Goa shows different faces to different people.
It is beaches to foreigners. To some Indians it is temples or churches. To some others it could be fish curry and rice. And before you say I am forgetting something, which I won't, it could also be Feni - Goan liquor made out of coconut or cashew.
Goa is surely different than other states. When young, I often heard that it was one of the safest places where people did not lock their doors. And windows, often circular in shape, had no grills. But I don't mean this, when I say different. It is the mood in the air. Visiting is believing.
I have visited Goa many times both on official duties as well as in personal capacity. On this occasion, apart from the official responsibilities, I also decided to explore the Goan Nature. My free time permitted me one of the reserved forests and my other interest was the only bird sanctuary in Goa that is Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary.
I decided to visit Bondla wildlife sanctuary on a late afternoon. The timing was not ideal for such a visit but I had no choice as the other free slot. the next day morning was reserved for Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary near Panaji. Bondla WS is about 35 Kms from Margaon . . .मडगाव् in Goan official language Konkani - कोंकणी.
Incidentally, Konkani is my mother tongue too and is spoken by another 3 million + population on about 800 Km stretch of west coast of india.
The Spotted deer and the Great Malabar Squirrel in the Bondla WS, both of whom waited until I clicked their pictures were my achievements of about one hour that I spent there.
When I had made enquiries about Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary I was informed that the migratory birds were yet to arrive. But Nature always has surprises and my visit to the sanctuary next morning was a good experience. My journey to Chorao island across Ribandar, Panaji where the sanctuary is located also gave me a glimpse of Goan life.
Most of people residing on Chorao island need to take a ferry every day to reach their working places on the main land. I just imagined myself doing that every day. But I later wondered as to the shock a Goan would have if they see the rat race we Mumbaikars go through every day to reach their office places.
Following picture is a sight of main land as seen from Chorao island. The ferry crosses Mandovi river in about 15 minutes. There is a charge only for the vehicles. The BS is just there on landing on the island.
This sanctuary is full of mangroves and it was a wonderful experience of walking through the sanctuary. Unlike many other bird sanctuaries, it is necessary here to take a fixed route which is paved by concrete blocks and return the same way. Did not see much of bird life and the picture below was a typical view during the walk.
Though I could hear many bird calls, only birds seen were the waders in a few places. I have always seen these waders doing what they are best at - wading. here I found them sitting on branches of the trees.
|Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)|
|Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)|
When I completed my tour of the sanctuary in about an hour and came out, a friendly local Goan offered me to take me in his canoe in the Mandovi river with a promise of many more waders. But on seeing the type of canoe that I was to travel with my precious camera, I did not dare. But he had also an alternative suggestion at the cost of loosing his own business - walk along the Mandovi river on the opposite side of the sanctuary and there he assured, was a lot of bird life.
His advice turned out to be good and here are some pictures taken out side the sanctuary on the same island:
This is the most common wader we see in all the places but I am never tired of snapping them on my camera whenever it is seen in such natural surroundings.
|Greater Egret (Casmerodius albus )|
Thought this commonly seen butterfly is not the most exotic of the species, I often become nostalgic when I see one. I grew with them in Mumbai and in those school days we often caught them. More than catching them we were interested in seeing the yellow colour that its wings left on our fingers.
I have a special place for this butterfly with damaged wings. When I posted earlier a similar injured butterfly my good friend Ajith promptly send me this link : Repair a Butterfly
I wish this butterfly too gets this medical assistance. And soon enough.
This female Indian Koel was sitting in a bush at the end of my Chorao tour.
|Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus)|
I was also amused at this bird. This night heron was sitting in the same place near the landing of the ferry. The bird was still there after more than 2 hours of my Chorao tour and in fact it bid adieu in his own style with a comic face. Please see it for your self.
|Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)|
|Small Blue Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) with Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)|
Though, churches were not my focus on this Goan tour, one can not miss them anywhere one goes and when I happened to pass through Old Goa, I did stop and took some pictures. One of them is now converted into an archeological museum.
Business side of Goa also went well. But I still have some unfinished work here that will bring me back soon. Very soon.