i) Trip reports posted on the Web.
ii) A Birdwatchers Guide to India by Krys Kazmierczak & Raj Singh.
iii) Pocket Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp & Tim Inskipp.
This was our first visit to the Indian Sub Continent and served as an excellent introduction to the kind of species that may be encountered. It was not intended to be a 24/7 birding holiday, but we gave it a good go none-the-less. Gary Hulbert and I saw a total of 209 species. Considering that we didn't venture far from Goa ie Backwoods Camp and the other inland sites this seemed like a fair total. We did visit the Taj Mahal and Delhi for four days where we saw a few extra species, however during the next visit it is likely that we will visit Backwoods Camp (which was highly recommended by the other birders that we met during our stay).
Travel & Currency
The flight from Gatwick was the usual Monarch dreary affair with no leg room but effective enough.
The rate of exchange was between 77 and 82 Rs to the £, depending on whether you were changing cash, visa or Travellers Cheques. The latter was by far the easiest and negated the need to carry lots of cash, although theft and crime did not appear to be very prevalent.
A days birding with a guide including transport will cost you between 500 and 1000 Rs depending on how far you travel and what birds you want to see. Some guides charge by the bird, somewhat like Israel and the Striated Scops Owl or Hume's Tawny Owl for those who are familiar with the arrangements.
Beer costs 66 Rs for a large bottle and a curry and rice about 400 Rs - great value. European meals like steak etc are more expensive.
A guide to the guides
Most guides will offer you the world and all the birds you mention, many fail to achieve 60%. They are however very good value for money.
Bruno - found at the Beira Mar. He was a little aggressive and pushy: We didn't use him.
Santosh - found at the Beira Mar. A taxi driver who knows the sights but admits he is no birder. He seemed like a reasonable honest chap and we would have used him if we were staying at the Biera Mar. He gave us tips on sites to visit.
Abi - reputed to be the best guide and birder. We had booked him to visit Carambolim Lake. He failed to turn up!! It seems to me, it's not much use being the best birder if you're unreliable and not present to guide. We didn't entertain him after the non-appearance episode.
Raymond - was accompanying another pair of birders. We met him twice when he was always helpful and friendly. He knows the sites and the birds. He found the Blue-faced Malkoha and a Savannah Nightjar. We would probably use him next time if he's available. He knows the unusual sites for the difficult birds.
Papa - found at the Marinha Dourada, Arpora. We stayed here and used him. He was reliable and honest with remarkable eyesight. He knows the sights and most of the target species. He is developing his birdwatching skills; we left him a new field guide.
2. Daily Itineraries
The flight from Gatwick to Goa via Bahrain took about 12 hours and was very tiring, from the airport to the resort took another hour. We arrived at about 1700, checked in and did a bit of birding around the hotel, which produced numerous Black and Brahminy Kites, a Wire-tailed Swallow, Osprey, 8 Small Pratincole flying to roost and an Oriental Magpie Robin by the swimming pool.
Up at first light for a walk around the paddy fields next to the hotel Marinha Dourada (an excellent place to base yourself and a varied birding location). We encountered our first Stork-billed Kingfisher, Pied Stonechat and several Chestnut-tailed Starling. We later had excellent views of a Blyth's Reed Warbler, discovered an Oriental Turtle Dove and sorted out the Paddyfield Pipits. Meanwhile in the hotel grounds the trisybillic call soon revealed a Green Warbler. At dusk a Spotted Owlet was seen sat on a telegraph wire. Birding between 1030 and 1600 is fairly unproductive as the birds head for the shade and become less active.
A look around the hotel area before heading off for a boat trip revealed a Black-lored Tit. The boat trip was fairly eventful (out of the Mandowi River and around Vasco de Gama Island in the Arabian Sea). The boat trip produced Brown-headed Gull, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Lesser Crested and Swift Tern, plenty of Gull-billed Terns and at least 6 Dolphin in the mouth of the river.
An evening around the hotel produced 2 Black-rumped Flameback, an Asian Paradise Flycatcher and 1 Brahminy Starling.
