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Goa Winter 2017 - 2018

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Old Friday 26th January 2018, 13:05   #51
Mark Newsome
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I finally caught up with the Oriental Scops Owls at Marinha Dourada today after dipping them in 2016. Thanks to John and Sandra who told me they were still there and to Lloyd for allowing me the time for a quick pop-in to look for them on the way back from Morjim/Siolim.
Oriental Scops? You mean Indian Scops Owl (Otus bakkamoena)?

An adult type Eastern Imperial Eagle was photo'd at Socorro Plateau yesterday; very few sightings in Goa. Also recently, Avocet and Streaked Weavers at Carambolim.

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Old Saturday 27th January 2018, 12:49   #52
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Oriental Scops? You mean Indian Scops Owl (Otus bakkamoena)?

An adult type Eastern Imperial Eagle was photo'd at Socorro Plateau yesterday; very few sightings in Goa. Also recently, Avocet and Streaked Weavers at Carambolim.

Mark
Oops.

Edit. We’re off to Socorro tomorrow. I’ll keep my eyes to the sky. No eagles at all today at Carambolim, just kites, marsh harriers, an osprey and a shikra chasing a golden oriole.

And a whacking great mugger crocodile that swam past us on the surface about 40 yards out not long after we got there.

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Old Saturday 27th January 2018, 12:51   #53
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Yellow bittern and painted snipe from the tower at Carambolim this morning. Well done Lloyd Fernandes who spotted them both.
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Old Sunday 28th January 2018, 00:35   #54
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Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Trogan, Blue capped Rock Thrush and many more delights at Bondla.
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Old Sunday 28th January 2018, 17:56   #55
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The photo of the reported imperial eagle consists only of the profile of the head of the bird as it sat on the ground with its body obscured from the neck down by vegetation. Doubt has been cast as to the identity.
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Old Tuesday 30th January 2018, 17:22   #56
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I visited Baga Fields this morning, being dropped off at Baga bridge to access the area from the track south of the bridge..

When I first went there three years ago the path was being upgraded into a full width dirt road to access the new water treatment plant that had just started construction. The plant at that time was a big hole in the ground with some peripheral construction. There were bushes intact all along the approach path and the track running north between the fields to Baga River.

A year later, in 2016 it was pretty much the same, but the building work was progressing and the dirt road was completed. The bushes at the intersection of the road and the northward track were still there, hosting pied bushchat et al. I found a wryneck and three bluethroats in the bushes alongside both tracks.

Today it was all change. The waterworks is still under construction, but the access road appears to have encouraged access for other developments. Some of the bushes alongside it have been destroyed, but the major damage is from the crossing of the old paths just in front of the works. The old path northwards towards the fields and the river has been ‘improved’ and some of the bushes have been grubbed out. About 6 or 7 agricultural dwellings, residential developments and other buildings have been built and more are under construction. The track has a regular stream of scooters where before there was only foot traffic. The future doesn’t look good for Baga Fields.

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Old Wednesday 31st January 2018, 12:07   #57
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Went to Mayem lake today. Very overgrown and not many birds. Had brown cheeked fulvetta, orange breasted pigeon, black naped monarch and several warblers
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Old Wednesday 31st January 2018, 16:47   #58
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Went to Mayem lake today. Very overgrown and not many birds. Had brown cheeked fulvetta, orange breasted pigeon, black naped monarch and several warblers
We spent the morning at Fort Aguada. It was excellent after the crowds and mayhem of last Friday’s public holiday.

Juvenile grey-bellied cuckoo, three brown capped pygmy woodpeckers, a female black-winged cuckooshrike were amongst the stars, plus puff-throated babbler, brown-cheeked fulveta, orange-headed thrush, paradise flycatcher and Tickell’s blue flycatcher all in a tiny glade in the wood just next to the Marbella guest house where the track from the headland comes down to meet the road to Candolim. If i’m not back there tomorrow, I’ll be back on Friday. It’s a top spot.
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Old Thursday 1st February 2018, 04:59   #59
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Went to Arpora forest this morning. Rumours of its demise are exaggerated. The walk to the quarry is clearly marked. The walk further on is a bit more overgrown but easily accessible.
We retraced our steps and took the path further into the forest till it brings you to the fields which have been burnt. We crossed the fields and got on to the road which if you turn right gets you the Anjuna road. Plenty of birds about.
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Old Thursday 1st February 2018, 14:40   #60
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I visited Baga Fields this morning, being dropped off at Baga bridge to access the area from the track south of the bridge..

