Goa 2014

Goa 2014

Jungleland IV

Species Total For Trip 214
Introduction
Goa has an awful lot going for it particularly when you have an interest in wildlife, food and HoneyBee....luckily Mandy and I have all three. We are always boring our friends about Goa so having mentioned this to a couple of friends one of them thought why not and quickly booked to join us. I suddenly felt nervous as I fell into tour guide mode. It's funny how the holiday came around very quickly. I arranged several trips out with a local guide and of coarse the highlight of Backwoods Camp could not be missed. Mandy and myself were not going to go this time, but it was no disappointment in having to.
We wondered how the new addition to the trip would fair with the birding, food, heat and pace of the trips. I guess we were to find out.
Cost Breakdown
Booked with Althams on the 5th April 2014.
Holiday cost inc hotel, flight and transfer to and from the Marinha Dourada hotel £1494 (2 people)
Flight upgrade choose seating £60.00 (2 people)
Transport to and from Manchester airport £94 (2 people) (high cost due to return on xmas day)
Insurance cover (annual worldwide exc USA & Caribbean) with 2 pre existing medical condition £148 (2 people)
Visa Costs. £117 per person
General Observations Of The Trip

FLIGHT: We missed out last year on the flight on the much vaunted Dreamliner 787-8. It will be interesting to see if this plane with it's high roofline, large windows, wide seating and long set pitch is all flannel or a step forward in flight travel. We decided not to go premium this time as the cost was over and above what we felt was value. The cattle class seating looks good anyway and with the fact that Thomson are now offering the same entertainment throughout the plane with OD tvs and free drinks, it seemed a waste of money...we will let you know.
I was so excited about the new Dreamliner and I tracked the plane a week or so before wondering which of the planes we would be going on. The good thing for us was that there were three Dreamliners all parked up at Manchester airport a full 1 1/2 days before we flew ready for three long haul destinations that left Manchester. I could see 2 of the planes and I took a few pictures of the very stand out wing shape and engine design...and size. A short delay on entering the plane of about 45mins was absorbed happily as I took note of the planes signage. It was G-TUIE "Miles of Smiles" and indeed it was. For the first time we were not flying premium so I wondered what would be waiting for us.
Nothing but smiles indeed as I took my window seat. It's tall inside alright, plenty of legroom and the seating looked good if not a little narrow on the width. The premium get a 2-3-2 seating plan whereas in economy it is 3-3-3 so the seat width does suffer. The now huge cabin baggage compartments are great with less problems with people ramming luggage into tight spaces. The windows are now larger, in so much as they are taller and indeed they add the airy feel. Gone are the pull down blinds and hello state of the art electronic dimming. The guff about quieter was not noticed to be honest. With the saving on the premium price I treated both of us to a pair of sound active sound cancelling headphones and they worked a treat.
The plane home was another plane named G-TUIC "Dream Maker" and my impression of this plane is one I would actively seek out as it really did enhance the flight experience from a package holiday company. 
Outbound Details
Plane Type Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner G-TUIE "Miles Of Smiles" Seating 3-3-3 Flight Number TOM124
Manchester - DabolimSTD 09:15 (10th) - ATD 09:50 (10th)   STA 23:55 (10th) ATA 00:17 (11th)
Inbound Details
Plane Type Boeing 787-8 
Dreamliner G-TUIC "Dream Maker" Seating 3-3-3 Flight Number TOM125
Dabolim - Manchester
STD 01:55 (25th) - ATD 02:30 (25th)   STA 06:55 (25th) ATA 07:23 (25th)
HOTEL EXPERIENCEMarinha Dourada.
CURRENCY: A very good exchange rate this year with the rate being from 96-99rps to the £. I had a lot of Dollars to get rid of so we were using those up. We were seeing 63rps to the $ which I was unsure of if the rate was good.
The usual money changer outside the hotel Mr Veen had had problems with his employer so had moved a few buildings away and the antics between them both was tedious. One side of the board saying one rate another saying a different rate and then once inside the real rate was told! I got a little annoyed at one point with it as he explained he was being honest about being dishonest....only in India! It looks as though Mr Veen will not be there next year which will be a loss as he is quite a pleasant chap.

CULTURE: A

BIRD WATCHING: 
Still a place we love to visit. It has been great visiting at various times as like any birding trip domestic or otherwise it can produce different birds and experiences. It so proved with the much greener and wetter December than we have previously encountered. I saw 12 new birds this trip with a few real unexpected gems like Button Quail. Black Bulbul (huge numbers) and Grey Headed Lapwing.
Surprisingly we dipped on some birds I thought we should have seen like Golden Fronted Leafbird, Emerald Dove, a few pigeon species, Indian Grey Hornbill and one or two I would have expected to have picked up.
Asian Openbills were abundant this trip as were Swallows, Tawny bellied-Babbler and Indian Roller amongst many others.
BUGS: A lot of talk about there not being a need to take anti-malaria tablets now was abounding on several forums. It's quite scary how some believe a total stranger on a public forum and indeed seek this advice on a public forum. I mean you can imagine "I am sorry Johnny but you have Malaria" Reposted with " I can't have as user name "severed cerebral chord" said you didn't need malaria tablets anymore. Please seek this advice on the important issues not forums. The advice has changed this year but it was dependant on your holiday type. Malaria is still in Goa. 
Least to say all our group took tablets and had plenty of skin applied anti bite creams.....that seemed quite useless this time. Dorothy uses a 95% DEET product and she reported it was effective until she had run out by the first week. Always been a little worried about DEET but I must admit Mandy and I both had a lot of bites to contend with. I have been trying to go more sandal based along with less socks....so under pressure I did and blame a third party for my many itches!
WEATHER: Daytime temps were between 00ºC - 00ºC
Nightime temps were between 00ºC - 00ºC.
The weather was a huge surprise with the early overnight tropical thunderstorm with rain and lightning that lasted from 22:00 until the following day until 09:30. The lightning still was flashing in the distance on and off for a further couple of day's so it was a partly cloudy, hazy weather pattern that was at times welcome but the cloud cover did mean that it was a bit high in the humidity department. By the last few days the weather was settling down nicely and with it came the more accustomed gorgeous orange and pink sunsets. We can't complain as Backwoods had experienced quite a few days of wind and rain in the previous week which must make birding very difficult indeed. We did note also that the wind sometimes got up quite strong which accounted for one day at Backwoods being the quietest day ever experienced in Goa. Even our guide Loven was forlorn as there was just nothing to call. His plan to go to Mollem due to the local birds being quiet was even worse as we walked a track for an hour or so without a handful of birds being seen. It truly was a shocker!
FOOD & DRINK: Aaahhh. Just superb. We had to take into account a newbie with us so we did have a few safe dishes in a few restaurants but we did manage a few meals at our more favoured place, Starlight.
