The State of Goa, a former Portugese colony, is situated on the South West coast of India bordered in the east by the Western Ghats mountain range. It has long been recognised by holiday makers from the West as a Mediterranean-type of holiday destination with an Indian feel and atmosphere. More recently birdwatchers have discovered this little paradise where biding can go hand in hand with a family holiday
The hotels on the coast are geared up to accommodate western visitors and there are more good restaurants than one could possibly eat in during a two week stay. There are markets where sounds, smells and colours inevitably lure you into the Indian atmosphere that is Goa.
Goa is very much a gentle introduction to India and is ideal as a pre-cursor to a visit to the rest of the subcontinent both in terms of culture and birds.
Our itinerary is very flexible depending very much on your requirements, but during a two week birding trip we will visit most of the following destinations.
We arrive early in the morning and after our transfer to our hotel near Baga Beach and a light lunch we will explore the Baga Fields, an area of dry rice paddies with the occasional pool and scrubby areas. We will use this to acclimatise to the temperature, which is nice and warm in the late afternoon, and the local birds. We will be seeing Red-wattled Lapwings, Malabar Crested Larks and Greater Short-toed Larks, a variety of Kingfishers including the massive Stork-billed Kingfisher, Drongos, Common Tailorbirds, Paddyfield and Richards Pipits, wagtails and many other species. Brahminy Kites will float overhead and many other raptors are possible.
The rest of the holiday consists of daily excursions, one of which is Carambolin Lake, just 90 minutes from our hotel. This lake is covered with thousands of waterfowl including Lesser Whistling Ducks, Comb Ducks and Cotton Pygmy Geese, four species of Egret, Bronze-winged and Pheasant-tailed Jacanas and many Purple Swamphens. We should see Asian Open-billed, Lesser Adjutant and Woolly-necked Storks while a number of different species of raptor can be seen overhead. In the evening flocks of Little Pratincoles provide a serious spectacle as they insect feed over the lake.
A nearby grassland will be visited in order to look for pipits and larks while we will look for Brown Hawk Owl in a small woodland.
We will visit Maem Lake which is surrounded by open secondary forest which is excellent for birds. When the sun hits the fruiting trees early in the morning the place becomes alive with many colourful species including Scarlet and Small Minivets, Coppersmith and Brown-headed Barbets, Pompadour and Orange-breasted Green Pigeons, Black-headed Orioles, Common Woodshrikes and Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrikes. We will be looking for the elusive Blue-faced Malkohas while Crested Hawk Eagles and Crested Serpent Eagles fly overhead. It is possible to see Black and Tawny Eagles here as well.
We will return via some wetland areas in search of waders and more waterfowl.
For a change of habitat we will visit the estuary at Morjim Beach for specialities such as Pallas' Gull, Heuglin's and Slender-billed Gull, Greater and Lesser Crested Terns and waders such as Greater and Lesser Sandplovers. Just inland from the beach is a good spot for migrants and Brahminy Starlings are usually found here.
We will spend two nights at Backwoods Camp, subject to availability. This is a very comfortable tented camp, each tent having it own private facilities. From here we will go out to the forested areas of Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary which is usually referred to as Molem, Bondla and Tamdi Surla. We will spend three days looking for forest species, many of which are endemic to SW India. We will see Malabar Pied Hornbill as well as the Malabar Grey Hornbill, Malabar Trogon, Indian Pitta, Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Rufous-bellied and Black Eagles, Malabar Parakeet and many others.
If we are lucky we will come across the sought after Blue-eared Kingfisher and the Blue-bearded Bee-eater.
There are many more areas we will be able to visit such as the dry plateau at Dona Paula where we will look for Yellow-wattled Lapwing and Ashy-crowned Sparrowlark, Grey-breasted Prinia and Hoopoes. We usually see Asian Golden Plovers here along the coast.
We can do a boat trip along the Zuari River in search of Collared Kingfisher which is only found in the mangroves and best seen from a boat. Here we will see many heron species also including the shy Green Heron and Black-crowned Night Heron.
This holiday can be 100% birding or it can be a combination of birding and beach or site seeing. It suits families where not every member is a birder. There is plenty of beach, cafes, shopping, hotel pools to entertain everybody.
It is for this reason we have not costed the holiday as a choice of hotel, resort, amount of excursions etc all reflect upon the cost of the trip. However if you let us know what your requirements are, we can tailor your trip for you and price it accordingly. It is however one of the cheaper long-haul birding destinations.
If you are interested in visiting Goa for a birding holiday why not contact us and we can put together a trip to suit your requirements