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    • KiwiGran
      Thank you @Peter ConnanWe have wonderful memories of all our safaris and I can always read other members experiences on SafariTalk! Yes it may be that the side striped jackals are more nocturnal, I do recall seeing a pair at Shindzela on another trip and that was in the evening. But it was great this time to see the 2 species together.
    • Kitsafari
      just enjoying the photos! yikes, how could you forget your sandals?!!
    • Dave Williams
      As it happened, I'd planned my car hire before leaving for Goa. To make sure all was OK and legit I had purchased an International Driving Licence and I was indeed asked for it by the local car hire company. For just 1500 rupees per day, that's about £15, I had a decent sized manual gearbox Suzuki hatchback which was plenty big enough for 4 adults.  One advantage for us Brits is that in India they drive on the left, well some the time anyway! I decided to avoid any built up areas as much as possible so that had us heading south along country roads for the first day. Other than attempting putting the car in to reverse whilst searching for 6th gear which the car doesn't have, and turning the windscreen wipers on when indicating instead of the indicator lights everything went well. My slightly battered car suggested not everyone escaped unscathed though! I have to say, it was great fun and good to have the freedom to go where you choose.  By the second day I was well and truly in the groove and driving with confidence which is essential if I'm honest. Indian drivers tend to be aggressive, entitled and generally have adopted the rules of the road to suit themselves. My guide contact Lloyd long ago explained the Highway Code in India. "Might is right" so "when in Rome" as they say I went for it. I even took on the competition in Goa's second city. Busy roundabout? No problem. If you don't give way someone else has to and so it goes. I must admit though I never did know if I was insured, I was told in the event of an accident or being stopped by the police "phone this number" as I was given no paperwork. Fortunately I never had to! Although we had a car for two days we didn't find anything much to photograph. We visited Mollem National Park hoping to drive the 6km route that's open to the public only to find that we couldn't use our credit cards, we tried several without success, and our offer of cash was refused as unacceptable. Seems a bit ridiculous that on a day when we appeared to be the only visitors they turned us away! Next stop after a drive through the lower hills of the Ghats was Bondla reserve but by the time we got there it was too hot and sunny for anything much to be out and about. My two friends had visited the previous week so they had already been and they forewarned me that the road was being dug up on one side to allow some sort of pipeline to be put in. Apparently the favoured ditch the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher made his territory has been destroyed which is a tragedy. No point in paying to go in to the park we just turned around at the gate and left. So that was it for self drive but I though it worth mentioning that it's highly recommended! The car went back because I had another idea for the following day, a booze cruise! No way I was driving there . I have been getting reports that the Zuari river boat trip , once a firm favourite is now not what it once was. The duration of the trip has been almost halved and the cost double to 2000 rupees. The bird guides usually build that in to a days guiding . I was lucky in as much I got some good views of a couple of target species when I took the trip in March but my friends saw very little when they went the week before. I'd tried the booze cruise before , both the morning cruise and the evening one but both with a different company. This time we booked with Betty's Cruises which sails out of Cavelossim. I have to say, I don't think I have had better value entertainment anywhere. For a mere 1200 rupees, £12, you get a five hour cruise which first takes you out to sea before returning to sail up river. The target in the sea are the Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphins and they duly obliged even if they they were rather lethargic! Indo-Pacific humpbacked Dolphin. Goa by Dave Williams, on Flickr For me though the highlight was a White-bellied Sea Eagle that I spotted at distance circling a fishing boat. White-bellied Sea-Eagle.  Goa by Dave Williams, on Flickr It dived, talons at the ready White-bellied Sea-Eagle.  Goa by Dave Williams, on Flickr and caught a very large fish which it carried back to land to consume. White-bellied Sea-Eagle.  Goa by Dave Williams, on Flickr At the estuary mouth there were Lesser Crested Terns Lesser Crested Tern. Goa BY630 by Dave Williams, on Flickr and a couple of Brown-headed Gulls, both new species for my Big Year. Brown-headed Gull Goa.   BY631 by Dave Williams, on Flickr As we sailed up river the drinks came out. Firstly a large and delicious Mojito! I couldn't resist a second and a third for that matter! Then the food started to arrive, Chicken Satay on skewers. Yum! Next some big prawns in a spicy sauce complete with a bread bun to mop up the juices. Yum,Yum! By now I was back on beers which were again distributed freely. Next up was the main course of grilled fish, rice and salad and that was followed by a fruit salad. Untitled by Dave Williams, on Flickr All delicious...what a bargain. Further up the river we saw more birds on the sandbanks most of which I had seen already this year so I wasn't too bothered about photos. I was busy enjoying the food. I can't recommend the trip enough so if you are ever in Goa make a note! It's great day out. TBC  
    • Miss Biscuit
      Gorgeous puma shot to start us off! I've been to Torres del Paine (not for puma tracking though). It is stunningly beautiful (and very windy).
    • Bush dog
      Here are the last images from the first part of this report.   Grey heron at Mandavu.     Grey crowned crane at Shumba.     Elephants at Mandavu.       Yellow-billed stork at Mandavu.     Elephants and lions at Masuma.           When we had our sundowners on the last day at Mandavu, we had a visit from this bull.       End of the day at Mandavu.     The next day, Sibs drove me to Robins airstrip to fly to Matusadona.
    • Zim Girl
      Gorgeous picture of the Kingfisher.