Food and alcohol is still very cheap and a good night out leaving full and merry will set you back about £7 each. The Honey Bee had to be sampled on several occasions as we felt duty bound to test for quality over a more extended period. We came away with the thought we needed more testing!
Rasa was a great place for breakfast as the Indian and Himalayan both went down a treat after an early morning sorte. I was very surprised that our friend dipped right into some of the more local dishes like the Dhal and local Pomfret fish was enjoyed after some early trepidation. Dororthy tried out the wine but as was read about it was given the thumbs down.
LIFERS THIS TRIP: A good few birds were seen on this trip that were new to me. 12 new birds for Goa in total. Barn Owl - Curlew Sandpiper - Grasshopper Warbler - House Martin - Yellow-crowned Woodpecker - Square-tailed Bulbul - Mountain Hawk-eagle - Taiga Flycatcher - Dusky Crag-Martin - Barred Buttonquail - River Tern and Grey Headed Lapwing.
The Buttonquail, Square Tailed Bulbul (Black Bulbul) and Yellow crowned-woodpecker particularly held my attention and the River Terns were quite amazing animals as they seemed to have a grace about them inspite of their size.

10th December Wednesday
Departure Day
A pickup from the Althams tranfer service at 05:10 had us quickly to the airport with bags dropped and with only a blip at the fast track facility at Manchester we were sat having coffee talking about how out dated "duty free" shopping had become.
A short delay of about 3/4hr soon passed as we headed to our gate I noted several of the other dreamliner planes. The wing design and engine size stood out as something a little different. I had to smile at the so named "miles of smiles" plane as we entered to find a lovely large bright cabin.
The flight went well and we made good time as a head wind had us travelling at 653mph and a cruise altitude of 43,000ft. We were fed and watered before my hated time in the journey that they turn up the cabin temp in a bid to send you to sleep. It just makes me feel uncomfortable and no sleep was had. The food was good and just the right mix of alcohol, water,coffee and soft drinks were offered.
It took me by surprise when I realised we would be using the new airport building. It was pretty drab in truth but we were through in no time at all and after the usual tug of war with the porters for your luggage we found the coach to take us to Nirvana.
We finally arrived at the hotel at 02:20 after an hour transfer and it was a long walk down to our rooms but the very helpful "boys" made it far easier with the suitcases being carried for us. We dropped into bed at about 03:30 and I slept well........
11th December Thurday
Arpora Pools 09:00-10:00 (27 species)
Our first real day of birding with a later start as allowance to the travelling was given. I try to click in to the time zone straight away but it can still take some getting used to after a long flight and little sleep. Just a short walk to the pools across the road from the hotel reminded me of why we like the hotel placement. A few other birders were noted in the hotel this trip so a little info amongst them is always of benefit. Dorothy was having a baptism of birds as lot's of the more common birds just kept coming. It's great when you go to a place when 90% will be lifers so at times I am sure it was a little overwhelming but I mentioned just concentrating on a particular called bird and soaking that one up before looking at others being called. I was quite pleased that the birds were indeed being soaked up as all in the group was enjoying seeing the birds rather than ticking birds and moving on. Anyhow there would be plenty of time to become good friends with the Bulbuls.
Woolly-necked Stork  Little Cormorant  Grey Heron  Little Egret  Indian Pond-Heron  Striated Heron  Black Kite  Brahminy Kite  
Common Sandpiper  Common Greenshank  Small Pratincole  Asian Koel  Common Kingfisher  White-throated Kingfisher
Green Bee-eater  Blue-tailed Bee-eater  Ring-necked Parakeet  Plum-headed Parakeet  Black-naped Oriole  House Crow
Barn Swallow  Red-whiskered Bulbul  Common Tailorbird  Oriental Magpie-Robin  Jungle Myna
Common Myna  (An increasing species at present in Goa. Seen on several occasions)   Purple-rumped Sunbird
Baga Hill 12:15-15:00 (22 species)
After a short breakfast of Indian kind at Rasa we headed to Baga Hill. Many know it's never been my favourite place to bird but I am always happy to have my mind changed. We stuck to the base of the hill as a lethargy was still sticking with us. I am always last in the group as I like to have a good search. It's not always the best strategy but it suits me. We had superb views of White Cheeked Barbet, Ashy Drongo and a little further on Crimson Sunbird. A quick chat to a couple of birders at Baga Hill and an exchange of the how many times have you been type questions.....Turns out we would be sharing Backwoods with them as well. The heat of the day soon had us seeking the shade of the hotel as the flight, heat and hunger started to show. It really is the case about the heat of the afternoon being quite unproductive as the birds hold up in trees seeking the shade.
Shikra  Black Kite  Brahminy Kite  Rock Dove  Asian Koel  Green Bee-eater  Blue-tailed Bee-eater  White-cheeked Barbet
Ring-necked Parakeet  Plum-headed Parakeet  Ashy Drongo  Rufous Treepie  House Crow  Barn Swallow  Red-whiskered Bulbul
Common Tailorbird  Oriental Magpie-Robin  Jungle Myna  Purple-rumped Sunbird  Vigors's Sunbird
White-rumped Munia  Scaly-breasted Munia
Marinha Dourada Hotel 21:30 (1 species)
It's always well worth checking wires on the way home and with Dorothy being a big Owls fan I was just saying this when on shining the torch on the lines...there it was a Spotted Owlet...indeed there were a few on the way back to the room.
Spotted Owlet
STOP THE PRESS
As we returned home from our evening meal, the night sky started lightening with thunder soon following.....at about 22:00. The heavens opened and that much strange thing called rain came down by the bucket full!. I was not really expecting that and in truth, it was a touch worrying as I had checked the weather forecast back home and it did state that for 3 day's there would be chance of thunderstorms.....oh no!. I did not give it too much credence but it was quite accurate. I always take out a personal weather station (sad I know) but at one point I wish I had a rain gauge as we closed the curtains to the sound of a tropical storm with the winds now picking up.
12th December Friday
Arpora Pools 10:00-11:00 (26 species)
 Another late start...for me not good knowing that early morning is key to both seeing the birds and getting back before the heat sapped energy from the group and the birds. It had rained all night and blown a gale. I had arranged for everybody to meet in the hall at 06:15 but with the proviso that if it was raining go back to bed! So it came to pass and at 09:45 it stopped....finally. It put me out of sorts as I had a few places I wanted to check out other than the usual places. The later starts was not helping with this plan but what can you do. I wanted to call into the prawn beds but having looked in on the pools outside the hotel I had to press on to Arpora wood. Outside on the pools it was great to have regular views of the lovely Long Tailed Shrike and Pied Bushchats. Sadly as in previous years the areas around the pools were not accessible due to it being cut off by water so only a small area could be walked.
