charged as cancellation fee for cancellation between January 30 and February 11, 2018
– No refunds for cancellation on or after February 12, 2018 or for no-show

Please note that the above is subject to favorable weather and other conditions. In case of any obstacles, we will do our best to make alternate plans. The cost of the tour or any part of it will not be refunded in the event of unfavourable conditions during the tour days.

Photography Mentor – Shreeram M V

Shreeram M V is a professional photographer, photography mentor and naturalist. What started off as a fascination for birds in a lake behind his house turned into a journey to different parts of India. For this IIM Bangalore graduate, the passion for travel and wildlife enabled him to charter his own course outside the corporate world.

He has explored and photographed places as diverse as the rainforests of the Western Ghats, the salt marshes of Kutch, the grasslands of Tal Chapar, the deciduous forests of South and Central India, the high-altitude plateau of Ladakh, the coasts of peninsular India, the forests of North-east India and the islands of Andaman. His approach to wildlife photography has evolved into telling stories about the place and its habitats, biodiversity and human interactions with nature.

He is a well-published and awarded photographer. His articles and photographs have been published in diverse print and digital magazines such as National Geographic Traveller, Sanctuary Asia, Saevus, Lonely Planet India, Terrascape and JLR Explore. He was part of the team that won the Yes Bank – Saevus Trailblazers Award in 2014 for their story on Lion-tailed Macaques of Valparai. As a naturalist, he has been associated with Jungle Lodges and Resorts and Karnataka Eco-tourism Development Board in training and certifying naturalists from across the state.

See some of his work at Visual Quotient

Getting To Thattekad

Cochin – Cochin International Airport (COK) is the nearest airport at a distance of 45km (1hr 30 mins) from Thattekad.

By Train from Bangalore
Aluva (AWY) is the nearest railway station at a distance of 47km from Thattekad.

  • Feb 14 – Train no. 16526 – Bangalore (SBC) to Aluva (AWY) – Departure 20:00 Arrival 07:00


  • Feb 18 –Train no. 16316 – Aluva (AWY) to Bangalore (SBC) – Departure 21:17 Arrival 08:35

Please book your train tickets asap as these routes can be in high demand.

Sign Up

You can register by making a payment using the gateway below. For alternate payment options or for more information, please fill in the form below. You may also email us at or call Arun (+91-9880006460) / Shreeram (+91-9740083260).

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