Goa 2009

Goa 2009

Jungleland

January 31st - February 15th 2009

Species Total For Trip 233
Goa Videos
   Videos' Of Goa 1  >HERE<            Videos' Of Goa 2   >HERE<
Videos' Of Goa 3  >HERE<     
 
Baga Hill  >HERE<Backwoods Camp  >HERE<Arpora Forest >HERE<  Arpora Baga Beach  >HERE<

  


Managed to get hold of a copy of this as it seems a very good site guide. I have photocopied over 70 pages of what I think will be handy info and maps so if anybody is struggling to get their hands on one click on the link below where you can view and download. 
Please email me if a password is requested.
>PETER HARRIS GOA GUIDE<
 

Gadgets Used

  
     
Health Items
  


This year I have picked up a device that clips onto my Ipod that changes it into a digital voice recorder. This should help when away on trips to remember the things I have seen or information like weather and names of places etc. I have a 30g Video Ipod so plenty of room is available. As you enter the recordings it dates and times all your entries which is a great feature. I was going to purchase a dedicated voice recorder but stumbled upon this which has saved me money.

A Vision Of The Past And The Future


Introduction
Feeling like we wanted to taste something a little more adventurous we originally settled on Kenya but sadly at the time of booking it was clear that the recent trouble with rioting etc was to much to ignore so we soon set our sights on Goa, India. I looked on many websites for info and began asking other birders if they had experience of the place. It seemed an ideal introduction to birds of Asia and most people I spoke to held Goa as a great place to visit for birds and culture. I had settled on the Marinha Dourada In Arpora as a good place with good birding and a good standard of hotel. As we paid the final payment for our holiday to Lesvos in May 2008 we mentioned that Goa was a possibility and before we knew it we had paid a deposit and the holiday was ours.
The holiday was for two people staying at the Marinha Dourada on a B&B basis for 14 nights. We opted to fly First Choice as they flew direct without any stops to Dabolim airport in Goa from Manchester and we gathered that the planes offer, on the whole, a more comfortable experience. We purchased our own insurance via flexicover which was an annual worldwide cover. We booked as usual through our local travel agent Althams Travel.
Cost Breakdown
Basic holiday inc hotel, flight (upgraded to premium class) and transport to and from Manchester airport £2130
Insurance cover (annual worldwide with flexicover) £39.45
Flight Experience
First Choice and Thomson have now merged with the new name Thomson airways taking over from Thomsonfly and First Choice Airlines. We booked their star class premier which has several extras inc a massive 36" seat pitch, choice of decent meal, all drinks are free, movies,games and TV with on demand feature so that you can pause, rewind, fast forward the TV. The Tv's are larger that in standard class and all are seat back. You get priority check in and boarding along with a generous 5kg hand luggage and a 25kg hold allowance (although I hear this has been reduced to 23kg allowance for hold baggage). You are treated to onboard pre flight drinks and snacks. The leather air filled seats are very comfortable which are further enhanced by a blanket and neck pillow placed on your seat. You get a bag with a few creams, socks, toothbrush, eye mask inside. Mandy and I were very pleased with the service right from the off although the need for priority lines for queueing were not fully appreciated as the airport was quiet but it all worked well. We were called to board the aircraft first and we walked onto a separated area of the plane for premium customers. As said the seats were lovely and comfortable with a little more elbow room being a nice surprise and the legroom was superb. Footrests were present and very good but the cabin was a little tired with items broke/damaged or just in need of a good deep clean. the staff onboard were dedicated to the premium class and they all worked tirelessly throughout. On the outbound and inbound we had a male cabin crew and I have to admit that I prefer the approach of male staff on board planes. The meals were excellent with two meals being served on both the inbound and outbound flight and a choice of meal was given. The food was excellent to be honest and considering you are on an aeroplane I could not imagine much better. Bottles of wine were brought round for meal times and they regularly topped them up without hesitation. Coffee and tea was served on a few occasions and any drink was readily available to order. 
Flight times outbound were 9hrs 15mins
Flight times inbound were 10hrs 45mins
Visas
After much info was gleaned about the new way Visas into Goa were being dealt with I have to say that I was beginning to worry about filling the forms in correctly. They ask some strange almost vague questions and it seemed some people's Visas were returned with errors such as non matching signatures, Incorrect fees, not enough information etc etc. I took forever to fill these in as I really did not want to go through any aggravation with them. The Visas have been outsourced to a Visa collection agency and after filling everything in online and sending online payment we hoped for the best! It took around 10 working days to process and we had the visas stamped inside our passports. There are several ways to obtain a Visa but we chose a postal method and with all cost's taken into account it totalled approx £95 for two including all postal, extras and visa cost. My advice is too keep calm and just be thorough and don't think to deeply about each question. The place to find out the relevant information is the two websites below
I put together a mock up of the final Visa application to give an indication of the sort of information needed. Your completed Visa form should look something along these lines although please be aware this is not for all applications.
Hotel Experience
The Marinha Dourada Hotel is simply, in our opinion, excellent. I have read several reports giving the impression that the hotel is basic. For us it was just not the case as the rooms are large. A double bed was provided with adequate cabinets, drawers and tables. A TV with lot's of FTA channels inc BBC world and a few other English speaking channels with modern movies and free premiership football. The bathroom was large with a large wet area with shower and curtain. Sink had mirror and shelf above it and a power point nearby.  The phone system was very well thought out and easy to use. Room service was excellent. The mini bar was stocked with lots of water, beer, pepsi, seven up and Bacardi breezers. The prices were the same as local costs and it was always refilled in a couple of days. The room had both a fan and an air conditioning unit which worked very well. Lights were plenty although a few more power points would have been great as including the bathroom power point only two sockets (one was broke) were present. I have taken a few pictures of the room (261) to give an honest idea of what to expect.
 
Hotel Room & View From The Balcony
   
The Room Attendants Creative Side Was Always Evident
As shown in the pictures the room attendant is very thoughtful and went about his task everyday without any problems or fuss. We did tip him well as he changed our towels daily along with our bedding everyday. Checking in was painless and straight forward with attendants keen to take your luggage to your room.....although we did have a chuckle as we knew our room was right at the bottom of a long walk and up three flights of stairs and with the reluctance of some of the staff to take the luggage it was obvious they too knew this! We tipped them hansomely for their efforts. The hotel has many things on site including restaurants, bars, a new coffee come juice bar, play areas with two pools and night time entertainment areas. We tasted the food in the restaurant twice (one lunch and one evening meal) and it was good although we do like to eat out at local restaurants. Breakfast was from 07:00-10:00 but all but two mornings were we in the hotel at this time. On the two occasions we had breakfast it was quite good with choice of cereals, eggs, pancakes and for a small fee other more extravagant things were available.The security safes are located near reception at a cost or 350rps (£3.50) per week and you can purchase the necessary socket adaptors from the hotel for 100rps (£1.50) We found the hotel staff very friendly and ready to help. Most people would wish us good morning etc and no person asked to be tipped at any time although we did tip, it does not seem an absolute must. Regarding the position of the hotel....well it has to be a winner as the hotel sits on several tidal lagoons with more tidal pools outside it's doors which then lead onto prawn and saltpans. You are about a 10min walk to the start of Baga Hill and 15min walk from Arpora wood. Taxis are stationed right outside the hotel and whilst a frequent "taxi sir" is called non are aggressive or rude as a polite "no thanks" was suffice. The Beira Mar is a short 10min taxi ride away which costs 100rps one way.
Guides Used. Thoughts, Feelings, Contact and Opinion
Backwoods Camp we had the pleasure of a truly superb guide in Loven (more on Backwoods lower down) Guides we used outside of the Backwoods camp were Naresh and Paresh
Paresh Contact Details Vaddy, Siolim, Bardez, Goa, India
Phone Number 9822387494 & 9823417275
E-mail pareshgoa@gmail.com
Paresh was used on several occasions and we were more than happy with his services. He was always on time as arranged and took us to places, on our way back, that we had not asked about but where he thought birds we had not seen would be present. Paresh liked to set off a little later in the mornings, around 07:00, but this did not detract from the birding as the more important factor was knowing where a lot of the birds were present, which he did. He was a little more expensive than Naresh and at times he can appear to have his mind on other things but this was not the case as his focus was always centred around seeing birds whether whilst driving or out on foot. He knew where certain birds were and I am sure more species would have been seen if we had used him more. He has his own binoculars and is quite good at ID although not always on all species like gulls etc. We would use Paresh again on our return in the future as we found him a nice fellow to talk to and he even bought a bottle of Honeybee for us on our final trip. A genuine man and trustworthy although I do get the impression that prices between a lot of the guides are much discussed to keep them elavated. I did not barter on price as I felt his services were very good and although prices seemed higher they are still cheap in comparison with UK. In summary we would use his services as he has better birding skills and locates good birds.
Naresh Contact Details 126/7 Sawntawaddo, Calangute Bardez, Goa, India 
Car Number GA 03 T 7411
Phone Number 9822158845
Naresh was also used on several occasions and we found him a very personable man with very reasonable prices. He was punctual on all our trips and liked to set off early in the morning at around 06:00. His driving was more steady than most and he too got us a few birds in various places. I felt he did not keep as up to date on all the birds, and where to find them, as other guides do but he knows all the major sites and you do not feel pushed for time. He willingly uses your scope to locate any birds at Carambolin lake although I did feel a little cajouled at times when I do like to do my own thing, but this was not always the case. The only time I did not prearrange a price for a trip his price seemed to jump up so it would be wise to check prior to setting off. In summary a good guide to get to places but be sure you know your birds as some of his ID skills are not the best.
Bugs, Insects and Critters
We obviously took note of all the relevant info on innoculations and anti malaria precautions and some months prior we booked into our local travel clinic to have all the needed injections. We needed Hepititis A, Typhoid, Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio. They also had the most up to date information on which anti malaria drugs recommended for that area and we were at that time told Proguanil AND Chloroquine tablets which we found online HERE for a very reasonable fee. I would always recommend getting the most up to date information on all travel requirements and not to take anybody else's word for it. Some people took no precautions at all which I personally find quite scary. We also took a plug in mossie killer and used Nikwax insect repellent one of which has a factor 20 sunblock and another contained aftersun. If you are looking for a more natural but effective (than DEET) we can recommend these products along with their bite soother. Please click HERE for more details on these products. We used these as DEET seems too risky to both our health and to our many rubber coated gadgets that stood the chance of damage due to DEET melting the plastic. We did however get bitten on occasion but on the whole mosquitoes were not a problem and I never found I needed a mosi net at night in bed as we kept a fan or A/C on as they seem to dislike moving air. Mandy did get a nasty swelling on one of her legs above the ankle but looking at the markings it seemed it was more likely a plant had pierced her skin. I always prefer to wear long trousers (mostly due to the screams of small children and women alike) and had very few itches or scratches. Most people will be aware that India has lot's of creepy crawlies and some of them do enter the hotel and are most probably encountered out and about. A lovely critter joined our room one evening although 4" in length it seemed harmless.
Lot's of spiders were encountered out and about along with many species of large ants. Snakes were seen on several occasions with one about a meter long in the lake outside the hotel, one small grass like snake as roadkill and another fast moving individual at Saligoa Zor which remained a mystery. Three striped palm squirrels were the most common thing around trees with Langur & Macaque Monkeys also seen regularly.
 
