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GOA

November 1997

A report by Peter Leigh (edited by Carole Leigh)

MARINHA DOURADA HOTEL

Situated about a mile east of the Baga River, this very pleasant and modern hotel is one we would highly recommend as a base for a birding holiday. The accommodation is somewhat basic, but very clean and comfortable. The facilities and food are good with an extensive menu and the staff are polite and helpful, if a little slow in the restaurant sometimes.

Behind the hotel is a small village set amongst the trees. The woods here were good for birds although we were occasionally besieged by the local children who were fascinated by birders and aware that we may be carrying pens, sweets, coins and other potential gifts for them (although their demands for chocolate in temperatures in the 90s were a bit optimistic!).

The bushes and trees around the hotel grounds were worth keeping an eye on, particularly near the tennis court in the early mornings. However, during our stay, an extension was being built in a wooded area behind the main block, destroying good birding habitat. Immediately west and north of the hotel, shallow lagoons held a few larger waders, kingfishers and cormorants. The dry fields in front of the hotel (between and behind the lagoons) were excellent for pipits and larks and raptors were constantly flying over the area, particularly over Baga Hill to the north.

Going west from the hotel, there is a bridge with two lakes on the left and the Baga river a little further on. The lakes held a number of waders with up to 16 Red-wattled Lapwings (the largest flock we saw in Goa). Continuing west along the road it is worth checking the trees in a small village on the right. Further west, about a mile from the hotel there is a large, covered bridge over the River Baga. Crossing this bridge gives access to Baga village, the beach and Baga Fields.

 BAGA FIELDS

Turning left, immediately after crossing the bridge, there is a small copse just past the the football pitches (these dry fields produced a few waders, pipits and egrets). On the far side of this copse is a fenced field surrounded by a bank planted with bushes and small trees. This field was very dry and burnt in places but was a real magnet for a birds. We visited regularly, staying some time in on each visit as the birds were constantly coming and going to this site. Heading south along the raised bank we found the the bushes to be very productive for birds. Surrounding the area were flat dry fields which proved to be excellent and worth regular investigation. We missed two Siberian Rubythroats in this area but did see some good extra-limital western palearctic birds. From Baga Fields, one can cut through the village and head for the Biera Mar Marsh.

BIERA MAR MARSH

This marsh is situated in Baga village, right behind the Biera Mar Hotel and is an excellent spot to see a wide variety of birds in comfort. The ‘Sunbird’ holiday company used this very basic old hotel, but from a birding point of view, it is easy to see why. The hotel terrace gives good views of the marsh which proved to be an excellent birding spot. Buying a drink or a meal was enough to allow access for non-resident birders. We had excellent views of the marsh from the restaurant and the swimming pool area, finding it most productive in late afternoon. The marsh was worth visiting at any time of day, but late afternoon and early evening seemed best for the two specialities, Painted Snipe and Chestnut Bittern. Best views were from the swimming pool area and by late afternoon most of the bathers had left, giving more room and allowing birders to feel a bit less conspicuous, keeping their eyes on the birds rather than the bikinis!

Baga village has a wealth of places to eat and the food is very inexpensive, although the hassle seemed particularly bad for women with the market traders seeing them as a soft target. We were always glad to escape from the bustle and hassle of the place back to the relative peace and quiet of the Marinha Dourada.

THE HILLSIDE TO THE EAST OF THE MARINHA DOURADA

This site was pointed out to us by Roy and Margaret Nye. We saw several species that we had only previously seen far inland in the forest reserves and quite a few uncommon species that we saw nowhere else. From the entrance of the Marinha Dourada Hotel, turn right (south east) along the road, checking the roadside bushes on the way to the T junction. Check the wires over the fields ahead. At the junction turn left, and continue for approximately two kilometers. Walk on the right hand side of the road so that you can check the ditch. Just past the drinks shack, the road bends sharply left and there are two tracks leading off on the right into the woods on the hillside. Take the lower track over a small stone wall and into some rough ‘parkland’ type habitat, check here for passerines. Keep a constant eye overhead as raptors, hirundines and swifts are constantly passing, particularly in the late morning. This area is worth several visits if possible.

Another site worth visiting, is the track just which leads east from the junction to Aguada Fort from Aguada resort village. This area is not marked on the map in the P Harris report. Jeff Blincow told us of this site. He had visited about two weeks before and found Indian Pitta there. As the site is unnamed we have called it Aguada Track.

AGUADA TRACK

The track can be found by taking the road east from Aguada village. After about two kilometres the road bends sharply to the right before heading west to Aguada Fort. From the bend, there is a road junction with another road leading south. Stop at this junction and walk down the track that leads due east into the scrub. After about sixty metres, trees form an archway over the path. This is where Jeff Blincow’s party saw Indian Pitta. We could not find it there, however we continued along the path coming to a fairly open area of dry hillside with bushes, small trees and small, quarried pits. We saw plenty of birds here, including the Pitta which was in one of the small pits about a hundred metres from the arboreal archway. The Pitta gave excellent views as it came out of cover from the bottom of the pit, hopped up the banks and then flew along the path and into dense cover. A few other birders found this species at this site, although most went for another along a smelly stream nearer Aguada village.

We heard that some locals were filling in the pits with rubbish a few days later, but we are sure that the area is worth investigation as another bird of special note we found here was Blue faced Malkoha, the only one of the trip. We had an uncomfortably close encounter with a cobra here, be wary, especially of the brush piles. It is worth checking overhead for raptors, they can pass very close. From this spot we walked back across the junction and up the road (checking the bushes on the way) to Fort Aguada.

FORT AGUADA

This site is first class for photographing raptors, particularly Black Kites and White-bellied Sea Eagles which can drift by very closely. Sitting still at the viewpoint near the concrete posts, the kites soon became accustomed to our presence and perched on the posts some 5 or 6 metres away. This was also a good area for swifts and hirundines. There were superb views of the countryside to the north including the creek leading from the river Mandovi, adjacent to the Aguada salt pans.

