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Birding in Goa - November 2020


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Dave Williams

Slightly later, a week or two, would suit me better for the Goa part . I'm definitely up for the birding trips, just not sure about where I'd want to stay. Personally I'd prefer a hotel that provides breakfast and has a good choice of local restaurants( rather than a self catering villa). I haven't stayed in the north for many years but the eating places there used to be excellent, alternative activities are better there for non birders too! Nice if you don't have to rely on taxis/TukTuk's although they tended to be inexpensive and the latter, good fun.

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This is a duck in Halloween costume

🤣 haha! Sticking with me Cockney I’ll just say ‘dream on, sunshine’ 🤗 And looking forward to meeting you both!

In your dreams @xelas

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xelas

@Soukous, you can put us two on your mailing list :); we are flexible with dates.

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ElaineAust

@Soukous, I would be very interested as I would love a birding trip to India.  Single traveller. Please keep me in the loop.

Cheers

Elaine

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Galago

@ElaineAust It would be great if you come too! Perhaps we'll do another Haloween trip again (remember when the Finfoot turned into a trash bird?) 😁

 

I'm ok with any dates, although is it likely to be less wet in Nagarhole the further on we are from October? I've not been there so I'm not sure about weather. Agree with @Dave Williams that a hotel with private bathrooms and a choice of restaurants nearby would be preferable to a self-catering villa. Nagarhole would be excellent. Not sure about Wayanad - is it very wet there? I know it's famous for its black pepper!

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Dave Williams
44 minutes ago, Galago said:

@ElaineAust It would be great if you come too! Perhaps we'll do another Haloween trip again (remember when the Finfoot turned into a trash bird?) 😁

 

I'm ok with any dates, although is it likely to be less wet in Nagarhole the further on we are from October? I've not been there so I'm not sure about weather. Agree with @Dave Williams that a hotel with private bathrooms and a choice of restaurants nearby would be preferable to a self-catering villa. Nagarhole would be excellent. Not sure about Wayanad - is it very wet there? I know it's famous for its black pepper!

 

Black Pepper! Where does the Black Panther come in to the equation:rolleyes:

 

For those wanting to be kept in the loop you can opt to follow the thread by ticking the box in the top right hand corner of this page above "reply to this topic"

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Galago
59 minutes ago, Dave Williams said:

 

Black Pepper! Where does the Black Panther come in to the equation:rolleyes:

 

Haha! Clearly there's some spiffy colour coordination going on in the natural world there!

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ElaineAust

@Galago.  Maybe some kingfishers in costume?:D

Cheers

Elaine

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Galago

@ElaineAust All eight kingfishers dressed up - haha!  

 

In case any of you are wondering what on earth this is about, @ElaineAust and I met at Musekese Camp in the Kafue last October. On the evening of the 31st we were boating and we saw a Finfoot. I was really pleased because I've only ever had glimpses twice before. And then we saw another, and another, and another....... In all we had six sightings of at least 4 different Finfoots (Finfeet?). This prompted Elaine's quip that, as it was Halloween, all the birds had dressed up in costume. A kind of trick or treat for birders. :ph34r: 

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ElaineAust

This is a duck in Halloween costume

Finfoot3.jpg

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Galana
On 7/27/2019 at 5:54 PM, Dave Williams said:

Black Pepper!

I believe it is is used to catch Panthers by sprinkling it on small deer. When the panther grabs the prey it sneezes so badly it's eyes water and can't see the net.

 

Finfoot are very appropriate at Halloween in India as they come complete with masks. Sadly Soukous's trip is going in November so I doubt you will see them.

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Soukous

If possible, i would like to get some of the services for this trip nailed down. 

I've got Savio, our birding guide, booked for 6 days from 9 November, so that will be the start of our week of Goa birding.

 

The next question I need answered is who is interested in visiting Nagarhole/Kabini as well.

and, of those who are interested, who would prefer to visit Nagahole before we have our week in Goa and who would prefer it to be afterwards?