Also present although disappointing glimpses of Giant Squirrel and Fruit bats. Both are impressive in size and on our return I hope to get better views. Of course the Marsh Mugger croc was seen at two locations on the Zuari river and one casually patrolling the waters at Carambolin lake! Elephants were about with most acting as tourist traps which we stayed away from but at Backwoods a chance to get close to a log working Elephant was cautiously accepted. I have never really been close to one before as I have never been a fan of captive beasts as it seems unfair and cheating. Wow what an experience...very humbling as the sheer strength of these massive creatures is only mildly appreciated as it stripped a palm leaf and it's branches like we would a celery stick. The dexterity in it's trunk was amazing as it acted more like a finger as it prodded around it's food. When it began to "rumble" it was truly a moment of sheer awe as this beast truly is one of lifes amazing creatures that has so much power yet so much, what we would call, kindness about it. This was a strange encounter that captured your attention in a childlike manner as a mixture of absolute awe and respectful fear kept you captivated. Lot's of other reptile, snake ,amphibian, butterfly and bird are present in Goa and one suspects that given time (particularly in the Western Ghats) you could find your very own newly uncovered species of plant, fly, insect or even bird as it really is such a diverse place.
Weather
Sunrise 06:15 & Sunset 18:15
Daytime temps 28.1C - 29.9C  Nightime temps 21.9C - 24.2C.
The weather was probably the best I have experienced abroad as I had every confidence that rain really would not be an issue. Blue skies with no clouds were only spoiled on our first morning as on waking up a thick mist covered the whole area. This did not clear until after 10:00 in the morning but as our first trip to Arpora wood shows I think it helped bring the birds out. The days are very similar with little variation, with daytime temps ranging from a 28.1C - 29.9C and nightime temps ranging from 21.9C - 24.2C. Talking to the locals it was a general feeling that the recent high dewpoint levels of over 20degrees were unusual at this time of year as it felt very sticky at times, although this subsided greatly toward the second week of the holiday. Days were of a good length with sunrise at about 06:15 and sunset at 18:15. The wind did get up on occasion in the early evenings and on one early morning trip out several limbs of trees had fallen into the road, but the winds had very little impact on our holidayThe air did seem to have a slight haze to it so photography was not always at it's best and the sun sometimes seemed a little harsh but good light was mostly an advantage although the Jungle birding was sometimes a little difficult for Digiscoping.
Food & Drink
The food is as good as you would have imagined which I put mainly down to the fact that most of the ingredients are pretty fresh or have not travelled thousands of miles before consumption. When you hear people say it's nothing like the curries you get at home....I slightly disagree as I thought a lot of the curries did have a similar overall feel to them but again the difference was that the ingredients are of fresh origins. The word hot or mild does not compute in Goa rather they use how "spicy" a dish is with reference to how "hot" or "mild" a dish maybe. To be honest we were careful at first with our food as we stayed away from prawns or fish but having relaxed as the holiday went on we felt it a shame that we did not eat more seafood as when we sampled a few fish curries and seafood starters were very pleased with the taste and quality. We did not eat a single "English dish" at all but we did understand that some just wanted a more English meal now and again as 14 days on Goan food was possibly a difficult thing for a British palate but we really did enjoy our food greatly. 

A sample receipt from a restaraunt the locals used was the cheapest we found. The two bills cost 603rps (£9.20) and 393rps (£5.99) As you can see the more expensive of the bills was heavily laden with spirits and I have to say I was pretty giddy at that point. Depending on the restaraunts chosen all depended on the size of the bill. A normal bill in a tourist place with two main meals,a Kingfisher beer, 3 soft drinks, two breads and 2 Honeybee was more like 750 rps (£11.50) so as you can see from the bill above you can get some very cheap food if you look for the local eateries. I have to say we were aware that some of the curries are very spicy indeed and the curry on the more expensive bill above named Balchoa was eye wateringly HOT!!. Most other meals we had had a little heat to them. Places we used to eat are below and by and large we did not have a really bad meal. I did like their Honeybee (brandy) with a splash of Coke but on trying the Cashew Fenny I found the taste not to my liking. 
Starlight (receipts above) Excellent Goan feel to it with many locals eating in and taking away. We used this place most times but a word of warning, the food is excellent and the service is great but if you are at all upset by poor cleanliness give this a wide berth as hygiene around the tables is not very good. It was dingy and dirty to be honest and personal hygiene of some of the staff would not be accepted in a British eatery but we liked it and Ravi looked after us well with recommendations of food although once you start having a few drinks on more than one occasion they tend to try and repeat this without asking you on further nights. 
Aubergine this was very good indeed and some of the fish dishes were excellent inc the cram fry fish starter. The service was very good and the food variety also excellent. The prices were about average for this kind of restaurant that appeals to the tourist whilst trying to keep the food quite traditional. The tables, chairs, plates and cutlery were spotless but we did have a Rat run across the roof whilst we dined but I think most restaurants will have this in it's vicinity.We only used this place twice although we would definately use it more if we had time. The owner even offered us a free Honeybee each on the last evening but we had to decline as a few had already been sampled and we had to pay our hotel bill that night so all my thinking faculties needed some help!
All Spice This is probably one of the most well known and respected restaurants in Arpora and for good reason. It seemed a "safe" bet for a lot of tourists as it went out of it's way to attract customers with a well set out restaurant, anti-mossie burners on the floor and of course good food. We ate here on at least 3 occasions and the food was lovely although it did have the feeling that although the curries were very tasty they did have a similar taste to each other. The staff are excellent and the prices are good but probably are a touch more than the average. 
Nicks Place Personally I straight away walked on but it was a very popular place in the evenings as well as the afternoons. It is open from morning till night and I think it's popularity (and what turned us off) was the "English pub come cafe" look and feel that they had gone out of their way to make. As I said it was popular and on walking by in the evenings we noticed the amount of chips and Steak being consumed. We did try out the cafe one late morning but we just had an omlette which was fine. The place will appeal as it's very close to the Marinha Dourada Hotel and it has a largely Brit customer base which includes the obligatory "beer brand brollies" and such like. It was clean and bright and the menu seemed OK and coffee and Tea seemed a popular pastime for many in the afternoons
Saffron This was another along the same feel and quality as All Spice. Very good indeed with a nice quality to it's setting, food and staff. Same pricing as All Spice gave it a little more expensive than the average but it was well worth the prices. Food was tasty and the breads were to die for. Would use again without hesitation. It was very clean with a prompt friendly service and the menus were extensive and varied. 
Alfresco Well this was the only big disappointment we found all holiday as not only was the food well below the quality of what was offered else where but they were over priced to. It was not a surprise to see the restaurant empty on most nights and the night we choose to eat was barely used apart from an old man and an Eastern block family. Would not recommend this at all but the service was OK but better food and certainly better prices could be found in most other places. They even charged way over the top for Kingfisher beer which was rather striking as the prices for this was very fixed in restaurants.
A Basic Map To Help Find Restaurants A Bit Quicker
Goa Experience
  Wow...lot's of it with not enough time to really indulge in it which leads us to the decision that the next holiday abroad we take will be another stop in Goa. We read many things about Goa and our first impression when getting off the Airplane was total chaos. We wondered what we had let ourselves in for when the scrum of hands at the case carousel grabbing at your cases offering to take them to your coach. We were reluctant to let them go and several times had to sternly say no. It was all a bit mad for Mandy but we fought our way through the miriad of officials wanting to look at your passport and out into the air where we had managed to locate our coach without anybody taking our luggage.....or so I thought! Just as I got to the front of the coach a cool calm and collected young fellow wondered up and said is this your coach? "yes" said I as he took it the short distance to the rear. I thought this was the driver and so started to get on the coach....the young fellow immediately started shouting and running toward me saying "tip tip" whilst holding out a hand with two £1 coins in. It was a fair cop so I gave him my last £1 coin to which he said" no no I want two" At this point I made it clear that was all he was getting and got on the coach. This was the end of all this kind of harassment until we were on our way back to the airport at the holidays end. 
We found 95% of people we met absolutely lovely with most having a "good morning" or "hello" without prompt. We found most people were always wanting to please you and whilst this may seem they were after money I came to appreciate that this is not always so. We wanted to contact Naresh, a guide so we asked at the taxi rank if he was about. We were told he was not about and so we thought we were foiled but one of the taxi men said he would ring him for us to let him know somebody was looking to contact him. He handed the phone to us and contact was made. The taxi man never batted an eyelid at doing his best for us without asking and I could not help thinking that this does not happen to often at home. The young girls that are selling things on stalls which line the streets are very nice but quite "dog with a bone". If you show any weakness you have had it, and that weakness means as much as slowing to hear what they say or turning your head toward them as you pass. The best thing we found was to politely say no thanks and then keep moving without any more interaction. We did buy some things off some of the girls but the usual bartering was had as the prices they start at are very high. We did so much bartering that in the end we were told that the item we wanted would not be for sale at the price we wanted so she walked away! Mandy gave her watch to one of the girls but that kind of thing is not what makes them happy. They want and need money of which we did give them in small amounts. Beggars are about on the streets and this is sometimes hard to deal with as a young child often accompany them. They do follow you for a short while murmuring words but are not aggressive in anyway. I had the timeshare scenario appear on a scooter. They are very smooth with the usual banter and before long he is offering you a ticket where you can win a Kingfisher beer. Of course you win and we are told that just up this road you can claim your gift.....then the real sell....they offer your wife a ticket and guess what.....she wins the star prize of 7 nights all inclusive in Singapore....wow we could not believe our luck! Well me being a Northener trying to shrug my tight ancestral roots I held his arm and told him it was his lucky day too as I was giving him our star prize for being such a nice man....all that was heard was a long silence followed by the sound of a departing scooter.
The roads are something else that will at times have you terrified whether you are in a vehicle yourself or trying to walk down the road as no pavements seem to exist. The roads are a thin strip of tarmac and just dusty walkways at the sides which often just fall away into fields. During the day this is not such a problem but at night we liked to walk to the town in Arpora for something to eat and the 4' strip lights that "light" the road are spread out with gaps that seemed like 1/2 mile in between. A torch is a good idea although the lights from the cars and bikes helped tremendously. It is compulsory for them by law to use their horns and most vehicles had "PLEASE OK HORN" sign plastered on the back of them, and boy do they like to fulfil this law! The horn, just like in Greece,  is used not as a weapon as in this country, but as a way of letting all around know you are there and to pull over or slow down etc. It works very well as whilst 4 to a motorbike is not uncommon (inc 4 year old on handlebars) it still feels unnerving when you have a strip of tarmac with just enough for two vehicles to pass when you find yourself on a bend overtaking a car on the outside, whilst a car is coming in the opposite direction. This is enough for you to gulp until you realise a motorbike is now undertaking you and the car you are passing ON THE INSIDE whilst another car is attempting to overtake you on the outside!!!!
The sights and sounds alone in Goa are truly amazing whether it be a man with a demolition drill in the middle of the road with only flip flops for protection to the colourful Portugese influence residences. The single biggest acute sense for us was the wonderfully scented evenings as people have incense sticks burning throughout the night. This wonderful concoction of spices, curry, open cooking fires and the heady wafts of incence are truly a treat.  It really is an assault on your senses and one that will never be forgotten. We concentrated strongly on all things avian but sometimes you had to stop and appreaciate your surroundings particularly when coming accross some of the many amazing temples, modern and very old alike. It was also lovely to meet so many young Goan children with a look of innocence about them that western children have long lost as they stand open mouthed as they look at these foreign people, this stare often turns to smiles and a tentative wave of the hand.
I found that most Goan's are just going about their daily lives without the lost focus of a modern life although the only thing that belies this is the single biggest affliction of Gadgets to man....mobile telephones. They are everywhere and just like in the UK are used readily and that includes whilst driving. The accomodation for a lot of Goan people is quite meagre with often just tin shacks being a mans castle yet others seem to live in relative luxury with what often looks like a unfinished/derelict looking house. 
Whilst religion plays a part in most Goan lives it does seem that like all developing worlds it mutates into something that man himself can get along with, as the older generation are very different in their view of drinking, social structure and religion itself. One Hindu we met when asked if he liked to drink said yes but not in the house out of respect for his mother(he himself being over 40). This is possibly one of the things that identifies people as Hindu as the belief in Karma and Dharma is central to their thoughts. A lot of the taxis and vehicles often had some of the supreme Gods on the back windows with Shiva and Vishnu quite common. They also liked to have names of their children on their windows with phrases like "God's Gift" and "Jesus smiles". I often wonder if this was a way of making us smile more than anything. No Muslims were talked to which was surprising as it is a common religion in the area and only one or two Christians were encountered. 
When we revist Goa we hope to spend a little more time enjoying the place around us and we can imagine a little more travel inolved to see some of the more special sights Indai has to offer. I can already feel that several trips to this place will be in order as a longer time here needs to be given to really feel like you have visited Goa and India.
Exchange Rates-Banks-Money Changers-Mobile Phone Use-Debit,Credit and Pre Pay Cards
65-71rps to £1
The £ has taken a hammering from most currencies and the Ruppee is no different. The exchange rate varied between 62-71rps to the pound and when on arrival we changed £100 we got rate of 65.55rps to the £. I know lots of people are looking for the best exchange rates but we just felt easier changing money at the hotel on arrival. Having seen the many money change shops about we plucked up courage to use one of these for a small amount and it was very easy and would use these without hesitation in the future. We took a Mastercard prepayment card with us that we topped up in Euros before we went. This was readily accepted in the cash machines that are situated in some of the larger towns. We asked a taxi driver to take us to an ATM and these are often glass rooms in buildings where the ATM is situated. If somebody is using the machine the guard inside may ask you to wait outside. On entering we found the guard (I say guard as he was about 17 and listening to an ipod) very helpful and basically walked us through the transaction after asking how much we would like. I used the pre payment card without hassle and would use this again on any other visits as when entering your PIN number the guard is closer than you are used to in the UK. It did not feel like I was being a victim of fraud but having a card not linked directly to any account made me feel less vulnerable which negated the poor exchange rates and fees associated with using this kind of card. If you prefer to use this card type have a look at the infoHERE. The £ sterling is accepted in shops and money exchange shops as well as the Euro and Dollar. We were not sure on the use of mobile phones in Goa as we had read that it very much depended on which network etc along with poor signals and drop outs in the signal at times. We decided to take a tri-band mobile phone with us and purchase another pre pay option in the form of a SIM-Card that stated works in Goa. It worked very well indeed and again I would use this for future holidays abroad if nothing else but to ease the pain of loss, theft or damage. The cost of calls from India is high with this system but it was really only for emergencies and texting. If you are interested in this pre pay sim click HERE. I have no experience of contract phone use in Goa but plenty of tourists did have mobile phones in use so it may be worth checking if yours is OK. The other option is to buy a short term pay as you go sim from the local shops which will work in at least a tri-band phone and I hear is a much a cheaper option than UK contract, and our pre payment arrangement. I chose the GO-SIM card simply so that I could take a cheap phone that caused no problems if it was stolen or lost.