AGUADA SALT PANS

There is a bridge over the creek to the north of Aguada (the taxi driver should know it if he is shown the map). Immediately after crossing the bridge, there is a lay-by on the left where the taxi can wait in the shade. From here walk north scanning the creek on the left and the small lake on the right. At the far end of the lake, there is a small wood, which is worth checking at dusk for owlets. From the northern perimeter of the wood, the salt pans can be ‘scoped, although we found it more profitable to walk along the raised banks around the pools. The dry fields on the right of the pans are worth checking.

 

DONA PAULA PLATEAU

On the opposite side of the mouth of the Mandovi river is the Dona Paula area and the Cidada de Goa hotel, one of the most highly rated hotels in Goa. The key site of this area is the Dona Paula plateau. The Dona Paula Plateau is very uninspiring, a few acres of dry flat fields with occasional small pools and a few bushes. The unattractiveness is compounded by its use as a latrine by the locals but this is somewhat compensated for by the birds found here. We only had one brief visit and found a few birds, but regular coverage would produce the specialities. We found birds fairly approachable here and obtained our best shots of several species including Yellow-wattled Lapwing. The local dogs are a little territorial and can be a little aggressive with solitary birders but back off as soon as there are two or more people, a tripod makes a good barrier, but these animals have a hard life so don't beat them, a show of bravado does the trick without having to make contact! Immediately south of the plateau, down a road sign posted to Vanguinim Valley is an area of mixed habitat behind the Cidada de Goa Hotel.

HABITAT BEHIND THE CIDADA DE GOA HOTEL

This area consists of woodland, marshy fields and a pool. We only visited once but the area would definitely warrant regular attention, particularly if resident at the hotel. We saw a very good selection of some of the more common birds including a number of new species for the trip.

Heading inland, the road runs alongside the Mandovi River on the south side and it is worth checking the exposed mud when the tide is right for waders, terns and herons. However this is a very busy road with few places to stop. Across the river is one of the best sites for waders in Goa.

CHORAO ISLAND

This is accessed via the ferry from Ribander (chaos). We took a trip across as foot passengers, costing about 2p return. It might be an idea to take a taxi across on the ferry and see a lot more of this area than we did. A word of warning, not all the taxi drivers seem familiar with the name and they become even more confused when asked about the island, as it is not really an island. At the ferry terminal on Chorao there is a very good area of marsh on the right and we ‘scoped this, finding quite a few waders on the right behind one of the drinks shacks. After that, we walked along the raised bank, which runs east between the river and the marsh. This was very profitable as there were many birds on the marsh and in the bushes fringing the path. After a few hundred yards, the path bends and crosses a small creek, continuing through mangroves with dry fields on the left. We continued along this until it turned back towards the river, finding birds all the way. It is important to keep an eye to the north for raptors and storks soaring over the distant trees, also check the fields for land birds and harriers, although lack of shade here makes the heat almost unbearable.

On the return ferry journey the tide had dropped revealing the sand banks at the western end of Diver Island. There were waders and herons here, but too distant to identify the waders accurately.

On Chorao, we were approached by a young Indian with a basic knowledge of birds who offered to take us by boat into the Salim Ali sanctuary. We declined his offer, but with hindsight it may have been worthwhile and would also encourage enterprise by the locals with the resulting improvements in birding as has happened in the Gambia.

If a fairly short stay at Chorao will suffice then it can be visited on the journey to or from what is probably Goa’s best known bird site, Carambolim.

CARAMBOLIM LAKE

Carambolim is well known by all of the taxi drivers. You will probably tire of the number of them that stop and ask if you want to go to Carambolim as soon as they see binoculars around your neck. However, their awareness of this, if no other birding site, is understandable, as there are the highest numbers of birds in Goa at the lake, including a wide variety of quality species.

We visited on two occasions, concentrating on the east bank. We made the mistake of neglecting to view the paddy fields to the south of the lake and, no doubt, missed some good birds. We asked the taxi driver to park in the village by the south east corner and walked north along the footpath with the lake on our left. The lake appears to dry out fairly rapidly following the end of the monsoons in October and even by the second half of November the birds were fairly distant, necessitating the use of a telescope. However, thousands of birds can be seen on the lake with many ducks, herons, gallinules and jacanas. Overhead were various storks and raptors and the bushes and trees along the path produced a variety of land birds. There was a large tree on the left hand side of the path about half way along the lake. This was full of birds on both visits.

The one drawback of this superb location is that, in the early morning, it seems that half the male population of Goa use the lake side as a latrine, so discretion is required both where one points a telescope (backsides everywhere!) and where one puts one’s feet, especially when leaving the path! It always intrigued us why we only ever saw the men squatting out in the fields until we learned that the women must wait until dark before they can relieve themselves.

CIBA GEIGY FACTORY

Not far from Carambolim, and worth a visit if in this area is the Ciba Geigy Factory. This is a man made site with landscaped lakes surrounded by trees, bushes and wet fields. Access was straightforward, we just checked in at the main gate, they were used to birdwatchers and allowed us in without question. There are two lakes, each with its own tree holding nesting cormorants. The lake on the left held various species of storks in the long grass at the back and the bushes by the road were good for warblers.

The lakes here and at Carambolim offer easy birding, as the birds are generally fairly visible and obvious. This is not the case in the forest reserves in the center of Goa. We visited two of these reserves and found the best and most convenient to be Bondla.

