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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
Goa update 10th-25th January 2008,
Goa is now well visited and numerous trip reports are available. I will just give an update on some sites visited during my latest trip having been 8 times before. All birding was done between daybreak and 11 am.
We stayed at Riverside Regency Resort, Baga this time, having –previously stayed at Riverside Hotel. Good clean accommodation, if a little basic, with good food and friendly staff. We booked online through Olympic holidays.
Good places to eat in Baga include… The Hibiscus Restaurant, at the Riverside Hotel. Fantastic reasonably priced Chinese food. It really is becoming one of the best restaurants in the area both for quality and service!!
We also ate at J Js on the main Baga road. It is attached to the bookshop. Martha does really good Indian/Portuguese cooking. A really nice menu, Pakhoras to die for and excellent prices!
Lastly we recommend Sunset Restaurant which is on the headland across the river from the top of Baga Beach. Again excellent food at decent prices.
I have always used Paresh Salgaonker. He is a very good guide with a taxi. Contact him on 00919822387494 or email@example.com. Otherwise ask for him at the Riverside Hotel taxi rank.
Not as good as previous years due to new buildings and roads being cut into the trees. Still worth a look but Arpora Woods are better. Lotens Sunbird was seen on Baga Hill.
Beira Mar Hotel.
The marshy area behind the hotel swimming pool is becoming overgrown but arriving at 18:15 I saw Painted Snipe and Ruddy Breasted Crake by 18:45. Other people had seen Cinnamon Bittern.
Carambolim Lake Area.
The water levels were very low due to the water being drained to allow the renovation to the wall by the road.
No ducks present (they were all at Betalim Lake). In the fields to the rear and side of the lake I saw Rufus Tailed Lark. Indian Spotted Eagle. Indian Roller and Black–shouldered Kite. The village had the usual Brown Hawk Owl and Jungle Owlet.
The Russians have taken over the beach! Once you have scanned the Gulls/terns/Plovers head further north to Ashvem Beach for a rest. There is a very good Beach shack there called Fishtail Shack. Food is good and the beach is peaceful and uncrowded.
River Trip…. Cumbarjua Canal off the Zuari River
Paresh arranged this for us for 1000 rupees per person. An excellent trip lasting around 3 hours, followed by an included breakfast in a local café. We saw 6 species of Kingfisher including Collared! Spoonbill, Tereks Sandpiper and all the usual Egrets
Very good still. Park at the restaurant and walk downhill to the main gate. Wonderful views of the Giant Squirrels. Malabar Trogon, Yellow Browed Bulbul, Shama, Forest Wagtail, Blue-Capped Rock thrush, Emerald Dove and other forest species.
Still a good site for woodland species including Brown Wood Owl despite a large house built there. A Savannah Nightjar was reported on the stony ground at the back of the site.
This is being developed as a tourist site. Most of the embankment has been cleared so the Fish Owls have moved on. Indian Nightjar is still present (on the same branch as 2 years ago).Paresh knew a site for Yellow wattled Lapwings on the way. Unless you want the Nightjar Mayem isn’t worth a visit.
Alexandrine Parakeet site.
There is a breeding site of Alexandrine Parakeets not far from the pans opposite the Marinha Dourada Hotel. A visit to both sites can be combined. Coming from Baga turn left at the road just before the Mourinha Dourada Hotel.(hairdressers on the corner) Go past the large hotel complex on the right then the large temple on the left, then scan the trees on the right. You may have to walk a little further on to the palm trees just past a small bridge over the canal. You will probably hear the parakeets before you see them.
An essential trip. I have been twice previously. They have a stand at the British Bird Fair at Rutland Water.
This forest area in Karnataka on the Kali River is an alternative to Backwoods.It is a new area, underwatched and comparable to backwoods. It is run by Forest Lodges and can be booked in Goa at the local travel agents. I used Liza travel between Baga and Calangute . Cost £86 for 3days/2 nights, all transport, food and accommodation included.
The local naturalist is Basil who is very enthusiastic. Sites visited from the lodge included Forest Depot, Haliza Gardens, Budakarshiva Lake and Old Magazine House. We finished with 105 species, similar to Backwoods. White Bellied Woodpecker was seen easily here. Ditto Black Headed Bunting, Woolly necked Stork, Red-throated Flycatcher, Tickells Flycatcher, Rufus Woodpecker, Heart Spotted Woodpecker, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Blue Faced Malkoha, River Tern., Black Headed Bulbul, Malabar Parakeet, Brown Shrike
At the lake a possible Marbled Duck was seen. (If anyone can confirm this I would be grateful as it was seen well out of its range)
The accommodation is large fixed tents with shower and toilet. The food is excellent.
The site is well worth a visit as an alternative to Backwoods.
Guide at Dandeli….. firstname.lastname@example.org
Goa is still a good birding area. It is easy to do on your own, if you get a good driver/guide, at a cheaper price that the companies charge.
Even by restricting birding to about 4 hours each morning we still saw 210 species in a fortnight.