Before our visit to Anjuna market we had to book our trip to the Taj Mahal. The woods near the travel agents produced Koel, Greater Coucal, Brown-headed Barbet and Tickell's Blue Flycatcher. Whilst walking around the market a White-bellied Sea Eagle was seen, as was a Besra.
An afternoon walk across the paddy fields on the way to the Beira Mar produced Pintail Snipe, Richard's Pipit, Tree Pipit, Short-toed Larks and good views of a Malabar Lark. Later at the famous Beira Mar swimming pool viewpoint all the specialities were noted; Cinnamon Bittern of course, Ruddy-breasted Crake, Slaty-breasted Rail a surprise Spotted Crake and a couple of Bluethroat.
Another early start for a walk around Baga Hill near to the Club Cabana for the search for Indian Pitta which proved unsuccessful on this occasion. Numerous birds were present and for the inexperienced Indian birder it was very challenging birding indeed. In any event, highlights were Indian Robin, Small Minivets, several Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike, a Grey Bushchat and a White-throated Fantail. A Woodpecker was drumming, some tapping on the tree with a stick bought it closer and it was quickly id'd as a Yellow-crowned Woodpecker. My tapping on the tree also bought 2 Greater Flamebacks in to investigate - a fairly effective tactic. Our return to the hotel soon had us looking skyward at a raptor over Baga Hill which we soon realised was a Crested (Oriental) Honey Buzzard.
Another visit to the Beira Mar revealed a Peregrine, the same species as the previous night plus a Baillon's Crake. The regular Black-capped Kingfisher and Painted Snipes also put in an appearance.
An early morning start for Carambolim Lake (as we thought). The guide we had booked (Abi) failed to show. We thought we were left high and dry when another taxi driver/guide appeared named Papa. We negotiated a price and got going at about 0715. He initially took us through Carambolim village to a house, where 2 Spotted Owlets were roosting. Also along this lane we had Black-hooded Oriole and Blue-tailed Bee Eater. The highlight however was when the guide also said he new where 2 Jungle Owlets could be found. Sure enough on queue they flew and allowed fantastic scope views as they sat quietly in nearby trees. 2 Sparrow type birds were probably Yellow-throated, however they did not reappear to allow for a positive ID.
The lake itself was a fantastic site and produced most of the birds that we expected including Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-tailed Jacanas, Darter, (Grey-headed) Purple Swamphen, Comb Duck, Lesser Whistling Duck and Cotton Teal. Noticeable by their absence were Sacred Ibis and Asian Open-billed Stork. A short trip to the Ciba Geigy chemical factory revealed very little and entrance was refused.
Baga Woods in the evening gave us our first Indian Peafowl with 5 young and a Large Cuckoo Shrike.
An early morning drive to Mojim Beach for the high tide roost proved to be time well spent. An idyllic setting gave amazingly close views of Small Pratincole, Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers, with the latter being more numerous. Careful scanning of the Plovers revealed a first winter male Caspian Plover whilst the Gull roost produced our first Great-black Headed Gull (Pallas's) and only Oystercatcher.
An afternoon flight to Delhi was uneventful, however the weather in Delhi was a bit of a shock. Thirteen degrees and a heavy fog, which is prevalent in the North between about December the 20th and January the 15th. All did not bode well for our trip to the Taj.
An early morning walk in the fog around a near by park opposite the City Park hotel which is where we were staying for the duration of our stay in Delhi, gave us a few new species including Large Grey Babbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Red-breasted Flycatcher and Greenish Warbler, easily discernable from Green by call. Greenish seemed to be more numerous in the North than Green, which appeared to be more common in the South around Goa.
Sightseeing for the rest of the day. Pied Mynahs were seen during a visit to Ghandi's Memorial, whilst an Egyptian Vulture circled India Gate. In the centre of Delhi 5 Brahminy Starling and a Large-billed Crow were seen. On our return to the hotel 2 Painted Stork were seen heading for the Jamuna River.
The very early morning (0600) train to Agra for our visit to the Taj Mahal. As it became light and the fog began to lift, a Painted Stork and a Black-necked Stork were seen from the train. As we arrived in Agra the sun was shining, our guide said it was the first time it had penetrated the fog for 8 days. He also said that without it our visit to the Taj would have been a fairly miserable affair.
