Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2017-12 Goa Bhagwan Mahavir, Bondla, Zuari Birding

Goa has been on my birding wishlist for a long time.
Goa is a unique place in the way that the land between sea and the mountains is just 70kms. So we see all the variations from the sea birds to forest birds with many endemic species.

We had booked at the Natures Nest which is on the border of the Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary around 5kms from Mollem towards Surla.

I was already in Goa around Baga beach and my friends Rohit and Abhijit were going to travel by car from Pune to Natures Nest. They took the ghat from Anmod which comes down right at Mollem.

From Baga one of my collegues dropped me at Panjim bus stand on a bike. From Panjim I had 2 options either take a long distance bus going to belgaum or somewhere else which goes via Mollem or take a local bus to Ponda and changeover there.

From Panjim i got a bus to Phonda (Rs 25/- 45min) which took the route via old goa, Mangeshi and other areas. From Phonda i got a bus to hubli after waiting for 10min which was going through Mollem (Rs 25/- 30min).
It was quite a good road as even though i was sitting on the last seat of the bus did not hit that many bump :-)

After reaching Mollem called up my friends to know that they would take around 2hours. Got to know from Natures Nest that I could easily get a bike ride from the juntion in Mollem which goes to Surla for around Rs 50/-
So took one of these are reached the resort at around 1.15pm.

Ordered lunch for 3 of us, Checked into the room, freshened up and took a small nap waiting for others.

Even though it was afternoon it seemed to make no difference to the sunbirds. They were continuously calling and flocking to the powder puff trees in the campus and around the room.
Also could get a fleeting glance of vernal hanging parrot here.

We had lunch by 3pm and immediately got into action clicking around the sunbirds and vernal hanging parrot on the powder puff trees. There were not many vernal hanging parrots at this time of the day and came to know that they flock during the morning time.

We decided to take a walk around the campus and on the road outside the campus as we were suggested that it also gives good birding opportunity.

Some pics from within the campus
Lotens Sunbird
Crimson Backed Sunbird
Vernal Hanging Parrot
Thick Billed Flowerpecker
Vernal Hanging Parrot

Pics of birds seen on the road

Malabar Barbet

Heart Spotted Woodpecker
Malabar Parakeet
Brown Capped Pygmy Woodpecker
Black Headed Cuckooshrike
Some other birds that we saw but could not click were Jerdon's leaf bird, racket tailed drongo, black hooded oriole.

We had Gajanan from Natures Nest as our guide for next day. We also decided to do a night trail with him today and he took us on a small plateau just a few meters maybe a km away from the resort.

Here we could hear the Jungle Nightjar continuously and could see it flying also in the torch. Later also got it sitting on a tree. Clicked a few pics and retreated quickly so as to not disturb it with torch light for a long time.

Jungle Nightjar

Also a lifer for me was the Jerdon's Nightjar with a very rufous brown coat on the front and the white tail clearly visible. It was quite a sighting but like Jungle it was very shy and immediately flew away just giving us 1 or 2 shots.
Jerdon's Nightjar

The next day morning started at 6.30am with birding at the gate around the powder puff trees with the regular sunbirds and parrots with also a golden fronted leafbird & rufous treepie giving a quick visit.
Vernal Hanging Parrot
Lotens Sunbird
Rufous Treepie
Lotens Sunbird
The morning slot was for birding along the road to bondla.

Ganjanan stopped at a small village on the way and there on the tree were sitting 2 Ashy Woodswallows. Here we also got to see a Tawny Bellied Babbler.
Ashy Woodswallow

Little ahead at a bridge he stopped to search for the Mountain Imperial pigeons and just in sometime he spotted 2 sitting at the top of a palm tree very far. We could clearly see them through the binoculars.
From the bridge we saw Blue tailed bee-eaters, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Pied Kingfisher and Wiretailed swallows.

