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A Report from birdtours.co.uk

India - Goa, 20 December 03 - 04 January 04,

Mark Easterbrook

Indian flag of India

References:

Trip reports posted on the Web. See http://www.birdtours.co.uk/tripreports/india/index.htm

A Birdwatchers Guide to India by Krys Kazmierczak & Raj Singh.

Pocket Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp & Tim Inskipp.

This report will conform to the following format:-

1.    A brief introduction.
2.    A day-by-day account of the sites visited with birding highlights.
3.    A consolidated species trip list.
4.    Summary.

1.† Introduction

This was our first visit to the Indian Sub Continent and served as an excellent introduction to the kind of species that may be encountered.† It was not intended to be a 24/7 birding holiday, but we gave it a good go none-the-less.† Gary Hulbert and I saw a total of 209 species.† Considering that we didn't venture far from Goa ie Backwoods Camp and the other inland sites this seemed like a fair total.† We did visit the Taj Mahal and Delhi for four days where we saw a few extra species, however during the next visit it is likely that we will visit Backwoods Camp (which was highly recommended by the other birders that we met during our stay).

Travel & Currency

The flight from Gatwick was the usual Monarch dreary affair with no legroom but effective enough.

The rate of exchange was between 77 and 82 Rs to the £, depending on whether you were changing cash, visa or Travellers Cheques.† The latter was by far the easiest and negated the need to carry lots of cash, although theft and crime did not appear to be very prevalent.

A days birding with a guide including transport will cost you between 500 and 1000 Rs depending on how far you travel and what birds you want to see.† Some guides charge by the bird, somewhat like Israel and the Striated Scops Owl or Hume's Tawny Owl for those who are familiar with the arrangements.

Beer costs 66 Rs for a large bottle and a curry and rice about 400 Rs - great value.† European meals like steak etc are more expensive.

A guide to the guides

Most guides will offer you the world and all the birds you mention, many fail to achieve 60%.† They are however very good value for money.

Bruno - found at the Beira Mar.† He was a little aggressive and pushy:† We didn't use him.

Santosh - found at the Beira Mar.† A taxi driver who knows the sights but admits he is no birder.† He seemed like a reasonable honest chap and we would have used him if we were staying at the Biera Mar.† He gave us tips on sites to visit.

Abi - Reputed to be the best guide and birder.† We had booked him to visit Carambolim Lake.† He failed to turn up!!† It seems to me, it's not much use being the best birder if you're unreliable and not present to guide.† We didn't entertain him after the non-appearance episode.

Raymond - Was accompanying another pair of birders.† We met him twice when he was always helpful and friendly. †He knows the sites and the birds. He found the Blue-faced Malkoha and a Savannah Nightjar.† We would probably use him next time if he's available.† He knows the unusual sites for the difficult birds.

Papa - found at the Marinha Dourada, Arpora.† We stayed here and used him.† He was reliable and honest with remarkable eyesight.† He knows the sights and most of the target species. He is developing his Birdwatching skills; we left him a new field guide.

2. Daily Itineries

Day One

The flight from Gatwick to Goa via Bahrain took about 12 hours and was very tiring, from the airport to the resort took another hour.† We arrived at about 1700, checked in and did a bit of birding around the hotel, which produced numerous Black and Brahminy Kites, a Wire-tailed Swallow, Osprey, 8 Small Pratincole flying to roost and an Oriental Magpie Robin by the swimming pool.

Day Two

Up at first light for a walk around the paddy fields next to the hotel Marinha Dourada (an excellent place to base yourself and a varied birding location).† We encountered our first Stork-billed Kingfisher, Pied Stonechat and several Chestnut-tailed Starling.† We later had excellent views of a Blyth's Reed Warbler, discovered an Oriental Turtle Dove and sorted out the Paddyfield Pipits.† Meanwhile in the hotel grounds the trisybillic call soon revealed a Green Warbler.† At dusk a Spotted Owlet was seen sat on a telegraph wire.† Birding between 1030 and 1600 is fairly unproductive as the birds head for the shade and become less active.

Day Three

A look around the hotel area before heading off for a boat trip revealed a Black-lored Tit.† The boat trip was fairly eventful (out of the Mandowi River and around Vasco de Gama Island in the Arabian Sea).† The boat trip produced Brown-headed Gull, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Lesser Crested and Swift Tern, plenty of Gull-billed Terns and at least 6 Dolphin in the mouth of the river.

