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Peter Jones
Wildlife watcher and photographer living in Hampshire, England
Wildlife watcher and photographer living in Hampshire, England


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Another Reptile survey in the New Forest, my license runs for the 1st half of the month, so I get a break now until June. Today's survey was quiet sadly, with just a fleeting glimpse of a Common Lizard. Hot days perhaps not the best for surveys.

I did, however, find a couple of nice insects: a Pine Ladybird, which is a fairly small species, with comma shaped red marks; and also a Dor Beetle.
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Another moth trap session last night, but with fairly limited results. 1 Brimstone , a couple of worn looking pugs.
Smartest moth was a Small Phoenix, photo below, and a Micro moth which I initially struggled to identify. However, shining a torch on the moth brought out all the colour, and I was able to identify it as an Esperia Sulphurella!
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Mild weather recently, so I have run the moth trap in the garden a few nights. Haven't ran the trap so early in the year before, so I got a few new ones. A selection of pics below..
Satellite, Lunar Marbled Brown, Brindled Beauty, Frosted Green, Lesser Swallow Prominent, and Muslin.
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A pretty good reptile survey in the New Forest this morning. My allocated survey is 3x1 km with 40 artificial refugia to look under, so it takes awhile. The weather today was furiously hot! so not ideal, and I was conscious of this when I started out. With hindsight, I started a little too early, and also spent too much time surveying into the sun. But these are little mistakes I can iron out through the season.

Best of the sightings under Refugia were an Adder inches away from a Toad! and several Slow Worms.
A fast moving stream had a Palmate Newt, and what I presume was an Eel!, and a nearby pond was packed with Palmate Newts. Nice to watch them under the surface. There is something relaxing about Newts!

Elsewhere, a Common Heath Moth was a first for me, and plenty of birds including Dartford Warbler, Curlew, Snipe, Lapwing, Hobby, Tree Pipit and Willow Warbler.
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Lots of photos from Goa
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4. Cavelossim

The final 3 nights of my trip were spent at the small town of Cavelossim in the South of Goa. Relatively few Birders have visited this area, although some good reference reports exist, identifying places with potential.

One thing I did notice was the landscape changes quite frequently here, and areas marked as good in November, were pretty dry by March. There was however, good opportunities in a small lake on the edge of town, and the fields surrounding the town had a good assortment of birds.
The large scrubby area north of the town was good, although hard work, and the beach all the way down to the River Sal estuary was productive, with the bonus of superb Humpback Dolphin sightings at the estuary on the morning I explored the area.

I chose a long walk checking the fields either side of the Assolna Bridge, Lake Velim, and on to Betul Lighthouse. The plan being to mop up the common species I had missed during the week. I didn't quite make it on foot to the Lighthouse relying on a taxi for the last couple of miles, but was successful in tracking down a few new species en route.. Pied Bushchat, Malabar Lark, Indian Roller, and Asian Openbill. the lighthouse viewpoint eventually got me White-bellied Sea Eagle.

The final day, I headed on another long walk along the beach. This proved to be excellent for waders adding a few more good species for me including Greater and Lesser Sandplover, Terek Sandpiper, and Brown-headed Gull, plus the Dolphins.


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3. Zuari River:

This was an eagerly awaited trip in the middle of the holiday. The Zuari river is home to Marsh Mugger Crocodiles, and two species of Kingfisher unlikely to be encountered elsewhere in Goa: the Collared Kingfisher and Black-capped Kingfisher. Both were seen well, although difficult to photograph. This was a relief as the Black-Capped seems to have become scare recently, and what a stunning bird this was.

Crocodiles were seen well, along with Striated Heron and Western Reef Heron, plus the other common Herons and Egrets.

Orange-Breasted Green Pigeon, Lesser Adjutant, and Stork-billed Kingfisher completed an enjoyable morning boat trip.

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2. Western Ghats:

This was to be where the bulk of the exciting sightings were made. I spent 4 nights at Nature's Nest camp, and their resident guide Ramesh proved to be excellent at finding a large number of birds in the 3 days we had available. Sri Lankan Frogmouth, Indian Pitta and Malabar Trogon were seen well, and many other highlights were seen during the trips into the forests including Brown Fish Owl, Crested Hawk Eagle, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, and Yellow-browed Bulbul. I could go on and on.

Night safari's produced good sightings of other highlights such as Jungle Nightjar, Jerdon's Nightjar, and Indian Scop's Owl. The camp area had 4 Sunbird species, plus Little Spiderhunter, Puff-throated Babbler, and Tickell's Flycatcher, plus a brief Orange-headed Thrush, and Indian Tit.


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1. Carambolim

After a long tiring trip, I spent the first morning in the Carambolim lake area. What a place this is, with some incredible wetlands south of the main lake.
As the sun rose, I was seeing more and more small flocks of many species of waders, plus a stream of Herons and Egrets overhead.

New Indian species for me included Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Black Drongo, White-rumped and Scaly-Breasted Munia, Wire Tailed Swallow, Stork-billed Kingfisher, and Spot-billed Duck.
Many of the birds I was familiar with were species I had gone so many years without seeing. These were also big highlights, including Citrine Wagtail, Temminck's Stint, Marsh Sandpiper, and White Breasted Kingfisher. An incredible start to the week.

Sightings list:

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I spent a week in Goa, wildlife watching, from 8th to 15th March 2018. Flights were with Thomas cook both ways, Gatwick to Goa. Transport within Goa was by taxis.

The wildlife watching can be divided into 4 parts:

1. A morning birdwatching at Carambolim lake, and surrounding wetlands
2. 3 days in the Western Ghats, based in Nature's Nest camp, and guided around the area's forests
3. Zuari river boat cruise
4. Final 3 days of the week, based in Cavelossim, birding the local area, mainly fields and coast.

I will add a separate post for Mammal and Bat sightings. plus a post dedicated to the photos taken during the week.

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