Wednesday, September 18, 2013

GOA - Romance with Birds & Butterflies (05th to 08th Dec, 2013)

After an overwhelming response to Batch-1, here we are with Batch-2 for " Goa Romance with Birds & Butterflies":- )

Date: 05th December, 2013, 10.00 am to 08th December, 2013 eve 7.00 pm (Travel days excluded). The bookings for the Meticulously planned Goa bird-watching trip are on… your seats now (see the complete details at the end of this blog).....Birdwatching in one of the India's greatest birding hot-spots with Nature India.

GOA - Romance with Birds
It is now well-known that more foreign birdwatchers visit Goa than Indians….. The fact is, what others are already experiencing, we as Indians have failed to realize the potential of Goa as a bird-watching destination. While we looked upon Goa only as a general tourist destination, the British Birdwatchers have been enjoying over 450 species of birds found here.... Infact, it is a great surprise for many that Goa's growing romance with Foreign birdwatchers is what is building birding awareness in this area.

See some of previous trip Images - (Please copy below links in new page address bar)

Birding in Goa
Goa is a former Portuguese enclave, now India’s smallest state, variously known as "Rome of the East", "Tourist Paradise" and "Pearl of the Orient", the state of Goa is located in the Konkan region along the west coast of peninsular India, the Arabian Sea forming its 110km coastline. It has long been a popular destination for birders, enticed by the diversity of birdlife and remarkable ease of birding.

The low-lying coastal plain with its mangroves-lined estuaries and marshes, the central dry, rocky plateau of scrub and savannah grassland, and the undulating forested interior along with the close proximity to the Sahyadri Range of the Western Ghats which run the length of its eastern boundary less than 70km away, has resulted in a rapid variation in habitat across Goa’s length & breadth that is reflected in the significant diversity of species found within its borders.

Goa has an impressive birdlist of over 450 species, including 17 of the 28 species endemic or near-endemic to the Western Ghats. A small area, combined with a well-developed infrastructure, makes it possible for the most productive of Goa’s birding localities to be thoroughly covered within a short time frame without the need of lengthy travel and given a few days it is possible to reach a list of 140-150 comprising more widespread Indian species, regional endemics, and wintering migrants.

Bird Watching In Goa is a great way to unwind and forget the worries of the world. Goa teems with bird life of all kinds, from nesting to aquatic and migratory. Whether you tour the lakes of Goa, or enjoy a trek through the Western Ghats, Goa promises to make your trip a memorable one.

Few of the tourists know that one third of Goa is covered with rich forest and that, it is one of the greatest reservoirs of biodiversity in the world. The wildlife sanctuaries in Goa are represented by Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary (also called Mollem WLS)Cotigao Wildlife SanctuaryDr.Salim Ali Wildlife SanctuaryBondla Wildlife Sanctuaryand the Mandovi Zuari Wildlife Sanctuary. Each of these wildlife sanctuaries supports a rich flora and fauna

Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary – Tambdi Surla & Mollem

The entire stretch of the Western Ghats that falls within Goa’s boundaries is protected in a series of interconnecting wildlife sanctuaries, of which the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary is the largest. With an area of 240 sq. km, the sanctuary provides a degree of security to a considerable tract of deciduous and evergreen forests in the gently undulating terrain of the foothills of the Sahyadris. This area was first known as Mollem Game Sanctuary. It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and renamed as Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary. The core area of the sanctuary covering 107 square kilometers (41.3 sq mi) was notified as Mollem National Park in 1978.

The most accessible parts of the sanctuary are Tambdi Surla, and Mollem. Densities deep inside the forest can appear low, however this is the region where many of Goa’s most sought-after species can be found, such as Ceylon Frogmouth, Malabar Trogon, Black-backed Dwarfand Blue-eared Kingfishers, White-bellied Woodpecker, Great Pied and Malabar Pied Hornbills, Nilgiri Woodpigeon, Malabar Whistling-thrush, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Forest Eagle-owl, and Indian Pitta. Forest edges are frequented by mixed feeding flocks that can contain such delights as Asian Paradise and Tickell’s Blue Flycatchers, Malayan Night Heron, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Flame-throated Bulbul, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, and Dark-fronted Babbler.

This sanctuary contains pristine vegetation with predominantlyTerminaliaLagerstroemia,Xylia and Dalbergia. The evergreen type of forests are mainly seen on higher altitudes and along the river banks. The forest canopy is almost closed and the availability of grass is very limited. The fauna comprises of herds of Gaur (often called Indian Bison), Monkeys, Elephant, Leopard, Sloth bear, Flying squirrel, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Porcupine, Civet cat, Tigers and a few Black panthers. The Park is also famous for the presence of King Cobra’s.