An evening around the hotel produced† 2 Black-rumped Flameback, an Asian Paradise Flycatcher and 1 Brahminy Starling.

Day Four

Before our visit to Anjuna market we had to book our trip to the Taj Mahal.† The woods near the travel agents produced Koel, Greater Coucal, Brown-headed Barbet and Tickell's Blue Flycatcher.† Whilst walking around the market a White-bellied Sea Eagle was seen, as was a Besra.

An afternoon walk across the paddy fields on the way to the Beira Mar produced Pintail Snipe, Richard's Pipit, Tree Pipit, Short-toed Larks and good views of a Malabar Lark.† Later at the famous Beira Mar swimming pool viewpoint all the specialities were noted; Cinnamon Bittern of course, Ruddy-breasted Crake, Slaty-breasted Rail a surprise Spotted Crake and a couple of Bluethroat.

Day Five

Another early start for a walk around Baga Hill near to the Club Cabana for the search for Indian Pitta which proved unsuccessful on this occasion.† Numerous birds were present and for the inexperienced Indian birder it was very challenging birding indeed.† In any event, highlights were Indian Robin, Small Minivets, several Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike, a Grey Bushchat and a White-throated Fantail.† A Woodpecker was drumming, some tapping on the tree with a stick bought it closer and it was quickly id'd as a Yellow-crowned Woodpecker.† My tapping on the tree also bought 2 Greater Flamebacks in to investigate - a fairly effective tactic.† Our return to the hotel soon had us looking skyward at a raptor over Baga Hill which we soon realised was a Crested (Oriental) Honey Buzzard.

Another visit to the Beira Mar revealed a Peregrine, the same species as the previous night plus a Baillon's Crake.† The regular Black-capped Kingfisher and Painted Snipes also put in an appearance.

Day Six

An early morning start for Carambolim Lake (as we thought).† The guide we had booked (Abi) failed to show.† We thought we were left high and dry when another taxi driver/guide appeared named Papa.† We negotiated a price and got going at about 0715.† He initially took us through Carambolim village to a house, where 2 Spotted Owlets were roosting.† Also along this lane we had Black-hooded Oriole and Blue-tailed Bee Eater.† The highlight however was when the guide also said he new where 2 Jungle Owlets could be found.† Sure enough on queue they flew and allowed fantastic scope views as they sat quietly in nearby trees.† 2 Sparrow type birds were probably Yellow-throated, however they did not reappear to allow for a positive ID.

The lake itself was a fantastic site and produced most of the birds that we expected including Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-tailed Jacanas, Darter, (Grey-headed) Purple Swamphen, Comb Duck, Lesser Whistling Duck and Cotton Teal.† Noticeable by their absence were Sacred Ibis and Asian Open-billed Stork.† A short trip to the Ciba Geigy chemical factory revealed very little and entrance was refused.

Baga Woods in the evening gave us our first Indian Peafowl with 5 young and a Large Cuckoo Shrike.

Day Seven

An early morning drive to Mojim Beach for the high tide roost proved to be time well spent.† An idyllic setting gave amazingly close views of Small Pratincole, Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers, with the latter being more numerous.† Careful scanning of the Plovers revealed a first winter male Caspian Plover whilst the Gull roost produced our first Great-black Headed Gull (Pallas's) and only Oystercatcher.

An afternoon flight to Delhi was uneventful, however the weather in Delhi was a bit of a shock.† Thirteen degrees and a heavy fog, which is prevalent in the North between about December the 20th and January the 15th.† All did not bode well for our trip to the Taj.

Day Eight

An early morning walk in the fog around a near by park opposite the City Park hotel which is where we were staying for the duration of our stay in Delhi, gave us a few new species including Large Grey Babbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Red-breasted Flycatcher and Greenish Warbler, easily discernable from Green by call.† Greenish seemed to be more numerous in the North than Green, which appeared to be more common in the South around Goa.

Sightseeing for the rest of the day.† Pied Mynahs were seen during a visit to Ghandi's Memorial, whilst an Egyptian Vulture circled India Gate.† In the centre of Delhi 5 Brahminy Starling and a Large-billed Crow were seen.† On our return to the hotel 2 Painted Stork were seen heading for the Jamuna River.