Great Egret  Little Egret  Cattle Egret  Indian Pond-Heron  Black Kite  Brahminy Kite  White-breasted Waterhen
Pacific Golden-Plover  Common Sandpiper  Common Greenshank  Common Redshank  Spotted Dove  Common Kingfisher
White-throated Kingfisher  Green Bee-eater  Blue-tailed Bee-eater  Indian Roller  Long-tailed Shrike  Black-naped Oriole
Barn Swallow  Oriental Magpie-Robin  Pied Bushchat  Jungle Myna  Common Myna   White-browed Wagtail  House Sparrow
Arpora Wood 12:00-15:00 (18 species)
On walking down to the T junction I had to gawp in amazement as the usual football "cum" cricket pitch was now a feeding ground for waders, egrets and lapwings. The other thing is that for the two weeks we were there the water level on this pitch was still quite high. I really thought the earth would have been quick drying particularly as the sun was so hot but not to be.
The wood on arrival showed signs of being overgrown but in truth I was happy to see it was still very passable...and green! The club Cubanas always seems to have an increasing noise impact on the area. Every time we have been it seems to have a larger presence and you wonder what effect this has on the surrounding wildlife. Never sure as the whole of Baga can be a disco on many occasions so maybe the wildlife are up for it.
Again in my mind it was to late to really appreciate, or at least, give yourself the best opportunity to see the birds but just seeing the lovely Tickells is a treat. I looked in the hope of seeing the much sought Pitta but I was more keen on searching for numbers by now.
I could feel a bit of boredom creeping into the group but I carried on hopefully to bring a few more birds to view. A good view of Peacock was had as Mandy also pointed out a Orange Headed Thrush. One of my favourite birds, White Rumped Munia gave a brief appearance before that all to problem heat had me defeated at the first attempt as hunger and heat won the battle. I sadly had to concede in my mind I may struggle to seek out a new place I was interested in. It was the other side of the wood and I was hopeful that I would get the chance to get up there...not today as the brisk walk back only stopping for a roadside samosa had allowed the tripod to touch the floor.
Indian Peafowl  Asian Koel  Green Bee-eater  White-cheeked Barbet  Common Iora  Black Drongo  Ashy Drongo  White-browed Fantail
Asian Paradise-Flycatcher  Red-whiskered Bulbul  Plain Prinia  Jungle Babbler  Oriental Magpie-Robin  Tickell's Blue-Flycatcher
Orange-headed Thrush  Purple-rumped Sunbird  Crimson-backed Sunbird  White-rumped Munia
Marinha Douarada Hotel Grounds 16:00 (8 Species)
The hotel grounds are always good when you are in between "things" and I was pleased how many times I saw some birds like the Striated Heron, Osprey and the much noted Common Sandpiper
Striated Heron  Black Kite  Brahminy Kite  Common Sandpiper  Red-whiskered Bulbul  Common Tailorbird  Ashy Prinia  Jungle Myna
13th December Saturday
Arpora Pools 06:45-07:00 (18 species)
Even though the skies were still flashing with lightning on occasion we saw no more rain although the sky struggled to fully clear of cloud or a haze most of the time. I was pleased as our first "proper" early morning trip out finally arrived. It was cooler, quieter and most of all more rewarding on the bird front. A short view around the pools outside the hotel soon had us walking toward Baga Hill but we soon halted as the many birds in a fruiting tree had us clocking up a few new birds for the trip. Plenty of Rosy Starlings in stonking condition was only matched by the Chestnut tailed-Starlings. We passed over the bridge as the squeaks of the Common kingfishers were ignored. We tried to ignore the racket from the much larger White Breasted Kingfisher but it was hard to! We started on the lower roads around the hill as the trees helped keep us as cool as possible.
Little Cormorant  Little Egret  Indian Pond-Heron  Black Kite  Brahminy Kite  Common Sandpiper  Rock Dove  Common Kingfisher
White-throated Kingfisher  Green Bee-eater  Blue-tailed Bee-eater 85   White-cheeked Barbet   House Crow  Barn Swallow
Jungle Myna  Chestnut-tailed Starling  Rosy Starling  White-browed Wagtail  2
Baga Hill 07:15-10:15 (35 species)
It was a touch quieter around the base but we were starting to clock up more species which was most welcome. A bird of prey was sat at the top of a tree and when Mandy asked me what it was I stupidly just replied Black Kite? As I got my scope on it I realised that being flippant is no use as it turned out to be a new bird of prey to show Dorothy. A lovely Oriental Honey Buzzard in the sunlight was enjoyed before the crows also late to the party moved it on. The Brown Cheeked Fulvetta also had me for a while as I just could not be sure as the book does not do it justice. The bird at the top of the track could not be mistaken as the eye watering colours of the small minivet drew plenty of wow type expressions..well it is quite something. A big bird had us again pleased with a "surfing" White Bellied Sea Eagle to keep our attention. Our first look at the Red Vented Bulbul had us moving onto the top of the hill in my search for the Indian Robin. The heat up there was felt immediately and you guessed it the birds were not shifting apart from an odd sunbird darting across the walkway and into cover never to be seen.
We were approached on the hill by a couple of lads that were Indian and before long the interest in the optics turned to a request for money. I did not feel to comfortable with it but I feigned ignorance as to what they were asking, before they finally left us alone as I hastened the bye byes. A signal to leave the top I thought so we headed back down slowly. Mandy had a cracking shout as she pointed out a bird that was I think quite an unusual visitor to this area. She had bagged a very smart Mountain Imperial-Pigeon..what a sighting!
A Black Rumped Flameback caught our attention as it called and it gave us long views as it began it's afternoon roost.
It does highlight the difference between visits at peak times as 35 species in that short spell was far better than on the hotter afternoon visits on this trip and previous trips. We took it easy for most of the day as we prepared for backwoods.... and the theatre that is "Mackies Saturday Night Bazaar". I was tired so the noise hardly had me noticing it but I was ready for the 05:15 pickup to Backwoods.