BONDLA

This can be reached by a day trip from most of the tourist resorts in the Baga/Dona Paula areas. If desired, one can stay overnight in one of the basic tourist chalets here (not for the fainthearted). We spent a full morning and early afternoon on one day, which was very rewarding. Our second visit was just for a couple of hours on a Sunday. This we would not recommend, as it is very busy with local day-trippers particularly around the zoo area. However, we still managed to find birds in the quieter parts of the wood. Areas we would suggest searching are around the park entrance, the area around the entrance to the zoo and the woodland surrounding the tourist chalets. We saw several good speciality birds here, but it can be hard work finding them and almost impossible photographing them. Entrance to the reserve costs just a few pence, but the gate does not open to vehicles until 9am. Basic refreshments (biscuits and drinks) are available in the kiosk by the car park at the zoo entrance, but if staying overnight, it would be essential to bring food with you. It was here we watched a Malabar Whistling Thrush displaying, with its spectacular prancing dance, in the dappled light of a forest stream. Possibly the most beautiful site we have ever seen whilst birding.

BAGWAN MAHAVEER WILDLIFE SANCTUARY AND NATIONAL PARK

This area is better known as Molem and is situated on the border of Goa and Karnataka in the foothills of the Western Ghat Mountains. We stayed for two nights here, in the tourist complex – not for the faint hearted! The cottages look a lot better from the outside than they do from the inside. There is a restaurant there, which is absolutely filthy but the food, whilst not particularly appetizing, gave us no problems, which considering the total lack of hygiene, was something of a minor miracle - tropical rules apply! On the first evening we ate at a café in the local village. They do not see too many tourists venturing in to the village and when we asked which was the best restaurant, we were told that there isn’t a best restaurant. We picked the busiest and cleanest and ordered a vegetable thali each (this consisted of 4 bowls of vegetables spiced with chillies (very hot) a bowl of rice, naan bread, poppadums and a Coke each for a total cost of 80p – for both of us! The food was,pretty good (although on the Richter scale for spices), and it was quite enjoyable, sitting with the locals and truck drivers, getting a flavour of rural India and we had to ill effects at all.

Birding at Molem is as difficult as we have experienced anywhere. We walked through the forest for quite hours without seeing any birds at all (good spiders 'though). When a flock is encountered, they tend to stay in the canopy, moving through quickly and so can be neck breaking and very frustrating. The first afternoon there, we walked for two to three kilometres without seeing a bird. We arranged with our taxi driver from the coast to leave us there and pick us up three days later. For one day, we hired a jeep and driver to navigate the trail as far as Devils Canyon and later in the afternoon to take us to some of the sites on the ring road area (both shown on the Harris report). Our technique along the canyon trail was to drive and stop at likely looking areas, walk for a while as the driver waited and later caught up. Whilst working the forest in the fashion we found a fair selection of birds. However, we know of other birders who have walked the full length of the trail and have had far more luck than we did, but carrying our heavy kit for the full seven kilometres and back was not something we were prepared to do in temperatures of over 100 degrees Farenheit and high humidity.

We took an afternoon trip to the ring road area, primarily to look for the Indian Bison that are occasionally seen feeding in one or two open areas. Sadly we not successful and saw few birds.

Probably the best area for birds at Molem is around the tourist complex itself, particularly in the early mornings, we found several uncommon birds amongst the usual species. The open fields across the road from the complex also produced birds and would warrant regular attention if staying at Molem.

The park is part of the huge wildlife sanctuary and obviously, in a brief trip, one can only scratch the surface. Entry is by permit, which is available at the office, just a short walk from the tourist complex. Four our three days there, we needed three permits and three camera permits each. This took some negotiation with the officials as they seem to prefer visitors to buy their permits each day instead of all at once. We politely persisted (Indian officials should be treated with the utmost patience, gratitude and respect or else you get nowhere) and eventually they allowed us to buy all of them in one go. Total cost for three days for both of us was about 60p. Permits are also needed for vehicles which need to go through a barrier. We arranged to meet our driver inside the forest, giving him time to arrange for the barrier to be unlocked and to buy the permit for the car. The barrier is unmanned due to staff shortages and so, on our return he was forced to run down to the office to get someone to let us out.

Of the two forest reserves, we preferred Bondla as it is easier to work. However, we have since heard of a site called the Backwoods Camp, also in the Western Ghats in Goa, which is apparently very productive and a pleasant place to stay, it may be worth searching the Internet for details regarding this.

MERCK MEAT FACTORY

This is the main site in Goa for vultures. Do not visit on a weekend, as we did, because the factory staff do not dispose of the carcasses then, we only saw one vulture circling overhead. These days you may be very lucky to see one at all as Diclofenac, a painkiller used for treating the cattle has caused the death of may vultures who have fed the remains of the dead cattle.

Travelling east towards Molem, look for a gated factory building with right hand side of the road. Just before you reach it, take the track on the right side of the road that bears left behind a village compound (there were intestines hanging on lines to dry around the compound when we were there). Follow the track down through a small wood. The taxi can drive some of the way and park near the wood. Past this is a brick walled area surrounded by a field littered with bones and hooves etc. You will know when you are near it by the smell.

If you are with a non birding or particularly sensitive partner, Merck is not an ideal place to take them. There is definitely something depressing about the place, understandably, they could resent being taken there when they could be on one of Goa’s golden beaches.

MORJI BEACH

Morji (Morjim) Beach is situated on the northern side of the mouth of the Chapora River and is reached by taking the ferry from Siolem (this can be an eye opening experience!). Once across the river, turn left towards Morji after checking the wires near the ferry terminal for kingfishers etc. Before reaching the idyllic beach there is a small area of marsh, which is worth birding for a few minutes. Once at the mouth of the river, there are some palm trees by the road, under which the driver can wait in the shade whilst you walk the beach. We would recommend waiting for a fairly high tide. Starting at the river mouth, walk north and search for waders, gull and tern flocks. Waders can be anywhere, with the Sandplovers forming tight flocks while the Kentish Plovers seem more scattered. At high tide, the gulls and terns form mixed flocks on the water’s edge. They tend to be nervous but do not fly far if flushed and with time and care, staying very low and moving slowly, they can eventually be approached quite closely, revealing a fairly wide range of species. It is usually local people walking about their business that push the birds, but generally, the beach is very quiet and free of people. You can have several hundred yards to yourself and the birds. Examine the flocks very closely and a wide range of species will be found. Keep an eye on the skies for raptors and hirundines. We saw our only Small Praticoles of the trip with a flock of Red-rumped Swallows flying overhead near the river mouth. The bushes and scrub between the road and the beach can produce birds. We flushed a Barred Buttonquail and photographed Blyth’s Pipit here.