Day Nine

The very early morning (0600) train to Agra for our visit to the Taj Mahal.† As it became light and the fog began to lift, a Painted Stork and a Black-necked Stork were seen from the train.† As we arrived in Agra the sun was shining, our guide said it was the first time it had penetrated the fog for 8 days.† He also said that without it our visit to the Taj would have been a fairly miserable affair.

We entered the Taj Mahal and it did not disappoint.† It is a truly breathtaking experience and one that I shall always remember.† Not to detract at all from the main reason for the visit, it is very fortuitous that the Yamuna River runs along behind the famous mausoleum.† Binoculars were quickly trained on the river and 2 of the species we had hoped for were present, River Tern and River Lapwing.† A Citrine Wagtail made an appearance and 8 Ruddy Shelduck were also present.† As we were leaving the Taj we stopped to look at some Large Grey Babblers.† This proved to be very lucky as under a bush near them was a game bird. Close scrutiny ensured that we were able to identify the bird as a Jungle Bush Quail, which was a real bonus!

At Agra, a Shikra and a Blue Rock Thrush added to the trip list and several hirundines, which were too distant to be identified conclusively, were probably Streak-throated Swallows.

After lunch we headed for Fatehpur Sikri (an old palace).† On route semi-feral Indian Peafowl were everywhere and at the palace another target species, Brown Rock Chat put in an appearance.

Day Ten

We caught our flight back to Goa, which was delayed due to fog (surprise surprise) to conclude our holiday in the sun.

An evening walk around the paddy fields next to the hotel rewarded us with very close views of a Black-capped Kingfisher, 2 Pied Kingfishers and several Ashy-wood Swallows.

Day Eleven

A leisurely walk up Baga Hill gave us some more new species.† This site always produced new birds and is well worth visiting as many times as possible.† New birds included a Blue-winged Leafbird, Orange-headed Thrush, Loten's Sunbird and a real highlight was a Grey-necked Bunting sat on a dead tree at the top of the Hill.† A Crested Honey Buzzard sat in a tree was a shock and many of the by now common birds were also present.

The evening was spent once more near to the Club Cabana looking for Indian Pitta again without luck.† However all was not lost as Common Babbler and Blue-faced Malkoha was added to the growing trip list.

Day Twelve - New Years Day

We headed for Maem (Mayem) Lake this morning stopping on route at a nearby wood.† The woods proved productive and gave us our first lifer of the New Year an Emarald Dove.† A Besra was also perched in a nearby tree.

Maem Lake itself failed to produce the Brown Fish Owl.† Apparently it's not as reliable as it was.† The roost site has changed due to the bird being disturbed and is not as easily viewable.† A nearby call alerted our guide to the presence of the requested Changeable Hawk Eagle - right on queue.† Despite much searching the bird could not be located, it was obviously perched in a tree out of sight.† We scrabbled up the wooded hill, which proved to be quite hard work in the heat and were rewarded with fantastic views of the bird.† This was mainly due to the guide knowing which tree it favoured.† Our only Yellow-footed Green Pigeons were also seen here.

That evening we made a visit to the famous Saligo Zor.† Having dipped on Brown Fish Owl earlier in the day we were not overly optimistic about the Brown Wood Owl.† We searched intently and thought our worst fears were coming true.† Then a movement in the trees that was a Malabar Whistling Thrush and then the guide said and the Owl.† The Thrush was mobbing it.† Both birds were seen in the same scope view - a fantastic site and a quality bird to end the day with.† How the guide managed to pick out the Owl was amazing, his eyesight was phenomenal.

Day Thirteen

This morning we paid a visit to Fort Aguada adding Pale-billed Flowerpecker and Syke's Warbler.† Several Indian Peafowl were also noted.† A Tawny Eagle sailed by near to the cliffs, which was unexpected.

On our way to Dona Paula our guide picked up a slight movement, which soon turned into a Rufous Woodpecker whilst the Indian Pitta site proved unsuccessful, but another Slaty-breasted Rail and Ruddy-breasted Crake were noted nearby.

We arrived at Dona Paula too late and the only birds seen were Red-wattled Lapwing, we would have to return tomorrow.

A stop a Santa Cruz lagoons allowed views of another 2 Small Pratincole a Marsh Harrier and our first Pacific Golden Plovers of the trip.