The attractive Dudhsagar Falls (the highest waterfall in Goa) is in the south east corner of this sanctuary. It originates in Karnataka and the water cascades from a height of 200 mtr. and splashes into a wide gorge making it milky all along and thus has earned its reputation as “Dudhsagar”. The 'Devil Canyon' (Devcharacho kond) is a beautiful geological rock formation and the river Khandepar cuts across the spot. Though, we would not go to the waterfalls, we will cover the forests of Castle Rock area.

Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary

If you are a wildlife enthusiast looking for a wonderful sanctuary experience, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is for you! It is Goa’s smallest wildlife reserve, nestled at a height of 3000 feet (900 meters) on the lush foothills of the Western Ghats. Bondla Sanctuary is a haven for bird watchers. 

Though, the birdlife is largely similar to that of the BMS, a few additional species, such as White-browed Bulbul and Blue-faced Malkoha, can be found here while species such as White-rumped Shama, Forest Wagtail, Rufous Woodpecker, Grey Jungle-fowl and Crested Hawk-eagle can appear more regularly here. There is a great possibility of spotting brown fish owl, Ruby throated yellow bulbul (State bird of Goa), Indian scimitar babbler and Oriental dwarf kingfisher among other birds. The Rangado river flows on its east while the Madhel river on its north. Bondla is also home to a diversity of wildlife such as Sambar deer, Sloth bear, Gaur, the black-faced Langur, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Jackals, toddy cats, panthers, porcupines, peacocks, wild boar and an array of reptiles like Indian Chameleon. Bondla is covered with moist deciduous forest with the state tree Terminalia Crenulata (Matti) and Rosewood being the most common trees around. Evergreens and a variety of canes can also be found.

Since the circumference of Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is only 8kms it is possible to cover the entire sanctuary in a day. The approach road to the entrance gate and on to the tourist zone, and the track leading from the café towards a series of fords are the best places to bird, while the small reservoir before the entrance gate is a good place to view raptors over the surrounding hills.

Tambdi Surla Temple
The Tambdi Surla temple situated at Tambdi village is historically important as the same has been built by the Kadamba kings during the 13th Century. . It is notable as the oldest temple inGoa, located just 13 kms from Mollem. The surrounding forest is dense and harbours quite a variety of Western Ghat endemics.
Zuari River Boat Trip
The Mandovi-Zuari Wildlife Sanctuary, lies along Mandovi and the Zuari River which are the two primary rivers of Goa. A day out cruising along the back waters of the Zuari river Sanctuary in a giant canoe in search of Collared Kingfisher, a scarce and sporadically distributed species, alongside Stork-billed, Black-capped, and Lesser Pied Kingfishers, Orange-breasted Green Pigeon, Osprey, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Great Crested, Lesser Crested, Sandwich, Little, and River Terns at close range, Mugger Crocodile in the canal and pods of Indo-Pacific Hump-backed Dolphin in the estuary.

motorized boat takes you for the safari in the backwaters of the river Zuari going further in the mangrove-lined Cumbharjua Canal. The safari takes a total of 3 hours. You will be also served a packed breakfast on board.

Maina Lake

This lesser known lake is one of the largest and most productive wetlands in Goa. It is a large, marshy, lotus-covered lake, filled with an abundance and variety of waterbirds. Although the amount of water in the lake varies greatly with the seasons and agricultural use, regular species here include Purple Swamphen, White-breasted Waterhen, Bronze-winged and Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, Garganey, Northern Pintail, Lesser Whistling-duck, Cotton pygmy Goose, Spot-billed and Comb Ducks, Asian Openbill, and Oriental Darter. The lake is surrounded by scrub, paddy fields, and woodland good for Warblers, Munias and various woodpeckers, bee-eaters, and parakeets. Raptors including Western Marsh Harrier, Indian Spotted and Booted Eagles, and Osprey are regularly seen.

Check out Nature India Participant's Trip Experiences and Trip Reports


Nature India is conducting a well planned and budgeted trip to Goa that will cover most of the birding sites and habitats ...... see below for complete details.

Date: 05th December, 2013, 10.00 am to 08th December, 2013 eve 5.00 pm

Mode of Local Travel : Tempo traveller (The best option to move around the places quickly in a group)
Overnight Volvo buses ply regularly between Mumbai & Goa and bookings are easily available....Nature India can assist in bookings if required.