We entered the Taj Mahal and it did not disappoint. It is a truly breathtaking experience and one that I shall always remember. Not to detract at all from the main reason for the visit, it is very fortuitous that the Yamuna River runs along behind the famous mausoleum. Binoculars were quickly trained on the river and 2 of the species we had hoped for were present, River Tern and River Lapwing. A Citrine Wagtail made an appearance and 8 Ruddy Shelduck were also present. As we were leaving the Taj we stopped to look at some Large Grey Babblers. This proved to be very lucky as under a bush near them was a game bird. Close scrutiny ensured that we were able to identify the bird as a Jungle Bush Quail, which was a real bonus!
At Agra, a Shikra and a Blue Rock Thrush added to the trip list and several hirundines, which were too distant to be identified conclusively, were probably Streak-throated Swallows.
After lunch we headed for Fatehpur Sikri (an old palace). On route semi-feral Indian Peafowl were everywhere and at the palace another target species, Brown Rock Chat put in an appearance.
We caught our flight back to Goa, which was delayed due to fog (surprise surprise) to conclude our holiday in the sun.
An evening walk around the paddy fields next to the hotel rewarded us with very close views of a Black-capped Kingfisher, 2 Pied Kingfishers and several Ashy-wood Swallows.
A leisurely walk up Baga Hill gave us some more new species. This site always produced new birds and is well worth visiting as many times as possible. New birds included a Blue-winged Leafbird, Orange-headed Thrush, Loten's Sunbird and a real highlight was a Grey-necked Bunting sat on a dead tree at the top of the Hill. A Crested Honey Buzzard sat in a tree was a shock and many of the by now common birds were also present.
The evening was spent once more near to the Club Cabana looking for Indian Pitta again without luck. However all was not lost as Common Babbler and Blue-faced Malkoha was added to the growing trip list.
Day Twelve - New Years Day
We headed for Maem (Mayem) Lake this morning stopping on route at a nearby wood. The woods proved productive and gave us our first lifer of the New Year an Emerald Dove. A Besra was also perched in a nearby tree.
Maem Lake itself failed to produce the Brown Fish Owl. Apparently it's not as reliable as it was. The roost site has changed due to the bird being disturbed and is not as easily viewable. A nearby call alerted our guide to the presence of the requested Changeable Hawk Eagle - right on queue. Despite much searching the bird could not be located, it was obviously perched in a tree out of sight. We scrabbled up the wooded hill, which proved to be quite hard work in the heat and were rewarded with fantastic views of the bird. This was mainly due to the guide knowing which tree it favoured. Our only Yellow-footed Green Pigeons were also seen here.
That evening we made a visit to the famous Saligo Zor. Having dipped on Brown Fish Owl earlier in the day we were not overly optimistic about the Brown Wood Owl. We searched intently and thought our worst fears were coming true. Then a movement in the trees that was a Malabar Whistling Thrush and then the guide said and the Owl. The Thrush was mobbing it. Both birds were seen in the same scope view - a fantastic site and a quality bird to end the day with. How the guide managed to pick out the Owl was amazing, his eyesight was phenomenal.
This morning we paid a visit to Fort Aguada adding Pale-billed Flowerpecker and Syke's Warbler. Several Indian Peafowl were also noted. A Tawny Eagle sailed by near to the cliffs, which was unexpected.
On our way to Dona Paula our guide picked up a slight movement, which soon turned into a Rufous Woodpecker whilst the Indian Pitta site proved unsuccessful, but another Slaty-breasted Rail and Ruddy-breasted Crake were noted nearby.
We arrived at Dona Paula too late and the only birds seen were Red-wattled Lapwing, we would have to return tomorrow.
A stop a Santa Cruz lagoons allowed views of another 2 Small Pratincole, a Marsh Harrier and our first Pacific Golden Plovers of the trip.
Now follows a very sad tale. This evening we visited the Pitta site once more near to the Club Cabana. Our guide had sighted the bird in a fowl smelling gully type trench, full of leaf litter. Rather than rush about we decided to sit quietly and wait. The bird appeared in the trench at about 1815. The only problem being it was at the part of the trench that Gary was watching and not I. Consequently I never saw the bird. I staked out the area the night after but to no avail.
