Goa, India

 

February - 2006 

 

Authors: Chris Cameron and Julie Dawson 

 

 

Introduction 

 

We wanted to visit India and a tourist package to Goa seemed to be a reasonable introduction. We found a reasonably cheap package on Teletext, staying at the  'O Pescador' Hotel in Dona Paula, for one week, Bed & Breakfast. Searching for trip reports we came across frequent references to the Backwoods Forest Camp and so booked a two night tour with them because this looked like our best bet for getting a look at Indian forest wildlife.

 

 

Logistics

 

The flights were from Gatwick so we decided to stay near the airport overnight. We got very lucky when we found The Forest B&B at www.theforestbandb.co.uk . We are happy to recommend The Forest very highly. The welcome is exceptional, the home baking splendid and the breakfast unmissable. The en-suite that room we stayed in was delightful with a huge bed and a bath that was almost as big. If you are considering staying there (parking is included) we would suggest that the extra money for the superior room will turn out to be money well spent, but we suspect that even the standard rooms are much more pleasant than most similarly priced establishments.  

 

Our budget for the holiday was about £1500 and our expenditure broke down as follows: 

 

Package                                        650

The Forest B&B                           65

Visas for India                             60

Petrol                                           39

Meal, Crawley                             48

Breakfast, Northampton          14

WH Smith, Gatwick                    13

Bar, Gatwick                                4

Vodka, Gatwick Duty Free         20

Taxi, Goa                                     10

Cash from ATMs, Goa                443 (includes the cost of the stay at Backwoods)

 

Total                                            1336
 

 

20th February 2006 

 

We collected our bags at the airport about an hour before sunrise and rather than wait for the transfer coach we found our tour rep and told her that we were getting a taxi straight to the hotel. The taxi cost £10 and the driver was happy to take Sterling (we checked beforehand). There was no ATM at the airport but there was an exchange office that seemed to offer unattractive rates. 

 

Our first bird in India was an Indian House Crow that we noted pecking around some roadside stalls that were just setting up as we made our way to the hotel. It was still dark when we arrived and we checked in quickly, showered and ate a couple of sandwiches that we?d brought from England. We could have spent an extra £10 each for meals on the flights, each way, but were told that they were obliged to provide them whether we paid or not, so we took the risk and hedged our bets with the sandwiches. In the event, meals were provided, so we saved nearly £40 on the package. 

 

We sat on our balcony after showering and changing, waiting for the day to begin. There were several large palm trees in the hotel grounds and lots of shrubs so it looked quite promising for birds, of which plenty were already calling - more House Crows and several more interesting calls as well. We debated having a nap after the long flight but decided that we weren?t really tired enough and there was a whole new country waiting, so as soon as the Black and Brahminy Kites started to appear in numbers, we grabbed our cameras and binoculars and went for a walk. 

 

O Pescador is quite pleasantly situated on a small headland at the mouth of a river, so we walked down the hill towards the sea. Before leaving the hotel we?d had glimpses of several birds that were common in the area, Asian Koel, Greenish Warbler and Blyth?s Reed Warbler. We recorded details about all these species but didn?t immediately identify them.  

 

Down at the Dona Paula headland a large tern passing by escaped identification but Common Sandpiper, Indian Pond Heron and Little Heron were rather more obliging. Several hirundine species were present. Wire-tailed was familiar from Africa but the others proved harder to id. Oriental Magpie Robins were easy to find and extensive notes were taken about a couple of Sunbirds that we found. 

 

The day was warming up rapidly so we agreed to head back inland a little to where we had been told we would find a cash machine. This proved quite fortuitous because on this short walk we saw a species of bird that we did not see again during the holiday - a pair of Black-lored Tits in the grounds of the hotel next to O Pescador - and a pair of Blue-winged Leaf Birds further up the road in a noticeable large tree. We looked for these birds several times afterwards but with no luck. We also got a positive ID on one of the calls that we had been hearing since before dawn - White-throated Kingfisher ? a very common bird around Goa. 

 

It?s hard to get far in Goa with binoculars without attracting the attention of a taxi driver. We?d hoped to arrange for a guide before we set off but hadn?t had time, but we were 'found' by a driver who knew where birds were as we walked to the bank. He claimed to know a lot about birds, which was not really true but he did suggest that the Black-lored Tits were unusual, so he might have been reasonably observant. We agreed that he would drive us to Carambolim Lake after we?d got our cash, as we didn?t have any firm plans for the day.  

 

En route to the lake we drove alongside the Panjim River were we noticed a quite exceptional number of herons, egrets and kingfishers in the mud and on breakwaters and other wooden structures. One particular kingfisher stood out and a quick look at the field guide showed that this was Collared Kingfisher. This might have been quite an unusual sighting because most birders visiting the area seem to have to work rather harder than this to find this species. We passed along this road several times during the following week but didn?t see anything like this profusion of birds again. 

 

Some reports have suggested that Carambolim Lake is in decline as a bird-watching destination, which may be true but on our visit it was full of birds with both good numbers and plenty of variety. Asian Openbill, Purple Swamphen, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Green Bee-eater, Red-wattled Lapwing, Gull-billed Tern, Glossy Ibis, Wood Sandpiper, Lesser Whistling Duck, Cotton Pygmy Goose and Black-headed Munia were amongst the species identified. 