When I first went there three years ago the path was being upgraded into a full width dirt road to access the new water treatment plant that had just started construction. The plant at that time was a big hole in the ground with some peripheral construction. There were bushes intact all along the approach path and the track running north between the fields to Baga River.

A year later, in 2016 it was pretty much the same, but the building work was progressing and the dirt road was completed. The bushes at the intersection of the road and the northward track were still there, hosting pied bushchat et al. I found a wryneck and three bluethroats in the bushes alongside both tracks.

Today it was all change. The waterworks is still under construction, but the access road appears to have encouraged access for other developments. Some of the bushes alongside it have been destroyed, but the major damage is from the crossing of the old paths just in front of the works. The old path northwards towards the fields and the river has been ‘improved’ and some of the bushes have been grubbed out. About 6 or 7 agricultural dwellings, residential developments and other buildings have been built and more are under construction. The track has a regular stream of scooters where before there was only foot traffic. The future doesn’t look good for Baga Fields.
That is real shame. It used to be such a hugely productive unpopulated area where you could just wander around for hours undisturbed. Full of birds. I remember on my first one or two trips, I saw Jungle Cat, Golden Jackal and Indian Grey Mongoose as well as the birds. Leopards were reported on nearby Baga Hill too. So much has changed in that area now.

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Old Thursday 1st February 2018, 16:24   #61
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That is real shame. It used to be such a hugely productive unpopulated area where you could just wander around for hours undisturbed. Full of birds. I remember on my first one or two trips, I saw Jungle Cat, Golden Jackal and Indian Grey Mongoose as well as the birds. Leopards were reported on nearby Baga Hill too. So much has changed in that area now.

Mark
I’d normally give it a couple of visits on a trip, but after the other day I’m just not motivated to take the taxi ride. Fort Aguada is much closer for me and it is bursting with birds, although they are woodland and scrub species rather than the grassland and farmland species of Baga Fields.

I had a couple of totally unexpected Vigors’s sunbirds by the lighthouse this morning, an adult male and a juvenile. Lifers.

I’ll post some photos I took with my phone of Baga when I get home. It’s not exactly a housing estate, but I’d guess that once they’ve started there will only be more construction. They’ve got the access. There used to be a good daytime kite roost with loads of activity a field or two north of the waterworks. There wasn’t much evidence that it was still in use this week. There’s a house right next to it.
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Old Friday 2nd February 2018, 16:21   #62
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In 2010 2.3M tourists visited Goa, by 2016 this had increased to 6.9M. There are many changes all around the main tourist areas, none that are beneficial to wildlife.

Sad to say but we are all to blame.
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Old Sunday 4th February 2018, 15:55   #63
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Disappointed today to find that progress is encroaching further onto the Verna Plateau.

When I was last there two years ago, it was pretty much as it had been. A quiet single carriageway tarmac road with no traffic, because it led to nowhere before turning into a dirt track. We parked on the bare lava and scanned the ground and had great close views of Malabar larks rufous-tailed larks and oriental skylarks. The scrub held brown shrike, Indian robin, sunbirds, leafbirds, monkeys, etc, etc.

Today we arrived at the same parking spot. Mayhem. The single track dead end road is being upgraded to a dual carriageway highway, already surfaced almost to the old parking area. Where we used to park was a construction site with excavators, graders and a fleet of tipper wagons delivering materials. The access road they were using was several centimetres deep with fine, abrasive red lava dust that rose into the air with the passage of any vehicle, reducing visibility to several feet in a choking cloud. Not a sign of a water sprinkler nor any other form of dust suppression. No lark would be seen dead in such a place.

We backtracked and looked up a side road and eventually picked up our three target larks, but it was hard work, verging on failure.

Another site bites the dust.

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Old Monday 12th February 2018, 08:06   #64
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Not as bad as it first appears.