Now follows a very sad tale.† This evening we visited the Pitta site once more near to the Club Cabana.† Our guide had sighted the bird in a fowl smelling gully type trench, full of leaf litter.† Rather than rush about we decided to sit quietly and wait.† The bird appeared in the trench at about 1815.† The only problem being it was at the part of the trench that Gary was watching and not I.† Consequently I never saw the bird.† I staked out the area the night after but to no avail.

As a consolation we heard 2 Nightjars calling and soon located them. The distinctive call of Jerdon's Nightjar was soon identified and we returned to the hotel happy (well one of us).

Pitta directions:† Park at the Club Cabana.† Walk to the end of the wall.† Go past a clearing and path on the right and take the left hand fork into the forest.† The track splits again.† Take the right fork and continue for about 5-10 yards.† Opposite a clear patch on the left go through the hedge on the right.† This comes out onto a terraced type area.† In front of you there is a trench between two rows of trees with leaf litter.† This is where the Pitta appeared and seems to be the (favoured) area.† This area was also good for Orange-headed Thrush.

Day Fourteen

A return to Dona Paula.† We arrived here at about 0800 and were not disappointed.† We soon discovered 14 Yellow-wattled Plovers (the main target).† I then noticed a Lark in front of them.† After scoping the bird closely, I was delighted to have discovered a bird that I had searched for several times in the Emirates, An Oriental (Small) Skylark.† We soon found several more and next to one another target species Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark.† What a difference a couple of hours had made to what was yesterday a dreary site.

Stopping at Santa Cruz once more we scoped at least 6 Terek Sandpiper and then carried onto Charao Island (Bird Island) this gave us a new species for the trip in the form of a male Montague's Harrier, but little else.

We were nearing our hotel on our return when 2 large soaring birds were sighted.† These proved to be Woolly-necked Storks.

We were back at the Pitta site again but the bird failed to materialise!† New birds were added however in the form of Common Woodshrike and a Grey Nightjar hunting from telegraph wires.

Day Fifteen

An early morning walk up Baga Hill prior to what proved to be a very long; delayed and miserable flight home produced only one new bird, which was a small "gaggle" of Tawny-bellied Babblers.

3. Consolidated Systematic Species List

Little Grebe

1 at Carambolim Lake

Cormorant

A large roost at the Ciba Geigy factory and common behind the Taj Mahal

Indian Cormorant

Several seen at Carambolim Lake

Little Cormorant

More numerous than Indian and seen at almost at wetlands

(Oriental) Darter

2 seen at Carambolim Lake

Grey Heron

1s & 2s seen on wetlands

Purple Heron

1 behind the Beira Mar, several at Carambolim Lake and 1s & 2s at other wetlands

Striated Heron

2 in the Marinha Dourada paddyfields and swamp

Indian Pond Heron

Widespread and very numerous

Cattle Egret

Widespread and numerous

Great White Egret

As Above

Intermediate Egret

Individuals positively identified at Marinha Dourada paddy fields and Carambolim Lake

Little Egret

Fairly common but not as numerous Cattle Egret

Black-crowned Night Heron

A small roost at Mojim Beach, 1s & 2s at the Marinha Dourada and a roost at the Kalwi River ferry crossing on route to Maem Lake