Oriental Honey-buzzard  Black Kite  Brahminy Kite  White-bellied Sea-Eagle  Spotted Dove  Mountain Imperial-Pigeon  Asian Koel
Blue-faced Malkoha  Greater Coucal  Blue-tailed Bee-eater  Coppersmith Barbet  Black-rumped Flameback  Plum-headed Parakeet
Common Iora  Small Minivet  Indian Golden Oriole  Ashy Drongo  Rufous Treepie  House Crow  Barn Swallow  Red-vented Bulbul
Red-whiskered Bulbul  White-browed Bulbul  Blyth's Reed-Warbler  Fan-tailed Warbler  Common Tailorbird  Brown-cheeked Fulvetta
Jungle Babbler  Oriental Magpie-Robin  Chestnut-tailed Starling  Rosy Starling  Pale-billed Flowerpecker  Purple Sunbird
Long-billed Sunbird  White-rumped Munia
14th December Sunday
Backwoods (73 species)
A pickup time of 05:15 was arranged. The other birders must have had a late night as they were 10mins late! We knew we would be heading for birding and after a couple of hours we were indeed birding. After a meet with another couple from down the South of Goa and a hand shake with the man himself Loven we headed for a "new" place we had not birded at backwoods before. The trees were alive more or less straight away with several Verditer Flycatchers masses of Orioles and a new bird for us was the Yellow Crowned Woodpecker. There was a real party of birds goinf through and Dorothy's head spin had truly started as Loven called bird after bird. I remember not knowing where to look the first time we visited Backwoods. I just advised looking at one bird, soaking it up and then moving on the next as you can easily lose focus of what you have seen and what you have ticked!
The group was not really a group this visit to Backwoods. Birds were quietly passed to some with Loven suitably feeling a bit ostracised as were we on occasion.
Driving back to camp as expected Loven had us off the bus and walking a short distance down the track into camp. Birds were popping up here and there. A great view was had of a Heart stopping woodpecker! I even managed a few poor pictures as it hammered away on a knot of a tree where it was extracting a tasty morsel.
A nice leisurely late morning allowed us to freshen up, unpack and get ready for the afternoons birding. I also got my trail cam set up on a tree trunk with the hope of seeing what visited in the dark hours!
Afternoon had us wandering up to the temple area where good views of White Bellied Woodpeckers were enjoyed and a new bird for me for Goa, a Grasshopper warbler which Loven coaxed out as best as he could. It was a slower end to a frantic start to the day.
An evening meal was enjoyed after a lovely shower. The food is always to my liking at Backwoods and the only thing I don't like is the pickle but Mandy makes up for my dislike of it for her loving of it.
It was a touch sad to note a divide between the group had somehow come about with seats being taken and group huddles...It reminded me of school day's indeed and eventually I gave up trying to make an odd comment as the conversations were labour intensive. I remembered the last time we were in Backwoods and wished we were in the same company as then, but alas it was not to be. Indeed I felt it was quite rude and so I helped the childish theme and made my way out of the Farmhouse without much to say, shame on me but I am not good at divisive influence.
Little Egret  Oriental Honey-buzzard  Crested Serpent-Eagle  Black Eagle  Booted Eagle  Shikra  Black Kite  Brahminy Kite
Red-wattled Lapwing  Rock Dove  Spotted Dove  Grey-fronted Green-Pigeon  Mountain Imperial-Pigeon  Asian Koel  Jungle Owlet
Indian Swiftlet  Little Swift  Blue-eared Kingfisher  White-throated Kingfisher  Blue-tailed Bee-eater  Chestnut-headed Bee-eater
Indian Roller  Malabar Grey Hornbill  Malabar Pied-Hornbill  Malabar Barbet  Brown-capped Woodpecker  Yellow-crowned Woodpecker 
White-bellied Woodpecker  Black-rumped Flameback  Rufous Woodpecker  Heart-spotted Woodpecker  Malabar Parakeet
Malabar Woodshrike  Common Woodshrike  Ashy Woodswallow  Small Minivet  Orange Minivet  Long-tailed Shrike  Indian Golden Oriole
Black-hooded Oriole  Ashy Drongo  White-bellied Drongo  Bronzed Drongo  Greater Racket-tailed Drongo  Asian Paradise-Flycatcher
Rufous Treepie  Large-billed Crow (Indian Jungle)  Barn Swallow  Red-rumped Swallow  Common House-Martin  Velvet-fronted Nuthatch  1
Flame-throated Bulbul  Red-vented Bulbul  Red-whiskered Bulbul  Yellow-browed Bulbul  Western Crowned Leaf Warbler
Grasshopper Warbler  Common Tailorbird  Brown-cheeked Fulvetta  Asian Fairy-bluebird  Asian Brown Flycatcher
Oriental Magpie-Robin  Verditer Flycatcher  Malabar Whistling-Thrush  Orange-headed Thrush  Indian Blackbird  Nilgiri Flowerpecker  3
Purple-rumped Sunbird  Purple Sunbird  Long-billed Sunbird  Yellow Wagtail  Black-headed Bunting  Chestnut-shouldered Petronia
15th December Monday
Backwoods (76 species)
An early start as planned had us walking out the back of the camp and as we headed to a clearing, bang, the birds were again all around us with the sounds of sub birdsound all around us. I said to Loven what's this black Bird with a longish bill....another Lifer for us with Black Bulbul. I think I was the only one to be excited at this as this bird just had not been on my radar but it seemed others were not to concerned about it. On previous visits to Backwoods I had not heard any mention of it so I was a little bit confused, nothing unusual I here Mandy say.
The birds were all around and they were readily joined by Barbets, Minivets, Parrots, Parakeets, Orioles and Drongos.
Loven took us to the place of the lovely Frogmouth that was in camp. He said only one was found at the moment as the weather had disturbed their usual roost. One of the two Ronnies was having great views as he called to the three Amigos to come and stand where he was to get a great picture. Oh ring the dinner bell somebody...please.
We returned later on with Mandy's camera to get a shot of the Frogmouth....the two Ronnies turned up and stood in front of Mandy, she was non to pleased so we buttoned our lips and left them to it. Self impotent indeed.
The afternoon visit to the hawkwatch place was a bit quiet in both numbers and species count although a long view of the Mountain Hawk-eagle was enjoyed. A few Crested Serpent Eagles and a Black Eagle showed but it was a little hard going with the heat and little to see. We moved on to a couple of quick fire places and picked up the Black Headed Bunting in a dry field again but still no red headed buntings.
Dark fronted Babbler was encountered in camp which was quite a relief as this species has previously been a dead cert to see. We were sad to see the very popular bird bath had now gone. As you can imagine fresh bathing water is a huge pull for many species so it was a bit sad not to see that become something of a feature...in truth maybe that's the British "garden feeder" mentality in me.
I felt a few pangs of excitement as we learned we would be heading out for the Nightjars and Pitta in the evening. We drove past the much used "cricket pitch" outside camp and instead we all decamped onto a tree lined side road and waited...as usual I was lagging behind and it took Loven to tell me to move on up as the area I was in was where they would be looking!
This place was Mozzie central and many slaps of flesh could be heard. It got darker and darker and it was becoming er clear, shall we say, that even if the Pitta was to show most would not "see" it. I have to say at this point that the Swarovision bins really do perform in low light conditions. We started to walk back and the female of the three Amigos broke rank and let others in the group know that she had seen a bird, I turned to see the Nightjar circle in a field before heading over a bush into the night. Loven played the tape but it was long gone. At least we got a little something out of it although I did feel quite disappointed but aware we could try again another evening, and remember to wear more clothes to thwart the mozzies.