Back home and have had time to reflect on birding in North Goa. Beyond doubt, if someone has not been there for a few years the building work will come as a great shock. However, to new birder to Goa or to someone who comes most years and has got used to the building work, then it is still a place with loads to offer.
Baga fields: In spite of the road which has been made across the fields there are plenty of birds about including up to 10 Blue throats in the same place as before. In fact the road takes you close to the spot which is a little hillock used as a toilet.
Lower Baga Hill: Amongst the houses and land as yet to be developed we had very good sightings of birds as did other birders staying at the MD.
Baga Hill: Can still easily walk along the top and drop down near the sunset cafe. In fact the fence has been broken so you can access the Anjuna side.
Arpora Forest: Can still walk for miles and get the usual suspects.
The Nilaya Hotel: This is proving one of the favourite spots to bird. We walk from the MD. If you are really enthusiastic you can walk up to Arpora Forrest.
The above are all within walking distance of the MD.
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Old Monday 12th February 2018, 13:01   #65
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When I was at Baga fields on 30th January I took the opportunity to get some shots on my phone of the new housing that's going up. These are what I got, along with latitude and longitude of each shot to give an indication of location when used in conjunction with Google Earth.

When I looked at Google Earth imagery just now (Dated by a strange coincidence a year to the day before I took these, 30th Jan 2017) there was only one building, the one with a red roof, showing.

Photo 1. Just north of the start of the track from the waterworks, looking north with Baga Hill in the background. 15°33'51"N, 73°45'16"E.

Photo 2. Looking back south from the same spot with the waterworks in view on the left.

Photo 3. Where the path swings east along a field-edge bund towards the canal. New housing going up in the adjacent field. 15°33'58"N, 73°45'23"E, looking west.

Photo 4. The start of the path in photo 3. Again looking west from 15°33'56"N, 73°45'16"E. Baga Hill in the distance.

Photo 5. The track back to the waterworks, looking south from 15°33'56"N, 73°45'16"E
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Old Thursday 15th February 2018, 19:03   #66
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Hi all

Am just planning a first trip to Goa for December this year. Does anyone have information on reasonable priced hotels with good birding close by? I know the Merinha Dourada and Beira Mar are mentioned in the Gosney guide but wondered if anyone had others that were worth staying at for birding when not out in the field.

Thanks
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Old Wednesday 21st February 2018, 07:14   #67
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Hi all

Am just planning a first trip to Goa for December this year. Does anyone have information on reasonable priced hotels with good birding close by? I know the Merinha Dourada and Beira Mar are mentioned in the Gosney guide but wondered if anyone had others that were worth staying at for birding when not out in the field.

Thanks
There are many options for hotels and price ranges, depends on how much you're willing to pay. It's maybe better to think of areas which would be suitable, and then check the hotel options available.
North of Arpora - hotels like Marinha Dourada, Sun Village, Maizons, Lazy Lagoon all decent position at west end of Baga Hill and good birding on the doorstep.
Arpora village - hotels like Abalone, Renton Manor, Lagoa Azul all OK but too built up and little to see in immediate vicinity. I'd avoid these.
Baga - lots of hotels. Those backing onto Baga fields, such as Beira Mar, Nazri, Ronil offer decent birding from the grounds/balconies. Those on beach side of road are generally too busy for anything other than common birds.
Calangute - much of it is very busy and I generally wouldn't book there if you were wanting lazy decent birding on hotel grounds. Calangute blends into Candolim, a busy strip for hotels.
Candolim - south end gets much quieter and there are good birding opportunities on western/inland side. Also much closer to real good birding sites such as at Aguada.

If you go for southern Goa, its much quieter and there would be lots of opportunity to find your own birds on your doorstep. Fewer hotels, tourists, development. Same with areas to the north of the main north coast strip, such as Anjuna, Vagator, Siolim; less busy for general tourism, better for getting away from hustle and bustle, lots of birding opportunities around your accomodation.

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Old Monday 26th February 2018, 11:06   #68
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Thanks Mark, we managed to get into the Marinha Dorado
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Old Thursday 8th March 2018, 16:04   #69
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I was in Goa in November 2017, this was not a birding trip and I did no research whatsoever and therefore have no idea if anything I saw was interesting for the area. I did see a bridled/sooty tern at Benaulim.

Species list is here:
http://www.naturalbornbirder.com/travel/Goa_sp.html

and some photos/more details here:
http://www.naturalbornbirder.com/travel/Goa.html
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