 

The final highlight of the day was an adult White-bellied Sea Eagle over O Pescador at 5 p.m. 

 

For our evening meal we wandered down into Dona Paula where there are a few pleasant restaurants near the quayside. We're both curry enthusiasts and weren't disappointed by our first experience of local cuisine.  

 

 

21st February 2006 

 

Our taxi driver had suggested that we would see lots of birds if we took one of the river trips so we let him drive us through Panjim to join the 'Crocodile Dundee River Cruise', aka 'Jake the Snake Boat Trip'. To be honest we wanted to see a crocodile too. We didn?t really need to take the cruise because a large croc swam across the river whilst we were waiting to be ferried over, but since we were there and there seemed to be plenty of birds about, we joined it anyway. Unsurprisingly there were lots of herons, kingfishers and waders about but the definite highlight for us was a family group of Indian Peafowl that someone spotted on the forest floor. 

 

After the boat trip we returned to O Pescador and decided to take a stroll from Dona Paula to Panjim along Miramar beach. We needed cash to pay for the trip to Backwoods Camp and the ATM near Dona Paula was not working so it seemed like a good excuse for a longish walk. 

 

The first bird of note that we found on the way to the beach was a Long Tailed Shrike in coastal bushes near the first path that we found to take us from the road to the beach. Further along we found a good number of small waders that allowed us to approach to within a few metres. These were predominantly Kentish Plovers with a good number of Greater Sandplovers amongst them.  

 

The beach itself was quite lively, with few tourists but many local people either enjoying the beach or working on the various boats that were pulled up on the sand. When we decided we?d walked far enough we headed back to the main road to look for an ATM. We walked alongside a sports field where there were a couple of Hoopoes and several pipit-like birds. There were also a lot of police and security personnel about and when we tried to walk across the field to get a closer look we were stopped and told that we were not allowed in the area. We subsequently found out that there was a big political rally with a member of the Gandhi family making the main address the following day, hence the security presence. 

 

 

22nd February 2006 

 

We were picked up by the people from Backwoods Camp well before dawn (we were lucky because we were the final pickup and some of the other guests had been on the bus for over an hour by the time it got to us) and made good time to the camp itself. We walked the last kilometre or so whilst our luggage was taken on and had an hour or so of very pleasant forest birding. The first birds we saw were a small and vocal party of Greater Flamebacks. These were followed by such diverse species as Purple Sunbird, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Ashy Drongo, Green Flowerpecker, Common Iora and Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, as well as a Malabar Giant Squirrel and an unidentified snake. 

 

The camp itself is a rather splendid idea. Large canvas tents, each with a pair of cots and an electric light and tall enough to stand up in, adjacent to a small shower room/toilet that is open to the sky. The tents are set at intervals in the forest, off paths that lead to the communal area and bar. The tents are all named after birds and we were given the one called Heart-spotted Woodpecker.  

 

After sorting our formalities we set of on our first proper birding excursion. The group was fairly small, about 14 in total, with groups from Wales, Nederlands and Denmark and a single Swedish Birder, as well as an English couple. First stop was a raptor watch point in a valley surrounded by well-wooded hills. Birds came thick and fast with Eurasian Golden Oriole and Malabar Pied Hornbills putting in an appearance before the first bird of prey showed itself ? a Besra that gave good views in a nearby tree. Crested Serpent Eagle, Shikra and Crested Goshawk arrived in quick succession with White-rumped Needletail and Ashy Woodswallow keeping the non-raptor interest going. A Mountain Hawk-Eagle and a Great Hornbill rounded things off. 

 

Back to Backwoods for lunch (most of the food is vegetarian and fairly lightly spiced) where Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta and Orange-headed Thrush were added to the growing list. Backwoods Camp had had a mini-invasion of this latter, very attractive species a few days earlier. The staff there said it was not a species that they saw frequently in normal circumstances. A quick unguided stroll after the lunch brought us in contact with a party of Black-faced Langurs ? a rather attractive monkey that is probably the species most frequently seen in Goa. 

 

One of the best reasons for going to Backwoods Camp is the pair of Sri Lankan Frogmouths that is almost guaranteed there. They would be impossible to find without a guide although they are quite close to the communal area. After lunch half of the party had exceptional telescope views of these extraordinary birds during a walk around the local area. Rufous Treepie, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Scarlet Minivet, Malabar Trogon and Pompadour Green Pigeon were amongst other birds seen on this walk.  

 

From the forest we walked into a landscape of small fields and paddies with trees, hedges and scattered small woodlands. White-rumped Munia, Clamorous Reed Warbler and Crested Tree Swift contrasted with Grey Wagtail and Eurasian Blackbird. A Forest Wagtail flew over and Chestnut Headed Bee-eaters were well seen. A pair of Plum-headed Parakeets were seen by everyone except CC who was looking in the wrong direction.  

 

 

23rd February 2006 

 

An early start saw us at the Maharaveda Temple, a short drive from the camp, shortly after sunrise. CC and JD somehow overslept and we arrived at the temple after the rest of the group who were already ticking the first birds of the day. There was a Taiga Flycatcher in bushes near the temple and there were birds all around as we set off for a walk through the forest, along the course of the river. Thick-billed Flowerpecker, Brown Breasted Flycatcher, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Asian Fairy Bluebird and Hill Mynah were amongst the goodies seen early on and we were all fascinated to see a Malabar Flying Lizard. Also of interest was a small venomous snake, a Bronze-backed Tree Snake that glided off the path and into a bush, from where it regarded us with some disdain. 