 

I had originally proposed a combination of 4 days Nagarhole and 3 days Bandipur, but there was some negative feedback about Bandipur so I suggested we might spend 3 days in Fringe Ford instead.

What are the thoughts on this? Fringe Ford would not have the density of game of Bandipur, but would allow us to explore extensively on foot.

 

@Galana, @Dave Williams, @xelas, @janzin, @kittykat23uk, @Galago, @ElaineAust, sorry if I forgot anyone else who has expressed an interest.

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Galago

@Galana :D

 

I’m up for Nagarhole etc. Would it be better to go after Goa? From what I understand the further we are into November the further we are from the SE monsoon which finishes around the end of October. Anyone know more about this?

 

One more question - any of the UK based STers in this group going to Birdfair in 3 weeks? If so it would be great to meet up. 

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Dave Williams

As they haven't yet released details of flights, either charter or standard, package tours and forward bookings with the likes of Booking.com I can only be 95% certain that I would be available as early as 9th of November. There is probably a premium on the first package flight out too but that isn't the biggest of concerns, being there on time is!

Having experienced charter vs economy with Qatar, I would choose TC every time. The flight is direct, the journey time is shorter and departure times more sociable. Emirates is, imo, better than Qatar now but I only judge on the cheap seats!

My thought is still to choose a package tour to suit when details are made available to book as the costs would be considerably cheaper than booking flight and hotel.

 

Incidentally as my other half Claire has no interest in birding I would be a single person in terms of the birding days so that can be taken in to account for numbers, freeing up an extra place or not as the case may be.

 

Yes, earlier in November you are still likely to have unsettled weather. My previous experience was a benefit though when tens of thousands of seabirds took refuge on the beaches and I saw species such as Caspian Plover, Brown Noddy and , yes ,my claim to fame, the first ever Baltic Gull in India.

 

No thoughts on going to the Birdfair myself though.

 

cheers

Dave

 

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Galana

Please just count me as a 'maybe' for now. It is a long way ahead and I would not want to block anyone else out only to have to scratch nearer the time.

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This looks like a very fun trip! I wish I was in a place where I could join, but Africa is big enough for my first solo experience international. I hope you all have a blast. :)

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ElaineAust

Good morning @Soukous I am good the the Goa birding but as I need to research India a lot more, please leave me out of the Nagahole portion.

Cheers

Elaine

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Soukous
23 hours ago, Galago said:

@Galana :D

 

One more question - any of the UK based STers in this group going to Birdfair in 3 weeks? If so it would be great to meet up. 

 

I'll be at Bird Fair on the first day, Friday 16th

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Galago
1 hour ago, Soukous said:

 

I'll be at Bird Fair on the first day, Friday 16th

Great. I'll message you.

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Galana
On 7/30/2019 at 9:23 AM, Galago said:

One more question - any of the UK based STers in this group going to Birdfair in 3 weeks? If so it would be great to meet up

Sorry. Not I. It costs too much just to get there. I used to be a regular but it clashes with September trip to Europe every year.  Too close together. Have a good one.

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kittykat23uk

I may be at bird fair on the Friday,  depending on if I can get a lift. 

 

As for this trip, what's at Fringe Ford? I am not sure yet if I will be able to join you.

 

At the moment it depends on a few other trips I have planned coming to fruition.  

 

All the best

 

Jo 

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Soukous
3 hours ago, kittykat23uk said:

As for this trip, what's at Fringe Ford? I am not sure yet if I will be able to join you.

 

At the moment it depends on a few other trips I have planned coming to fruition.  

 

All the best

 

Jo 

 

The House itself

Snuggled into a cosy valley, high up in the hills, with the grand old forest peaks towering paternally around it. Fringe Ford is as cut off from the world as you can get. It probably doesn’t feature on a map, has no traffic fumes, no traffic, not even a road, and is thankfully ignored by the cell phone towers. What is does have however, is a fabulous, authentic experience of living in the middle of a remote plantation surrounded by forest, some great treks, silver silence punctuated only by the occasional warning calls of birds or monkeys when a carnivore comes visiting. And it offers you the best peace you’ve had on vacation anywhere anytime. 