Rough Tour Iterinary : Ex Goa (Madgaon to Madgaon)

Day 1: 05th Dec, 2013 (Thursday) : Pick-up from Madgaon at 10:00 am – Proceed to Nature’s Nest campsite near Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary (BMS), birding along the way – Check-in and Lunch – Birding trail in BMS – Return to Camp – Dinner – Night trail to see Frogmouths, Owls & Nightjar’s - Overnight stay at Nature Nest Camp.

Day 2: 06th Dec, 2013 (Friday) : Early morning birding trail to Castle Rock and Anmod Ghat area with packed Breakfast – return and lunch – Visit “Tambdi Surla” temple area for the Western Ghat endemic bird species – Return – Presentation on “Birds of Goa” – Dinner - Night trail to see Frogmouths, Owls & Nightjar’s - Overnight stay at Nature Nest Camp.

Day 3: 07th Dec, 2013 (Saturday) : Early morning visit to Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary with packed breakfast – Lunch @ Bondla WLS – Continue bird-watching in Bondla Sanctuary – return – Dinner - Overnight stay at Nature Nest Camp.

Day 4: 08th Dec, 2013 (Sunday) : Pack-up and leave early morning for Zuari river safari to see Mangrove and marine bird specialties including 6 species of Kingfishers, Orange-breasted Green Pigeons, Waders, Terns and Gulls – Breakfast – Proceed to visit Mayna Lake to see the migratory waterfowls – Lunch – Shopping around Margoa – Drop at Margoa and proceed to catch Bus back home at 5 pm.

Trip charges (Goa to Goa only) : Rs.10500/- (Includes Stay in Camp “Nature’s Nest”, near Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary on twin sharing basis, Local travel by Tempo traveller, All Park entry charges, All meals including lunch, dinner and breakfast , Expert charges, Zuari river Safari, Information articles & on board snacks and mineral water)…….

Group Size : 12 persons only
These charges are Goa to Goa only....... participant has to make their own travel arrangement upto Goa and Back . This does not include any charges other than the above.
Registration: You can register by sending a confirmation mail to and by paying non-refunadable advance of Rs.5000/- (and only after our confirmation mail) as per the payment guidelines given below…...

Stay Arrangement: Camp “Nature's Nest” cottages….. a basic camp with simple touch, located at the base of Western Ghats in Goa, on the border of Bhagwan Mahavir National Park.

The Stay arrangement is on a twin sharing basis. The cottages arevery simple but spacious & clean and suit the best to local climate and culture. .……The camp is situated around the forests and offers plenty of Birdwatching inside the campus. Please visit their home page @

Resource PersonMr.Pankaj Lad (Local Expert), Mr. Mandar Khadilkar, and Mr.Adesh Shivkar

Mode of Payment: You can either
1) Transfer the money directly to my HDFC A/c (Please call Mandar @ 9930318665).. please mention your name, date and other details….
2) Courier a cheque in favour of "Mandar Khadilkar" of Rs.5000/- to the following address:
Name: Mr. Mandar Khadilkar
Address:Flat No.2, Blossom Apartments, Below Shantighan Hospital, LM Road, Kandarpada, Dahisar-West, Mumbai-400068

Please Note:
1) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 5000/- is strictly non-refunadable
2) The seats will be confirmed only against the advance amount on first come basis
3) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours
4) Nest photography or any collection of specimens is prohibited
5) Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with  Nature India's rules and policies

Please revert on ID, in case you need any clarification …..

For any other queries we are available on 9869071091 / 9820455713 (Adesh) or 9930318665 / 9967518665 (Mandar)

Thanks for your patience.

Looking forward for a very rewarding trip with you all !!

Warm Regards,
Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India
Appreciate, Respect and Conserve

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tal Chappar - A Grassland Oasis (24th to 27th Oct, 2013)

Date: 24th Oct 07.30 pm to 27th Oct,2013 eve 2.00 pm (travel days excluded). The bookings for our New Destination Tal Chappar Wild Life Sanctuary & Nahargarh Sanctuary - Bird- watching trip are on… your seats now (see the details at the end)..... This is an exciting New Destination with a unique Grassland habitat surrounded by Desert that has recently come to limelight because of its Rarities. .... An offbeat destination that surprises any birder with its amazing quality and quantity of birdlife.....