31st January Saturday
A pick up at home at 15:15 has us at the airport for 16:05. We checked in and passed through to departures where we noticed that the screen for our flight was giving a revised boarding time from 19:30 to 19:55. A quick look at some of the shops and duty free where we noticed one or two changes in shop layout and a general revamp of the terminal 2. To be honest I find the shopping in most airports pretty boring so we sought refuge in a starbucks coffee shop and watched people of all nationalities coming and going. Finally on board the a
eroplane we were away without problems and soon tucking into a bit of something to eat. After adjusting my watch to Goa local time and a few films later we managed a couple of hours sleep which I was rather surprised at doing but everybody on board was very considerate toward other passengers which allowed the short sleep.  
1st February Sunday 
Max Temp 29.9C Min Temp N/A
The flight landed at 11:00 local time but on landing we were told that we would be sat for a while whilst other planes offloaded their passengers. We eventually managed to get into the terminal by 12:00 midday and the heat (considering we just left -2C) was very much like entering a sauna as it almost took your breath away due to it's intensity. As described earlier the whole process of immigration and baggage reclaim was all to much as many people we came accross were often rather strained with even several people crying. I always try to accept what is, as getting upset about things just is no use. The immigration form they give you to fill in on the plane is (just like the process of the Visa application) is rather vague and poorly worded. It really is an advantage to listen to the aeroplane staff when they tell you fill in the immigration papers before you enter the terminal and realise that they are pretty intolerant of people that do not listen or fill things in hap hazard. I know we are on our holiday but they are not, and they have a job to do that does not include a cheery hello or smile and considering it is a military airport they are quite well mannered and pretty resilient to some of our holiday antics. We found it quite helpful to keep an eye on other people that had clearly been to Goa before so we did what they were doing as some of the paper filling exercises were vague and we did at one point not fill all the relevant info in on the form so we were told to fill this in but with little instruction of what we actually had to do. After it was all over it was clear that all the different checks and signatures and info on bit's of paper were to make sure that at every point a passenger that stepped off the plane could be tracked to show that they had passed through all the different stages. Phewww we eventually found our coach and was away to the Marinha Dourada by 13:00. After the "stress" of the airport, baggage and myriad of hands on you and your luggage we were feeling a bit sceptical about people (due to our own lack of knowledge of Goa) so when a man came up the coach offering water we strongly refused thinking we would then be asked to pay even though he said it was complimentary. It soon became clear that this barrier we had built need not be there as the water was free and so we relaxed our thoughts and this turned out to be the right thing. We were informed by the Rep that the coach would only be making a few stops and within 1 hour we had been offloaded at the hotel. Superb! The check in process was smooth and we chose to take up the offer of a safe that was located in the reception area for about 350rps(£5 a week). We spent the rest of our day just enjoying the obvious Black and Brahminy Kites in vast numbers soaring over the hotel. We unpacked and set up our optical equipment and set ourselves ready for an early start!

2nd February Monday 
Max Temp 29.9C Min Temp 24.2C
Hotel Grounds
I awoke naturally at about 06:00 and found I was quite rested with a good sleep being had. I could, through the curtains, see that the day had not really got much light to it but felt it a waste to stay in bed any longer. On looking out from the curtains over the balcony and lagoons....well the lagoons had disappeared as a thick fog had formed over night. Soon we were walking through the hotels grounds wondering if this fog was the norm and how it would make the birding that much more difficult. The hotel grounds already throwing some good birds up and of course many lifers!
Red Whiskered Bulbul Black Lored Tit Common Kingfisher  Black Kite White Browed WagtailBrahminy Kite 
Map Showing Arpora Wood & Tracks
 

Walk To And Including Arpora Wood
Outside the hotel we noticed a taxi waiting and he commented that it would be hard birding until at least 10:00 due to the fog they had been having for the last 6 or 7 days. We acknowledged him with a little laughter and carried on. I half expected him to hassle us for business but he did not. As we walked down the road the same taxi pulled up and the window wound down. The English occupants said that this guide was a good guide if we needed one for birding. I enquired about his name and this was to be our first stroke of luck as it turned out to be Paresh (see guide notes above) We took his number and again concentrated on where we were going and also taking in the superb feel of the place as push bikes. motorcycles, pedestrians and cars all mingled on the road. We carried on down the road and looked for the places to direct us to the well mentioned Club Cubana. It took us ages as lot's of birds caught our attention from the very vocal White Throated Kingfisher to the numerous Cattle Egret. We reached the Cubana club by about 09:00. The fog was lifting a little and the sun was trying to show it's face. On turning past the derelict building on the path to club Cubana it became absolute paradise as the birds showed themselves like nowhere else we had experienced. It was just magical as both of us were too busy to look at each others birds as each of us were to struck looking at the ones that had just slipped into focus. You just did not know where to look next as amazing birds were all around. After standing still for at least an hour studying the beauty of Plum Headed Parakeet et al, Mandy finally moving on, was soon waving madly as she tried to catch my attention...shiitteeeee, I thought, as I saw what she was seeing on the track in front of her.....Indian Pitta! Mandy hurriedly took a few shots as it made it's way up the track and then bounced into some cover. Gulp it is truly a beautiful bird with it's crimson/sapphire undertail coverts/vent and it's other subtle but almost garish colours. It proved red and green should never be seen as wrong, and so this set the scene. I have to admit that Mandy made a habit of calling good birds even if she was not sure what they were and this was one of the best. (damn)
Out of the places we visited local to the hotel I really liked Arpora Wood although on subsequent visits we did not get as many birds. We noted that at the quarry site the track continues but signs are present saying private and no trespassers. We did not go further although it was a hard decision as the track did look very promising indeed with more cover and the advantage at looking over the trees instead of looking up into them. 
 White Rumped Munia Bayer Weaver Purple Rumped SunbirdPurple Sunbird  Jungle BabblerPuff Throated Babler 
 Red Whiskered Bulbul Red Vented Bulbul White Browed Bulbul Black Lored Tit Brahminy StarlingCommon Myna 
 Common Chiff-chaff Jungle MynaOriental Magpie Robin Orange Headed Thrush   Black DrongoEurasian Golden Oriole  
Large Billed CrowHouse Crow Rufous Treepie Indian Pitta Cattle Egret Little Egret 
 Little CormorantIndian Pond Heron Crested Serpent Eagle  Brahminy KiteBlack Kite Rock Pigeon 
 Spotted DoveRose Ringed Parakeet  Plum Headed ParakeetGreater Coucal  Green Bee Eater Common Kingfisher
 Black Rumped Flameback Asian KoelAsian Paradice Flycatcher Common Iora White Browed Fantail Pied Kingfisher 
 White Throated KingfisherBlue Tailed Bee Eater 
   
3rd February Tuesday
Max Temp 28.8C Min Temp 24C
Map Showing Route On to Bag Hill