As a consolation we heard 2 nightjars calling and soon located them. The distinctive call of Jerdon's Nightjar was soon identified and we returned to the hotel happy (well one of us).
Pitta directions: Park at the Club Cabana. Walk to the end of the wall. Go past a clearing and path on the right and take the left hand fork into the forest. The track splits again. Take the right fork and continue for about 5-10 yards. Opposite a clear patch on the left go through the hedge on the right. This comes out onto a terraced type area. In front of you there is a trench between two rows of trees with leaf litter. This is where the Pitta appeared and seems to be the (favoured) area. This area was also good for Orange-headed Thrush.
A return to Dona Paula. We arrived here at about 0800 and were not disappointed. We soon discovered 14 Yellow-wattled Plovers (the main target). I then noticed a lark in front of them. After scoping the bird closely, I was delighted to have discovered a bird that I had searched for several times in the Emirates, An Oriental (Small) Skylark. We soon found several more and next to one another target species Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark. What a difference a couple of hours had made to what was yesterday a dreary site.
Stopping at Santa Cruz once more we scoped at least 6 Terek Sandpiper and then carried onto Charao Island (Bird Island) this gave us a new species for the trip in the form of a male Montagu's Harrier, but little else.
We were nearing our hotel on our return when 2 large soaring birds were sighted. These proved to be Woolly-necked Storks.
We were back at the Pitta site again but the bird failed to materialise! New birds were added however in the form of Common Woodshrike and a Grey Nightjar hunting from telegraph wires.
An early morning walk up Baga Hill prior to what proved to be a very long; delayed and miserable flight home produced only one new bird, which was a small "gaggle" of Tawny-bellied Babblers.
3. Consolidated Systematic Species List
Little Grebe 1 at Carambolim Lake Cormorant A large roost at the Ciba Geigy factory and common behind the Taj Mahal Indian Cormorant Several seen at Carambolim Lake Little Cormorant More numerous than Indian and seen at almost at wetlands (Oriental) Darter 2 seen at Carambolim Lake Grey Heron 1s & 2s seen on wetlands Purple Heron 1 behind the Beira Mar, several at Carambolim Lake and 1s & 2s at other wetlands Striated Heron 2 in the Marinha Dourada paddyfields and swamp Indian Pond Heron Widespread and very numerous Cattle Egret Widespread and numerous Great White Egret As Above Intermediate Egret Individuals positively identified at Marinha Dourada paddy fields and Carambolim Lake Little Egret Fairly common but not as numerous Cattle Egret Black-crowned Night Heron A small roost at Mojim Beach, 1s & 2s at the Marinha Dourada and a roost at the Kalwi River ferry crossing on route to Maem Lake Cinnamon Bittern 1 behind the well known Beira Mar at dusk Painted Stork 2 deffinates flying over Delhi and one from the Agra train Woolly-necked Stork 2 soaring near to the Marinha Dourada Black-necked Stork 1 from the Delhi to Agra train in flooded fields adjacent to the railway track Spoonbill 8 were seen behind the Taj Mahal Lesser Whistling Duck Good numbers at Carambolim Lake and at least 3000 opposite Charoa Island Ruddy Shelduck 11 seen behind the Taj Mahal on the Yamuna River Cotton Teal A dozen or so at Carambolim Lake Comb Duck 5 at Carambolim Lake Crested (Oriental) Honey Buzzard 1 seen on two occasions at Baga Hill Black Kite Very common and numerous everywhere Brahminy Kite A fantastic bird and very common in the Goa area Shikra 1 at Agra Fort and one flyby at Fort Aguada Besra 1 near to Anjuna market and one perched near to Maem Lake Changeable Hawk Eagle 1 extravert at