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Saturday 10th January - Sunday 25th January 2009

Hannu Jännes

The third Birdquest tour to Goa again gave us a wonderful birding holiday by following ‘Easybird’ rules of our two previous tours. This gave us the chance to combine relaxation with quality birding in a near perfect climate, excellent food, and a good quality hotel with its own swimming pool. Our species total was 280, including two ‘heard onlys’, a few less than on previous tours, but still a respectable number for Goa. According to local bird guides the low number of species, noted by all birders visiting Goa in this winter, was due to an exceptionally late monsoon. However, including recent splits, we managed to see 34 of South India’s endemic, or near, endemic, species, and 51 of Birdquest’s special ‘diamond’ birds. Notable birds seen included such exciting species as Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Grey Junglefowl, Malabar Parakeet, White-bellied Woodpecker, Malabar Grey and Malabar Pied Hornbills, Blue-eared and Black-backed Dwarf Kingfishers, Malabar Trogon, a total of three well seen Indian Pittas, Malabar Barbet, Orange Minivet, Grey-headed, Flame-throated, White-browed and Yellow-browed Bulbuls, Malabar Whistling Thrush, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Indian Scimitar Babbler, Dark-fronted Babbler, Small, Loten's and Vigors's Sunbirds plus widespread, but still very appealing, species like White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Red-headed Falcon, Grey-headed Lapwing, Small Pratincole, Orange-breasted Green-Pigeon, Speckled Piculet, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, White-naped Flameback, Jungle Owlet, Black-capped and Collared Kingfishers, White-rumped Shama, Paradise Flycatcher and Orange-headed Thrush. The Sri Lanka Frogmouth, with two very confiding roosting pairs at Backwoods, was voted as the bird of the trip, and although there was no vote for the most memorable birding experience of the tour, I'm sure that the boat trip along the Zuari river will be remembered by us all.