A Black Eagle was glimpsed as it soared above the canopy and Black-naped Monarchs and Scarlet Minivets added a touch of glamour. Both Blue-eared and Oriental Dwarf Kingfishers were welcome additions to the list as was the wonderfully named Mountain Imperial Pigeon. 

 

A second Bronze-Backed Tree Snake was seen in the riverbed in front of us and as we were looking for it, another one was noted. These snakes (there were probably 4 or more in a small area) seemed much more aggressive then the first one we?d encountered. One of the party decided that he wanted some real close-up photos of these snakes and seemed quite oblivious to the threat postures they were assuming as he approached ever closer with camera and tripod. Unfortunately his partner was standing alongside the snakes forcing everyone who wanted to get by to step in between herself and the reptiles ? an uncomfortable moment both for the humans and the snakes. In general the behaviour of most people in the group was excellent, but every now and then there were examples of selfishness like this, or when somebody decided that the best way to get a good look at a new bird was to stand right in front of you. 

A Malabar Whistling Thrush was heard and then seen, but the calling female Indian Blue Robin proved difficult to spot, with a few members of the party getting very brief views of the bird flitting through the dense undergrowth. Another large raptor overhead was an Oriental Honey Buzzard and whilst watching this we found several Indian Swiftlets as well. After all this we felt that we had earned our lunch!  

 

Back at the camp we had a search for the Indian Pittas. There were at least two being seen frequently, but we had no luck. We did however come across another Rufous Treepie and a Bonnet Macaque.  

 

Our afternoon walk took us to another area of fields and woods and provided another interesting range of birds. Black-throated Munia, Great Hornbill, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Red-wattled Lapwing, Spangled Drongo, Tickell?s Blue Flycatcher and White-rumped Needletail provided various degrees of entertainment and ID challenges and a fly-through Stork-billed Kingfisher caused great excitement.  

 

We relocated to a heathy looking hillside, found a comfortable place to stop and were soon interrupted by a trio of Sambar Deer. Shortly after this we heard the call of Savanna Nightjar and located this bird as it flew between the two groups that had formed, no more than 10 metres apart. Another nightjar started calling almost immediately and this was identified as Grey Nightjar. It was also seen well by the entire group. 

 

 

24th February 

 

Our first stop was the Barabumi High School. Of immediate interest was a dukhunensis race White Wagtail. We set off from the school and soon found a female Black-headed Cuckooshrike, followed soon after by a Large Cuckooshrike and a Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike. A Greater Racket-tailed Drongo was a welcome sight and a pair of Plum-headed Parakeets remained at the top of a tree to allow everyone to get a good look at them. Loten?s Sunbird was the most interesting of several sunbird species seen. 

 

We then walked along a river to a site known for Brown Fish Owl. This bird proved very elusive and the guides worked hard to get everyone into a position from which they could see it, with satisfactory results.   

 

After breakfast we returned to the area near the temple and explored another part of the forest. Good views were obtained of a Mountain Hawk Eagle perched in a treetop and there were Dusky Crag Martins overhead. Butterflies included Common Sailers and the stunning Blue Mormons.  

 

After this it was time to leave Backwoods and return to out hotels. The Welsh and Dutch contingents were staying at the well-known Beira Mar Hotel and had told us about the marsh there and a few good birds that were almost guaranteed, so we decided to spend a few hours there and get a taxi back.  

 

The staff at the hotel were very helpful and agreed to look after our luggage and so we found a table near the pool with a view of the marsh, ordered some lunch and settled down with some drinks and our scopes to see what we could see. 

 

New species came fast with more familiar birds like Rosy Starling, Common Snipe and Little Ringed Plover mixed with Scaly-breasted Munia, Baya Weaver, Brahminy Starling and Blue-tailed Bee-Eater. As the afternoon wore on, rails and crakes started to appear on some of the small pools. Slaty-breasted Rail, Ruddy-breasted Bittern that appeared with the very last of the daylight and was well worth the few pounds that we paid for a taxi back to Dona Paula. 

For dinner we went in to Panaji (Panjim) and tried a restaurant recommended by our driver, who agreed to pick us up later. The staff in the restaurant suggested stuffed Pomfret. Pomfret is a popular local fish and it was stuffed with prawns. We decided to follow their advice and were presented with a huge plateful of food that would have fed 6 people and made us feel somewhat guilty, in a country were so many have so little. The prawns alone would have been enough for us. It was, nonetheless an excellent meal, well prepared and very fresh. Several people we spoke to advised against eating out and said that we should stick to hotel food. Fortunately lots of visitors ignore this and recognise that there is an alternative to Subway and Pizza Hut. 

 

 

25th February 2006  

 

An early walk from O Pescador towards Panaji and then right at the main road, following the coast was quite rewarding. A Tailorbird was located quite quickly and we finally got some really good views of the common Asian Koels ? the female of which was rather more interesting in our opinion. We found Red-vented Bulbuls in the first open patch of land after the roundabout and then saw a couple of birds that we spent a lot of time looking at, because they should almost certainly not have been in the area. We were nonetheless convinced that we were watching Grey-breasted Laughing Thrushes. They were in the area around the ?power substation?.  