Maem Lake Booted Eagle 1 at the Kalwi River ferry crossing on route to Maem Lake Tawny Eagle 1 at Fort Aguada White-bellied Sea Eagle 1s at the coast and at a nest behind the Club Cabana Egyptian Vulture 1 over India Gate - Delhi and numerous behind the Taj Mahal Montagu's Harrier 1 male seen over Charao Island Marsh Harrier 1 at Santa Cruz, 1 at Mojim and one at Carambolim Lake Osprey 1 resident at Marinha Dourada and 1 at Santa Cruz Peregrine Falcon 1 seen flying over the Beira Mar on the first visit Kestrel 1 seen hovering on arrival at the airport on the first day Jungle Bush Quail 1 in the grounds of the Taj Mahal Indian Peafowl A family group near the Club Cabana, 1s & 2s on Baga Hill, 1 at Fort Aguada and numerous semi-feral birds in Delhi and near Agra. Slaty-breasted Rail 1 behind the Beira Mar and 1 near the Pitta site at Fort Aguada Baillon's Crake 1 behind the Beira Mar Spotted Crake 1 behind the Beira Mar on 2 occasions Ruddy-breasted Crake 2 behind the Beira Mar and 1 near the Pitta site at Fort Aguada White-breasted Waterhen Common around Goan wetlands Moorhen Numerous at Carambolim Lake and one on Charoa Island (Grey-headed) Purple Gallinule 100s at Carambolim Lake Coot Numerous at Carambolim Lake Pheasant-tailed Jacana 8 at Carambolim Lake Bronze-tailed Jacana More numerous than the above at Carambolim Lake Eurasian Oystercatcher 1 at Mojim Beach sand bar Greater Painted-snipe 1 or 2 behind the Beira Mar Black-winged Stilt Several at Carambolim Lake and numerous in the north near to the Taj Mahal Little (Small) Pratincole 8 over the Marinha Dourada, at least 450 at Mojim beach (early am) and 2 at Santa Cruz Red-wattled Lapwing Common around Goa River Lapwing 2 stunning birds behind the Taj Mahal Yellow-wattled Lapwing 14 birds at the usual Dona Paula location (early am) Pacific Golden Plover 4 or 5 at Santa Cruz and half a dozen at the Marinha Dourada Greater Sand Plover Not many compared to Lesser at Mojim Beach Caspian Plover 1 first winter male with the other Plovers at Mojim Beach Little Ringed Plover Several on the Marinha Dourada flooded paddy fields Kentish Plover Small numbers with the other Plovers at Mojim Beach Lesser Sand Plover Numerous at Mojim Beach and Santa Cruz Eurasian Curlew 1 at Panjim mud flats and 2 at Mojim sand bar Black-tailed Godwit Several near to Carambolim Lake Bar-tailed Godwit 1 at Mojim sand bar Redshank Numerous near wetlands Greenshank Numerous around paddyfields Green Sandpiper 1 behind the Beira Mar Wood Sandpiper 2 at Marinha Dourada and several behind the Beira Mar Terek Sandpiper At least 6 at Santa Cruz Common Sandpiper Very common near paddyfields Pintail Snipe 1 positively identified in flight near the Beira Mar Common Snipe Common behind the Beira Mar Little Stint 2 at Carambolim Lake and 1 Santa Cruz lagoons Dunlin 1s & 2s at Santa Cruz, Mojim Beach and Marinha Dourada Ruff 1 behind the Taj Mahal on the 29th Yellow-legged Gull Several at the Mojim Beach high tide roost Pallas's Gull 1 adult at Mojim roost and 1 3rd Winter behind the Taj Mahal Brown-headed Gull Numerous at Mojim and around the coast Black-headed Gull Common near to the coast Gull-billed Tern Several at Carambolim Lake and numerous around the coast and Mandowi River River Tern 1 stunner behind the Taj Mahal Swift Tern Several around Vasco de Gama Island from the boat trip Lesser Crested Tern Numerous at Mojim and at sea Yellow-footed Green Pigeon Only 5 at Maem Lake Rock Dove Widespread and numerous (if you want to tick them) Oriental Turtle Dove One seen near the Marinha Dourada Hotel on the first day Eurasian Collared Dove Several seen in Delhi Spotted Dove Common around the Marinha Dourada and Baga Hill Laughing Dove Several around Delhi Emerald Dove 2 in a wood near to Maem Lake Ring-necked Parakeet Numerous going to roost near to the Marinha