SUMMARY

Goa is ‘easy India’ with several good hotels, generally friendly, helpful people (let down by the few that try to take advantage) good food and reliable weather (we were told that the rain we had one morning and evening was very rare in November). There is generally much less hassle in Goa than in Africa with the exception of the markets and the tourist areas such as Baga Beach where the hawkers and traders can become a nuisance, particularly to women tourists who they see as an easier target. This was the advantage of staying at the Marinha Dourada . It is only just over a mile or so from Baga and the area around the hotel was completely hassle free.

Transport is easy and, during our visit, was quite fairly priced, but be sure you fix the itinerary and the rate before you go. Make it very clear where you want to go, although this does not always work. Roy and Margaret Nye gave directions to a birding site and the driver took them to a carpet factory, he was probably on commission to get tourists in. Needless to say, he was not used again by the Nyes. If you find a reliable driver, keep him for the duration of your visit, if he lets you down, drop him. There are a wide variety of birding habitats and birds in a comparatively small area, with colourful Indian endemics mixing with more familiar and generally duller Western Palearctic birds. Each type has its own challenges for the birder and the photographer. Some sites will warrant more time and visits than others and we hope that this account assists in making those choices. Goa is not always easy birding, particularly in the forests, but it can be rewarding.

NB Unfortunately, the book ‘Birds of the Indian Subcontinent’ by Richard Grimmet, Carol Inskipp and Tim Inskipp was not available at the time of our visit. Had it been, the task of identifying some of the birds would have been a lot easier. We purchased the pocket guide when it was released after our trip in 1999 and found it to be a huge improvement on it's predecessor. It should finally assist in standardizing the names of the birds, which were confusing in the extreme prior to this publication beg available.

Systematic List of Birds seen in Goa 15 - 30 November 1998

1 Little Grebe 1 at Carambolim Lake - 18/11
2 Indian Shag Several nesting pairs at Ciba Geigy - 28/11.
3 Little Cormorant 1 or 2 daily in ponds by Marinha Dourada Hotel. Other odd singles at wetland sites. Often seen from taxi whist en route to birding sites. Several pairs at Ciba Geigy - 28/11.
4 Oriental Darter 1 pair nesting at Ciba Geigy - 28/11.
5 Grey Heron

1 behind Marinha Dourada Hotel - 17/11; 1 Carambolim Lake - 18/11 and 28/11; 1 River Baga - 24/11. 1 Aguada Salt pans - 27/11; 1 Ciba Geigy - 28/11. 1 Chorao Island 25/11.

6 Purple Heron

1 Carambolim Lake - 18/11 and 28/11; 2 Ciba Geigy - 28/11

7 Little Green (Striated or Green-backed) Heron 1 behind Marinha Dourada Hotel - 17/11; 2 River Baga - 24/11; .28/11; 3 Chorao Island - 25/11; 1 in ditch east of Marinha Dourada - 26/11; 1 River Baga - 27/11
8 Indian Pond Heron (Paddybird) Very common and widespread, especially near the coast. frequenting ditches paddyfields and dry fields. Seen daily in good numbers.
9 Cattle Egret Common and widespread often associating with cattle and waterbuffalo. Seen daily except in forest areas.
10 Great White Egret

1 behind Marinha Dourada Hotel - 17/11; Several at Carambolim Lake - 18/11 and 28/11; 1 River Mandovi - 24/11. 1 Chorao Island - 25/11; 1 Aguada Salt Pans - 27/11; 1 Ciba Geigy - 28/11. 2 & 3 Biera Mar Marsh - 25/11.

11 Intermediate Egret

100+ at Carambolim Lake - 18/11; 30+ Carambolim lake - 28/11; 2 or 3 Biera Mar Marsh - 25/11.

12 Little Egret Common at most wetland sites, seen daily except in forest areas
13 Western Reef Heron 5 River Mandovi - 24/11; 5 Chorao Island - 25/11
14 Chestnut (Cinnamon) Bittern 2 Beira Mar Marsh - at dusk on 25/11.
15 Asian Open-billed Stork 8 Carambolim - 18/11, 1 Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11; 2 Carambolim - 28/11. 3 Ciba Geigy - 28/11
16 Lesser Adjutant Stork 10 over Chorao Island - 25/11; 4 flew over Carambolim Lake towards Ciba Geigy where we found 5 - 28/11.
17 Lesser Whistling Duck 200+ Carambolim lake - 18/11 and 28/11
18 Pintail 50+ Carambolim Lake - 18/11.
19 Teal 200+ Carambolim Lake - 18/11 and 28/11.
20 Garganey 500+ Carambolim Lake - 18/11 and 28/11.
21 Shoveller 1 Carambolim Lake - 28/11.
22 Cotton Teal 20 Carambolim Lake - 28/11.
23 Comb Duck 1 female Carambolim Lake - 28/11.
24 Oriental (Crested) Honey Buzzard 1 over Baga Hill - 16/11 and another there - 17/11; 2 Aguada Track-20/11; 1 Molem - 23/11; 1Baga Fields - 24/11; 1 Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11; 6 over hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 29/11.
25 Black Kite Common and widespread particularly near the coast. seen daily. Maximum numbers at Aguada Fort. 30+ - 20/11 and 27/11.
26 Brahminy Kite Common and widespread. particularly near the coast. Seen daily in numbers.
27 Shikra 1 Fort Aguada - 20/11. Molem - 21/11; 2 Molem - 23/11; 1 juv Baga Fields - 24/11 and 28/11.
28 Booted Eagle 1 dark phase Baga Fields - 24/11; 1 pale phase hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 29/11.
29 Greater Spotted Eagle 1 Carambolim Lake - 28/11.
30 White-bellied Sea-Eagle

1 near Marinha Dourada Hotel - 16/11; 1 over Aguada Track - 19/11; 3 Fort Aguada - 20/11; 1 Fort Aguada - 27/11; 3 over Hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 29/11.

