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Day 2 (Saturday, 3rd February)


Tent

Logo

Toilet

Backwoods is a tented camp situated in forest within the Western Ghats, and is run by Loven Pereira, Leio de Souza, and Pramod Madkaikar. They run an excellent and different birding experience, since you are living and sleeping amongst the birds for a couple of days. There are currently 6 tents, each containing 2 single beds on a concrete floor. We were asked to bring an extra blanket for warmth during the night, but those provided were more than adequate. At the rear of the tent is an outside toilet and (cold) shower - interesting to see what ticks you can get from there (my best was Black-hooded Oriole!). Usual outline of a day is birding from first light (7 o'clock) until 10 am breakfast, birding from 10:30 to lunch and afternoon siesta (13:00 till 16:00 - lie down optional), and then birding until dusk (19:00). Most of the birding is on forested tracks by foot, but the camp bus is also used for some other nearby sites. The whole 2 night experience costs only 3200 rupees each (50), which includes transport to and from the hotel, and all meals. It has to be said that, although the food should be considered basic, it is excellent - drinks from the fridge cost extra. The Backwoods team can be contacted on fax 91-832-224904 (E-mail: Loven@goa1.dot.net.in), and it is worth booking well in advance, since they are becoming very popular.

After only half sleeping through the night following the long flight to Goa, we were shepherded into the Backwoods minibus by 5:30. The journey, which took 1 hours, was made mainly in the dark - always a benefit because you don't miss anything. As soon as we arrived, it was down with the bags and into the woods with Pramod, who turned out to be an excellent birder with very keen hearing. The whole of the morning session was spent in the woods, with the only breakfast some rather filling potato curry. We skirted the edge of the forest, which occasionally led to more open clearings, with the typical neck-breaking patience that is needed for this type of birding. However, the Backwoods list kicked off with 4 species of Woodpecker (Heart-spotted, Rufous, Brown-capped Pygmy, and Common Flameback), almost all the potential sunbirds, flycatchers in the form of Tickell's Blue & Black-naped Monarch, Parrots (Plum-headed Parakeet & Vernal Hanging), and just before breakfast, we picked up a single Blue-bearded Bee-eater, which seems to be a difficult species to catch up with. The latter was seen over more open land adjacent to the forest, containing farmland and a few scattered buildings, and was home to Red-vented Bulbuls, Ashy Wood-swallow, and Rufous-tailed Starlings.

Paddy field

Orange-headed Thrush

Paddy fields next to camp

Orange-headed Thrush

After breakfast, we headed deeper into the forest, which took us to a couple of dry river beds, which showed the ravages of the previous monsoon in the deeply cut banks and discarded debris. Next to one of these was the staked out site for Sri Lanka Frogmouths, which had just been found this Winter, following the destruction of the previous roost site during the monsoon. Two of the most unusual looking birds were sat side by side in an innocuous tangle of bamboo. It would seem almost impossible to find them in the first instance - we had difficulty seeing them when we knew they were there! There were plenty of scattered bird parties throughout.

Sri Lanka Frogmouth

Yellow-browed Bulbul

Sri Lanka Frogmouth

Yellow-browed Bulbul

After a siesta in the afternoon (not!), we trudged the 1 hours to Tamdi Surla temple. The idea of walking was to bird on the way, but the track was generally quiet. Tamdi Surla itself is a surprisingly small and poorly maintained temple (although it is still religiously used by the locals) surrounded by forest with 2 or 3 fairly large clearings. Next to the temple are a few steps which lead to a mainly dry stream bed, and patience was rewarded here with a Malabar Whistling Thrush and Brown-breasted Flycatcher. Following a watch of the main clearing just before dusk (Mountain Imperial Pigeons and Malabar Grey Hornbills), Loven joined us with an impressively powerful searchlight to look for nightjars - a quick sweep round usually catches the red reflection in their eyes. Just before dark, we caught up with a flying Grey Nightjar, which eventually landed on one of 3 favoured perches. In addition, in what appears to be a regular 5 to 10 minute window, up to 3 Jerdon's Nightjars were calling, but couldn't be seen properly.

Crimson-backed Sunbird

Grey Nightjar

Crimson-backed Sunbird

Grey Nightjar

Home

Paintings gallery

Video clips

Images

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Contact

Site map

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Content

Introduction

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Species list

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