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I am not a bird watcher but knew that I would see some interesting birds in Goa. So I packed a pair of binoculars into my suitcase knowing they would come in handy. The Oceanique hotel where we stayed was next to paddy fields and each morning before or just after breakfast we would go out for a walk to look at the local wildlife. Egrets are common in the paddy fields and you don't need binoculars to see them as they stand out with white plumage. In the same field Swamp Herons you probably will not notice until they fly off; blending in so well with the grass. Mynah birds riding on the backs of cattle and catching insects. On overhead wires you may see Bee Eaters, Drongos, Eurasian Kingfishers, WhiteFronted Kingfishers and Shrikes.
Just Around the corner from the hotel was a water tank for irrigating paddy fields. In this area we saw Kingfishers darting in and out of the water, otter playing on the banks, Kites roosting in the trees, a Coucal darting around the trees and two Red Wattled Plovers flew in one morning. Although we did not see any Bronze backed Jacanas on this visit we saw them here during November and December in 2005. In place of the Jacanas were a pair of White Fronted Waterfowl. On our last morning a Golden Backed Woodpecker flew in just a few feet from where we were standing. Grey Breasted Laughingthrush were also plentiful. A flock of Black Headed Munia were also feasting on the bushes in the area but we couldn't see what they were eating.
Along the seashore and just inland were various waders looking like Marsh Sandpipers. Their antics as the waves wash in and out amuse me no end. Also just in from the shore were cormorants and Little Green Herons as well as Eurasian Kingfishers.
All during the day you will also see Kites, Brahmini and Paraiah wheeling overhead on the thermals.
Like I said earlier, I am not a bird watcher but have probably taken a step closer to becoming one. There is a bookshop in Colva and you can pick up a copy Salim Ali's "The Book of INDIAN BIRDS" there.
Written Apr 4, 2007
Address: Around Goa
Beach shacks in Goa are wonderful. They provide restaurant and bar facilities with sun beds next to the sea. They are dismantled at the end of each season and then rebuilt after the wet season so you might find them in a position if you return a year later. You can use the sun beds all day long and the waiters will keep you topped up with beverages and food on request all day long. They will also help you move the sunbeds under the shade umbrellas when the position of the sun changes. Be careful not to upset them though by using their sunbeds and then going to the establishment next door for food or drinks.
Our particular favourite is "First Base" . Thre owner Anthony Fernandes and the waiters, Neal and Peter greet customers with a smile and a handshake and are friendly, couteous and helpful. The menu is extensive with snack choices, Indian Vegetarian, Non Vegetarian, Goan specialities, Chinese and European Continental dishes. They also do a wide range of seafood dishes including Lobsters, Crabs, Prawns, Pomfret, Kingfish, Snapper, Barracuda and Shark.
Dining in the evening has an special ambience. The onshore breeze makes the lights sway back and forth and provides a cooling effect. Each evening Anthony's mother walks round with a pot of fragrant burning embers and then sprinkles rose water around. With the breeze this keeps the shack relatively free of mosquitoes in the evening.
Favorite Dish: All of the Indian Chinese and Goan foods on the menu are good and realtively inexpensive. A dish of curry is usually less than 100 Rupees and a couple of Roti/Chapati are only another 10 Rupees. From the Chinese selection I would suggest the mixed Hakka noodles as being a good filling snack during the day. In the evening I would suggest a seafood meal, price varies according to the type of fish and the size. The tiger prawns are good work out at 100 Rupees each. See photograph below of a serving of three Tiger prawns with trimmings for 300 Rupees.
On the price indicator I have shown less than $10. This is true for most items except the seafood
Written Apr 3, 2007
Address: Next to Longuinos Hotel