31 Changeable Hawk Eagle 1 Bondla - 21/11
32 Oriental White-backed Vulture 1 Molem - 22/11; 1 Merck Meat Factory - 23/11; 4 Ciba Geigy - 28/11.
33 Pallid Harrier 1 imm Aguada track - 20/11; 1 male River Mandovi - 21/11; 1 female Chorao Island - 25/11.
34 Marsh Harrier 2 Carambolim Lake - 18/11; 1 Morji Beach - 19/11; 2 Chorao Island - 25/11. 1 Baga Fields - 27/11; 1 Carambolim Lake - 28/11; 1 Beira Mar Marsh - 28/11.
35 Osprey 1 Morji Beach - 19/11 and 26/11; 1 Aguada Track - 19/11; 1 Aguada Salt Pans - 27/11.
36 Peregrine 1 female caught a sandplover Chorao Island - 25/11.
37 Kestrel 1 Baga Fields - 24/11; 1 Fort Aguada - 27/11.
38 Common Peafowl 1 male near Fort Aguada - 20/11; A pair on hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 26/11.
39 Common Bustard Quail 1 Morji Beach -19/11; 2 Aguada Track - 19/11.
40 White-breasted Waterhen 1 behind Cidada de Goa - 18/11; 1 Baga Fields - 24/11 and 28/11; 2 River Baga - 24/11; 10+ Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11 and 28/11.
41 Moorhen A few at Carambolim - 18/11 and 28/11; Several at Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11 and 28/11.
42 Purple Gallinule 100+ Carambolim Lake - 18/11 and 28/11.
43 Coot 5 Carambolim Lake - 28/11.
44 Pheasant-tailed Jacana 50+ Carambolim Lake - 18/11 and 28/11.
45 Bronze-winged Jacana 20+ Carambolim Lake - 18/11 and 28/11.
46 Red-wattled Lapwing

6 between Marinha Dourada Hotel and River Baga - 16/11;23 around Marinha Dourada Hotel and River Baga area - 17/11; 4 Cidada de Goa Marsh - 18/11; 2 Baga Fields - 24/11 and 28/11; 6 Chorao Island - 25/11. 2 Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11; 4 Aguada Salt Pans - 27/11. 4 Ciba Geigy - 28/11.

47 Yellow-wattled Lapwing 5 Baga Fields - 24/11. 4 Dona Paula Plateau - 25/11.
48 Pacific Golden Plover 27 Chorao Island - 25/11.
49 Greater Sandplover Several Morji Beach - 19/11 and 26/11.
50 Lesser Sandplover 20+ Morji Beach - 19/11 and 26/11; 10+ Chorao Island - 25/11.
51 Little Ringed Plover 6 Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11 and 28/11.
52 Kentish Plover 20+ Morji Beach - 19/11 and 26/11; 20+ Chorao Island - 25/11
53 Whimbrel 4 River Mandovi - 25/11.
54 Spotted Redshank 2 Siolem ferry crossing - 19/11; 2 Chorao Island - 25/11; 1 Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11.
55 Redshank Common in most wetland areas. Maximum 20+ Chorao Island - 25/11
56

Greenshank

2 regularly near Marinha Dourada Hotel; 1 Carambolim - 18/11; Several Chorao Island - 25/11; Several Aguada Salt Pans - 27/11.
57 Green Sandpiper 1 Baga Fields - 24/11; 3 Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11.
58 Wood Sandpiper 20+ Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11 and - 28/11; 1 Aguada Salt Pans - 27/11.
59 Common Sandpiper Fairly common and widespread in suitable habitats. Up to 6 seen daily near the coast.
60 Terek Sandpiper 1 Chorao Island - 25/11.
61 Pintailed Snipe 2 Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11;. 1 Baga Fields - 28/11.
62 Common Snipe 1 Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11; 1 Baga Fields - 28/11.
63 Sanderling 1 Morji Beach - 26/11.
64 Little Stint 2 Beira Mar Marsh - 28/11.
65 Temminck's Stint 1 Aguada Salt Pans - 27/11. 7 Beira Mar Marsh - 28/11.
66 Dunlin Several Chorao Island - 25/11
67 Curlew Sandpiper 1 Chorao Island - 25/11; 3 Aguada Salt Pans - 27/11.
68 Painted Snipe 7 Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11.
69 Black-winged Stilt 1 Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11 and 28/11.
70 Little (Small Indian) Pratincole 15+ in with a flock of hirundines over Morji Beach - 26/11.
71 Herring Gull Several of differing ages at Morji Beach - 19/11 and 26/11- Probably of races Heuglini, possibly Taimyrensis, Barbarensis.
72 Great Black-headed Gull 4 Morji Beach - 19/11.
73 Brown-headed Gull 2 Baga Beach - 18/11; 100+ Morji Beach - 19/11 and 26/11; Small numbers along coast near Panjim and Mandovi River on several occasion.
74 Black-headed Gull A few on Morji Beach - 19/11 and 26/11.
75 Slender-billed Gull 1 Morji Beach - 19/11.
76 Whiskered Tern 3 Carambolim Lake - 28/11.
77 Gull-billed Tern 3 Carambolim Lake - 18/11 and 28/11; Up to 8 regularly on River Mandovi near Panjim Bridge; 10+ Morji Beach - 19/11; 5 Chorao Island - 25/11; 4 Morji Beach - 26/11. 23 Aguada Salt Pans - 27/11.
78 Caspian Tern 1 Morji Beach - 26/11.
79 Little Tern 1 Morji Beach - 19/11 (a dark winged, black billed bird, slow wingbeats, we assume this bird is Little Tern, but cannot rule out Saunders Tern).
80 Crested (Swift) Tern 10 Morji Beach - 19/11; 5 Morji Beach - 26/11.
81 Lesser-crested Tern 30+ Morji Beach - 19/11 and 26/11.
82 Sandwich Tern 10+ Morji Beach - 19/11 and 26/11.
83 Blue Rock Pigeon Commonly seen in mixed flocks of up to 30 with Feral pigeons. in Baga Fields and area surrounding Aguada Track.
84 Spotted Dove Common, small numbers seen daily in most habitats. almost always in pairs.
85 Emerald Dove 1 Bondla - 23/11.
86 Rose-ringed Parakeet 1 Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11; 8 Morji Beach - 26/11.
87 Indian Lorikeet 2 Aguada Track - 20/11; 3 or 4 just south of bridge by Marinha Dourada.
88 Blossom-headed Parakeet 4 behind Marinha Dourada Hotel - 17/11; Several regularly seen over Baga Fields with a maximum of 12+ on 24/11; 3 Aguada Salt Pans - 27/11; Several on hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 29/11.
89 Asian Koel 2 pairs behind Cidada de Goa Hotel - 18/11; Several along Aguada Track and on road to Aguada Fort - 19/11 and 20/11; A pair along River Baga - 24/11; A pair behing Beira Mar Hotel - 25/11; Several on the hillside east of the Marinha Dourada Hotel - 26/11 and 29/11.
90 Small Green-billed Malcoha 1 Aguada Track - 19/11.
91 Coucal