 

When we reached the Ciudade de Goa Hotel we took the beach path. This drops down a rather steep and heavily wooded slope and we found a surprising number of forest birds in this area. Highlights included White-Browed Bulbul, Common Iora, a male Indian Blue Robin (very unexpected) and on the final bend before the beach several White-throated Fantails. This small area looked as if it would reward further exploration and we missed several species.  

We had been told that the Goa Carnival was taking place in Panaji in the afternoon so for once called it a day and went into town to enjoy the festivities.

There was an interesting contrast between the many corporate floats and the large numbers of examples created locally, lots of which were promoting environmental and health themes or other political issues. These latter seemed more in keeping with the real spirit of the carnival. 

 

There were thousands of seats set out, under shelters, so we found ourselves a couple near to a cold drinks seller and settled down to watch the fun. We did notices at one point that we were getting wet and thought that maybe someone nearby had a water pistol. When we couldn?t see anything we looked up and saw dozens of crows in the trees. These were flying down to the nearby river, bathing in the decidedly grubby and polluted water there and then returning to the trees to shake themselves dry. We realised that we?d been breathing in this spray for quite some time. Fortunately no obvious health problems resulted from this.  

 

 

26th February 2006  

 

We had agreed with one of the local taxi drivers, Joaosinho that we would spend the day together, visiting the Dr. Salim Ali bird reserve and exploring coastal northern Goa. Joaosinho said that he knew a few places where we might see birds, although he didn?t claim to be an expert.  

 

Our first stop was an open area of fields and scrub a little further on from the Ciudade De Goa Hotel. This proved very productive and we spent a couple of hours criss-crossing the location just after dawn. The first bird of interest was the locally uncommon Yellow-wattled Lapwing and a Desert Wheatear was easily identified as it flew around the walled dusty area that had apparently been used for the political rally a couple of days earlier. Several lark and pipit species were seen and a bit of hard work added Oriental Skylark, Malabar Lark, Richard?s Pipit, Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark, Blyth?s Pipit and Tawny Pipit as well as Black-headed and White-rumped Munias.   

 

A quick visit to a cliff-top spot recommended by Joaosinho produced lots of kites and a bonus Egyptian Vulture and a Loten?s Sunbird. 

 

Our next stop was the Dr. Salim Ali bird reserve where Joaosinho found us a guide with a dugout canoe. We saw plenty of common water birds from the canoe but the guide was not as much of an expert as he would have had us believe and the best of the birds were a single Greater Adjutant and another Stork-billed Kingfisher. The canoe did allow us to get a good close up look at a Marsh Crocodile, though. 

 

On returning to the reserve entrance we decided to take the path along the river?s edge, through the mangroves. Some locals told us that this path is no good for birds anymore but we found it the best area of the reserve that we saw. Insect repellent is an essential here. We found a spot where the open water and a muddy margin was visible. A small flock of Lesser-crested Terns flew past and a pair of Terek Sandpipers fussed about at the water?s edge. Eurasian Curlew, Grey Plover and Lesser Sandplover added to the list. 

 

We then had a longish drive to the far north of Goa to the delightful Querim Beach where Joaosinho had said we would find some birds. In addition to getting the best sightings of our life of a Common Kingfisher ? a male was a regular visitor to a rope attached to the jetty, often coming almost within arms reach, there was a substantial flock of gulls on an exposed sand bank in the river. A prolonged search with the scopes confirmed that these were predominantly Brown-headed and Caspian Gulls with a handful of Pallas?s Gulls (sadly all in winter plumage but easy to pick out because of their size) and a single breeding plumaged Black-headed Gull. 

 

On the return journey we stopped to look at a large flock of kites and found another Egyptian Vulture. A large and rather pink snake slithered across the road as we were driving back and JD had time to grab just one snap in the fading light before it disappeared into the undergrowth. A slight broadening of the body below the head is suggestive of a cobra species but we?ve been unable to identify it to date. The photo is in the Goa gallery. 

That was about it for Goa. 200 species in a week with only 2? days of professional guiding seems pretty good. One or two surprises as well. Backwoods was definitely the highlight but we were also quite pleased with the birds we saw in the vicinity of Dona Paula.  

 

 

Conclusion 

 

Whilst a known birdy location like the Beira Mar hotel is likely to produce more species, Dona Paula certainly has some attractions for the visiting bird watcher, not least because it is much quieter and more peaceful than the Calangute/Baga area.  We were very comfortable wandering around the local area and did not receive much in the way of hassle. Taxis and motorised ?rickshaws? are readily available around the whole area and are cheap by UK standards.  

We ate out most evenings, either in Panaji or in Dona Paula itself. When we had lunch it tended to be in the hotel (the food there was actually quite good) in between morning and afternoon excursions. Restaurant meals were of a consistently high standard. 

 

The trip to Backwoods is well worth the effort and will guarantee to add some birds to your list that won?t be seen in coastal areas. The tended accommodation is not luxurious but is comfortable and you?ll feel close to nature ? but if a leopard passes through the camp at night you probably won?t notice.