Cinnamon Bittern

1 behind the well known Beira Mar at dusk

Painted Stork

2 deffinates flying over Delhi and one from the Agra train

Woolly-necked Stork

2 soaring near to the Marinha Dourada

Black-necked Stork

1 from the Delhi to Agra train in flooded fields adjacent to the railway track

Spoonbill

8 were seen behind the Taj Mahal

Lesser Whistling Duck

Good numbers at Carambolim Lake and at least 3000 opposite Charoa Island

Ruddy Shelduck

11 seen behind the Taj Mahal on the Yamuna River

Cotton Teal

A dozen or so at Carambolim Lake

Comb Duck

5 at Carambolim Lake

Crested (Oriental) Honey Buzzard

1 seen on two occasions at Baga Hill

Black Kite

Very common and numerous everywhere

Brahminy Kite

A fantastic bird and very common in the Goa area

Shikra

1 at Agra Fort and one flyby at Fort Aguada

Besra

1 near to Anjuna market and one perched near to Maem Lake

Changeable Hawk Eagle

1 extravert at Maem Lake

Booted Eagle

1 at the Kalwi River ferry crossing on route to Maem Lake

Tawny Eagle

1 at Fort Aguada

White-bellied Sea Eagle

1s at the coast and at a nest behind the Club Cabana

Egyptian Vulture

1 over India Gate - Delhi and numerous behind the Taj Mahal

Montagu's Harrier

1 male seen over Charao Island

Marsh Harrier

1 at Santa Cruz, 1 at Mojim and one at Carambolim Lake

Osprey

1 resident at Marinha Dourada and 1 at Santa Cruz

Peregrine Falcon

1 seen flying over the Beira Mar on the first visit

Kestrel

1 seen hovering on arrival at the airport on the first day

Jungle Bush Quail

1 in the grounds of the Taj Mahal

Indian Peafowl

A family group near the Club Cabana, 1s & 2s on Baga Hill, 1 at Fort Aguada and numerous semi-feral birds in Delhi and near Agra.

Slaty-breasted Rail

1 behind the Beira Mar and 1 near the Pitta site at Fort Aguada

Baillon's Crake

1 behind the Beira Mar

Spotted Crake

1 behind the Beira Mar on 2 occasions

Ruddy-breasted Crake

2 behind the Beira Mar and 1 near the Pitta site at Fort Aguada

White-breasted Waterhen

Common around Goan wetlands

Moorhen

Numerous at Carambolim Lake and one on Charoa Island

(Grey-headed) Purple Gallinule

100s at Carambolim Lake

Coot

Numerous at Carambolim Lake

Pheasant-tailed Jacana

8 at Carambolim Lake

Bronze-tailed Jacana

More numerous than the above at Carambolim Lake

Eurasian Oystercatcher

1 at Mojim Beach sand bar

Greater Painted-snipe

1 or 2 behind the Beira Mar

Black-winged Stilt

Several at Carambolim Lake and numerous in the north near to the Taj Mahal

Little (Small) Pratincole

8 over the Marinha Dourada, at least 450 at Mojim beach (early am) and 2 at Santa Cruz

Red-wattled Lapwing

Common around Goa

River Lapwing

2 stunning birds behind the Taj Mahal

Yellow-wattled Lapwing

14 birds at the usual Dona Paula location (early am)

Pacific Golden Plover

4 or 5 at Santa Cruz and half a dozen at the Marinha Dourada

Greater Sand Plover

Not many compared to Lesser at Mojim Beach

Caspian Plover

1 first winter male with the other Plovers at Mojim Beach

Little Ringed Plover

Several on the Marinha Dourada flooded paddy fields

Kentish Plover

Small numbers with the other Plovers at Mojim Beach

Lesser Sand Plover

Numerous at Mojim Beach and Santa Cruz

Eurasian Curlew

1 at Panjim mud flats and 2 at Mojim sand bar

Black-tailed Godwit

Several near to Carambolim Lake

Bar-tailed Godwit

1 at Mojim sand bar

Redshank

Numerous near wetlands

Greenshank

Numerous around paddyfields

Green Sandpiper

1 behind the Beira Mar

Wood Sandpiper

2 at Marinha Dourada and several behind the Beira Mar

Terek Sandpiper

At least 6 at Santa Cruz

Common Sandpiper

Very common near paddyfields

Pintail Snipe

1 positively identified in flight near the Beira Mar

Common Snipe

Common behind the Beira Mar

Little Stint

2 at Carambolim Lake and 1 Santa Cruz lagoons

Dunlin

1s & 2s at Santa Cruz, Mojim Beach and Marinha Dourada

Ruff

1 behind the Taj Mahal on the 29th

Yellow-legged Gull

Several at the Mojim Beach high tide roost

Pallas's Gull

1 adult at Mojim roost and 1 3rd Winter behind the Taj Mahal

Brown-headed Gull

Numerous at Mojim and around the coast

Black-headed Gull

Common near to the coast

Gull-billed Tern

Several at Carambolim Lake and numerous around the coast and Mandowi River

River Tern

1 stunner behind the Taj Mahal

Swift Tern

Several around Vasco de Gama Island from the boat trip

Lesser Crested Tern

Numerous at Mojim and at sea

Yellow-footed Green Pigeon

Only 5 at Maem Lake

Rock Dove

Widespread and numerous (if you want to tick them)