Dourada Plum-headed Parakeet Several around the Marinha Dourada and 6 at Maem Lake Koel Numerous around Goa Blue-faced Malkoha 1 near to the quarry behind the Club Cabana Greater Coucal Surprisingly quiet for a large bird but common around Goa Jungle Owlet 2 at roost near to Carambolim village Spotted Owlet As above but can be seen at night on any telegraph wire Brown Wood Owl 1 at the well known Saligo Zor site Grey Nightjar 1 hunting from wires near to the Club Cabana on our last night Jerdon's Nightjar 2 calling and flying around just below the Club Cabana Alpine Swift One over Gaba Hill Little Swift Widespread and numerous the most common Asian Palm Swift Common around Goa Pied Kingfisher A pair fishing at the Marinha Dourada ponds Common Kingfisher Common around the paddyfields and other suitable water courses Stork-billed Kingfisher 1 regularly seen on wires above the Marinha Dourada pools Smyrna Kingfisher The most common seen everywhere Black-capped Kingfisher 1 behind the Beira Mar, one at Marinha Dourada pools and one at Charao Island Blue-tailed Bee-eater 5 at Fort Aguada and Several at Carambolim village and Lake (Little) Green Bee-eater Widespread and numerous Indian Roller Only singles seen over grassy fields Hoopoe 1 at the Beira Mar paddyfields and 2 near Carambolim Lake Brown-headed Barbet 2 seen around Baga - Nikkis travel agents, in the woods opposite White-cheeked Barbet Seen in ones on Baga Hill Coppersmith Barbet Always heard calling and seen well on Baga Hill and behind the Marinha Dourada Hotel Rufous Woodpecker 1 in Aguada village and one on Baga Hill - others heard Black-rumped Flameback 2 behind the Marinha Dourada Hotel Yellow-crowned Flameback 1 at Maem Lake and one on Baga Hill - both drumming Greater Flameback 2 on Baga Hill and 2 near Carambolim village Indian Pitta 1 below the Club Cabana - directions included Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark 1s & 2s at Dona Paula (early am) Greater Short-toed Lark A small flock at the Beira Mar paddyfields Crested Lark 1 seen near to the Marinha Dourada on telegraph wires on 2 occasions Malabar Lark 1s & 2s seen at Marinha Dourada and Baga Fields Oriental Skylark Crippling views of several at Dona Paula (early am) Plain Martin Several over the Marinha Dourada Barn Swallow 2 seen at Carambolim Lake on Boxing Day Wire-tailed Swallow The second most numerous swallow - seen everywhere Red-rumped Swallow The most common swallow around the Goa area Long-tailed Shrike The only Shrike seen and quite common in the Goa area Golden Oriole The most common on Baga Hill Black Hooded Oriole 1s & 2s on Baga Hill and near Carambolim village Black Drongo Very common in Goa White-bellied Drongo 1s & 2s on Baga Hill Ashy Woodswallow Always on the wires around the ponds at the Marinha Dourada Chestnut-tailed Starling Common around the Marinha Dourada and Beira Mar Brahminy Starling 1 roosting in the scrub near to the Marinha Dourada and five stunning adults in Delhi Rosy Starling 1 behind the Marinha Dourada Pied Mynah 2 at Ghandi's Memorial and several at the Taj Mahal Common Mynah Small numbers around Goa and 2 behind the Beira Mar Jungle Mynah The most common Mynah around Goa Rufous Treepie Common in small numbers on Baga Hill but can be seen in any wooded area House Crow Widespread and numerous Large-billed Crow 1 on Baga Hill, 1 behind the Marinha Dourada and 1 in Delhi Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike Half a dozen on our first visit to Baga Hill - not seen again Common Woodshrike 1 behind the Club Cabana near the Pitta stakeout Large Cuckooshrike 1 behind the Club Cabana, and 1 at Maem Lake Small Minivet Fairly common on Baga Hill Common Iora Common and widespread in small numbers Golden-fronted Leafbird 3 on our first visit to Baga Hill Blue-winged Leafbird 2 on Baga