Sunday, April 3, 2011

In and Around GOA

Goa is a wonderful place to be!! I'm sure no one will dispute that but I am talking from a birding point of view of course! Just driving around Goa, one sees what is a truely amazing variety of avifauna but it is surprising that birdwatching as a hobby has yet to take off ....
This post is about my outing driving around (quite aimlessly) one lazy evening and the following morning's birding at Morjim beach. Turning onto the road to Ribandar from Panjim, a vociferous flock of birds demanded my attention. This flock of about 30 odd Rosy Starling was creating quite a racket in this flowering tree. On the other side of the road are the exposed banks of the river in low tide. That sure is a wonderful place to photograph waders! Driving along I suddenly noticed a wader with a really long beak. I could not get a good view since I was driving so I reversed at the first opportunity and got back. What a reward! My first sighting of the Eurasian Curlew.
The more common waders like the redshank and the stilts.. a few median as well as large egrets and the ubiquitous pond herons were also around for company.
The large Egret...

The rosy starling with it's beautiful black skirt is quite the fashionista!

The purle heron was in breeding plumes and was looking very dainty in spite of it's rather large size.
I had been wanting to go to Morjim for a long time... finally one day we (Adrina and I) just set off without too much planning. Reaching the place, we were quite disappointed to find that the numbers of tourists on the beach put paid to any chance of us being able to sight any gulls which were our target birds. All the same, we decided to take a walk around to the far end at the edge of the Chapora estuary. There seemed to be these tiny birds there which I had not seen before. At a distance, they all looked like the lesser sand plovers but a chance meeting with another birder on the beach and a short chat with him showed me how wrong I was! There were indeed a lot many of the lesser sand plovers but a few kentish plovers were also mixed in with them. The only differentiating features were the marginally smaller size of the kentish plovers and the
white collar running all round the neck.
A prominently perched long-tailed shrike was asking to be photographed! Though very common, this bird is not very skittish and therefore gives good opportunities for photographs.
As we moved away fromthe beach we saw the overhead cables absolutely teeming with swallows... Red rumped and Barn. This one is the red rumped swallow..
The barn swallow..
On the way back, this flock of Ibis caught our attention in a tract of marshy land along the highway. They were happily feeding oblivious to the heavy traffic flowing all of 15 metres away. Such beautiful birds, especially when the sunlight glints off their beautiful plumage..
These orange breasted green pigeons were high up in a tree and really far away. Could not get very good pictures but we were quite happy for having sen them, again for the first time, for me!
There is so much to explore in Goa, I feel as if I have just scratched the surface. Feels good that there will be many more outings where I will be able to spot so many more birds... Cheers to that!!

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