TAAL CHAAPAR - A Grassland Oasis, Rajasthan

"Kesariya Baalam Aavo Ni, Padharo Mhare Des" this sign can be seen throughout the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, to signify that THIS is the gateway to India. Perhaps this sign is best applied for the Migratory birds that enter the mainland India through this corridor..............
There are several incredible Bird-watching destinations in India.... some are frequently visited for their abundance and variety, while some are visited for the endemic species that they offer. However, there are very few destinations which can be termed as "Hidden treasures" and which have been seldom visited due to either ignorance or poor logistics..... Amongst them Tal Chappar WLS is on Top of the list.... It is truely an Oasis for Birds surrounded by Desert.

It is only in recent times that Tal Chappar has come to limelight, due to some credible work by Rajasthan's forest Dept. especially by the current DFO Mr.Surat Singh Poonia. He has transformed this place from a dry featureless scrubland to a bird rich habitat where amazing varieties and Rare species of birds can now be encountered.

The Tal Chappar sanctuary is located on the fringe of the Great Indian Desert and is Located at a distance of 220 km from Jaipur. It is a small but rich wildlife sanctuary in Churu district of Rajasthan between Ratangarh & Sujjangarh. The word "Tal" means plane land which is actually a flat saline depression with open grassland scattered with acacia and prosopis trees which give it an appearance of a typical Savanna. Tal Chappar Sanctuary is known for its enchanting natural beauty and a unique fragile ecosystem spread across 719 Ha. And is more famous for the amazing population of Black Bucks, having highest density in India harboring more than 2000 of these elegant antelopes.

The location of the sanctuary makes it suitable as a passage stop for many migratory birds travelling to India. Thousands of birds of various species either stop-over here on their passage to mainland India or spend most of the winter months in this bio-diversity rich grassland habitat.

Rarities Galore: Tal Chappar WLS has especially shot up in prominence due to some of the rare birds recorded here that include Yellow-eyed PigeonsStolickza’s BushchatSpotted CreeperLaggar FalconSpanish Sparrow, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Flocks of Demoiselle Cranes, European Turtle Dove, Lesser Kestrel, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Spotted Flycatcher, Singing Bushlark, Eurasian Skylark, Water Pipit, Sociable Lapwings, Black-crowned Sparrow Lark, Raven etc.

The bounty of bird, spiny-tailed Lizards and rodent population also ensures incredible variety of Raptors including Greater & Indian Spotted Eagles, Tawny, Imperial & Steppe Eagles, Short-toed, Booted and Bonelli’s Eagle, Harriers, Falcons, Sparrowhawks, White-eyed Buzzard , Indian Eagle-owl and several species of Vultures.

The park also harbours several other migratory and resident birds in good numbers including collard Doves, Greater Short-toed, Rufous-tailed, Crested, Indian Bush, Bimaculated and Oriental Sky Larks, Peafowls, Wheatears, Pipits, FrancolinsQuails, Wyrnecks, woodpeckers, Bee-eaters, coursers, Cuckoos, Warblers, Wagtails, Shrikes, Rollers and owls.

The Saltpans near the North-western corner of the Park attracts a number of waders and other waterbirds including Sandpipers, Godwits, Avocets, Ibis, Storks, Stints, Egrets, Herons etc. which adds significantly to the list of this unique landscape.

Apart from the rich avifauna, Tal Chappar also hosts several other fauna that can be encountered easily including huge nos. of Blackbucks, NeelgaiDesert Jerbils, Desert Fox and Desert CatIndian FoxHedgehogs, Mongoose, Spiny-tailed Lizard.

It is just amazing to see the plethora of fauna in a land otherwise known as impoverished desert….. The best time to visit the Tal Chappar Wildlife Sanctuary in Churu is from September to March.

(Some of the images in this blog are courtesy: Mr.Nirav Bhatt)


Located in the vicinity of Nahargarh Fort, outside Jaipur the biological park is spread over 7.2 sq km of the Nahargarh Sanctuary It consists of quartzite and granite rocks and the  vegetation of the region is adequately represented through tropical dry deciduous and tropical thorn forests. It is a perfect thorn jungle dominated by Dhok (A. pendula), Salar (Boswellia serrata), Churel (Holoptelia integrifolia), Khair (Acacia catechu), Palash (Butea monosperma), Date Palm.

The Wildlife here includes Jackal, Hyenas, Mongoose, Jungle Cat, Neelgai etc, which are seldom seen as they are shy.... but the park scores points mainly because of the scrub-land bird species that are found here abundantly including the Rare White-naped Tit & Marshall's Iora, Also Rufous-fronted Prinia, Grey Tit, Black Redstart, Bluethroat, White-bellied & Small Minivets, White-browed Fantail, Eurasian Wryneck, Yellow-crowned Pied Woodpecker etc.