    • Zim Girl
      Definitely looking forward to this report.  I would love to see King Penguins.
    • Dave Williams
      Our hotel in Goa turned out to be an excellent choice. The rooms were clean and spacious, the staff very helpful and friendly and spoke were our fellow guests, well most of them anyway. There were not that many Brits staying there, only a dozen or so at any one time but over the three week period we saw many different faces. One of the best aspects of the hotel was it was quiet, very quiet. We had the pool and sun beds to ourselves most days, most people seemed to head down to the beach for the day or head off on excursions. Me? After blistering my feet badly on the first day, followed by developing a bad cough and cold( no, it wasn't covid) as well as suffering jet lag the result was I spent a lot of time snoozing under an umbrella but being the brave soldier I am I hobbled off locally to see what was about either after breakfast or before sunset. It was very disappointing really. The surrounding area was well wooded but entry was impossible as it was all private gardens. What I did see, I had mostly already seen on my earlier trip in March but I did get a couple of opportunities to improve on my snaps. A Rufus Treepie Rufous Treepie by Dave Williams, on Flickr A Black-rumped Flameback Black-rumped Flameback by Dave Williams, on Flickr Purple-rumped Sunbird Purple-rumped Sunbird by Dave Williams, on Flickr I decided to catch the shuttle bus down to the beach as I'd spotted a lagoon with lots of Lesser Whistling Ducks on it. Lesser Whistling Duck.   Goa 2023 by Dave Williams, on Flickr That one was almost oven ready! On the lily pads a Bronze-winged Jacana family. Bronze-winged Jacana.   Goa 2023 by Dave Williams, on Flickr with three chicks, their feet bigger than their body! Bronze winged Jacana.   Goa 2023 by Dave Williams, on Flickr A Red-wattled Lapwing did the usual alarm calling which sent everything scurrying for cover. Red-wattled Lapwing.   Goa 2023 by Dave Williams, on Flickr but at least the Common Kingfisher stayed nicely posed Common Kingfisher.    Goa India by Dave Williams, on Flickr One new bird for the year was this Indian Spot-billed Duck which sadly never landed but at least I got a record for my Big Year(s) Indian Spot-billed Duck.  BY628.      Goa 2023 by Dave Williams, on Flickr   After a few days I lost heart and ended up not even touching my camera. Claire and I met up with some friends who had arrived in India before us and were really enthusiastic about what they had seen. It was their first trip to the sub-continent and I had helped them put together their DIY package. They had found inexpensive flights with Gulf Air, then travelled to Arpora,North Goa where they took a few trips with my guide, Lloyd Fernandes. Next they went to Backwoods Camp, a birding spot up in the hills of the Ghats and now ended up in Betalbatim.  Backwoods Camp was my suggestion, it's somewhere I have always wanted to visit ever since my first trip to Goa in 2005. Back then there was quite a community of foreign birders who used to meet every evening at a certain hotel with gardens backing on to open ground. A great spot to end the day with a beer and to find out who had seen what and where. A couple of guys told me they were off to Backwoods for three nights but a few days later only one had returned. The other liked it so much he spent the rest of his trip there ! They had seen the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher...now if that doesn't conjure up an attractive image I don't know what would. Certainly not Black-backed Kingfisher by which it has now been re-named! Anyway, I'd seen the Kingfisher in Bondla reserve in March so that objective had been met but I was envious of what my friends had seen on this visit. Apathy still remained until one evening as I was sat having a chilled beer on our hotel balcony this magnificent Shikra landed a mere 30 feet away. Spluttering beer, I dashed stealthily ( if that's possible) in to our room and opened my camera bag, reassembled the lens and hoped the bird was still there.  It was! My heart was beating a bit faster as a result of the adrenaline rush only a wildlife photographer will understand! Shikra.        Goa 2023 by Dave Williams, on Flickr   I was ready for my next adventure which was inspired by fellow ST'er @xelas.  For years I have sworn anyone who rents a scooter in India...or anywhere else for that matter ....needs their head testing. I stand by that! However, I know Alex is an avid self driver and has driven in Sri Lanka which is not dissimilar. I'd met a 90 year old Brit in March who had a little Smart car to get him to a restaurant every night. If they could do it so could !! TBC
    • John M.
      Thanks Elena.  I prefer this style for historical reports because who wants out of date travel info from 15 to 25 years ago?  Besides, I'm not much good at standard TRs 😄.  I enjoy having my memory jolted every so often, provoking me to dig back into my files.
    • ElenaH
      Fascinating.  I love your vintage pictures and stories!
    • Zubbie15
      Thanks @John M., @Treepoland @Atravelynn. Sadly (for me at least) both were eliminated from the GMM people's choice yesterday, I'll have to try again next year! Luckily we're back to Kenya in a couple of months. 
    • Peter Connan
      So many amazing photos, but I really love the story told by this one.
    • Atravelynn
      Your photo is cover-worthy for sure.  Great shot!  Congrats.
    • Atravelynn
      Wow, cinematic journey is right.  You have a beautiful creation that combines the wildlife, music, and very professional narration by you (or computer you) and the lions and jackals. Great use of slo-mo and b&w. Never seen such a fat Puff Adder. Didn't one get in your vehicle in the past?  Perhaps you'll encounter that adorable lion cub again on a future visit.  Thank you for posting this "invitation."
    • Atravelynn
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