The three Amigos cozied up to the two ronnies and before long that pet hate of mine soon came out. It's something that gets on my wick when people want to discuss what you do for a living. I feel it's no coincidence that often the person doing the asking is a high flier and it was no surprise to hear at great volume that he worked for Rolls Royce polishing the two "R"s no doubt. The 1st Ronnie made everybody aware that he had recently took early redundancy and was selling his house, down sizing and having all the proceeds to travel more.....God hand me the self help sick bag I thought. How many SKY tv "key" sayings can one person fit into a sentence? You see I am working class one of the new ones that will have no early retirement as some have had the retirement plans altered by the government. OK so I may be jealous but I don't want to listen to work on holiday, I have entertained some in the past when asked about what I do...I think my favourite was the response to being a Porn Star! That's another story though. Their backs turned on us working class made us head for our beds.
Little Egret  Cattle Egret  Indian Pond-Heron  Crested Serpent-Eagle  Mountain Hawk-Eagle   Black Eagle  Booted Eagle  Shikra
Black Kite  Brahminy Kite  White-breasted Waterhen  Red-wattled Lapwing  Rock Dove  Grey-fronted Green-Pigeon  Asian Koel
Greater Coucal  Oriental Scops-Owl (heard only)   Jungle Owlet  Brown Boobook (heard only) Sri Lanka Frogmouth   Jerdon's Nightjar
Indian Swiftlet  Crested Treeswift  Malabar Trogon  Common Kingfisher  Stork-billed Kingfisher  White-throated Kingfisher  1
Green Bee-eater  Indian Roller  Malabar Grey Hornbill  Malabar Barbet  Coppersmith Barbet  Brown-headed Barbet  White-cheeked Barbet
Greater Flameback  Heart-spotted Woodpecker  Plum-headed Parakeet  Malabar Parakeet  Vernal Hanging-Parrot  Ashy Woodswallow
Common Iora  Orange Minivet  Black-headed Cuckooshrike  Long-tailed Shrike  Indian Golden Oriole  Black-hooded Oriole  Ashy Drongo
Bronzed Drongo  Hair-crested Drongo  Greater Racket-tailed Drongo  Asian Paradise-Flycatcher  House Crow  Large-billed Crow
Barn Swallow  Velvet-fronted Nuthatch  Grey-headed Bulbul  Flame-throated Bulbul  Red-vented Bulbul  Red-whiskered Bulbul
Yellow-browed Bulbul  Square-tailed Bulbul  Western Crowned Leaf Warbler  Blyth's Reed-Warbler  Grasshopper Warbler
Dark-fronted Babbler  Jungle Babbler  Asian Fairy-bluebird  Brown-breasted Flycatcher  Oriental Magpie-Robin  Indian Blackbird
 Tickell's Blue-Flycatcher   Jerdon's Leafbird  Thick-billed Flowerpecker  Purple-rumped Sunbird  Purple Sunbird
Black-headed Bunting
16th December Tuesday
Backwoods (50 species)
This was as unusual in all the wrong ways as right from the start of the day the wind had picked up and the temp had dropped a couple of degrees. It was actually very fresh in the mornings which was welcome. The wind was to hound us all day as Loven tried different tactics to find some birds. When I say it was quiet is an understatement. Headed out to the temple before taking the track up river to a place we were very familiar with in previous years. We had bagged the Blue eared Kingfisher so we were all hoping for the Black backed dwarf Kingfisher.....The track up to the river was not well used with the guide having to make a better way through with the use of his machete. It was tricky going in places with having to be careful we did not touch many of the very angry plants that can leave you with a few souvenirs. The walk along the track was a taster of what was to come, or not, as not many birds showed themselves along the way. Indeed as we reached our target place there really was nothing about and despite Loven heading up and down river on his own to search he was struggling. A bright spell did come though when Steven mentioned a bird across the river which was soon ID as a lovely Large-billed Leaf Warbler. Not a new bird but a decent view of it before that to got sick of the wind and vanished. The other thing that was also coming clear was that the track was not passable or the noise made to make it passable was not worth it. We would normally traverse the river both up and down along the rivers length but this was not to be and it was with disappointment that we turned back along the same track and headed out. On the way back we were treated to a new Snake species, a Vine Snake which Mandy had the pleasure of handling. The very self "impotent"(yes that's spelt correctly) member whom was becoming a pest sat taking photos until a big voice from the back came from the smallest of the group...well Dorothy did say what others were thinking "can some others have a look now please" as he hogged the snake with what felt like 1000 pictures on his super zoom.
Moving on and in a little clearing with a small stream Loven came good with the lure being played for the Indian Blue Robin. It very briefly showed and it was a poor view. If I had not seen it previously I would not have counted it in truth. Some of the group missed it as it literally vanished into the scrub.
The walk back felt arduous as little reward was gained, for me at least. I think it was the fact there were no fillers, regular birds along the way that just kept you ticking over that made it feel a bit flat. The wind was making birding seem drawn out and I can safely say it was indeed a day like I have never experienced in Goa before, but I guess that is another experience to have.
The walk down the track to camp also was quiet as the wind was just to much for the birds. One great moment was Loven getting excited about a bird he knows is about but is very much unseen species. The Himalayan Woodpecker was calling and despite a really good search by some of the group we just could not get onto it. Loven explained that it was a bird that he has seen many times in camp but has never had a photo of it. I tried for ages to see if it was to show but no luck.
The two Ronnies were leaving that afternoon and I did manage to raise my eyes as they exited
I wondered what we would do in the afternoon and it was a treat as we headed to Mollem, something we had never done before. I presume this was due to how quiet it was and despite other backup plans he tried out this was a sure fire bird fest....or not. I was really pleased to visit this area and as we got out of the van and walked up a track I also did think we had cracked it as it looked like a good forest...I know but you sometimes just get a feeling about a place being a good one....well scratch that as we walked up the early sighting of a Forest Wagtail was it....the only highlight. We walked for ages with the cries of just a Whiskered Bulbul...pleaseeeee being called. Eventually we agreed that we should give it up and so as we eventually found a place to turn the van around I could feel the pervading feeling of disappointment in the group.
Sadly that was the last birding of the day and whilst nobody was to blame for the non birds and wind I could not help feeling that the group would have appreciated another trip to look for the as yet, unseen Pitta and Jerdon's Nightjar that we had a fleeting glance of the previous night. We headed straight to camp although at about 10pm Loven did ask us to step outside the farmhouse as he played a tape of the Oriental Scops Owl...that to had gone walk about as it only called from miles away....oh well at least we had the group banter to keep us enthused...!