 

Birds

 

 

Grey Jungle Fowl-Gallus sonneratii-(114,1) A couple seen around Backwoods Camp

Indian Peafowl-Pavo cristatus-(55,1) A family group seen from the Crocodile Dundee boat trip

Lesser Whistling Duck-Dendrocygna javanica-(41,1) Several flocks at Carambolim Lake

Cotton Pygmy-goose-Nettapus coromandelianus-(33,1) - Quite common at Carambolim Lake

Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker-Dendrocopus nanus-(86,2) - several seen around Backwoods Camp

Heart-spotted Woodpecker-Hemicircus canete-(115,1) - seen near the Frogmouth site

Black-rumped Flameback-Dinopium benghalense-(109,1) - seen on the evening walk at Backwoods

Greater Flameback-Chrysocolaptes lucidus-(72,3) - several sightings around Backwoods Camp

Brown-headed Barbet-Megalaima zeylanica-(123,1) - seen on the evening walk at Backwoods

Crimson-fronted Barbet-Megalaima rubricapilla-(75,4+) - quite common both at the coast and around Backwoods Camp

Malabar Grey Hornbill-Ocyceros griseus-(74,2) - seen on the approach to Backwoods and on the evening walk

Malabar Pied Hornbill-Anthracocerus coronatus-(87,1) - seen during the raptor watch near Backwoods

Great Hornbill-Buceros bicornis-(97,2) - as per Pied Hornbill and also on the evening walk

Common Hoopoe -Upupa epops-(71,2) - Miramar Beach and near Hotel Ciudade de Goa

Malabar Trogon-Harpactes fasciatus-(112,2) - several birds seen during forest walks from Backwoods

Common Kingfisher -Alcedo atthis-(56,3+) - common in wet and coastal areas

Blue-eared Kingfisher-Alcedo meninting-(138,1) - one seen on the temple walk at Backwoods

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher-Ceyx erithacus-(139,2) - a couple of sightings along forested rivers around Backwoods

Stork-billed Kingfisher-Halcyon capensis-(162,3) - a couple around Backwoods and one at Dr. Salim Ali Reserve

White-throated Kingfisher-Halcyon smynensis-(19,6) - very common at coastal sites

Black-capped Kingfisher-Halcyon pileata-(61,2) - a couple seen on the Jake the Snake boat trip. Also at Beira Mar

Collared Kingfisher-Todiramphus chloris-(26,1) - one seen by the Pajim river

Pied Kingfisher-Ceryle rudis-(44,3+) Carambolim Lake, crocodile cruise and Dr. Salim Ali reserve

Green Bee-eater-Merops orientalis-(31,3) - the most frequently seen Bee-Eater at Carambolim Lake, crocodile cruise and near Backwoods Camp

Blue-tailed Bee-eater-Merops persicus-(62,2) - crocodile cruise and Beira Mar Hotel

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater-Merops leschenaulti-(121,) - seen on bth evening walks at Backwoods

Asian Koel-Eudynamys scolopacea-(51,5+) - common around Dona Paula and at Barabhumi school

Vernal Hanging Parrot-Loriculus vernalis-(106,2) - several sightings around Backwoods

Plum-headed Parakeet-Psittacula cyanocephala-(122,2) - on evening walk from Backwoods and near Barabumi School

Malabar Parakeet-Psittacule columboides-(130,1) - "temple" walk, Backwoods

Indian Swiftlet-Collocalia unicolor-(131,1) - "temple" walk, Backwoods

White-rumped Needletail-Zoonavena sylvatica-(93,2) - a couple of sightings whilst at Backwoods

House Swift-Apus affinis-(145,1) - several seen during Backwoods raptor watch

Crested Treeswift-Hemiprocne coronata-(119,) - seen during the first evening walk at Backwoods and at the nightjar site

Brown Fish Owl-Ketupa zeylonensis-(159,1) - along river near Barabhumi School

Brown Wood Owl-Strix leptogrammica-(125,2) - identified by call at Backwoods Camp

Brown Hawk Owl-Ninox scutulata-(124,2) - identified by call at Backwoods Camp

Sri Lanka Frogmouth-Batrachstromus monliger-(102,1) - Backwoods Camp

Grey Nightjar-Caprimulgus indicus-(152,1) - nightjar sight, Backwoods

Savanna Nightjar-Caprimulgus affinis-(151,1) - nightjar sight, Backwoods

Rock Pigeon-Columbia livia-(47,1) - small pond near Carambolim Lake

Spotted Dove-Streptopelia chinensis-(81,2) - seen on the approach to Backwoods and at Beira Mar

Pompadour Green Pigeon-Treron pompadora-(113,3) - seen at several sites around Backwoods

Mountain Imperial Pigeon-Ducula badia-(140,2) - as above

Slaty-breasted Rail-Gallirallus striatus-(172,1) - marsh at Beira Mar

White-breasted Waterhen-Amaurornis phoenicurus-(163,3) - originally seen on boat trip but not recorded. Common in many fresh water environments.