1 behind Marinha Dourada - 17/11; 1 behind Cidada de Goa - 18/11; 2 Bondla - 21/11; 3 Chorao Island - 25/11; 1 on hillside east of Marinha Dourada - 29/11.

92 Indian Scops Owl Not seen but heard at Aguada track - 19/11 and Molem - 21/11.
93 Spotted Owlet 4 in the small wood near Aguada Salt Pans - 19/11; A pair regularly along roadside next to River Baga just west of the Marinha Dourada Hotel; 1 seen well in daylight perched in a tree on the hillside east of the Marinha Dourada Hotel - 29/11
94 Pacific Swift 1 over hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 29/11.
95 Little (House) Swift Very common in all habitats, often in flocks of 100+.
96 Asian Palm Swift 2 by Marinha Dourada Hotel - 29/11.
97 Pied Kingfisher

1 opposite Marinha Dourada - 16/11; 2 Carambolim Lake - 18/11; 1 from Siolem Ferry - 26/11; 1 Aguada Salt Pans - 27/11; 2 opposite Marinha Dourada Hotel - 29/11.

98

Common Kingfisher

Lives up to its name in Goa - found in all suitable wet habitats, even ditches.
99 Blue-eared Kingfisher Molem - 22/11.
100 Stork-billed Kingfisher

1 seen from Siolem Ferry crossing - 19/11 and 26/11; 1 on approach road to Bondla - 21/11; 1 near Marinha Dourada - 25/11 and 29/11; 4 near pools on approach road to Morji Beach - 26/11.

101 White-breasted Kingfisher A pair regularly in grounds of Marinha Dourada Hotel, often perching just outside our balcony. By far the most numerous and widespread kingfisher, being common in all habitats except for the forest reserves where only occasionally seen.
102 Black-capped Kingfisher 1 Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11.
103 Blue-tailed Bee-eater 20+ Carambolim Lake - 18/11; 6 Chorao Island - 25/11; Several at Morji Beach - 26/11; 1 from Siolem Ferry - 26/11; Several over hillside south east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 26/11; 10+ Carambolim Lake - 28/11.
104 Little green Bee-eater Common in all habitats, seen daily.
105 Blue-bearded Bee-Eater 1 Bondla - 21/11.
106 Indian Roller 2 seen from taxi en route to hotel from airport - 16/11; 1 in fields east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 20/11 and 21/11; 1 Baga Fields - 24/11; 27/11 and 28/11; Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11 and 28/11.
107 Hoopoe 2 Baga Fields - 24/11; 1 Baga Fields - 28/11; 1 in field opposite Marinha Dourada Hotel - 30/11.
108 Malabar Grey Hornbill 5 Bondla - 21/11. 1 Molem - 22/11.
109 Large Green (Brown-headed) Barbet 1 Molem - 22/11.
110 Small Green (White-cheeked) Barbet 1 behind Marinha Dourada - 17/11; 2 Aguada Track - 19/11 and 20/11.
111 Coppersmith Barbet 1 Aguada Track - 20/11; 2 Carambolim Lake - 28/11; 1 Molem - 22/11; 1 on hillside east of Marinha Dourada - 26/11 & 29/11; Heard regularly in wooded habitats (calls like European Scops owl but faster).
112 Rufous Woodpecker 1 flew over Devil's canyon at Molem - 23/11; 1 on hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 26/11.
113 Lesser Golden-backed (Flame-backed) Woodpecker 1 behind Cidada de Goa Hotel - 18/11; 4 Molem - 22/11; 1 Molem - 23/11; 1 Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11; 2 on hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 26/11 and 29/11.
114 Yellow-crowned pied Woodpecker 2 on hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 26/11.
115 Pygmy (Brown-capped) Woodpecker 2 Bondla - 21/11; 1 Molem - 22/11.
116 Indian Pitta 1 Aguada Track - 19/11.
117 Ashy-crowned Finch Lark 10+ Baga Fields - 24/11; 1 Baga Fields - 27/11 and 28/11.
118 Short-toed Lark A flock of around 30 Baga Fields - 27/11.
119 Malabar Crested Lark Fairly common in fields opposite Marinha Dourada Hotel and in Baga Fields; 8+ Dona Paula Plateau - 25/11; Several near Aguada Salt Pans - 27/11.
120 Barn Swallow

1 Morji Beach - 19/11; Several Aguada Track - 19/11; 20+ on wires in fields east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 21/11.