Oriental Turtle Dove

One seen near the Marinha Dourada Hotel on the first day

Eurasian Collared Dove

Several seen in Delhi

Spotted Dove

Common around the Marinha Dourada and Baga Hill

Laughing Dove

Several around Delhi

Emerald Dove

2 in a wood near to Maem Lake

Ring-necked Parakeet

Numerous going to roost near to the Marinha Dourada

Plum-headed Parakeet

Several around the Marinha Dourada and 6 at Maem Lake

Koel

Numerous around Goa

Blue-faced Malkoha

1 near to the quarry behind the Club Cabana

Greater Coucal

Surprisingly quiet for a large bird but common around Goa

Jungle Owlet

2 at roost near to Carambolim village

Spotted Owlet

As above but can be seen at night on any telegraph wire

Brown Wood Owl

1 at the well known Saligo Zor site

Grey Nightjar

1 hunting from wires near to the Club Cabana on our last night

Jerdon's Nightjar

2 calling and flying around just below the Club Cabana

Alpine Swift

One over Gaba Hill on the

Little Swift

Widespread and numerous the most common

Asian Palm Swift

Common around Goa

Pied Kingfisher

A pair fishing at the Marinha Dourada ponds

Common Kingfisher

Common around the paddyfields and other suitable water courses

Stork-billed Kingfisher

1 regularly seen on wires above the Marinha Dourada pools

Smyrna Kingfisher

The most common seen everywhere

Black-capped Kingfisher

1 behind the Beira Mar, one at Marinha Dourada pools and one at Charao Island

Blue-tailed Bee-eater

5 at Fort Aguada and Several at Carambolim village and Lake

(Little) Green Bee-eater

Widespread and numerous

Indian Roller

Only singles seen over grassy fields

Hoopoe

1 at the Beira Mar paddyfields and 2 near Carambolim Lake

Brown-headed Barbet

2 seen around Baga - Nikkis travel agents, in the woods opposite

White-cheeked Barbet

Seen in ones on Baga Hill

Coppersmith Barbet

Always heard calling and seen well on Baga Hill and behind the Marinha Dourada Hotel

Rufous Woodpecker

1 in Aguada village and one on Baga Hill - others heard

Black-rumped Flameback

2 behind the Marinha Dourada Hotel

Yellow-crowned Flameback

1 at Maem Lake and one on Baga Hill - both drumming

Greater Flameback

2 on Baga Hill and 2 near Carambolim village

Indian Pitta

1 below the Club Cabana - directions included

Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark

1s & 2s at Dona Paula (early am)

Greater Short-toed Lark

A small flock at the Beira Mar paddyfields

Crested Lark††††††††††

1 seen near to the Marinha Dourada on telegraph wires on 2 occasions

Malabar Lark

1s & 2s seen at Marinha Dourada and Baga Fields

Oriental Skylark

Crippling views of several at Dona Paula (early am)

Plain Martin

Several over the Marinha Dourada

Barn Swallow

2 seen at Carambolim Lake on Boxing Day

Wire-tailed Swallow

The second most numerous swallow - seen everywhere

Red-rumped Swallow

The most common swallow around the Goa area

Long-tailed Shrike

The only Shrike seen and quite common in the Goa area

Golden Oriole

The most common on Baga Hill

Black Hooded Oriole

1s & 2s on Baga Hill and near Carambolim village

Black Drongo

Very common in Goa

White-bellied Drongo

1s & 2s on Baga Hill

Ashy Woodswallow

Always on the wires around the ponds at the Marinha Dourada

Chestnut-tailed Starling

Common around the Marinha Dourada and Beira Mar

Brahminy Starling

1 roosting in the scrub near to the Marinha Dourada and five stunning adults in Delhi

