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Goa Winter 2017 - 2018 (1 Viewer)

Barred Wobbler

Well-known member
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.
 

Alf King

Well-known member
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.
 

Barred Wobbler

Well-known member
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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Jeanie

Jeanie with one n.
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.
 

Barred Wobbler

Well-known member
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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Allen

Well-known member
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
 

Mark Newsome

Born to seawatch...
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.

Mark
 

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