We will be visiting the Nahargarh Biological Park for Scrubland birds on the way to Tal Chappar....


Nature India has organized an exclusive Birdwatching trip to this paradise from 24th October to 27th October 2013 (travel days excluded). We shall cover The Grasslands of Tal Chappar, The surrounding Scrubland and saltpans and Nahargarh Sanctuary & Biological Park.

read our last years experience...

Have a look at some of the Trip reports & photoblogs on Taal Chappar WLS, Rajasthan


Tour Itinerary & Other Details:

Date: 24th Oct'13 morning 07.00 am to 27th Oct'13 eve 02.00 pm (travel days excluded)

Mode of Travel : Tavera Jeeps (From Jaipur to Tal Chappar and local travel) 

Overnight train travel can be booked from Mumbai..... however since it is a busy sector, the train bookings should be done soon to get the desired train and class .... there are several trains available for Jaipur from Mumbai....Nature India can ASSIST in bookings if required.

Rough Tour Itinerary:( Ex.Mumbai)
23rd Oct'13 (Wednesday): Departure from Mumbai to Jaipur 12216 +DEE Garibrath Express. at 12:55 Hrs (from Bandra) or any other train according to your convenience.

24th Oct'13 (Thursday): Arrival in Jaipur (7.10am) - Breakfast - Proceed to Nahargarh Sanctuary -  Birdwatching in Nahargarh Sanctuary till noon - Lunch - Proceed to Tal Chappar WLS - Check-in and Night stay at Hotel in Sujjangad (10 kms from Tal-chhapar WLS)

25th Oct'13 (Friday): Early morning bird watching @ Tal Chappar for Grassland species - Lunch - Proceed to the Scrubland and Saltpans towards North of Park - Return to Hotel in Sujjangad - Dinner and Night Stay.

26th Oct'13 (Saturday): Early morning Birding @ Tal Chappar for grassland species and Blackbucks - Lunch - Proceed to "Cow-shed" area towards the east of park to see Spiny-tailed Lizard, Desert Jerbils and birds like Spotted Creeper and other scrub-land birds - Return to Hotel in Sujjangad - Dinner and Night Stay.

27th Oct'13 (Sunday): Early morning Checkout from Hotel and proceed to board 12956 JP BCT Superfast Express @ 14:10 from Jaipur (lunch on the way)

28th Oct'13 (Monday): Arrive in Mumbai on 28th early morning by 07:30 Hrs.


Trip charges (Jaipur to Jaipur only)............. Rs.12500/-

Includes A/C stay in a hotel in Sujjangad on twin sharing basis with attached toilet, Local travel by AC Tavera Jeeps, Jaipur to Jaipur travel, Park entry charges, vegetarian food , Guide charges, Information articles & on board snacks and mineral water…….

This does not include travel charges from Mumbai to Jaipur and Back, Photography fees or any charges other than the above.

Group Size: Max.8 persons only

How to Registration: You can register by sending a confirmation mail to and by paying a non refundable Advance of Rs.5000/- after our registration confirmation on e-mail…..The remaining amount will be collected on the day of travel.

Kindly register soon as the train bookings are not easily available in this sector.

Stay Arrangement:
At BDS International, Near Sujjangad, Churu District in AC
rooms on twin sharing basis. Note: This is a remote place in Rajasthan, where the facilities are extremely basic.... and this hotel is the only option for staying near the sanctuary.....however, the Hotel is clean and food is hygenic. the hotel is situated approx. 10 kms from Tal Chappar Sanctuary.

Resource Person: Mr.Adesh Shivkar, Mr.Mandar Khadilkar 

Mode of Payment: You can either
1) Transfer the advance money directly to the HDFC A/c (Please send a mail for details).. please mention your name, date and other details….
2) Courier a cheque of Rs.5000/- as advance amount to the following address

Name: Mr. Mandar Khadilkar
Address: Flat No.2, Blossom Apts, LM Road, Below Shantighan Hospital, Kandarpada, Dahisar (West), Mumbai-400068

Please Note:
1) Once registered, the amount of Rs. 5000/- is strictly non-refunadable
2) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours
3) Nest photography or any collection of specimens is prohibited
4) Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with  Nature India's rules and policies

Please revert on ID, in case you need any clarification …..

For any other queries we are available on 9869071091 or 9820455713 (Adesh) or 9930318665 or 967518665 (Mandar).

Thanks for your patience.

Looking forward for a very rewarding trip with you all !!

Warm Regards,
Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India
Appreciate, Respect and Conserve

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