Baillon's Crake-Porzana pusilla-(174,1) - marsh at Beira Mar

Ruddy-breasted Crake-Porzana fusca-(173,1) - marsh at Beira Mar

Purple Swamphen-Porphyrio porphyrio-(27,1) - numerous at Carambolim Lake

Common Moorhen-Gallinula chloropus-(37,1) -Carambolim Lake

Common Coot-Fulica atra-(42,1) - Carambolim Lake

Common Snipe-Gallinago gallinago-(170,1) - several on marsh at Beira Mar

Whimbrel-Numenius phaeopus -(199,1) - Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Eurasian Curlew-Numenius arquata-(59,2) - crocodile cruise and Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Common Redshank-Tringa totanus-(193,1) - Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Marsh Sandpiper-Tringa stagnatilis-(60,2) - as per Curlew

Common Greenshank-Tringa nebularia-(54,) - quite a few seen during crocodile

Green Sandpiper-Tringa ochropus-(171,1) - several on marsh at Beira Mar

Wood Sandpiper-Tringa glareola-(39,1) - Carambolim Lake

Common Sandpiper-Actitis hypoleucos-(8,3) - Carambolim Lake, crocodile cruise and Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Terek Sandpiper-Xenus cinereus-(196,1) - a pair at Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Sanderling-Calidris alba-(68,1) - a single bird with the Kentish Plover flock on Miramar beach

Ruff-Philomachus pugnax-(53,1) - crocodile cruise

Pheasant-tailed Jacana-Hydrophasianus chirurgus-(43,1) - Carambolim Lake

Bronze-winged Jacana-Metopidius indicus-(30,1) - Carambolim Lake - possibly under recorded

Grey Plover-Pluvialis squatarola-(197,2) - Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Little Ringed Plover-Charadrius dubius-(165,1) - several, marsh at Beira Mar

Kentish Plover-Charadrius alexandrinus-(69,2) - Miramar Beach and beaches in north Goa

Lesser Sand Plover-Charadrius mongolus-(198,1) - Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Greater Sand Plover-Charadrius leschenaultii-(71,2) - Miramar Beach and beaches in north Goa

Yellow-wattled Lapwing-Vanellus malabaricus-(183,1) - several in scrubby area near Ciudade de Goa Hotel

Red-wattled Lapwing-Vanellu indicus-(45,5) - seen frequently in a variety of habitats

Caspian Gull-Larus cachinnans-(67,2) - Miramar Beach and Querim

Pallas's Gull-Larus ichthyaetus-(200,1) - several in gull flock, Querim Beach

Brown-headed Gull-Larus brunnicephalus-(66,2) - Miramar Beach and Querim

Black-headed Gull-Larus ridibundus-(201,1) - the last "new" species seen, Querim Beach

Gull-billed Tern-Gelochelidon niloticus-(32,1) - several over Carambolim Lake

Lesser Crested Tern-Sterna bengalensis-(195,1) - Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Black-shouldered Kite -Elanus caeruleus-(58,1) - crocodile cruise

Black Kite-Milvus migrans-(3,7) - common and widespread

Brahminy Kite-Haliastur indus-(2,6) - very common at coast

White-bellied Sea Eagle-Haliaeetus leucogaster-(49,2) - seen twice from O Pescador

Egyptian Vulture-Neophron percnopterus-(192,1) - one near Dona Paula and another in north Goa

Black Eagle-Inctinaetus malayensis-(135,1) - one overhead during "Temple" walk, Backwoods

Crested Serpent Eagle-Spilornis cheela-(89,2) - two good sightings whilst at Backwoods Camp

Crested Goshawk-Accipiter trivirgarus-(88,1) - one seen during the Backwoods raptor watch

Shikra-Accipiter badius-(91,1) - several seen during Backwoods raptor watch

Besra-Accipiter virgatus-(90,2) - one seen during Backwoods raptor watch and another near Ciudade de Goa Hotel

Oriental Honey Buzzard-Pernis ptylolorhyncus-(144,3) - probably the commonest raptor around Backwoods

Rufous-bellied Eagle-Hieraaetus kienerii-(148,1) - evening walk, Backwoods

Changeable Hawk Eagle-Spizaetus cirrhatus-(96,1) - one during Backwoods raptor watch

Mountain Hawk Eagle-Spizaetus nipalensis-(161,1) - forest walk nr. Backwoods

Little Grebe-Tachybaptus ruficollis-(46,1) - small pond near Carambolim Lake

Little Cormorant-Phalocrocorax niger-(35,) - Carambolim Lake

Indian Cormorant-Phalocrocorax fuscicollis-(25,3) - Carambolim Lake, crocodile cruise and Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Darter-Anhinga melanogaster-(36,1) - Carambolim Lake

Little Egret -Egretta garzetta-(23,2) - Panjim River and crocodile cruise - probably under recorded

Western Reef Egret-Egretta gularis-(21,1) - Panjim River

Great Egret -Casmerodius albus-(22,2) - Panjim River and Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Intermediate Egret -Mesophoyx intermedia-(167,1) - marsh at Beira Mar

Cattle Egret-Bulbucus ibis-(24,1) - Panjim River - definitely under recorded

Grey Heron-Ardea cinerea-(40,2) - Carambolim Lake and Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Purple Heron-Ardea purpurea-(29,2) - Carambolim Lake and crocodile cruise

Indian Pond Heron -Ardeola grayii-(9,7) - common wherever there is water

Little Heron-Butroides striatus-(11,2) - Dona Paula and crocodile cruise

Black-crowned Night Heron-Nycticorax nycticorax-(63,2) - crocodile cruise and Beira Mar

Cinnamon Bittern-Ixobrychus cinnamomeus-(175,1) - one well after sunset, Beira Mar

