Goa’s Bird Festival: Perfect for a Break from the City

Three days, four sanctuaries, plenty of forest time. | By NGT Staff  
Hornbill Goa
Among the many birds that inhabit the thriving forests of Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, is the handsome Malabar pied hornbill. Photo: Thimindu Goonatillake/Flickr/ Creative Commons (http://bit.ly/1jxQJMa)

Goa’s beaches are legendary, but its forests still remain relatively unexplored. Discover the other side of the sunshine state this November, at the Bird Festival of Goa, from Fri 11 November to Sun 13 November 2016. The three-day festival packs in guided nature trails at four prime birding sites, including Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Carambolim Lake, Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park, and Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. Most events will take place in Bondla, nestled in the hills of central Goa, 35 km/ 1 hr northeast of Margao and 50 km/ 2 hr east of Panjim. It’s an ideal break for those looking to escape the noise of the city.

For a state its size, Goa packs in varied landscapes that are home to 432 species of birds. Bondla has thick forests that shelter hornbills, crested serpent eagles, and Brahminy kites. Mollem’s evergreen flora and water bodies attract kingfishers, emerald doves, and grey junglefowl. The coastal ecosystem at the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary makes it an ideal home for herons, painted storks and ospreys, while snipes and cormorants can be spotted near the freshwater Carambolim Lake. The ruby-throated yellow bulbul, Goa’s state bird, can be spotted at all four sites.

Online registration is open to 200 participants on a first come, first served basis. The three-day programme includes guided nature trails and birdwatching sessions through the four sanctuaries. There will also be lectures and photography sessions, and an interaction with locals who live around the sanctuaries and host eco-friendly homestays. For a more detailed guide to Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, including where to stay, click here.

The Guide

What The Bird Festival of Goa

When Fri 11 November-Sun 13 November 2016

Where Four sites in Goa: Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park, Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary and Carambolim Lake

Registration Online registration here; Registration fee ₹2,500. Only 200 participants accepted on a first come, first served basis until 31 October 2016.
Organisers will provide transport from Ponda to Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, and Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park; participants will have to arrange for their own transport to the other two sites. 

Website infotechgoa.com/birdfestival

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