Walking back after the 7:30 am boat ride with my 84-year-old father, we’d entered the hotel (Periyar House at Thekkady) grounds and were making slow progress on the gentle ascent leading to the building. Something made me look up to the right — and there it was, a flaming red bird I’d never seen before! I asked my father to stay where he was, extricated my camera from the camera bag, changed lenses, and took three shots in quick succession. I’d just switched on the flash for another shot when the bird had had enough — it flew away.
One of the photos came out alright; the others were blurred. I had to do some research on the Net to identify this beauty. It’s the relatively rarely spotted Malabar Trogon, found in the Western Ghats. I showed the photo to the hotel staff, but they’d never seen the bird before. This is the brightly colored male; the female is plain in comparison. I love the apt Malayalam name for this bird: Thee kakka (fire crow).
Thirty minutes after this sighting, we’d checked out of the hotel and were speeding out of the Periyar Tiger Reserve. It now seems to me that the bird was bidding me farewell. This sighting alone made the trip worth while.