Glossy Ibis-Plegadis falcinellus-(38,1) - Carambolim Lake and crocodile cruise

Black-headed Ibis-Threskiornis melanocephalus-(52,2) - crcocodile cruise and Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Asian Openbill-Anastomus oscitans-(28,1) - several in fields around Carambolim Lake

Lesser Adjutant-Leptoptilos javanicus-(194,1) - Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Asian Fairy Bluebird-Irena puella-(133,1) - "temple" walk, Backwoods

Blue-winged Leafbird-Chloropsis cochcincinensis-(20,2) - a pair at Dona Paula and also at Backwoods

Golden-fronted Leafbird-Chloropsis aurifrons-(85,1) a pair on the approach to Backwoods

Long-tailed Shrike-Lanius scach-(65,3) - Miramar Beach, on the approach to Backwoods and near Hotel Ciudade de Goa

Rufous Treepie-Dendricitta vagabunda-(105,2) - two separate sightings around Backwoods Camp

House Crow-Corvus splendens-(1,7) - common and widespread

Large-billed Crow-Corvus macrorhynchus-(73,3) - common around Backwoods

Eurasian Golden Oriole-Oriolus oriolus-(7,3) - O Pescador Hotel and in a couple of locations around Backwoods

Black-hooded Oriole-Oriolus xanthornus-(111,2) - evening walk and near Barabhumi school

Ashy Woodswallow-Artamus fuscus-(94,3) - seen during both raptor watches at Backwoods and at Barabhumi school

Large Cuckooshrike-Coracina macei-(156,1) - Barabhumi School nr. Backwoods

Black-headed Cuckooshrike-Coracina melanoptera-(155,1) - Barabhumi School nr. Backwoods

Small Minivet-Pericrocotus cinnamomeus-(134,2) - "temple" walk and Barabhumi School

Scarlet Minivet-Pericrocotus flammeus-(108,2) - near the Frogmouth site and on the "temple" walk, Backwoods

Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike-Hemipus picatus-(137,2) - "Temple" walk, Backwoods Camp and near Barabhumi School

Black Drongo-Dicrurus macrocercus-(64,1) - crocodile cruise and Dona Paula

Ashy Drongo-Dicrurus leucophaeus-(76,1) - on the appraoch to Backwoods

Spangled Drongo-Dicrurus hottentotus-(149,1) - evening walk, Backwoods

Bronzed Drongo-Dicrurus aenus-(104,1) - evening walk, Backwoods

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo-Dicrurus paradiseus-(100,2) -  Backwoods Camp and Barabhumi School

White-throated Fantail-Rhipidura abilcollis-(182,1) - beach road from Ciudade de Goa Hotel

Black-naped Monarch-Hypothymis azurea-(136,1) - "Temple" walk, Backwoods

Asian Paradise-flycatcher-Terpsiphone paradisi-(98,3) - present in most forested areas near Backwoods

Common Iora-Aegithina tiphia-(78,2) - on the approach to Backwoods and on beach road, Hotel Ciudade de Goa

Malabar Whistling Thrush-Myophonus horsfieldii-(141,2) - both visits to the temple area near Backwoods

Orange-headed Thrush-Zoothera citrina-(101,3) - several of these showing very well around Backwoods Camp

Eurasian Blackbird-Turdus merula-(116,1) - Backwoods Camp

Asian Brown Flycatcher-Muscicapa daurica-(157,1) - Bharabhumi School nr. Backwoods

Brown-breasted Flycatcher-Muscicapa muttui-(128,1) - "temple" walk, Backwoods

Taiga Flycatcher (Red-throated)-Ficedula albicilla-(126,1 ) - "temple" walk, Backwoods

White-bellied Blue Flycatcher-Cyornis pallipes-(129,1) - "temple" walk, Backwoods

Tickell's Blue Flycatcher-Cyornis tickelliae-(150,) - evening walk and "temple" walk, Backwoods

Indian Blue Robin-Luscinia brunnea-(142,2) - "Temple" walk, Backwoods and near Ciudade de Goa Hotel

Oriental Magpie Robin-Copsychus saularis-(4,7) - very common and easy to see

Indian Robin-Saxicoloides fulicata-(180,2) - quite common near Hotel Ciudade de Goa and possibly overlooked elsewhere

Desert Wheatear-Oenanthe deserti-(188,1) - scrubby area near Ciudade de Goa Hotel

Chestnut-tailed Starling-Sturnus malabaricus-(83,2) - on approach to Backwoods and near Barabhumi School

Brahminy Starling-Sturnus pagodarum-(168,2) - common, marsh at Beira Mar and near Ciudade de Go Hotel

Rosy Starling-Sturnus roseus-(164,1) - quite numerous, marsh at Beira Mar

Common Myna-Acridotheres tristis-(15,6) - common and widespread

Jungle Myna-Acridotheres fuscus-(10,4+) - common and widespread

Hill Myna-Gracula religiosa-(134,1)  - "Temple" walk, Backwoods

Velvet-fronted Nuthatch-Sitta frontalis-(107,1) - seen near the Frogmouth site

Black-lored Tit-Parus xanthogenys-(17,1) - one pair seen, Dona Paula

Dusky Crag Martin-Hirundo concolor-(160,1) - forest walk nr. Backwoods Camp.