The three Amigos had lost the two ronnies to the scrum and it was quite funny to have them slide up the table and after 3 days and speak to us. 
No talking by day but come night and nobody else mixed with beer 0'clock and they were all yours. To be fair the lads looked hen pecked and we soon realised why...she made it clear she was not keen on Dorothy but it was not to be worried about as the feeling was quite mutual. A bit loud for us so we headed to bed thinking, hoping that the birds would show at Bondla.
Little Cormorant  Little Egret  Cattle Egret  Indian Pond-Heron  Booted Eagle  Red-wattled Lapwing  Spotted Dove
Grey-fronted Green-Pigeon  Indian Swiftlet  Common Kingfisher  Blue-eared Kingfisher  Malabar Grey Hornbill  Malabar Barbet   
Brown-headed Barbet  White-bellied Woodpecker  Black-rumped Flameback  Greater Flameback  Heart-spotted Woodpecker
Plum-headed Parakeet  Malabar Parakeet  Common Iora  Long-tailed Shrike  Black-hooded Oriole  Ashy Drongo
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo  Black-naped Monarch  House Crow  Large-billed Crow   Red-rumped Swallow  Flame-throated Bulbul
Red-whiskered Bulbul  Yellow-browed Bulbul  Green Warbler  Large-billed Leaf Warbler  Western Crowned Leaf Warbler
Asian Fairy-bluebird  Asian Brown Flycatcher  Brown-breasted Flycatcher  Oriental Magpie-Robin  Verditer Flycatcher
Indian Blue Robin  Malabar Whistling-Thrush  Taiga Flycatcher  Orange-headed Thrush  Indian Blackbird  Thick-billed Flowerpecker  3
Purple-rumped Sunbird  Grey Wagtail  Forest Wagtail  Black-headed Bunting
17th December Wednesday
Backwoods (Bondla) (65 species)
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Little Cormorant  Little Egret  Cattle Egret  Indian Pond-Heron  Crested Serpent-Eagle  Shikra  Black Kite  Brahminy Kite
Spotted Dove  Grey-fronted Green-Pigeon  Asian Koel  Blue-faced Malkoha  Crested Treeswift  Malabar Trogon  Common Kingfisher
Black-backed Dwarf-Kingfisher  White-throated Kingfisher  Green Bee-eater  Blue-tailed Bee-eater  Chestnut-headed Bee-eater
Indian Roller  Malabar Grey Hornbill  White-cheeked Barbet  Black-rumped Flameback  Rufous Woodpecker  1Heart-spotted Woodpecker
Plum-headed Parakeet  Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike  Long-tailed Shrike  Indian Golden Oriole  Ashy Drongo
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo  Asian Paradise-Flycatcher  House Crow  Large-billed Crow  Dusky Crag-Martin  1Barn Swallow
Red-rumped Swallow  Indian Tit  Velvet-fronted Nuthatch  Red-vented Bulbul  Red-whiskered Bulbul  Yellow-browed Bulbul
Green Warbler  Blyth's Reed-Warbler  Common Tailorbird  Puff-throated Babbler  Brown-cheeked Fulvetta   Jungle Babbler
Indian Robin  Oriental Magpie-Robin  White-rumped Shama  Indian Blue Robin  Malabar Whistling-Thrush  Jungle Myna  Malabar Starling
Thick-billed Flowerpecker  Nilgiri Flowerpecker  Purple-rumped Sunbird  Long-billed Sunbird  Little Spiderhunter  Yellow Wagtail
Grey Wagtail  Forest Wagtail  White-rumped Munia
18th December Thursday
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19th December Friday
 Carambolim Lake 06:30 - 13:30 (75 species)
Guide Lloyd Fernandes. Cost 1500rps per person
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Lesser Whistling-Duck  Ruddy Shelduck  Cotton Pygmy-Goose  Little Grebe  Asian Openbill  Woolly-necked Stork  Lesser Adjutant
Indian Cormorant  Oriental Darter  Grey Heron  Purple Heron  Great Egret  Intermediate Egret  Little Egret  Cattle Egret
Indian Pond-Heron  Glossy Ibis  Black-headed Ibis  Osprey  Indian Spotted Eagle  Greater Spotted Eagle  Booted Eagle
Eurasian Marsh-Harrier  Shikra  Black Kite  Brahminy Kite  Purple Swamphen  Common Moorhen  Black-winged Stilt
Red-wattled Lapwing  Pheasant-tailed Jacana  Bronze-winged Jacana  Common Sandpiper  Common Greenshank  Common Redshank
Gull-billed Tern  Rock Dove  Spotted Dove  Asian Koel  Greater Coucal  Spotted Owlet  Brown Boobook  Little Swift
Common Kingfisher  White-throated Kingfisher  Pied Kingfisher  Green Bee-eater  Blue-tailed Bee-eater  Indian Roller
Coppersmith Barbet  White-cheeked Barbet  Plum-headed Parakeet  Ashy Woodswallow  Long-tailed Shrike  Indian Golden Oriole
Ashy Drongo  House Crow  Barn Swallow  Wire-tailed Swallow  Red-rumped Swallow  Green Warbler  Blyth's Reed-Warbler
Fan-tailed Warbler  Common Tailorbird  Plain Prinia  Jungle Babbler  Oriental Magpie-Robin  Siberian Stonechat  Jungle Myna
Chestnut-tailed Starling  Pale-billed Flowerpecker  Purple-rumped Sunbird  Chestnut-shouldered Petronia  1
Baya Weaver  Scaly-breasted Munia
20th December Saturday
Morjim & Siolim Fields 06:30 - 12:45
 Guide Lloyd Fernandes. Cost 1500rps per person.