Crossing the bridge on the other side there were thickets on both the sides and here we had quite good sightings of Racket tailed Drongo, Common Iora, Orange Minivet, again Mountain Imperial Pigeons from quite nearby and Vigours Sunbird.
Orange Minivet

Racket Tailed Drongo

While looking at all these Ganjanan had one ear on the call of grey headed bulbul and as we were planning to return back he heard the call. The calls were very clear and coming from a thicket very nearby. We kept on looking for the bird for a long a time and finally it decided come out on a palm tree to feed on the fruits.
Got a very short duration to get some clicks but it was enjoyable experience to hear the call and then to get to see the bird too.
Grey Headed Bulbul

Grey Headed Bulbul

We proceeded from here to the bondla wildlife sanctuary. Just before the entrance there is a small fork with the board of the sanctuary and we stopped on the side of this road to have our packed breakfast. While waiting here we saw scaly breasted munua, Red Avadavat, Orange Minivets and a Crested Hawk Eagle flying high above.

Little ahead on the right side road we saw the common flameback, crimson backed sunbird, red wattled lapwing and a Plain Flowerpecker.
Plain / Nilgiri Flowerpecker

Red Vented Bulbul

Inside the sanctuary we searched a lot of Malabar Trogon but not much success. But we saw a pair of crested treeswifts. While searching for it suddenly there was a commotion and saw a Paradise flycatcher white morph following a yellow browed bulbul.
Yellow Browed Bulbul

After that we were back to the resort for lunch. Post did a quick birding within the campus at a hide that has been putup by the resort.
Here we could get Orange headed ground thrush, Red vented bulbul, Red Whiskered bulbul and Chestnut shouldered petronia.
Orange Headed Groundthrush
Red Vented Bulbul
Red Whiskered Bulbul
Chestnut Shouldered Petronia
After returning back and before proceeding to Tambdi Surla we saw the Malabar Grey Hornbill in the main resort area.
Malabar Grey Hornbill

On the road to Tambdi Surla Gajanan stopped us at a spot to find the Srilankan Frogmouth and we saw a pair of frogmouths.
Srilankan Frogmouth

We did not spend lot of time to avoid disturbance and proceeded to the temple area to spot the
blue eared kingfisher. Here we waited for the kingfisher but without any success. Came back to the resort for dinner and this way ended another wonderful day.

The next day morning checked out of the resort at early 6.30am for the boat ride in the Zuari River.
Reached zuari by 8am and our boatwala was waiting for us. Luckily we were only 3 people on this ride this day so we had the whole boat for us.

We first went towards the sea side to see some gulls and got a nice view of Greater Crested Terns. From here we turned back and at the bridge spotted the Perigrine Falcon sitting below the bridge having breakfast.
Greater Crested Tern

Peregrine Falcon

Due to wild winds caused by Ockhi cyclone which had just passed the earlier days the water was quite turbulent.
But as we went away from sea the water become more stable.

The river is lined with bushes and mangroves on both banks and it forms a thicket for various birds and crocodiles to hide.
Got some very interesting sightings
Wire Tailed Swallow
Common Kingfisher

Western Reef Egret

Black Capped Kingfisher

Collared Kingfisher

Brahminy Kite


Some others Osprey, Black headed gull, White breasted waterhen, Gull billed gull, etc.

After the boat ride we had lunch in Panjim at the Kamats and proceeded to Pune via Chorla Ghat.
We had asked Gajanan if there are some places to look for birds in Chorla ghat and he had suggested to look behind Delta Ecohuts at the top of the ghat.

At the resort they guided us through a route to the back of the resort where there was a river flowing.
Near the river we saw many Red whiskered bulbuls, a pair of yellow browed bulbuls, whiteeyes and Malabar Giant squirrel.

While going to the river we spotted a orange headed rockthrush and while coming back at the same spot we saw a flycatcher. It was a brown breasted flycatcher.
Brown Breasted Flycatcher

Brown Breasted Flycatcher

While wathcing for the flycatcher we saw a bigger bird inside behind the trees and it turned out to be an Indian Blackbird.
Indian Blackbird