121 Wire-tailed Swallow Commonly seen around the Marinha Douradal/River Baga area, often in family parties feeding young. Numbers decreasing towards end of holiday. perhaps suggesting movement away. Several were over Aguada Track – 19/11; 3 were at Devil's Canyon, Molem - 22/11
122 Indian cliff swallow 1 near the Marinha Dourada Hotel - 17/11.
123 Red-rumped Swallow Very commonly seen in flocks of up to 100. particularly near the coast, often associating with Little Swifts.
124 Rufous-backed (Long-tailed) Shrike

First seen on wires opposite the Marinha Dourada - 16/11. Thereafter up to 6 seen daily, generally in open, lightly wooded habitats.

125 Brown Shrike 1 Molem. by the tourist complex - 22/11.
126 Golden Oriole 1 behind Cidada de Goa - 18/11; 3 Aguada Track - 19/11; 6+ Aguada track - 20/11; 6 Molem - 23/11.
127 Black-naped Oriole 2 Molem - 22/11; 1 Molem by the tourist complex - 23/11.
128 Black-headed Oriole 2 Bondla - 21/11; 6 Molem - 22/11; 1 Molem tourist complex - 23/11.
129 Black Drongo Common and widespread in open fields, particularly near the coast, often associating with cattle.
130 Ashy Drongo 1 in woods west of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 17/11; 1 Aguada Track - 19/11; Several Bondla - 21/11 and 23/11; Several Molem - 21/11, 22/11 and 23/11; 2 on hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 26/11.
  White-bellied Drongo 4 Molem - 22/11; 3 or 4 on hillside east of Marinha Dourada 26/11.
132 Bronzed Drongo Several Molem - 22/11 and 23/11; 2 Bondla - 23/11.
133 Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 3 Bondla - 21/11.
134

Ashy Swallow-shrike (Woodswallow)

3 Carambolim Lake - 18/11; 6+ in fields opposite tourist complex, Molem - 23/11; Several on wires in fields east of Marinha Dourada 29/11.
135 Grey-headed Mynah 8 Aguada track - 19/11; 4 Aguada Track - 20/11; 10+ along approach road to Aguada Fort - 20/11; Several Baga Fields - 24/11; 12+ Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11.
136 Black-headed Mynah 1 Carambolim Lake - 18/11; 1 Baga Fields - 24/11; 12 Baga Fields - 27/11.
137 Common Mynah A few behind the Cidada de Goa Hotel - 18/11; Several regularly in Baga Fields and occasionally in fields around Marinha Dourada Hotel; 4 Dona Paula Plateau - 25/11; Several Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11; Not nearly as common as following species.
138 Jungle Mynah Common in all open fields, particularly around Marinha Dourada and Baga. Often associating with cattle. Seen daily in good numbers.
139 Indian Tree-pie 2 behind Cidada de Goa - 18/11; 2 Baga Hill - 18/11; 1 behind Fort Aguada - 20/11; 2 Molem - 22/11; 2 Molem - 23/11; 1 Baga Fields - 24/11; 1 along River Baga - 24/11; 2 Chorao Island - 25/11; 1 Dona Paula Plateau - 25/11.
140 House Crow Very common and widespread, seen daily everywhere even on hotel tables.
141 Jungle Crow Largely replaces previous species in forest areas. Several Bondla - 21/11 and 23/11; Several Molem - 22/11 and 23/11.
142 Large (Brown-tailed) Woodshrike 1 Bondla - 23/11.
143 Common Woodshrike 3 Molem - 22/11.
144 Black-headed Cuckoo-shrike 1 male Carambolim Lake - 18/11; pair on hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 26/11.
145 Scarlet Minivet A male Bondla - 21/11. A pair Bondla - 23/11.
146 Small Minivet 4 Molem - 22/11. 2 Molem - 23/11; 1 on hillside east of Marinha Dourada - 26/11; 2 on hillside east of Marinha Dourada - 29/11.
147

Common Iora

2 Carambolim Lake - 18/11; 2 behind Cidada de Goa - 18/11; 1 Aguada Track - 19/11; 4 Molem - 22/11. 1 Molem - 23/11; 2 on hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 26/11 and 29/11.

148 Gold-mantled Leafbird (Chloropsis) A pair behind the Cidada de Goa Hotel - 18/11; A pair Molem - 22/11; 2 pairs Molem - 23/11; 6 on hillside east of Marinha Dourada - 26/11.
149 Red-whiskered Bulbul

2 behind Cidada de Goa Hotel - 18/11; Several Aguada Track - 19/11 & 20/11; Several Bondla - 21/11; Several Molem - 23/11. Several on hillside east of Marinha Dourada - 26/11 and 29/11; 1 Fort Aguada - 27/11.

150 Red-vented Bulbul 1 Carambolim Lake - 18/11; 4 Aguada Track - 19/11; 2 Aguada Track – 20/11; Several Molem - 23/11; Several on hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 26/11 and 29/11.
151

White-browed Bulbul

1 Aguada Track - 19/11 and 20/11; 1 Dona Paula Plateau - 25/11 on hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 26/11.
152 Yellow-browed Bulbul 2 Aguada Track - 19/11; 1 Aguada Track - 20/11; 2 Bondla - 21/11; 2 Molem - 22/11.
153 Spotted Babbler 1 by the entrance to Bondla - 21/11; 2 on hillside east of Marinha Dourada - 29/11.
154 Jungle Babbler

A flock of 10+ Bondla - 21/11; 10+ Molem - 22/11 and 23/11; Chorao Island - 25/11; 6 on hillside east of Marinha Dourada - 29/11