Morjim (46 Species)
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Little Cormorant  Little Egret  Cattle Egret  Black Kite  Brahminy Kite  Red-wattled Lapwing  Lesser Sand-Plover
Greater Sand-Plover  Kentish Plover  Common Sandpiper  Curlew Sandpiper  Sanderling  Barred Buttonquail  Slender-billed Gull
Black-headed Gull  Brown-headed Gull  Lesser Black-backed Gull (Heuglin's)  Great Crested Tern  Lesser Crested Tern  Spotted Dove
Asian Koel  Greater Coucal  Asian Palm-Swift  White-throated Kingfisher  Green Bee-eater  Blue-tailed Bee-eater  Indian Roller
Eurasian Hoopoe  Black-rumped Flameback  Bay-backed Shrike  Long-tailed Shrike  Black Drongo  House Crow  Barn Swallow
Wire-tailed Swallow  Red-rumped Swallow  Streak-throated Swallow  Red-whiskered Bulbul  Green Warbler  Common Tailorbird
Jungle Myna  Rosy Starling  Purple-rumped Sunbird  Oriental Pipit  House Sparrow  Baya Weaver
Siolim Fields (39 Species)
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Asian Openbill  Little Cormorant  Grey Heron  Purple Heron  Great Egret  Intermediate Egret  Little Egret  Cattle Egret
Indian Pond-Heron  Glossy Ibis  Black-headed Ibis  Greater Spotted Eagle  Eurasian Marsh-Harrier  Black Kite  Brahminy Kite
Red-wattled Lapwing  Little Ringed Plover  Bronze-winged Jacana  Common Sandpiper  Common Greenshank  Wood Sandpiper
Common Redshank  Common Snipe  River Tern  Common Kingfisher  White-throated Kingfisher  Pied Kingfisher  Green Bee-eater
Blue-tailed Bee-eater  1Indian Roller  Long-tailed Shrike  Ashy Drongo  House Crow  Barn Swallow  Red-rumped Swallow
Red-whiskered Bulbul  Common Tailorbird  Yellow Wagtail  White-rumped Munia
21st December Sunday
Arpora Salt/Prawn Pans 08:00 - 09:00 (00 Species)
I like to call in on this place but our last holiday that showed us a Cobra here had us a little more respectful of where we stood! It did not look like the pools had really been in use and the much desired view of Pratincoles was not to be this time around. It felt very hot around this area for some reason, I even reapplied sunscreen as I felt I was burning. It's always been a sure bet to get Pacific Golden Plover here. A great view of the Darter was enjoyed but the bird I have always wanted to see at this place still has me wanting...the Terek Sandpiper.
Woolly-necked Stork  Oriental Darter  Grey Heron  Great Egret  Intermediate Egret  Little Egret  Black Kite  Brahminy Kite
Pacific Golden-Plover  Red-wattled Lapwing  Greater Sand-Plover  Common Sandpiper  Common Greenshank  Wood Sandpiper
Common Redshank  White-throated Kingfisher  House Crow  Barn Swallow  Red-rumped Swallow
Loop Road (Arpora - Anjuna) 10:00 - 15:00 (19 Species)
I had it in my head that the group may like a stroll up the road and what I call the loop, I always prefer a loop walk rather that to and from walk. It goes from the road up past the turn off for Arpora wood by another 1/4 mile. There is then a track on the left that leads down a dusty scrubby area and crosses a bridge over Baga river which then leads on to the Anjuna Baga road. There was a revolt in the offing and Mandy put the cat amongst the pigeons by telling Dorothy that it was another of my marathon walks. There was no claiming fowl play at the suggestion so Dorothy had decided to head back to the hotel, shame as I like this walk as it offers good quiet birding in places with good habitat. In truth I was glad on the decision as sometimes I forget not everybodies as keen on the longer walks in the heat. it was a leisurely stroll once off the main road and as we headed off the road we were halted by a scratching about in a nearby bush. It was dancing around possibly in it's display area and finally after some time i could see it was a Fantial of the white browed variety. A quicker walk along the track had us watching a few birds of prey. Good and long views including some perched. we sat on the bridge as there seemed to be a small passage of birds of prey. I like this kind of birding, nothing mega but a nice trickle of unexpected birds that are numerous and close.
We enjoyed our walk about and a newly opened bar had us feeling it would be rude to not call in for a midday tipple. A nice chap who owned the bar was as interested in us as we were the wildlife. I forgot his name but he seemed a genuine person. He had come down from study in Mumbai to make his fortune! It was late afternoon when we got back to the hotel as the stop off, birds had us realising that we were heading the end of another great birding holiday. Where had the time gone?
Lesser Adjutant  Little Egret  Cattle Egret  Indian Pond-Heron  Striated Heron  Osprey  Oriental Honey-buzzard  Booted Eagle
Eurasian Marsh-Harrier  Common Sandpiper  Common Kingfisher  White-throated Kingfisher  Alexandrine Parakeet  Ring-necked Parakeet
Plum-headed Parakeet  White-browed Fantail  House Crow  Purple-rumped Sunbird  House Sparrow
22nd December Monday
Succorro Plateau & Donwaddo Pools
Guide Lloyd Fernandes Cost 1500rps per person
Succorro Plateau (23 Species)
We changed our plan for this trip as originally I wanted us to go on the boat trip on the Zuari....there seemed some issues on Lloyds part and the cost seemed rather high in truth. We re-arranged to thinking that a trip round Mayem lake would be good as Blue Bearded Bee Eater had been seen amongst other goodies including Wood Owl and Grey Nightjar. We were disappointed to hear that two of the three amigos were going the same date so on getting into the bus that morning I mentioned it to Lloyd. Again a reluctance of Lloyd and in truth not wanting to make small talk with the others we decided on Succorro Plateau. I thought a new place was going to be a good thing and Lloyd mentioned we had a chance of BB B Eater there so I was happy. I soon realised it was not a new place as he had taken us there a few years previous and I was further underwhelmed due to the fact that the bushes had grown to such an extent that you could no longer see over them onto the valley below which I remember being quite a good viewing area. We did also go there for Nilgiri Wood Pigeons and Orange Breasted Green Pigeon with only a quickest view of the Orange Breasted as it flew off so I could not count it. I also could not count the flying off view of the Feverbird, Common Hawk Cuckoo...damn. We did, however get stonking views of the very nice Tawny Bellied Babblers. My worst memory of the last trip up here happened as we headed to the top onto a barren area and remained up there what felt like a lifetime...why I wonder? We had breakfast in a very civilised fashion up on the plateau and it was a stunning close view of a Black Eagle that slowly cruised over us. I could even make out the brown feathering on the underside of the wings. I even stopped eating the homemade Mango jam on fresh bread as two hands were needed! It felt like we were dragging time out at this point as nothing of any interest kept us there. Finally headed back down and wondered where we would be going to see the Yellow Wattled Lapwing?
Black Eagle  Spotted Dove  Crested Treeswift  Green Bee-eater  Blue-tailed Bee-eater  Plum-headed Parakeet  Vernal Hanging-Parrot
Common Woodshrike  Indian Golden Oriole  Black-hooded Oriole  Ashy Drongo  White-bellied Drongo  Bronzed Drongo
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo  Asian Paradise-Flycatcher  Barn Swallow  Red-rumped Swallow  Green Warbler  Grey-breasted Prinia
Ashy Prinia  Tawny-bellied Babbler  Purple-rumped Sunbird  Purple Sunbird
Donwaddo Pools (11 Species)
Lloyd pulled up not 10mins down from the Plateau at a road that was dissecting some pools. I have never seen so many Hirundines in my life. Probably one of the best places we have seen so many species of Eagle outside of backwoods in terms of both species and numbers. Lloyd gave some really good tips on the differing patterns and jizz of the Eagles which I really did appreciate very much. Lloyd wandered off a little bit and then=m returned and said have you seen this bird before? I ruffled my brow with inquisition and it translated perfectly into konkani as Lloyd replied Grey Headed Lapwing? It took a while to compute as this one had escaped my study material. We soon had decent views of this lovely Lapwing and I think quite a lovely species, far nicer than the red and yellow Wattled. A real surprise bird and on asking a bit more about it Lloyd says he has seen it in Goa for the last three or four years...wow. We sneaked a bit closer to it but the light and water reflection just made it awkward for my setup to cope well, non the less a really good addition for us.