Baga Hill
After a few attempts at finding ways into Baga Hill we just set off up a tarmac track that led up onto a hill. We were on the right track as before long we had reached the ridge which gave lovely views of the local areas. On our way up we were lucky enough to see a female Indian Peafowl skulking in the undergrowth. To be honest I did not particularly find Baga hill that rewarding although I am willing to conceed that I did not give it my best as regards timing or patience. I just did not like the "looking up" into trees feel to the place and up on the ridge things seemed to be quiet. We met another couple up on the ridge who told us that on the way down it is best to criss cross some of the paths on the left on the descent. We were pressed for time and though we did try we could not find a suitable way down past the famous Lila cafe so we turned around and followed the info regarding the criss crossed paths. It did not give us much special but a Shikra high in some palm trees and a good close view of the not so common Common Myna made it a little more interesting. The tracks pass through locals "washing" areas as bed linen, towels and other washing was laid out on the tracks to be aired and dried in the sun. Most locals often stopped their daily routine to wave and say hello which was rather nice to see. The only real negative was that if you are looking to find the entrances to Baga Hill after passing Lilas Cafe then you will succumb to the stall holders that are very hard to ignore although most are young girls they have great selling skills if you show any signs of weakness. We tried to avoid passing this area and only join Baga Hill on the road off to the right. 
 Purple Sunbird  Purple Rumped Sunbird Shikra Black Kite  Brahminy Kite Thick Billed Crow
 House Crow  Indian Robin  Plum Headed Parakeet  Rose Ringed Parakeet  Coppersmith Barbet Indian Peafowl 
 Black Drongo Plain Prinia   Ashy Drongo  Blyth's Reed warbler  Oriental Magpie Robin Rufous Treepie
 Red Vented Bulbul Red Whiskered Bulbul  White Browed Bulbul  White Rumped Munia  Puff Throated Babler Greenish Warbler
Black Lored Tit  Brahminy Starling Eurasian Golden Oriole  Long Tailed Shrike Rock Pigeon Green Bee Eater
Asian Koel     
Map Showing Area Around Hotel

Hotel Paddyfields
The pools, fields and rivers surrounding the hotel are excellent for birdwatching. It was great to be able just to walk outside of the gates and start watching some amazing birds. The masses of Black Kites all forming clouds of this rare bird back in the Uk, never failed to impress and to see groups of over 60-70 all climbing on the light winds is probably the most amazing of my memories. The areas around the hotel are very much a mixed habitat with tidal lagoons, damp fields, paddyfields and saltpans. The great thing about this was that they are all very viewable as they are small and easily accessible from a lot of positions. More time could be spent in this area as at different times of the holiday and even different times of the day could throw up new birds as well as the obvious residents. At the back of the lagoons a tidal river separates a place where we presume a lot of waste food was thrown out at certain times of the day as this attracted many good birds like Black Kite, Brahminy Kite, Rosy Starling  and Common Myna.   
Red Wattled Lapwing Little Egret Striated HeronIndian Pond Heron Common Kingfisher  Common Sandpiper
 White Throated KingfisherJungle Myna  Common Myna Stork Billed Kingfisher Rosy Starling Blue Tailed Bee Eater
 Common Greenshank Oriental Magpie Robin House Crow Brown ShrikeCattle Egret Little Cormorant 
 Black kiteBrahminy Kite  White Breasted Waterhen   

Beira Mar Hotel
An evening trip round to the Beira Mar hotel in Baga produced some cracking birds. On arrival we bought a drink at the bar and headed for the raised pool area which overlooks dry fields which lead to the Baga fields. Already we caught site of Woolly Necked Stork and a female Marsh Harrier as she rested up in a dead tree. It was also nice to be able to catch up with a few birders which were staying at the hotel or, like us just came for the evening birding that so many speak of. One American told us of his Backwoods experience which seemed a little flat for him as he struggled with the name changes to some of the birds. We talked to others whom were also waiting for the illusive Cinnamon Bittern but the consensus was that we would be lucky to see it as it had only been seen a few times in the last couple of weeks. We did manage to pick out 3 Greater Painted Snipe that had great camouflage as they sat in clumps of grass in the fields. Whilst we discussed this a non bird watcher wondered over to tell us about a nice bird that was very red! I walked over to see a Ruddy Breasted Crake taking a bath in a small pool tight up against the hotel wall that had a small amount of vegetation against it for cover. It was very hard to photograph as the light was already fading and the positioning was poor due to it's closeness to the wall and railings. Non the less we enjoyed a very pretty bird indeed. As the light turned to an evening darkness we sat poised hoping for a glimpse of one of the star birds. I had my digiscoping setup ready as I still stood a chance of a pic even in the poor light due to having no movement in the setup on the tripod. Wow out it sat a beautiful Cinnamon Bittern...perfect chance for a pic as it perched below us on an open branch just away from the wall. I turned on the camera and WHAM! battery exhausted flashed up on the screen, and I had no spare with me, gutted! We set Mandy's DSLR up but due to the use of a monopod only it was nigh on impossible to keep the system still to gain enough light to expose correctly. We did get a record shot but I was kicking myself I had not brought another battery. It sat for some time before heading off into the darkness of the Baga fields. We never visited Beira Mar again during our stay but It is something that we would visit more on a return trip. Having mentioned this hotel I have to say that whilst those staying there stated the hotel was quite good, our impression of the hotel from the outside was non too positive, as it seemed quite dirty and run down with the Baga area not quite what we would like. One thing that cannot be taken away from it though is the birding opportunities from the pool balcony and the close proximity to Baga Fields, Baga Hill and of course for any families that enjoy a bit of non-birding, the beach.
Cinnamon Bittern  Ruddy Breasted Crake Greater Painted SnipeWoolly Necked Stork Eurasian Marsh Harrier   Spotted Owlet
 Rosy Starling Red Rumped Swallow Barn Swallow Indian Pond HeronWhite Fronted Waterhen   Clamorous Reed Warbler
 

4th,5th,6th & 7th February 
Max Temp N/A Min Temp N/A

Backwoods Camp
A camp set in a jungle at the foot of the Western Ghats was our home for four days. We had heard a lot about this place and we were looking forward to it as we were guaranteed views of some endemics not just to the Indian Subcontinent or India but also to the area of the Western Ghats. We booked well in advance at the August 2008 Birdfair at Rutland as they have a stall where bookings can be made. We met Leio and his wife at the stall and we were given a pick up of the 5th Feb 2009. They pick up on two days normally, that being a Sunday and a Wednesday. For more information about this wonderful place please go to their website HERE which has recently been updated.
I checked the details before we left for Goa via email and I am so glad we did as Leio got his dates mixed up on our original booking as the 5th was a Thursday and we were actually being picked up on Wednesday the 4th, I am so glad we checked this out! You are picked up outside the hotel early in the morning (05:15). We packed very light for this trip as originally we only booked for 3 days with only the real essentials being crammed into one daysac each. Insect repellents, anti malaria tabs, sun cream, two changes of clothes and all optics. We were amazed at all the luggage others were bringing on board as massive suitcases were wedged in the back....what did people have in there?...at one point I thought I could hear Terry Waite's voice from somebodies case!  The website states "run by birders for birders" and that the group size "will not exceed 12" but a warning to any big birders BE AWARE. We picked up numerous people on our 2hr 15min journey which included Danish, English, and Swedish. I have to admit, and we were not on our own, hearts sank when we had three children on the coach ranging from 4 1/2 to 14 years old. We also had two elderly people of about 75 years and were later joined by another two children aged about 14. This group also grew beyond the maximum size of 12 to about 17 which was just to many when trekking through a jungle single file. The parents of the children often saw nothing wrong with them being directly behind the guide leaving others unable to see the birds. Don't get me wrong the children were very well behaved and it is good to see youngsters taking an interest in the natural world but to take young children to a river and expect them to be quiet is just unfair. Least to say we missed two Kingfishers the Oriental Dwarf and Blue Eared as wading into the middle of a river playing with rocks is never conducive to seeing Kingfishers. To be honest the father of three of the children, Annas, had a general lack of good manners to others around him and that included his wife nicknamed "pack horse" as she was often left carrying the youngest child, rucsac and at some stages his tripod and scope while he had a whale of a time like a single bloke would. His antics were noted by several, and I have to admit that I switched off to them in the end as the little girl of 4 1/2  was covered in mosquito bites that were obviously infected due to the scratching. Many were concerned for her well being as at one point on a night trip the family left the girl (asleep) in the van in the pitch black whilst we walked for over an hour up some hillsides to locate Nightjars. It caused unease for some in the group as maybe we were reminded of the sad loss of the possibilities of unattended children on holiday. I at one stage in the heat of the day had to remind him his wife was struggling with all the load in the midday heat and that she had fallen well behind the group. The elderly couple did struggle with the terrain and I think that the camp was not quite what they were expecting although the woman, Mary, obviously loved the natural world. The elderly man, Eric, was having a few problems with his guts (as were most) which left him unable to attend most of the trips out but they were lovely people that were well travelled and I wish we could have spent more time in their company. It was obvious that the group was too big as if all people would have come on all trips we would not have fit in the coach as even with a few missing we were very cramped.
We found out that one of the guides (Pramod) had been poorly hence the over subscribed group and on one day a man and two of his children were taken into another group although what happened to them we never found out as we never saw them again whilst having meals etc. It seemed we maybe, in our opinion, just a little unlucky with this group and we were not alone in that thought process (maybe other's thought that about us?). It took nothing away from the overall experience and so much so that we asked if room would be available to stay another night which we did and this was a good plan as it really gave you a great feeling of time. I would recommend that 3 nights always be booked as a trip to Bondla is incorporated on the last day, although this was actually visited on our first day which was a bit novel as most other people who visit Backwoods always go on the last day, anyhow it made no odds.

  
 Little CormorantLittle Egret Cattle Egret  Indian Pond HeronWoolly Necked Stork  Brahminy Kite
 Black Kite BesraShikra Crested GoshawkOriental Honey Buzzard  Crested Serpent Eagle Booted Eagle
 Changeable Hawk Eagle Black EagleLesser Spotted Eagle Red Spurfowl Grey Junglefowl  Red Wattled Lapwing
 Rock PigeonMountain Imperial Pigeon  Emerald DoveSpotted Dove  Pompadour Green PigeonOrange Breasted Green Pigeon 
 Vernal Hanging ParrotMalabar Parakeet  Plum Headed Parakeet Rose Ringed ParakeetAsian Koel Brown Hawk Owl 
 Brown Fish OwlOriental Scops Owl  Jungle OwletSri Lanka Frogmouth Jerdon's Nightjar  Savanna Nightjar
 Crested Treeswift Indian SwiftletIndian White Rumped Spinetail  Brown Throated Needletail Malabar TrogonWhite Throated Kingfisher 
Common Kingfisher  Chestnut Headed Bee Eater Green Bee Eater Malabar Grey HornbillMalabar Pied Hornbill Coppersmith Barbet 
 Crimson Fronted BarbetWhite Cheeked Barbet Brown Headed Barbet Speckled Piculet  Brown Capped Pygmy WoodpeckerRufous Woodpecker 
 Black Rumped Flameback Greater Flameback White Bellied WoodpeckerIndian Pitta Sand Martin  Streak Throated Swallow
Barn Swallow  Red Rumped Swallow Wire Tailed SwallowGrey Wagtail Forest Wagtail Common Woodshrike 
 Bar Winged Flycatcher Shrike Scarlet Minivet Small MinivetRed Vented Bulbul  Red Whiskered Bulbul Black Crested Bulbul
Grey Headed Bulbul  White Browed Bulbul Yellow Browed Bulbul Common Iora Golden Fronted LeafbirdAsian Fairy Bluebird 
 Brown ShrikeBlack Naped Monarch  Asian Paradise Flycatcher Blue Capped Rock ThrushOrange Headed Thrush Malabar Whistling Thrush 
Eurasian Blackbird  White Rumped ShamaOriental Magpie Robin  Asian Brown FlycatcherTickell's Blue Flycatcher  Verditer Flycatcher
Dark Fronted Babbler  Jungle Babbler Indian Scimitar BabblerBrown Cheeked Fulvetta Puff Throated Babbler  Ashy Prinia
 Grey Breasted PriniaPlain Prinia  Blyth's Reed WarblerCommon Tailorbird  Greenish WarblerWestern Crowned Warbler 
 Black Lored TitVelvet Fronted Nuthatch Plain Flowerpecker  Thick Billed FlowerpeckerPurple Rumped Sunbird Crimson Backed Sunbird 
 Purple SunbirdLoten's Sunbird Little Spiderhunter  Common Rosefinch White Rumped MuniaScaly Breasted Munia 
 Black Throated MuniaChestnut Shouldered Petronia  Eurasian Golden OrioleBlack Hooded Oriole Black Naped Oriole  Black Drongo
Ashy Drongo  Bronzed Drongo White Bellied DrongoGreater Racket Tailed DrongoSpangled Drongo Grey Headed Starling 
White Headed Starling  House Crow Large Billed Crow Rufous Treepie  


 
This was our all inclusive resort for the stay and as you can see we upgraded our room to the luxury "shacks" which included cold water showers, flushing toilet (with non optional frogs in the bogs), double bed, veranda and simply stunning views! The room was often shared with Gecko's, Spiders, and one several occasions my wife!
 
