Bird Watching Holidays

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India Bird Watching Holiday


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India Bird watching tour

Indian Pitta
Situated on the west coast of India by the Arabian Sea, this tiny former Portuguese state with its tropical white beaches, fine cuisine, winter sunshine and beautiful sunsets, is truly a birdwatchers paradise. Our first base at Baga is ideally situated for visiting all the main birding areas, and it is quite possible to see as many as 100 species within walking distance of our hotel. Our second base is at the "Backwoods" tented camp at the foot of the Western Ghats. Here we have excellent opportunities for seeing a wide range of species that are either endemic or restricted. We will visit a wide variety of habitats, from rice paddies and coconut plantations, to estuaries, mangroves, marshes, jungle and a superb lake. From each of our two bases travelling will be kept to a minimum, enabling us to spend the maximum amount of time watching birds. Our visit coincides with the driest time of year when wintering birds are particularly abundant. There are also many colourful resident species and many that are endemic to southern India and Sri Lanka. Goa, provides a marvellous, relaxed introduction to the beautiful birds of India, and an ideal escape from our harsh British winter weather.


Day 1

We take an afternoon flight from London Gatwick arriving in Goa early the next morning where we transfer to our hotel the Marinha Dourada.

Days 2 - 8

Our hotel which is one of the better, is based in the coastal resort of Baga. It overlooks a salt lake good for birds, and is close to a wide variety of habitats including marshes and paddy-fields, all within a short stroll. As you can imagine the area abounds with birds, and it is quite possible to see well over 100 species without travelling any further than a mile. There are many other wetland sites nearby and we will soon see our first Indian Pond Herons and White-breasted Kingfishers. Waders include eastern species such as Terek and Marsh Sandpipers, Pacific Golden Plover, Small Pratincole, Great Knot, Red-wattled and Yellow-wattled Lapwings, Greater Painted and Pintail Snipe. Offshore we can observe a variety of seabirds which can include Indian River Tern, Lesser Crested and Crested Terns, and Great Black-headed, Slender-billed, Brown-headed and Heuglin's Gulls. A look along the sandy beaches may produce that enigmatic and much sought after wader the Crab Plover, a few of which winter in the area. Back in the rice paddies and marshes we will search for Cinnamon Bittern, White-breasted Waterhen, Purple Swamphen, Little and Indian Cormorants, Oriental Darter, Comb Duck, and Cotton Pygmy Goose. Herons can include Western Reef, Purple, Night, and Green-backed, while Lesser Adjutant, Stork-billed and Black-capped Kingfishers, Paddyfield and Clamorous Reed Warbler should also be present. We will make several visits to Carambolin Lake which is only half an hour away from our hotel. Here a wealth of waterbirds will include incredible numbers of stunning Pheasant-tailed, and Bronze-winged Jacanas. Overhead, impressive White-bellied Sea-Eagles may be joined by Brahminy and Black Kites, Tawny and Booted Eagles, while along the lake shore Citrine Wagtail, Wire-tailed Swallow, Ashy Woodswallow, Paddyfield and Blyth's Pipit may be found. In scrubby areas, gardens and around the hotels the luxuriant plants can attract exotic species like Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Indian Roller, Blue-tailed, Chestnut-headed and Little Bee-eaters, Indian Pitta, Golden-fronted Leafbird, Coppersmith Barbet, Long-billed and Purple Sunbirds, Tailorbird, Kashmir Flycatcher, and Small Minivet. Other excursions will take us to Fort Aguada, which stands on top of a headland, the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary on Charao Island, and one day we will take a leisurely river cruise. We can of course expect many more species at these sites including such delights as Brown Fish Owl, Blue-capped Rock Thrush, Malabar Lark, Little Spiderhunter, Rose-coloured Starling, Crimson Sunbird, Common Peafowl, Crested Treeswift, White-throated Fantail, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch and on the cruise we will be searching for the rare Collared Kingfisher.

Day 9

Today we leave our hotel and head for the Western Ghats and "Backwoods" tented camp where we spend the next 6 days. Our tents are well equipped with proper beds and attached w/c and shower. To stay in this wonderful place, looked after by our expert guides is certainly a highlight for most visiting birders to Goa. To have this as our base also offers us the chance to see many specialities that other birdwatchers struggle to see on day visits. En-route to our camp we stop at Bondla Reserve, a mixed forest that often holds water throughout the year. The birding here can be excellent, with specialities including Nilgiri Woodpigeon, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Speckled Pickulet, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Common Hawk Cuckoo, Chestnut-tailed Starling, Asian Fairy Bluebird, White-bellied Blue-flycatcher and Black-naped Monach to mention a few.

Days 10 - 14

During the next few days we spend time searching the wonderful forests around our camp as well as several other sites including Molem Forest Reserve. The Khandepar River flows through here with the Dudhassagar Waterfall a tourist attraction that also holds a good number of bird species. Alongside the Drongos, Babblers, Bulbuls and Flycatchers we will look for several more interesting species such as Chestnut-bellied Hawk-eagle, Black Eagle, Crested Goshawk, White-rumped Needletail, Grey Junglefowl, Blue-eared Kingfisher, Chesnut-headed and Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Orange-headed Ground Thrush, Pied Thrush, Indian Blue Robin, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Malabar Whistling Thrush, and the beautiful Malabar Trogan. The forest also holds a good variety of animals including Giant Squirrel, occasionally even Tiger, and numerous butterflies including the enormous Southern Birdwing. Around our camp are forested trails and here we can search for target species such as Red Spurfowl, White-bellied Woodpecker, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Black-naped Oriole, and the ever elusive Sri Lanka Frogmouth. We will also search the leaf litter for Indian Pitta a bird on everyones wish list, and in the evenings if we have not already seen them during the day we will look for Spot-bellied Eagle-owl, Oriental and Collared Scops Owl and Jungle Owlet. We will also go out one evening and look for nighjars at the beautiful Tamdi Surla Temple. After experiencing six days at "Backwoods" seeing a rich and wonderful variety of colourful birds, you really won't want to leave.

Day 15

We will have to leave early for our return journey to the airport and our flight back to London Gatwick, where this spectacular tour will conclude.

All tours are customizable and can be extended as per requirements
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