There is a 360 view of the remote plantation surrounded by forest; all looking identical, but each with its own tale. The balding Namboodri peaks, named after the estate’s ex-accountant, the range of hills that rises almost perpendicular at the back of the house, which once climbed, leads one on to Coorg, the peak out there, with the watch tower, which was built one day, and demolished that night by wild elephants.

Fringe Ford was named by the Englishman who had first bought the land and built it into a plantation. It changed hands since then, and was finally acquired by its present landlord, Ahmed, who being a naturalist, let the land remain as plantation but adhering to strict eco friendly practices. In fact, the 520-acre property shares its boundaries, not fences with the wildlife sanctuaries of Wyanad and Tholpaty reserve forest, making this entire stretch, one of the last remaining bastions of the Malabar rain forests around, with shelter for its fauna and flora.

 

You’re probably sold on making the trip to Fringe Ford because of its unique remote plantation lacation. And just about nothing you read here will ever prepare you for your first early morning mist-trapped, breath-taking view of the hills. 

The Wayanad range
The Wayanad range undulates at 700 to 2100 metres above sea level, and sports a lavish collection of trees, so that your view is of a palette of olive and teal, emerald and sapphire, with a sudden brilliant crimson tree thrown in for effect, or a startling ochre cutting across a slope of grass. Clamber into the forest, on one of its many trails, and you’re walking into the looking glass. This is a world of vines dropping from above, thick stalks and leafy branches, trees that have outlived your great-grandmother, twisting roots rising up from the ground, and dark nooks through which two eyes follow you. Or is that your imagination? But suddenly, a shaft of sunlight cuts through the foliage, touching the green with gold, and you sigh at the unbelievable beauty of the place. 

Almost on cue, the tinkle of water starts, and you turn a corner to see a fresh natural waterfall. 27 streams, some of them perennial, criss-cross the property, and 2 waterfalls are just a walk away. The Nilgiri range traps the generous doses of rainfall that it gets, and tunnels it into perennial streams that run throughout the year. Kabini, the tributary of the river Cauvery, begins its journey from Fringe Ford, as well. 

Nestled into the blue mountains, the Nilgiris, shoulder to shoulder with the great wildlife reserves of the South, a short drive away from the getaways of Coorg, Ooty and Kerala’s coastline, this land of the marshes (Wyanad takes its name from Wayals, or marshland), is the easiest way to enter paradise without leaving this planet.

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Soukous
On 7/30/2019 at 9:02 AM, Soukous said:

If possible, i would like to get some of the services for this trip nailed down. 

I've got Savio, our birding guide, booked for 6 days from 9 November, so that will be the start of our week of Goa birding.

 

The next question I need answered is who is interested in visiting Nagarhole/Kabini as well.

and, of those who are interested, who would prefer to visit Nagahole before we have our week in Goa and who would prefer it to be afterwards?

 

I had originally proposed a combination of 4 days Nagarhole and 3 days Bandipur, but there was some negative feedback about Bandipur so I suggested we might spend 3 days in Fringe Ford instead.

What are the thoughts on this? Fringe Ford would not have the density of game of Bandipur, but would allow us to explore extensively on foot.

 

Sorry, 

@Zarek Cockar I missed your name off the original list

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Zarek Cockar

@Soukous please just count me in as a "maybe" for now.  I cannot commit at this stage and do not want others to miss out because of me.

Thanks!

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Carol Rushton
On 6/15/2019 at 2:37 PM, Soukous said:

This is just an initial feeler to find out if there are any Safaritalk birding enthusiasts out there who might be interested in getting together for a week in Goa in November 2020.

 

This is not intended as a commercial tour, just a slightly more elaborate GTG, with costs being shared amongst the participants.

 

A week in Goa should give us the chance to see around 200 species, and hopefully get decent photos of at least some of them.