I have to say the food was simply lovely with traditional food being served promptly, hygienically, and with plenty of smiles and good humour. I am sure it's not to all people's taste but both my wife and I absolutely loved it with a lot of the produce being grown locally and desert being purchased whilst out and about during the day by our guide for a nice treat after meals! All food, tea and coffee is included in the price with soft drinks, spirits and beer being extra that you can run as a tab and pay at the end.
 
The local pub was just a short walk and it was funny how some slow walkers all of a sudden could run a four minute mile, shame on you!
 
On the left the 3 Musketeers Mandy, Graham and Ann taking full advantage of the "all inclusive" buffet! On the right Annas, Goran and co enjoy a quieter moment before some decide the best way of looking for rare Kingfishers is to wade into the middle of the river and act like a dolphin!   
This was our superb guide for the trip, Loven. He was a person that tried very hard to give you the opportunity to enjoy what was around and he was very good at picking up on each persons likings, requests and wishes. He went out of his way to make the trip special for all and his dedicated all day focus on finding birds, whether that be by his keen vision or "bat" like hearing, was always 100% and he never stopped trying to allow you the chance to see a bird. He communicated well with people and could answer most people's questions. He was always prompt for our trips out and often was pushing us along to a timetable that was very good. He knew his birds not just by sight but by call and he would always share his knowledge when asked. His patience is emense and he seemed a real nice person in general. A special mention to our driver for the trip. A young lad that was excellent in his role along some very precarious roads and was always alert to any commands for the bus to stop for a new trip tick!      
7th February Saturday
Max Temp 29.8C Min Temp 22.5C
1

Areas Around Arpora On Way Back From Backwoods
Black Shoulderd Kite  Indian Roller Brahminy Kite Black KiteHouse Crow Large Billed Crow 

8th February Sunday
Max Temp 29.8C Min Temp 22.5C
Arpora Wood
Small Minivet Grey Headed Starling  Asian Koel Crimson Sunbird Purple SunbirdBlue Tailed Bee Eater 
 Besra Brahminy Kite Black Kite Rufous Treepie Tickell's Blue FlycatcherOrange Headed Thrush 
 White Browed BulbulRed Whiskered Bulbul  Common IoraBlack Drongo Greater Racket Tailed Drongo Rock Pigeon 
 Spotted DoveHouse Crow Plum Headed Parakeet  Greater CoucalWhite Throated Kingfisher Coppersmith Barbet 
 Loten's SunbirdPlain Prinia     

Pools Outside Hotel
 Common Greenshank Common Redshank Black Kite Brahminy Kite Blue Tailed Bee EaterWhite Throated Kingfisher 
Green Bee Eater  Barn Swallow Stork Billed KingfisherAshy Woodswallow Jungle Myna Pied Bushchat 
 Paddyfield Pipit Purple HeronWhite Fronted Waterhen Little Cormorant Red Wattled Lapwing Pacific Golden Plover 
Little Egret Red Rumped Swallow  Wood SanpiperLong Tailed Shrike  Common SandpiperSanderling 

Guide Paresh Price 700rps Time 16:00-19:00
Saligao Zor Spring
We were lucky enough to see Paresh again whilst we were walking around Arpora. He pulled up in his van and we hurridly arranged an evening trip to Saligao Zor Spring which is not too far away. The track ends at a local washing hole for clothing where several tracks skirt up the hillside and a wooded area on the lower slope is a good bet for a Brown Wood Owl. Paresh went up ahead to locate the bird but it was not present, but we were rewarded with a view of a Hornbill that we had not seen yet. A stunning pair of Indian Grey Hornbill. We saw some fast moving snake although we could not identify it but a dancing White Browed Fantail was not put off it's displaying. We walked up the hillside which led to some dry open land and some lightly wooded areas that had obviously been planted in set ways by man. Our first and surprisingly only Hoopoe of the trip sprang up and away from the ground. We were being watched by packs of wild dogs but non caused any problems before I caught sight of another first and last of the trip, a Red Throated Flycatcher. Paresh pointed out some Porcupine holes and on our descent Mandy picked up a souvenir as a quill was found! What a marvellous thing as it is razor sharp, extremely strong but owing to it's hollow nature, very light.
 Common Tailorbird Crimson Sunbird White Rumped Munia Purple Rumped Sunbird Purple SunbirdPlain Prinia 
 Red Whiskered Bulbul Common IoraCommon Hoopoe Grey Headed Starling  Jungle BabblerJungle Myna 
 Asian Paradise FlycatcherRed Throated Flycatcher Indian Robin White Browed Fantail  Brown Cheeked Fulvetta Puff Throated Babbler
 Common Woodshrike White Bellied Drongo Black Drongo Black Headed CuckooshrikeEurasian Golden Oriole Black Hooded Oriole
 Indain Grey HornbillShikra Black Kite Brahminy Kite Spotted Dove Rock Pigeon 
 Asian Koel Green Bee EaterWhite Throated Kingfisher Black Shouldered Kite  Indian RollerCoppersmith Barbet 
Puff Throated Babbler




9th February Monday
Max Temp 29.7C Min Temp 24C
Guide Naresh Price 900rps Time 06:00-10:45
Carambolin Lake
An early morning trip to a premier water expanse on Goa. We started off looking for a Brown Hawk Owl and Jungle Owlet and whilst we had seen them on previous day's we were always eager to get better views of any bird. Naresh soon located both species but the views were not spectacular of the Hawk Owl due to it's roosting being deep in trees and a long way up. Better views of the Jungle Owlet were had but a combination of the early morning fog and time of the morning made it difficult for any photos although I did get my best picture of the Jungle Owlet. Good views of Brahminy Kite, Little Ringed Plover, Black Headed Ibis and Egrets were enjoyed whilst the light remained poor and quite misty. We moved on to the main Lake and we were amazed at the size of the place. We had read much about Carambolin Lake but we never really imagined it to be this size. You could spend a fortnight looking around the lake and surrounding areas but we just had the morning. As we drove along the side of the lake we were already gobsmacked at the close views of birds we had only encountered at distance on other birding holidays. I mean it just was not right as not just the proximity of such birds as Glossy Ibis and Purple Gallinule but the sheer numbers as well! There is a raised platform to get a better overview of the lake and it's massive flocks of birds. It was not long before a Spot Billed Duck was seen at distance with loads of Garganey, Cotton Pygmy Geese and Lesser Whistling Duck filling the lake...what a place. Both species of Jacana were in good evidence. In truth there is so much to look at it felt a little overwhelming and we probably did not fully appreciate the place or it's many birds as we could have. We moved on to another couple of places around the lake with one roadside position with a layby. We had a view of a Grebe species that was a Little although I was not really convinced as it sat in the water differently to what I have experienced. A group of school children passed on foot and they were obviously on some sort of school trip to take in the lake and it's many birds. The lake itself plays a very important role in the local community as the people own it and use the water when the many cultivated fields are running dry. This can have an effect on the water level and in recent years it has been drained fully due to work being carried out on various parts of the lake and the rail line that runs along side the water. I can confirm that this work has been finished and the lake seems to be fully recovered. We were never given the opportunity by Naresh to have a look around the surrounding cultivated fields which was a shame but the lake it's self was an amazing place with our first view of a Marsh Mugger patrolling the lakes deeper areas. We shall return to this place again on any further holidays and to be honest at least a couple of trips would be a far better idea.    
 Jungle OwletBrown Hawk Owl  Ashy Prinia Siberian StonechatBlack Headed Ibis Purple Heron 
 Cattle Egret IntermediateHeronHouse Sparrow Western Reef Egret  Yellow WagtailGrey Heron 
 Purple Rumped SunbirdBronze Winged Jacana Pheasant Tailed Jacana  Common Starling Purple Gallinule Rufous Treepie
 Oriental Magpie RobinWhite Fronted Waterhen Asian Paradise Flycatcher  Black Drongo Long Tailed Shrike Little Ringed Plover
 Glossy Ibis Indian Pond HeronLittle Egret  Great Egret Little CormorantBrahminy Kite 
 Black Kite Marsh Harrier Gull Billed TernBlue Tailed Bee Eater  Green Bee EaterSanderling 
Wood SandpiperCommon GreenshankCommon SnipeCommon MoorhenCommon CootSpotted Dove
Rock PigeonBarn SwallowPied KingfisherCommon KingfisherWhite Throated KingfisherRed Rumped Swallow
Rose Ringed ParakeetAsian KoelIndian RollerCommon FlamebackCotton Pygmy GooseGarganey
Spot Billed DuckLesser Whistling DuckPaddyfield PipitLittle GrebeBlack Lored TitEurasian Golden Oriole
Black Naped Oriole