Hill Red-whiskered Bulbul Common and numerous on Baga Hill Red-vented Bulbul In the same kind of habitat as the previous but not as numerous White-browed Bulbul Heard everywhere and fairly common in wooded areas - Baga Hill / Aguada Fort Puff-throated Babbler Fairly common and noisy in leaf litter on Baga Hill Tawny-bellied Babbler The last new species seen with a small "gaggle" on Baga Hill Common Babbler 1 seen in a thicket behind the Club Cabana Large Grey Babbler Common in the park in Delhi and at the Taj Mahal Jungle Babbler Common on Baga Hill Spotted Flycatcher Faairly common in suitable habitat Red-breasted Flycatcher 1 in the park opposite the hotel in Delhi Tickell's Blue Flycatcher Fairly common but inconspicuous in the woods around Baga White-spotted Fantail 1s and 2s with a pair displaying on Baga Hill Asian Paradise Flycatcher Seen singularly all around the Baga area Grey-breasted Prinia 1 on Baga Hill and several at Fort Aguada Plain Prinia Fairly common in small numbers near trees and scrub Ashy Prinia Common in scrub habitat Common Tailorbird Seen in 1s & 2s everywhere Clamourous Reed Warbler 2 behind the Beira Mar and 3 at Charao Is Blyth's Reed Warbler Widespread and numerous in almost any habitat Syke's Warbler At least 3 at Fort Aguada Lesser Whitethroat 3 seen in the park opposite City Park Hotel- Delhi Greenish Warbler Several in the park in Delhi Green Warbler Common in trees around the Marinha Dourada Bluethroat 2 seen on consecutive days behind the Beira Mar Oriental Magpie Robin Common in 1s & 2s near habitation Brown Rock Chat 4 at the old palce at Fatehpur Sikri Siberian Stonechat The females looking like Whinchats. Common in scrub Pied Stonechat Small numbers on scrub land outside the Marinha Dourada Grey Bushchat 1 - A surprise in Baga Woods Indian Robin Common on Baga Hill Blue Rock Thrush 1 at Fort (The Red Fort) Agra on the 29th Malabar Whistling Thrush 1 at Saligo Zor mobbing the Brown Wood Owl Orange-headed Thrush Seen singularly on Baga Hill and Aguada village Black-lored Tit Several on Baga Hill and 2 behind the Marinha Dourada Hotel Tree Pipit Several seen on Baga Fields Richard's Pipit Fairly common on Baga Fields and by the Marinha Dourada Paddyfield Pipit Easily distinguished from all others by call when flushed Tawny Pipit 2 seen in the grounds of the Marinha Dourada Citrine Wagtail 1 behind the Taj Mahal Grey Wagtail 1 seen at Carambolim Lake White Wagtail 2 seen at the back of the Taj Mahal White-browed Wagtail Common around the Marinha Dourada Hotel Pale-billed Flowerpecker 2 at Fort Aguada Plain Flowerpecker Several on Baga Hill Purple-rumped Sunbird The most common around Goa Loten's Sunbird 1 female positively ID'd on Baga Hill (with comparatively massive bill) Purple Sunbird Fairly common on Baga Hill and in the park at Delhi Crimson Sunbird 4 birds seen all behind the Club Cabana and past the quarry House Sparrow Widespread and common Baya Weaver Large flocks encountered around the bushes and swamp at the Marinha Dourada and at Carambolim Lake Streaked Weaver 2 on the wires behind the Beira Mar Indian Silverbill 2 in the scrub behind Mojim Beach White-rumped Munia Common on Baga Hill Scaly-breasted Munia Several on the wires behind the Beira Mar Grey-necked Bunting A very pleasing bird, found perched on a dead tree on the ridge at Baga Hill one morning
What a great place! Friendly, inexpensive and lots of great birds. Another visit is definitely on the cards, with a trip inland being a must. Goa offers a great introduction to Indian birds, with many commoner recognisable species also being present. Difficult warblers to see in the UK are also present in good numbers so as familiarity becomes habitual. The beer is good the weather better and the curries authentic - what could be better? The Indian Pitta next time perhaps?