155 Quaker Babbler (Brown-cheeked Fulvetta) 3 Bondla - 21/11; Several Molem - 22/11 and 23/11.
156 Spotted Flycatcher 1 Carambolim Lake - 18/11.
157 Tickell's Blue Flycatcher 1 Bondla - 21/11; 1 on hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 26/11.
158 White-throated Fantail 1 on hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 29/11.
159 Asiatic Paradise Flycatcher An immature (or female) on hillside east of Marinha Dourada - 26/11.
160 Black-naped Monarch Flycatcher 1 Bondla - 21/11; 2 Bondla - 23/11.
161 Fan-tailed Warbler 2 Baga Fields - 28/11.
162 Franklin's Prinia 3 Carambolim Lake - 18/11; 1 Baga Fields - 24/11; 1 River Baga - 24/11.
163 Tawny-flanked Prinia 2 behind Cidada de Goa Hotel - 18/11; 1 Aguada Track - 20/11.
164 Ashy Prinia 4 Chorao Island - 25/11; 3 Aguada Salt Pans - 27/11.
165 Common (Long-tailed) Tailorbird 2 Carambolim - 18/11 and 28/11; 3 Molem - 23/11.
166 Blyth's Reed Warbler First seen on 17/11 behind Marinha Dourada Hotel. Seen daily in all habitats offering scrubby cover, often but not always near water.
167 Paddyfield Warbler 1 behind Beira Mar Hotel - 28/11.
168 Booted Warbler 1 by the entrance to Bondla - 21/11.
169 Greenish/Green Warbler First seen on 17/11 near the Marinha Dourada Hotel. Thereafter seen daily in wooded habitats. All birds heard calling were as Greenish but birds had variable plumages and extent of wing bar.
170 Large-crowned Leaf Warbler 2 Molem - 22/11; Bondla - 23/11.
171 Magpie Robin 4+ near Marinha Dourada - 17/11; 4 Carambolim lake - 18/11; 1 Morji Beach - 19/11; 2 Aguada track - 19/11; Several Bondla - 21/11; 2 Molem - 22/11 and 23/11; Several on hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 26/11 and 29/11; 1 was observed on tables in the Marinha Dourada grounds - 27/11.
172 White-rumped Shama I Molem -22/11. 1 Bondla - 21/11 and 23/11.
173 Black Redstart 1 female behind the Marinha Dourada Hotel - 17/11.
174 Eastern Stonechat 1 Baga Fields - 27/11.
175 Whinchat-type 2 Baga Fields - 24/11; 3 Chorao Island - 25/11.
176 Pied Stonechat Fairly common in Baga Fields and around Marinha Dourada Hotel area. Other occasional birds in suitable dried fields with light cover.
177 Indian Robin 1 pair Carambolim Lake - 18/11; A pair Aguada Track - 19/11; Several Aguada Track - 20/11; 2 pairs on hillside east of Marinha Dourada l - 26/11 & 29/11.
178 Malabar Whistling Thrush 1 Bondla near the zoo entrance - 21/11; 1 Molem - 22/11.
179 Orange-headed Ground Thrush 1 Aguada Track - 19/11; 2 on road between Aguada Track and the Fort - 20/11; 1 on hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 26/11 and 29/11.
180 Rufous Bushchat 1 Carambolim Lake - 18/11, a very lucky find. Peter is certain of this ID, an extreme rarity in India.
181 Yellow-cheeked Tit 3 or 4 in trees in front of the Marinha Dourada - 17/11 and 1 there on 26/11; 3 on hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 29/11.
182 Velvet-fronted Nuthatch 2 Molem - 22/11; 1 Molem near the tourist complex - 23/11.
183 Tree Pipit 1 Baga Fields - 28/11.
184 Richard's Pipit All three pipits were seen at various locations, but some birds are proving difficult to identify.
185 Oriental (Paddyfield) Pipit
186 Blyth's Pipit
187 Forest Wagtail 1 Bondla - 23/11.
188 Yellow Wagtail 1 of the Beema race Baga Fields - 28/11.
189 Grey Wagtail Molem - 2 on 22/11; Several Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11.
190 Large Pied Wagtail Common in fields around Marinha Dourada Hotel and other wet areas. Occasionally seen in a wide variety of other habitats including forest.
191 Thick-billed Flowerpecker 2 Molem - 21/11 and 4 there on 22/11.

192

Tickell's Flowerpecker Several regularly in trees around the Marinha Dourada Hotel; 3 behind the Cidada de Goa Hotel - 18/11; Several on hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 29/11.
193 Plain Flowerpecker 1 Aguada Track - 20/11; 1 Molem - 22/11; 2 there on 23/11; 2 on hillside east of Marinha Dourada Hotel - 26/11.
194 Purple-rumped Sunbird At least 2 pairs regularly around the Marinha Dourada Hotel. Seen most days in wooded habitats. By far the commonest sunbird species seen. A pair was nest building by the River Baga just west of the Marinha Dourada Hotel.
195 Small Sunbird

Several Bondla - 21/11; 2 Bondla - 23/11; 10+ Molem - 22/11.

196 Loten's Sunbird A pair watched nest-building Bondla - 21/11.
197 Purple Sunbird A male at Molem - 22/11 and a pair there on 23/11.
198 House Sparrow Several around the hotel and in some villages but not particularly common
199 Yellow-throated Sparrow Several Carambolim Lake - 18/11. 1 female Aguada Track - 20/11.
200 Baya Weaver A flock of 40+ in fields opposite the Marinha Dourada Hotel - 17/11; 1 was in the bunting flock Baga Fields - 27/11.
201 White-backed Munia Commonly seen around the Marinha Dourada; Several Carambolim Lake - 18/11 and 28/11; Common in Baga Fields and Beira Mar Marsh.
202 Spotted Munia 1 with flock of the previous species Beira Mar Marsh - 25/11; 6 with flock of the previous species Baga Fields - 27/11 and 28/11; A few Beira Mar Marsh - 28/11.
203 Black-headed Bunting A mixed flock of 40+ buntings were predominantly this species Baga Fields - 27/11; A few were in the same area on 28/11.
204 Red-headed Bunting Around 6 in the bunting flock Baga Fields - 27/11.
205 Yellow-breasted Bunting 2 on wires Baga Fields - 27/11.
206 Grey-necked Bunting 2 Baga Fields - 28/1.