Guide Naresh Price 800rps Time 15:30-18:00
Morjim Beach
An afternoon visit was arranged and after about an hours journey we pulled up in "little Russia". They were everywhere and some of the locals mentioned the reluctance to welcome them as they were not good for the local communities in terms of social structure and finance. The local Goans did not fail to appreciate the very curvaceous Russian women as eyes were almost on stalks as some of these attractive women chose to exercise in bikinis on the beach....meanwhile back to the birds....well truth be told, a lack of! Wrong time of the day as the tide was way out and even a walk up the beach trying to avoid the many nudists did nothing to improve the situation as even the view into the bay left us thinking this was a waste of time. Whilst we picked up some lifers it was very poor views of them and in all honesty I felt it a real disappointment as I had read about the super close views of Gulls and Sandplovers. We soon departed the beach with not much to get excited about and I can remember thinking that it was a waste of time and money....this must have been on my face as Naresh piped up that he knew of another place we could call in at on the road further on. I obviously jumped at this as I was looking for something to get my teeth into. He mentioned a place called Parsham and we set off with the details below.
 Pallas's Gull White Bellied Sea EagleBlack Kite  Brahminy KiteRichards Pipit  Green Bee Eater
Fields Outside Arpora
 Yellow Wattled Lapwing
Parsham
It was early evening by now but the light was good and it had a really nice relaxed feel to the day considering the poor showing of birds on Morjim beach. Parsham is a causeway that divides a tidal creek from freshwater marshes has been known as a place to see Great Thicknees, Ruddy Shelduck and Terek Sandpipers. We only connected with the Ruddy Shelduck but we really enjoyed the serene atmosphere that surrounded the place as the locals went about their daily tasks of fishing and collecting shellfish. The sun began to fall and the sight of 5 Pied Kingfishers all hovering together in the orange evening light is a memory that will be cherished.
 Wire Tailed Swallow Red Rumped Swallow Barn SwallowMarsh |Harrier Little Stint Marsh Sandpiper 
 Pied Kingfisher Common Kingfisher White Throated Kingfisher Stork Billed KingfisherBrahminy Kite  Black Kite
 Common Starling Common Myna Jungle MynaCommon Redshank  Wood Sandpiper Common Greenshank
 Ruddy ShelduckLittle Egret Cattle Egret Indian Pond Heron Grey Heron  Striated Heron
 House CrowLarge Billed Crow  House SparrowBlack Headed Ibis  Little CormorantGull Billed Tern 
 Little Tern     
10th February Tuesday
Max Temp 29.1C Min Temp 24C
Guide Paresh Price 800rps & 1000rps Each For Boat Trip (2800rps Total)Time 06:40-13:00
Zuari Boat Trip
An early-ish start to the day after arranging this a few days previous with Paresh. We were picked up first as another taxi driver followed us to where more people were joining us. There were a group of Estonians that were late up and at one point it was looking like they were not going to make the trip. Eventually they all descended and we set off for the trip to the Zuari river. Most of the excursion is on the Cumbarjua canal with a brief crossing of the Zuari river. The trip is one to be enjoyed as you wander around in quite a relaxed way, with guides calling any birds that you may or may not have seen. The main aim for most on this trip is two Kingfishers, the Black Capped and the stunningly coloured Collared Kingfisher. Both were seen in quite good numbers and the boat is oriented to give all on the trip a satisfying view before moving on. The boat itself is a simple affair with netting as a roof acting a sun screen. Seats are aplenty but as on some other trips we were unlucky as quite a few were booked on this one and almost all seats were taken. Everybody liked to have an outside seat and of course the small apendage brigade, with big lenses (not nationality dependant) felt they had paid to take up two seats...sorry not the case as Mandy was eventually given a better seat when a camera toting fool moved...all's fair in hate of small apendage brigade. Fantastic trip as several new birds were seen including a distant view of our only Peregrine Falcon of the trip as it was roosting high up on the bridge overhang that straddled the Zuari. You are treated to some homemade patries. banana and some water which was very welcome. It lasted about 2 1/2 hours in total and the views of the Lesser and Great Crested Terns were amazing whilst a single Sandwich Tern was a welcome surprise. I thought that this trip was very expensive for what it was to be honest as £42 per couple seemed way too much for what you were getting and is out of step with costings involved. I have since looked around to find other similar trips and for less the trip could be found with longer on the boat and a buffet with good food and free drinks can be had. It was a conversation I had on several occasions with the guides as I warned that if prices are increased to "our" prices it may be a quieter time for them. Non the less we were glad we made the trip as it was most enjoyable. 
 Western Reef Egret Collared Kingfisher Black Capped Kingfisher Pied Kingfisher Stork Billed Kingfisher White Throated Kingfisher
 Blue Tailed Bee EaterWire Tailed Swallow Red Rumped Swallow Common Kingfisher Lesser Adjutant  Woolly Necked Stork
 Little Egret Intermediate EgretEurasian Golden Oriole  Brahminy KiteOsprey Peregrine Falcon 
Sandwich Tern Lesser Crested TernGreat Crested Tern House Crow Large Billed Crow  Common Sandpiper
 Common Redshank Eurasian Curlew Purple Heron Grey Heron Greater CoucalAsian Koel 
Besra Red Whiskered Bulbul Orange Breasted Green Pigeon  Striated Heron Black Capped Night HeronBlack Headed Ibis 

Field Outside Arpora
It seems this bird had a favourite roosting spot as Paresh pointed this out saying 3rd telegraph pole in from the left...and their it was sat up on the pole. Another new bird that I was losing the hope of seeing had been quickly spotted and enjoyed.
Greater Spotted Eagle 

Batim Lake
This was a surprise stop off on the way back from the river trip and it was a great surprise as more firsts for the trip were seen including an unusual sighting of Eurasian Wigeon. It was a strange setting as the pool was just in the middle of a field and it seemed that any expanse of water had been filled by some duck, wader or other water bird. I have never been so exited to see so many Shoveler, Teal and Garganey...possibly giving us a conection to home. Again the small appendage brigade though it acceptable to just stand in front of our view although a short blast of plonker must have translated quite well in Estonian as he soon moved. I would love to call back in at this place as it was a real nice place.
Northern Pintail  Eurasian WigeonCommon Teal  Lesser Whistling DuckGarganey  Northern Shoveler
 Cotton Pygmy Goose Purple Gallinule Common CootCommon Moorhen  Purple HeronWire Tailed Swallow 
 Green Bee Eater Black DrongoPheasant Tailed Jacana Marsh Harrier   
11th February Wednesday
Max Temp 29.0C Min Temp 22.7C
Guide Naresh Price 1200rps Time 06:00-12:15
Maem Lake
Again an early start that had us pulling up in what seemed like some sort of partial holiday home residence. We straight away noticed a lake that was overlooked via the platform we parked on nut Naresh paid little attention to the lake. He guided us through the complex and on through a metal turnstile. You skirt around with the lake on a narrow track with smaller pools on your left and a fairly steep wooded hillside on your right. It was quiet on arrival and apart from the usual characters it remained fairly so. This changed for the better with a good view of a pair of Orange Breasted Green Pigeons. Soon Malabar Whistling Thrush was seen scratting around on the floor seemingly unaware of our presence. The calls of a Changeable Hawk Eagle were heared but remained unseen. We bacame very aware of how little birdlife was using the large pool/lake, this seemed odd as plenty of good cover was around the edges as apart from Knigfishers and a singular Little Cormorant very little else actually was seen using the water. Non the less we carried on the track and soon had fantastic view of the "stuffed" Grey Nightjar that was sat out on a branch on the hillside. It seems this is a regular haunt for this bird and we were glad it was! After a few photos we moved on following the path round to where the lake is on your left  and which also gives you a better panoramic view of the wooded hillside. Here we could see the calling Changeable Hawk Eagle as it sat high up on the hillside against the skyline. A Large Cuckooshrike was seen also high in some trees and then quickly followed by Coppersmith Barbet and Plumb Headed Parakeet. We made our way back along the track where we again enjoyed the Grey Nightjar and close views of Greater Coucal and Ashy Prinia....a bird I became very fond of...but one I find nigh on impossible to digiscope due to it's flitting about nature. 
House Crow Rock Pigeon House Sparrow Greater Coucal  Asian Paradise FlycatcherPurple Sunbird 
 Puff Throated BabblerGolden Fronted Leafbird  Greenish WarblerAshy Prinia Red Whiskered Bulbul Red Vented Bulbul 
Barn Swallow  Red Rumped SwallowOriental Magpie Robin Malabar Whistling Thrush Orange Breasted Green Pigeon Eurasian Blackbird 
 Common Iora Black Drongo White Bellied DrongoLarge Cuckooshrike Long Tailed Shrike Rufous Treepie 
Eurasian Golden Oriole  Black Hooded OrioleLittle Egret  Little Cormorant Changeable Hawk EagleRed Wattled Lapwing 
Spotted Dove Grey Nightjar  Plum Headed ParakeetAsian Koel  Green Bee EaterCommon Kingfisher 
White Throated KingfisherBlack Rumped FlamebackWhite Cheeked BarbetCoppersmith BarbetBlack KiteBrahminy Kite
Tikanem
Naresh surprised us with a short trip to another place we had not been made aware of and we were told it was a good place for Lesser Adjutant and Rufous Tailed Lark. It was a dry landscape that had flooded fields around it with a railway track at the very back. It was a parched track that soon had us Siberian Stonechat and plenty of White Breasted Waterhens running around in the flooded land on the right of the track. The Lesser Adjutant was seen but to be honest it was a very distant view as was other birds. This had apparently been a good place for a Montague's Harrier but all we could come up with was a Marsh harrier. We walked back to the car as for the first time I felt like I was literally burning due to the open area and the reflection off the dusty track. We drove a short distance to another very dry area where it seemed old paddyfields had been abandoned and where plants were struggling to live as the sun was baking the exposed earth. Here we connected with Richard's Pipit and the star bird the Rufous Tailed Lark that was moving slowly in the dry fields. Nothing much else of note here but well worth it for the sight of the lark. 
 Lesser Adjutant Marsh HarrierWoolly Necked Stork  Common StonechatGrey Heron Little Egret 
Pied BushchatRichards PipitCommon KingfisherWhite Throated KingfisherWhite Breasted WaterhenRufous Tailed Lark
Glossy Ibis Cattle Egret House Crow Barn Swallow Black Headed Ibis Black Drongo 

12th February Thursday
Max Temp 28.2C Min Temp 22.1C
Guide Paresh Price 800rps Time 07:00-11:30
Morjim Beach & Open Fields On Way Back
Another visit to the beach, this time a morning trip as I was desperate to get good views of the Gulls and in particular to have a good look at Lesser and Greater Sandplover as I don't know how many places you would normally get to view both species together at such close quarters. Pulling up in the same place as our previous visit we walked down to the shore line and after a moment or two for the eyes to actually "see" the sand moving I was in heaven as it was masses of Sandplover! I watched for ages as I looked to see the difference of these two very similar species. I asked myself if it would be possible to distinguish a Lesser or Greater if only one of the species was present and nothing to compare with. I took lot's of pictures and managed to get to a position wherby I could photograph both species in the same frame...bingo! Having spent ages taking pictures of these beauties in very uncomfortable postions (me not the Plovers) and at the sighs of boredom from those around me I eventually turned my attention to the Gulls that were present in reasonable numbers on an island that was a lot closer than the last visit although again it was not the close views I was dreaming of. Content though to be able to get the scope on these and pick out my first Slender Billed Gull that sat amongst the splendour of the Pallas' Gull and to a lesser extent the Black and Brown headed. Full up on the Gulls Paresh had us trekking the dunes to another place where he mentioned the chance of a Bay Backed Shrike....that's a bonus as Naresh never mentioned this possibilty. Just after a conversation about said bird it darted out onto a branch in front of us and after a quick snapshot it disappeared without trace. Lovely colours on it's back were really striking and as we walked round we also got relaxed views of Rosy Starling, Jungle Myna and a Long tailed Shrike. A point to bear in mind if not just for me is that If on returning to Morgim in the future I will insist on a very early visit as two things will make a big difference one being obviously the tide and less chance of disturbance from other people on the beach doing what most would do on a beach to be fair.