Rosy Starling

1 behind the Marinha Dourada

Pied Mynah

2 at Ghandi's Memorial and several at the Taj Mahal

Common Mynah

Small numbers around Goa and 2 behind the Beira Mar

Jungle Mynah

The most common Mynah around Goa

Rufous Treepie

Common in small numbers on Baga Hill but can be seen in any wooded area

House Crow

Widespread and numerous

Large-billed Crow

1 on Baga Hill, 1 behind the Marinha Dourada and 1 in Delhi

Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike

Half a dozen on our first visit to Baga Hill - not seen again

Common Woodshrike

1 behind the Club Cabana near the Pitta stakeout

Large Cuckooshrike

1 behind the Club Cabana, and 1 at Maem Lake

Small Minivet

Fairly common on Baga Hill

Common Iora

Common and widespread in small numbers

Golden-fronted Leafbird

3 on our first visit to Baga Hill

Blue-winged Leafbird

2 on Baga Hill

Red-whiskered Bulbul

Common and numerous on Baga Hill

Red-vented Bulbul

In the same kind of habitat as the previous but not as numerous

White-browed Bulbul

Heard everywhere and fairly common in wooded areas - Baga Hill / Aguada Fort

Puff-throated Babbler

Fairly common and noisy in leaf litter on Baga Hill

Tawny-bellied Babbler

The last new species seen with a small "gaggle" on Baga Hill

Common Babbler

1 seen in a thicket behind the Club Cabana

Large Grey Babbler

Common in the park in Delhi and at the Taj Mahal

Jungle Babbler

Common on Baga Hill

Spotted Flycatcher

Faairly common in suitable habitat

Red-breasted Flycatcher

1 in the park opposite the hotel in Delhi

Tickell's Blue Flycatcher

Fairly common but inconspicuous in the woods around Baga

White-spotted Fantail

1s and 2s with a pair displaying on Baga Hill

Asian Paradise Flycatcher

Seen singularly all around the Baga area

Grey-breasted Prinia

1 on Baga Hill and several at Fort Aguada

Plain Prinia

Fairly common in small numbers near trees and scrub

Ashy Prinia

Common in scrub habitat

Common Tailorbird

Seen in 1s & 2s everywhere

Clamourous Reed Warbler

2 behind the Beira Mar and 3 at Charao Is

Blyth's Reed Warbler

Widespread and numerous in almost any habitat

Syke's Warbler

At least 3 at Fort Aguada

Lesser Whitethroat

3 seen in the park opposite City Park Hotel- Delhi

Greenish Warbler

Several in the park in Delhi

Green Warbler

Common in trees around the Marinha Dourada

Bluethroat

2 seen on consecutive days behind the Beira Mar

Oriental Magpie Robin

Common in 1s & 2s near habitation

Brown Rock Chat

4 at the old palce at Fatehpur Sikri

Siberian Stonechat

The females looking like Whinchats.† Common in scrub

Pied Stonechat

Small numbers on scrub land outside the Marinha Dourada

Grey Bushchat

1 - A surprise in Baga Woods

Indian Robin

Common on Baga Hill

Blue Rock Thrush

1 at Fort (The Red Fort) Agra on the 29th

Malabar Whistling Thrush

1 at Saligo Zor mobbing the Brown Wood Owl

Orange-headed Thrush

Seen singularly on Baga Hill and Aguada village

Black-lored Tit

Several on Baga Hill and 2 behind the Marinha Dourada Hotel

Tree Pipit

Several seen on Baga Fields

Richard's Pipit

Fairly common on Baga Fields and by the Marinha Dourada

Paddyfield Pipit

Easily distinguished from all others by call when flushed

Tawny Pipit

2 seen in the grounds of the Marinha Dourada

Citrine Wagtail

1 behind the Taj Mahal

Grey Wagtail

1 seen at Carambolim Lake

White Wagtail

2 seen at the back of the Taj Mahal

White-browed Wagtail

Common around the Marinha Dourada Hotel

Pale-billed Flowerpecker

2 at Fort Aguada

Plain Flowerpecker

Several on Baga Hill

Purple-rumped Sunbird

The most common around Goa

Loten's Sunbird

1 female positively ID'd on Baga Hill (with comparatively massive bill)

Purple Sunbird

Fairly common on Baga Hill and in the park at Delhi

Crimson Sunbird

4 birds seen all behind the Club Cabana and past the quarry

House Sparrow

Widespread and common

Baya Weaver

Large flocks encountered around the bushes and swamp at the Marinha Dourada and at Carambolim Lake

Streaked Weaver

2 on the wires behind the Beira Mar

Indian Silverbill

2 in the scrub behind Mojim Beach

White-rumped Munia

Common on Baga Hill

Scaly-breasted Munia

Several on the wires behind the Beira Mar

Grey-necked Bunting

A very pleasing bird, found perched on a dead tree on the ridge at Baga Hill one morning

4. Summary

What a great place!† Friendly, inexpensive and lots of great birds.† Another visit is definitely on the cards, with a trip inland being a must.† Goa offers a great introduction to Indian birds, with many commoner recognisable species also being present.† Difficult warblers to see in the UK are also present in good numbers so familiarity becomes habitual. The beer is good the weather better and the curries authentic - what could be better?† The Indian Pitta next time perhaps.

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