 

Goa offers an excellent variety of habitats that should make for a great week.

It should be possible to do this quite cheaply too.

 

There are charter flights into Goa from many European countries - it may even make sense to buy a package that includes accommodation.

We would need accommodation for the week - it would make sense to rent a villa

We would need a good local birding guide - I am working on this

We would need a vehicle and driver.

The plan would be to base ourselves in 1 place and make daily excursions. None of the best birding locations are more than a couple of hours drive from coastal resorts like Baga or Calangute.

 

So, without any commitments at all, who might be interested in joining me?

 

Here is a list of some of the species we should expect to see:

Morjim Beach / Chapora river mouth

Great Sand Plover

Lesser Sand Plover

Kentish Plover

Sandwich Tern

Gull-billed Tern

Swift Tern

Lesser Crested Tern

Brown-headed Gull

Black-headed Gull

Slender-billed Gull

Heuglin’s Gull

Brahminy Kite

Black Kite

Osprey

White-bellied Sea Eagle

 

Dona Paula Plateau / Coastal floodplain

Richard’s Pipit

Blyth’s Pipit

Red-throated Pipit

Tawny Pipit

Tree Pipit

Paddyfield Pipit

Plum-headed Parakeet

Golden-fronted Leafbird

Malabar Lark

Oriental Skylark

Ashy-crowned Sparrow-Lark

Eurasian Hoopoe

 

Cruise on Zuari river / mangroves

Terek Sandpiper

Pied Kingfisher

White-throated Kingfisher

Stork-billed Kingfisher

Black-capped Kingfisher

Collared Kingfisher

Green Bee-eater

Blue-tailed Bee-eater

 

Freshwater Lakes - Carambolim & Maem (Mayem)

Bronze-winged Jacana

Pheasant-tailed Jacana

Lesser Whistling Duck

Garganey

Indian Spot-billed Duck

Northern Shoveler

Cotton Pygmy Goose

Little Cormorant

Darter

Great White Egret

Little Egret

Intermediate Egret

Lesser Adjutant

Asian Openbill
Woolly-necked Stork
Little Pratincole

 

Western Ghats

Bondla Sanctuary

Grey Junglefowl

Malabar Grey Hornbill

Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike

White-bellied Blue Flycatcher

Scarlet Minivet

Nilgiri Wood Pigeon

Orange-headed Thrush

 

Bhagwan Mahavir NP ( Molem)

Indian Pitta

Malabar Trogon

Sri Lanka Frogmouth

Malabar Pied Hornbill

Blue-bearded Bee-eater

Rufous-bellied Eagle

Malabar Whistling Thrush

Heart-spotted Woodpecker

 

@Soukous

 

Hello Souskous,

 

I have only just come across your posting. 

 

I have been wanting to return to India, to undertake some birding there and Goa has been in my mind for some time.

 

i have previously birded in the Indian sub-continent : throughout  in Sri Lanka in 2016, 3 National Parks in Nepal in 2017 and Kanha, Pench and Tadoba in 2018. 

 

My bird guide in Nepal thought that I would be well suited to birding in Goa.

 

Are you still planning to undertake this trip , please and, if so, do you have any places which you might be prepared to consider me for, please ?

 

Kind regards, Carol

Edited by Carol Rushton
@ Name missing
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Carol Rushton
On 6/17/2019 at 2:01 PM, Soukous said:

Would a guide really already be booked for November 2020 @Dave Williams? He must be good!

 

One of the thoughts I had was to use Goa as a springboard for a trip further south.

Whilst it is pretty easy to get to the parks and cities in the north, I can't think when I might be that close to Nagarhole/Kabini again and Nagarhole is perhaps the place that gives the best chance of seeing a Black Panther (melanistic leopard).

The birding around Kabini is pretty good too, with some good river excursions

 @Soukous

Hello, again, Martin. I would also be interested in the chance of seeing Melanistic Leopard too, if that is also an option ?

 

kind regards,Carol

 

 

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