 Lesser Sand Plover Greater Sand Plover Slender Billed GullHeuglin's Gull Pallas's Gull  Brown Headed Gull
 Black Headed GullKentish Plover Black Shouldered Kite  Black KiteBrahminy Kite  Peregrine Falcon
 Bay Backed ShrikeLong Tailed Shrike  Jungle MynaRosy Starling Paddyfield Pipit Barn Swallow 
 Green Bee Eater House CrowLarge Billed Crow    

Open Paddyfields Outside Morjim
Another welcome surprise from Paresh was stopping at the roadside on our way back to the Hotel where he was hoping for views of Asian Openbills. We pulled up in a layby which overlooked some well tended paddyfields and we could see the very nervous Openbills in the fields. They began to move back as we tried to gane a better view through the trees. I counted at least 60+ and by the time we left we were full on the only sightings of another strange but beautiful bird.
 Asian Openbill

Hotel Grounds
Even though hotel grounds were a great place to watch birds and wether early morning, afternnon or evening sorties were given it always threw up some great birds. I mean Osprey, Spotted and Breeding Barn Owls and of course the views that all return from Goa with and that is the many Black and Brahminy Kites wheeling around above your head as numbers can be over 40+. Amazing place and the early evening roost flock of many Egret species with the call of the Asian Koel in the distance just leave you speachless and wanting more!
 White Bellied Sea EagleWhite Browed Wagtail Blue Tailed Bee Eater  Spotted Owlet Barn Owl House Crow
 Black KiteBrahminy Kite Shikra Jungle Myna Black Lored Tit Purple Sunbird 
 Red Whiskered BulbulCommon Kingfisher  Ring Necked Parakeet Little Egret Cattle EgretOriental Magpie Robin 
 OspreyRosy Starling Pied Kingfisher    

13th February Friday
Max Temp 28.1C Min Temp 21.9C
Hotel Grounds,Fields & Saltpans
Our last real birding day as we decided to really enjoy the surroundings after such a frenetic pace of the last 12 days. We stayed local with the lagoons, Pools and Saltpans to be our focus as I had still not seen the Terek Sandpiper or indeed any Little Pratincoles. No such luck with either this time but with plenty of Pacific Golden Plover and a chance to lay back and check out some of the less noticed birds like Palm Swifts, Swallows I think it not to bad a trade off. A nice chap was encountered and after a long talk we moved into tourist mode as the day finally ended with the usual presence of a pair of White Browed Wagtails.    
 Common Redshank Red Wattled Lapwing Wood SandpiperAshy Prinia Pacific Golden Plover Little Ringed Plover 
 Lesser Sand PloverGreater Sand Plover  Black Kite Brahminy KiteBesra Crested Serpent Eagle 
 Great Egret Little EgretWhite Breasted Waterhen  Asian Palm SwiftRed Rumped Swift Barn Swallow 
 White Throated KingfisherCommon Kingfisher  Stork Billed Kingfisher Little CormorantMarsh Sandpiper Pied Bushchat 
 Paddyfield Pipit Black DrongoHouse Crow  Jungle Myna Rosy Starling Pied Kingfisher
 Common Sandpiper Common Greenshank OspreyWhite Browed Wagtail  White Bellied Sea Eagle Striated Heron
Little CormorantGreen Bee EaterBlue Tailed Bee Eater




 

14th February Saturday

Max Temp 28.1C Min Temp 21.9C
Tourist
15th February Sunday
Max Temp N/A Min Temp N/A
On our last day we were really sad to be leaving. We both new we would return as species like Little Pratincole, Terek Sandpiper, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Blue Eared Kingfisher, Alexandrine Parakeet, Indian Blue Robin and other sights and sound had yet still to be experienced. What a place for a holiday and as a great introduction to Asian birds with all the sights, smells and sounds that enveloped you right from the very start. The people are very friendly and of course the excellent Backwoods camp all made this place a definite place we shall return too at the earliest opportunity. The trip back to airport was just as choatic but we were ready!! A fond farewell and we were away back to the cold of 'ol blighty with the positive that most of our trips abroad are in the spring, arguably our finest months, so at least this year we would experience our Spring in all it's wonderful glory.