Lloyd finally took us to his site for YW Lapwing and we had a total of seven there. It was a funny sort of concrete bus stop come viewing point over a damp field. I did have to remind Mandy at one point of the writing on the wall! 
Indian Spotted Eagle  Greater Spotted Eagle  Booted Eagle  Yellow-wattled Lapwing  Grey-headed Lapwing  Red-wattled Lapwing
Common Sandpiper  Common Greenshank  Barn Swallow  Red-rumped Swallow Streak Throated Swallow
Beira Mar Hotel 16:45-18:30 (37 Species)
A trip to Goa would not be complete without a visit to the Biera mar hotel, if even just to remind yourself that you were glad you had chosen the Marinha Dourada as a base. We missed out on the Cinnamon Bittern, Painted Snipe and the Red Breasted Crake but as the light was fading I did manage to get us a Black crowned Night heron. The hot topic is the grass length and it was still longer than I would like but it seemed reasonable viewing overall. We did not see any other birders on our visit which was a shame as in past years we have enjoyed a chat with others. We always buy some drinks when we visit for a thanks for allowing us access to view the fields. You can see, despite my dislike of the area for holidaying in, why birders are happy to stay there as the list from this hotel and close grounds could truly be a holiday in itself. I would always advise a visit here as it's a lovely viewpoint. As the light fades the hope within to see some of the great birds of this hotel and even if they fail to show it's still great to see numerous fruit bats come to roost and several Spotted Owlets come for an evening dinner on the fields. Another place my Binoculars impressed with their low light capabilities. The Feral pigeons coming for drinks out of the pool rated quite low on my "to see list".
Little Cormorant  Grey Heron  Purple Heron  Intermediate Egret  Little Egret  Cattle Egret  Indian Pond-Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron  Eurasian Marsh-Harrier  Black Kite  Brahminy Kite  Black-winged Stilt  Pacific Golden-Plover
Red-wattled Lapwing  Common Sandpiper  Common Greenshank  Common Redshank  Spotted Dove  Spotted Owlet  White-throated Kingfisher
Long-tailed Shrike  Ashy Drongo  House Crow  Barn Swallow  Red-rumped Swallow  Red-whiskered Bulbul  Greenish Warbler
Blyth's Reed-Warbler  Ashy Prinia  Oriental Magpie-Robin  Jungle Myna  Chestnut-tailed Starling  Rosy Starling
Purple-rumped Sunbird  Grey Wagtail  White-rumped Munia  Scaly-breasted Munia
23rd December Tuesday
Baga Hill 10:30-12:30 (16 species)
A quick paced walk up to baga hill had my heart racing as a bird was very illusive and deep in bushes as it scratted about in leaf litter. It took me ages to see it and when I did it also saw me move my head sideways which saw it scarper! It was a female Grey Junglefowl. It was quiet as again it showed in the timing of the visit being late morning. Non the less it is always a nice area to check out and a few Asian Openbills that were using thermals at the top of the hill had me thinking that these birds had been quite numerous throughout this trip which was quite nice. A tick on the list as a quick flyby Black-winged Kite, our first of the trip. Again we had decent views of Tawny Bellied Babbler itself being one of those really nice birds that can be overlooked as they flit about, there one minute and gone the next. We said a fond farewell to Baga Hill as we knew it would be our last trip up there on this holiday. 
Grey Junglefowl  Asian Openbill  Black-winged Kite  Black Kite  Brahminy Kite  White-bellied Sea-Eagle
Asian Koel  Coppersmith Barbet  White-cheeked Barbet  Plum-headed Parakeet  Ashy Drongo  Tawny-bellied Babbler
Brown-cheeked Fulvetta  Purple-rumped Sunbird  Purple Sunbird  White-rumped Munia
Arpora Wood 16:30-18:00
Having seen the Pitta on our very first visit to Goa and Arpora wood I did search for the bird again. The biggest surprise was not seeing it at Backwoods so having spoke to a lovely lady named Julie who said a guide had taken her to Arpora wood to see it a day back I thought a trip there would be well worth it. I had to inject a little bit of enthusiasm in to the group before they agreed. We quickly walked there despite the road being very busy as domestic tourists started to pour in for the Christmas period. 
I headed to a good haunt on a double track and it was clear early on that we should have been well covered up as the mozzie count was extremely high. I searched for ages whilst trying to listen for any slight leaf litter rustle before the din of the nearby Cubanas club stopped me being able to listen. Daylight was fading and as I spent 50% of the time swatting Mozzies from my ankles. I could feel the enthusiasm drain from the other two but I just couldn't give it up. I was rewarded as I saw movement and I managed an instant view of this very special bird. I called out to the others but it seemed an age before they got the message....it hopped into a bit more cover but I managed to get my scope on it. Dorothy had not seen one so I let Dorothy have first dibs, even forgoing a chance of a digiscoping shot....blast I was short but Dorothy was shorter so she could not get up to the eyepiece...I quickly said Mandy have a look before I changed the tripod...Mandy quickly saw him before the moment passed and it did not reappear. Dorothy along with us carried on searching but it was not to be. Really a shame. 
Indian Pitta  Tickell's Blue-Flycatcher
24th December Wednesday
Balcony List (whole holiday)
I only started making a balcony list quite a way into the holiday but it was a great place to bird from as we can see all the way upto Baga Hill. Lot's more birds were seen but it still gives a good overview of the possibilities.
Asian Openbill  Little Cormorant  Oriental Darter  Intermediate Egret  Little Egret  Cattle Egret  Indian Pond-Heron
Osprey  Black Kite  Brahminy Kite  Rock Dove  Barn Owl  Little Swift  Green Bee-eater  Blue-tailed Bee-eater
Black-rumped Flameback  Alexandrine Parakeet  6 Ring-necked Parakeet  Plum-headed Parakeet  Indian Golden Oriole  Rufous Treepie
House Crow  Barn Swallow  Red-rumped Swallow  Blyth's Reed-Warbler  Common Tailorbird  Jungle Myna
Purple-rumped Sunbird  White-browed Wagtail
25th December Thursday
Pickup-Airport
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