Barn Swallow-Hirundo rustica-(189,1) - scrubby area near Ciudade de Goa Hotel

Wire-tailed Swallow-Hirundo smithii-(12,3) - seen in several areas both at the coast and inland

Red-rumped Swallow-Hirundo daurica-(13,2) - Dona Paula and on the approach to Backwoods

Streak-throated Swallow-Hirundo fluvicola-(79,1) - on the approach to Backwoods

Northern House Martin-Delichon urbica-(92,1) - a couple seen on the raptor watch, Backwoods

Grey-headed Bulbul-Pycnonotus priocephalus-(132,1) - "temple" walk, Backwoods

Black-crested Bulbul-Pycnonotus melanicterus-(80,1) - on the approach to Backwoods

Red-whiskered Bulbul-Pycnonotus jocosus-(16,7) - common and widespread

Red-vented Bulbul-Pycnonotus cafer-(84,2) - on the approach to Backwoods and at Dona Paula

White-browed Bulbul-Pycnonotus luteolus-(181,1) - beach road near Ciudade de Goa Hotel

Yellow-browed Bulbul-Iole indica-(103,2) - several seen around Backwoods Camp

Black Bulbul-Hypsipetes leucocephalus-(95,1) - seen on the Backwoods raptor watch

Grey-breasted Prinia-Prinia hodgsonii-(179,1) - in gardens near Ciudade de Goa Hotel

Ashy Prinia-Prinia socialis-(176,1) - marsh at Beira Mar

Blyth's Reed Warbler-Acrocephalus dumetorum-(147,3) - quite common at coast and inland. Probably under-recorded

Clamorous Reed Warbler-Acrocephalus stentoreum-(117,1) - near Backwoods Camp on evening walk

Common Tailorbird-Orthotomus sutorius-(50,2) - seen twice at O Pescador

Greenish Warbler-Phylloscopus trochiloides-(5,5+) - very common at coastal sites in gardens with trees.

Western Crowned Warbler-Phylloscopus occipitalis-(110,3) - common in areas around Backwoods

Grey-breasted Laughingthrush-Garrulax jerdoni-(177,1) - a pair seen near Dona Paula in unusual habitat

Dark-fronted Babbler-Rhopocichla atriceps-(143,1) - "Temple" walk, Backwoods

Jungle Babbler-Turdoides striatus-(18,4) - seen frequently in Dona Paula. Not noted elsewhere.

Brown-cheeked Fulvetta-Alcippe  poioicephala-(99,2) - Backwoods Camp and on "temple" walk

Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark-Eremopterix grisea-(186,1) - scrubby area near Ciudade de Goa Hotel

Malabar Lark-Galerida malabarica-(187,1) - scrubby area near Ciudade de Goa Hotel

Oriental Sky Lark-Alauda gulgula-(185,1) - scrubby area near Ciudade de Goa Hotel

Plain Flowerpecker-Dicaeum concolor-(77,1) - on the approach to Backwoods

Thick-billed Flowerpecker-Dicaeum agile-(127,2) - "temple" walk and Barabhumi School

Crimson-backed Sunbird-Nectarinia minima-(154,1) - Barabhumi School, nr. Backwoods

Purple-rumped Sunbird-Nectarinia zeylonica-(14,4) - common around Dona Paula and at Barabhumi School

Purple Sunbird-Nectarinia asiatica-(57,2) - both at the coast and inland. Nesting in the grounds at Backwoods

Loten's Sunbird-Nectarinia lotenia-(158,2) - Barabhumi School and in cliff top dense scrub near Ciudade de Goa Hotel

Forest Wagtail-Dendronanthus indicus-(120,2) - a few seen during forest walks around Backwoods

White Wagtail-Motacilla alba-(153,1) - Barabhumi School, nr Backwoods

White-browed Wagtail-Motacilla maderaspatensis-(48,1) - small pool near Carambolim Lake and on crocodile cruise

Grey Wagtail-Motacilla cinerea-(118,2) - near Backwoods camp on two walks

Tawny Pipit-Anthus campestris-(190,1) - scrubby area near Ciudade de Goa Hotel

Richard's Pipit-Anthus richardi-(184,1) - scrubby area near Ciudade de Goa Hotel

Blyth's Pipit-Anthus godlewkii-(191,1) - scrubby area near Ciudade de Goa Hotel

House Sparrow-Passer domesticus-(6,4+) - common

Chestnut-shouldered Petronia-Petronia xanthocollis-(82,2) - on approach to Backwoods and Barabhumi School

Baya Weaver-Ploceus phillipinus-(169,1) - marsh at Beira Mar

White-rumped Munia-Lonchura striata-(34,3) - flocks at Carambolim Lake, in fields near Backwoods and near the Desert Wheatear site

Black-throated Munia-Lonchura kelaarti-(146,1) - evening walk, Backwoods

Scaly Breasted Munia-Lonchura punctulata-(166,1) - marsh at Beira Mar

Black-headed Munia-Lonchura malacca-(178,1) - a small flock between Dona Paula and Ciudade de Goa Hotel

 

 

Bibliography:  

 

Lots of trip reports from the usual sources

Birds of Southern India (Helm Field Guides S.)The Helm Field Guide to the Birds of Southern India ? Richard Grimmett and Tim Inskipp.

This is absolutely essential to anyone unfamiliar with the local avifauna and is one of the best non-European field guides we?ve come across.

 

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