The hotel is situated close to two lakes and some saltpans, although the saltpans were completely full of water during the whole of our visit. I think the monsoon may have been particularly heavy in 2002 as many places were wetter than usual according to the taxi drivers.|
The small lakes directly in view from the hotel balcony held a couple of interesting species such as Little Heron seen fishing from the landing stages for the hotel boats. A Stork-billed Kingfisher was also observed on the wires around the lakes on a couple of occasions. Hirundines and swifts were in abundance over the water such as Little Swifts and Wire-tailed Swallows.
Dusky Crag Martin and Plain Martin were found amongst the commoner hirundines on separate occasions. Waders could be viewed on the saltpans such as Greenshank and Marsh Sandpiper, whilst a regular Osprey fished the area. Other species of interest around the pans were Red-wattled Lapwing, Little Green Bee Eater and Ashy Woodswallow as well as many common species such as White-breasted Kingfisher and Paddyfield Pipit.
Arpora Wood was in my opinion an altogether better site than Baga Hill although Baga Hill had its own merits, with certain species not found at Arpora Wood.
Arpora Wood has more Accessible open areas than Baga Hill lower down.|
To find Arpora Wood, leave the Marinha Dourada Hotel gate turning right and walk to the T- junction. At the junction turn left and walk past a couple of bars and a local bus stop area until reaching a sharp left hand bend in the road. At this bend is a sign to the Cabana Nightclub on the right. Take the road on the right and walk past the club down a small shady track. This track passes an opening on the right which lets you onto some more open ground, accessible lower down from the main road.
Further on the track forks, the left hand fork taking you past a small quarry where Blue-faced Malkoha was seen and continues up the left hand side of the valley containing Arpora Woodland. Along this track are some large trees where I was informed by a Local German birder that he had seen 4 or 5 Yellow-crowned Woodpeckers early one morning.
The right hand fork will take you through a scrub area and across some farmland, with very small fenced off fields, before taking you up the right hand side of the Arpora wooded hillside. I found the open scrubby area at the lower end of the woodland to be the most productive especially in the early mornings at first light, around 6-30. Black-rumped Flamebacks and Rufous Woodpeckers were regular and my only Common Flamebacks of the trip were seen here. Bronzed Drongo and White-bellied Drongo were often encountered with the commoner Black and Ashy Drongos. White-bellied Sea Eagles were overhead displaying around their obvious nest one morning and chased off a group of House Crows, whilst other raptors similar to those of Baga Hill were seen, along with a male Pallid Harrier which was seen one evening soaring with the other raptors.
Indian Pitta was present at Arpora in the shady area just past the nightclub and in the scrub, mainly to the right of the path. Tawny-bellied and Puff-throated Babblers were viewed on the ground with orange-headed Ground Thrush and on one occasion Grey-headed Bulbuls were seen. The only site they were found other than in the Ghats.
All in all I would thoroughly recommend several early morning walks in Arpora Wood.
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