Trip Species List

Species NameScientific NameTimes SeenFirst Site
1Little Grebe [sp]Tachybaptus ruficollis1Carambolin Lake
2Little CormorantPhalacrocorax niger7Arpora wood
3Grey Heron [sp]Ardea cinerea4Beira Mar Hotel
4Purple Heron [sp]Ardea purpurea5Marinha Hotel & Surroundings
5Great Egret [sp]Ardea alba3Marinha Hotel & Surroundings
6Intermediate Egret [sp]Egretta intermedia2Carambolin Lake
7Little Egret [sp]Egretta garzetta10Beira Mar Hotel
8Western Reef Egret [sp]Egretta gularis2Carambolin Lake
9Cattle Egret [sp]Bubulcus ibis7Arpora wood
10Indian Pond HeronArdeola grayii5Arpora wood
11Striated Heron [sp]Butorides striata3Marinha Hotel & Surroundings
12Cinnamon BitternIxobrychus cinnamomeus1Beira Mar Hotel
13Asian OpenbillAnastomus oscitans1Fields Outside Morgim
14Woolly-necked Stork [sp]Ciconia episcopus4Beira Mar Hotel
15Lesser AdjutantLeptoptilos javanicus2Zuari River
16Black-headed IbisThreskiornis melanocephalus3Parshim
17Glossy IbisPlegadis falcinellus2Carambolin Lake
18Lesser Whistling DuckDendrocygna javanica2Carambolin Lake
19Ruddy ShelduckTadorna ferruginea1Parshim
20Cotton Pygmy Goose [sp]Nettapus coromandelianus2Carambolin Lake
21Eurasian WigeonAnas penelope1Batim Lake
22Common Teal [sp]Anas crecca1Batim Lake
23Spot-billed Duck [sp]Anas poecilorhyncha1Carambolin Lake
24Northern PintailAnas acuta1Batim Lake
25GarganeyAnas querquedula2Carambolin Lake
26Northern ShovelerAnas clypeata1Batim Lake
27Osprey [sp]Pandion haliaetus2Zuari River
28Indian Honey BuzzardPernis ptilorhynchus ruficollis1Backwoods Camp
29Black-shouldered Kite [sp]Elanus caeruleus3Arpora General Area
30Black Kite [sp]Milvus migrans16Arpora wood
31Brahminy Kite [sp]Haliastur indus16Arpora wood
32White-bellied Sea EagleHaliaeetus leucogaster3Morjim Beach
33Crested Serpent Eagle [sp]Spilornis cheela4Arpora wood
34Eurasian Marsh Harrier [sp]Circus aeruginosus5Beira Mar Hotel
35Crested Goshawk [sp]Accipiter trivirgatus1Backwoods Camp
36Shikra [sp]Accipiter badius3Baga Hill
37Besra [sp]Accipiter virgatus4Backwoods Camp
38Black Eagle [sp]Ictinaetus malayensis1Backwoods Camp
39Indian Spotted EagleAquila hastata1Backwoods Camp
40Greater Spotted EagleAquila clanga1Arpora General Area
41Booted EagleHieraaetus pennatus1Backwoods Camp
42Changeable Hawk-eagle [sp]Spizaetus cirrhatus2Backwoods Camp
43Common Kestrel [sp]Falco tinnunculus1Morjim Beach
44Peregrine Falcon [calidus]Falco peregrinus calidus2Zuari River
45Red Spurfowl [sp]Galloperdix spadicea1Backwoods Camp
46Grey JunglefowlGallus sonneratii1Backwoods Camp
47Indian PeafowlPavo cristatus1Baga Hill
48White-breasted Waterhen [sp]Amaurornis phoenicurus6Marinha Hotel & Surroundings
49Ruddy-breasted Crake [sp]Porzana fusca1Beira Mar Hotel
50Purple Swamphen [sp]Porphyrio porphyrio2Carambolin Lake
51Common Moorhen [sp]Gallinula chloropus2Carambolin Lake
52Common Coot [sp]Fulica atra2Carambolin Lake
53Pheasant-tailed JacanaHydrophasianus chirurgus2Carambolin Lake
54Bronze-winged JacanaMetopidius indicus1Carambolin Lake
55Greater Painted-snipeRostratula benghalensis1Beira Mar Hotel
56Yellow-wattled LapwingVanellus malabaricus1Arpora General Area
57Red-wattled Lapwing [sp]Vanellus indicus6Beira Mar Hotel
58Pacific Golden PloverPluvialis fulva2Marinha Hotel & Surroundings
59Little Plover [sp]Charadrius dubius2Carambolin Lake
60Kentish Plover [sp]Charadrius alexandrinus1Morjim Beach
61Lesser Sand Plover [sp]Charadrius mongolus2Morjim Beach
62Greater Sand Plover [sp]Charadrius leschenaultii2Morjim Beach
63Common Snipe [sp]Gallinago gallinago1Carambolin Lake
64Eurasian Curlew [sp]Numenius arquata1Zuari River
65Common SandpiperActitis hypoleucos4Marinha Hotel & Surroundings
66Common GreenshankTringa nebularia5Marinha Hotel & Surroundings
67Marsh SandpiperTringa stagnatilis2Parshim
68Wood SandpiperTringa glareola4Marinha Hotel & Surroundings
69Common Redshank [sp]Tringa totanus4Marinha Hotel & Surroundings
70SanderlingCalidris alba2Marinha Hotel & Surroundings
71Little StintCalidris minuta1Parshim
72Temminck's StintCalidris temminckii1Marinha Hotel & Surroundings
73Slender-billed GullChroicocephalus genei1Morjim Beach
74Black-headed GullChroicocephalus ridibundus1Morjim Beach
75Brown-headed GullChroicocephalus brunnicephalus2Morjim Beach
76Heuglin's GullLarus fuscus heuglini1Morjim Beach
77Pallas's GullIchthyaetus ichthyaetus2Morjim Beach
78Little Tern [sp]Sternula albifrons1Parshim
79Gull-billed Tern [sp]Gelochelidon nilotica3Carambolin Lake
80Lesser Crested Tern [sp]Thalasseus bengalensis1Zuari River
81Sandwich Tern [sp]Thalasseus sandvicensis1Zuari River
82Great Crested Tern [sp]Thalasseus bergii1Zuari River
83Rock Dove [sp]Columba livia7Arpora wood
84Spotted Dove [sp]Streptopelia chinensis6Arpora wood
85Emerald Dove [sp]Chalcophaps indica1Backwoods Camp
86Orange-breasted Green Pigeon [sp]Treron bicinctus3Backwoods Camp
87Pompadour Green Pigeon [sp]Treron pompadora1Backwoods Camp
88Mountain Imperial Pigeon [sp]Ducula badia1Backwoods Camp
89Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp]Psittacula krameri3Arpora wood
90Plum-headed ParakeetPsittacula cyanocephala5Arpora wood
91Malabar ParakeetPsittacula columboides1Backwoods Camp
92Vernal Hanging Parrot [sp]Loriculus vernalis1Backwoods Camp
93Asian Koel [sp]Eudynamys scolopaceus8Arpora wood
94Greater Coucal [sp]Centropus sinensis4Arpora wood
95Oriental Scops Owl [sp]Otus sunia1Backwoods Camp
96Brown Fish Owl [sp]Ketupa zeylonensis1Backwoods Camp
97Jungle Owlet [sp]Glaucidium radiatum2Backwoods Camp
98Brown Hawk-owl [sp]Ninox scutulata2Backwoods Camp
99Sri Lanka FrogmouthBatrachostomus moniliger1Backwoods Camp
100Grey Nightjar [sp]Caprimulgus indicus1Mayem lake
101Jerdon's Nightjar [sp]Caprimulgus atripennis1Backwoods Camp
102Savannah Nightjar [sp]Caprimulgus affinis1Backwoods Camp
103Indian SwiftletAerodramus unicolor1Backwoods Camp
104White-rumped SpinetailZoonavena sylvatica1Backwoods Camp
105Brown-backed Needletail [sp]Hirundapus giganteus1Backwoods Camp
106Asian Palm Swift [sp]Cypsiurus balasiensis1Marinha Hotel & Surroundings
107Crested TreeswiftHemiprocne coronata1Backwoods Camp
108Malabar Trogon [sp]Harpactes fasciatus1Backwoods Camp
109Stork-billed Kingfisher [sp]Pelargopsis capensis5Marinha Hotel & Surroundings
110White-throated Kingfisher [sp]Halcyon smyrnensis13Arpora wood
111Black-capped KingfisherHalcyon pileata1Zuari River
112Collared Kingfisher [sp]Todiramphus chloris1Zuari River
113Common Kingfisher [sp]Alcedo atthis10Arpora wood
114Pied Kingfisher [sp]Ceryle rudis4Arpora wood
115Little Green Bee-eater [sp]Merops orientalis11Arpora wood
116Blue-tailed Bee-eaterMerops philippinus6Marinha Hotel & Surroundings
117Chestnut-headed Bee-eater [sp]Merops leschenaulti1Backwoods Camp
118Indian Roller [sp]Coracias benghalensis3Arpora General Area
119Hoopoe [sp]Upupa epops1Saligoa Zor Spring
120Malabar Grey HornbillOcyceros griseus1Backwoods Camp
121Indian Grey HornbillOcyceros birostris1Saligoa Zor Spring
122Malabar Pied HornbillAnthracoceros coronatus1Backwoods Camp
123Brown-headed Barbet [sp]Megalaima zeylanica1Backwoods Camp
124White-cheeked BarbetMegalaima viridis2Backwoods Camp
125Crimson-fronted Barbet [sp]Megalaima rubricapillus1Backwoods Camp
126Coppersmith Barbet [sp]Megalaima haemacephala4Baga Hill
127Speckled Piculet [sp]Picumnus innominatus1Backwoods Camp
128Brown-capped WoodpeckerDendrocopos moluccensis nanus1Backwoods Camp
129Rufous Woodpecker [sp]Celeus brachyurus1Backwoods Camp
130White-bellied Woodpecker [sp]Dryocopus javensis1Backwoods Camp
131Common Flameback [sp]Dinopium javanense1Carambolin Lake
132Black-rumped Flameback [sp]Dinopium benghalense2Backwoods Camp
133Greater Flameback [sp]Chrysocolaptes lucidus2Arpora wood
134Indian PittaPitta brachyura2Arpora wood
135Rufous-tailed LarkAmmomanes phoenicura1Tekani
136Barn Swallow [sp]Hirundo rustica2Backwoods Camp
137European SwallowHirundo rustica rustica7Beira Mar Hotel
138Wire-tailed Swallow [sp]Hirundo smithii4Backwoods Camp
139Red-rumped Swallow [sp]Cecropis daurica8Beira Mar Hotel
140Streak-throated SwallowPetrochelidon fluvicola1Backwoods Camp
141Paddyfield Pipit [sp]Anthus (richardi) rufulus5Marinha Hotel & Surroundings
142Forest WagtailDendronanthus indicus1Backwoods Camp
143White-browed WagtailMotacilla madaraspatensis1Marinha Dourada Grounds
144Yellow Wagtail [sp]Motacilla flava1Carambolin Lake
145Grey Wagtail [sp]Motacilla cinerea1Backwoods Camp
146Large Cuckoo-shrike [sp]Coracina macei1Mayem lake
147Small Minivet [sp]Pericrocotus cinnamomeus2Backwoods Camp
148Scarlet Minivet [sp]Pericrocotus flammeus1Backwoods Camp
149Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike [sp]Hemipus picatus1Backwoods Camp
150Large Woodshrike [sp]Tephrodornis virgatus1Backwoods Camp
151Common Woodshrike [sp]Tephrodornis pondicerianus2Backwoods Camp
152Grey-headed BulbulPycnonotus priocephalus1Backwoods Camp
153Flame-throated BulbulPycnonotus gularis1Backwoods Camp
154Red-whiskered Bulbul [sp]Pycnonotus jocosus8Arpora wood
155Red-vented Bulbul [sp]Pycnonotus cafer3Baga Hill
156White-browed Bulbul [sp]Pycnonotus luteolus3Baga Hill
157Yellow-browed Bulbul [sp]Acritillas indica1Backwoods Camp
158Golden-fronted Leafbird [sp]Chloropsis aurifrons2Backwoods Camp
159Asian Fairy-bluebird [sp]Irena puella1Backwoods Camp
160Common Iora [sp]Aegithina tiphia6Arpora wood
161Indian Blackbird [sp]Turdus (merula) simillimus1Arpora wood
162Orange-headed Thrush [sp]Zoothera citrina3Arpora wood
163Malabar Whistling ThrushMyophonus horsfieldii2Backwoods Camp
164Blue-capped Rock ThrushMonticola cinclorhynchus1Backwoods Camp
165Oriental Magpie-robin [sp]Copsychus saularis6Arpora wood
166White-rumped Shama [sp]Copsychus malabaricus1Backwoods Camp
167Indian Robin [sp]Saxicoloides fulicatus2Baga Hill
168Siberian StonechatSaxicola torquatus maurus1Tekani
169Pied Bushchat [sp]Saxicola caprata3Marinha Hotel & Surroundings
170Asian Brown Flycatcher [sp]Muscicapa dauurica1Backwoods Camp
171Red-breasted FlycatcherFicedula parva1Saligoa Zor Spring
172Verditer Flycatcher [sp]Eumyias thalassinus1Backwoods Camp
173Tickell's Blue Flycatcher [sp]Cyornis tickelliae2Backwoods Camp
174White-browed Fantail [sp]Rhipidura aureola2Arpora wood
175Black-naped Monarch [sp]Hypothymis azurea1Backwoods Camp
176Asian Paradise-flycatcher [sp]Terpsiphone paradisi5Arpora wood
177Common Tailorbird [sp]Orthotomus sutorius2Backwoods Camp
178Grey-breasted Prinia [sp]Prinia hodgsonii1Backwoods Camp
179Ashy Prinia [sp]Prinia socialis4Backwoods Camp
180Plain Prinia [sp]Prinia inornata3Baga Hill
181Blyth's Reed WarblerAcrocephalus dumetorum3Beira Mar Hotel
182Clamorous Reed Warbler [sp]Acrocephalus stentoreus1Beira Mar Hotel
183Common Chiffchaff [sp]Phylloscopus collybita1Arpora wood
184Greenish Warbler [sp]Phylloscopus trochiloides2Baga Hill
185Western Crowned WarblerPhylloscopus occipitalis1Backwoods Camp
186Brown-cheeked Fulvetta [sp]Alcippe poioicephala2Backwoods Camp
187Dark-fronted Babbler [sp]Rhopocichla atriceps1Backwoods Camp
188Indian Scimitar Babbler [sp]Pomatorhinus horsfieldii1Backwoods Camp
189Puff-throated Babbler [sp]Pellorneum ruficeps5Arpora wood
190Jungle Babbler [sp]Turdoides striata3Arpora wood
191Black-lored Tit [sp]Parus xanthogenys2Arpora wood
192Indian Black-lored TitParus xanthogenys aplonotus3Baga Hill
193Velvet-fronted Nuthatch [sp]Sitta frontalis1Backwoods Camp
194Purple-rumped Sunbird [sp]Leptocoma zeylonica5Arpora wood
195Crimson-backed SunbirdLeptocoma minima1Backwoods Camp
196Purple Sunbird [sp]Cinnyris asiaticus6Arpora wood
197Long-billed Sunbird [sp]Cinnyris lotenius2Backwoods Camp
198Western Crimson SunbirdAethopyga vigorsii2Saligoa Zor Spring
199Little Spiderhunter [sp]Arachnothera longirostra1Backwoods Camp
200Thick-billed Flowerpecker [sp]Dicaeum agile1Backwoods Camp
201Plain Flowerpecker [sp]Dicaeum concolor1Backwoods Camp
202Indian Golden OrioleOriolus (oriolus) kundoo7Arpora wood
203Black-naped Oriole [sp]Oriolus chinensis1Carambolin Lake
204Eastern Black-naped OrioleOriolus chinensis diffusus2Backwoods Camp
205Black-hooded Oriole [sp]Oriolus xanthornus3Backwoods Camp
206Brown Shrike [sp]Lanius cristatus2Marinha Hotel & Surroundings
207Bay-backed Shrike [sp]Lanius vittatus1Morjim Beach
208Long-tailed Shrike [sp]Lanius schach5Baga Hill
209Black Drongo [sp]Dicrurus macrocercus10Arpora wood
210Ashy Drongo [sp]Dicrurus leucophaeus2Baga Hill
211White-bellied Drongo [sp]Dicrurus caerulescens3Backwoods Camp
212Bronzed Drongo [sp]Dicrurus aeneus1Backwoods Camp
213Hair-crested Drongo [sp]Dicrurus hottentottus1Backwoods Camp
214Greater Racket-tailed Drongo [sp]Dicrurus paradiseus2Backwoods Camp
215Ashy WoodswallowArtamus fuscus1Marinha Hotel & Surroundings
216Rufous Treepie [sp]Dendrocitta vagabunda6Arpora wood
217House Crow [sp]Corvus splendens12Arpora wood
218Large-billed Crow [sp]Corvus macrorhynchos5Arpora wood
219Jungle Myna [sp]Acridotheres fuscus8Arpora wood
220Common Myna [sp]Acridotheres tristis3Arpora wood
221Malabar White-headed StarlingSturnia malabarica blythii1Backwoods Camp
222Grey-headed StarlingSturnia malabarica malabarica3Backwoods Camp
223Brahminy StarlingTemenuchus pagodarum2Arpora wood
224Rosy StarlingPastor roseus3Marinha Hotel & Surroundings
225Common Starling [sp]Sturnus vulgaris2Parshim
226House Sparrow [sp]Passer domesticus3Carambolin Lake
227Chestnut-shouldered Petronia [sp]Petronia xanthocollis1Backwoods Camp
228Baya Weaver [sp]Ploceus philippinus1Arpora wood
229White-rumped Munia [sp]Lonchura striata1Arpora wood
230White-rumped Munia [striata]Lonchura striata striata3Baga Hill
231Black-throated Munia [sp]Lonchura kelaarti1Backwoods Camp
232Scaly Breasted Munia[sp]Lonchura punctulata1Backwoods Camp
233Common Rosefinch [roseatus]Carpodacus erythrinus roseatus1Backwoods Camp

TOP 5 HIGHLIGHTS

1) Smells, sights and sounds which are all amazing

2) Fantastic birding very close to hotel if chosen carefully

3) Wonderful Cultural experience with lovely people

4) Good guides and fantastic trip to backwoods

5) Weather

TOP 5 DISLIKES

1) Airport chaos

2) Humidity

3) Young children at backwoods

4) N/A

5) N/A

EQUIPMENT USED

Pictures Stating ©M.R.Photpgraphy were taken by Mandy using

DSLR Nikon D80 with Sigma 100-300 f/4 lens and Sigma 1.4x teleconverter


Pictures taken stating ©www.wildrossendale.co.uk were taken by myself using

Digiscoped Zeiss Diascope 85T with Nikon p&s P5100 with SRB Gritturn digiscoping swing bracket v1

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