Baga Area

Baga Hill

Brahminy Kite Baga Hill was within 10 minutes walking distance from the Marinha Dourada Hotel. Leave the hotel entrance, turning left and walk over a bridge across a small tidal river. Go past the shops and the road to Anjuna on the right and continue round a sloping left hand bend. There are approximately 3 or 4 tracks off to the right. One cart track passes along the side of some buildings up to a makeshift fence. This is the widest and easiest way on to Baga Hill.
Walk up to the fence and around the side of it, then follow the track to the top of the hill. The other two tracks up onto the hill are difficult to find. The track behind Hilda's Beauty Parlour eventually reaches the hilltop by the shrine with a cross on it as described in Harris. Another track further along the road towards the beach leaves the road beside a large white building up a seemingly well marked path but then winds round the houses and eventually leads up to a house on the top of the hill. There is a noisy dog at the house, which barks when you approach the house. Do not worry it will run away when you get near to it.
If you are going up Baga Hill in the morning it is best to start at the wide track at the eastern end of the hill to keep the sun behind you the converse is true for an evening walk up on the hill.
The hill is a good area for watching raptors such as Black and Brahminy Kites which roost on the hill. Black Eagle, Booted Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Peregrine and Amur Falcon were all seen well from the hilltop.
The area is a good one to familiarise yourself with the commoner local birds such as Sunbirds, Flowerpeckers, Babblers and Bulbuls. More sought after species such as Nilgiri Woodpigeon, Red Spurfowl, Indian Peafowl and Blue-faced Malkoha were seen on the hill.

Paddyfield Pipit Baga Fields

It is possible to walk from the Marinha Dourada to Baga Fields and across to the Beira Mar Hotel. This could be a pleasant walk early in the morning but in the afternoon the heat is intense and I would recommend getting a taxi to the concrete bridge over Baga River and walking from there. The taxi will only cost about 50 rupees, about 75p. To walk from the Marinha Dourada, turn left out of the hotel and walk over the bridge continuing along the road, which runs parallel to Baga River. The river is worth checking out for Kingfishers and Red-wattled Lapwing along its banks, whilst the tress on the opposite side of the road hold common woodland birds such as Greenish Warbler, Red-throated Flycatcher and White-cheeked Barbet. Other common birds such as Blue-tailed Bee Eater and Jungle Mynas should be seen.
On reaching the covered concrete bridge, cross over Baga River and you will see an open area with a football pitch layed out.
From here walk across the fields around the edge of Baga Town. Eventually you will reach some fenced off fields, take the obvious path through these diagonally through a style and then walk along the side of these plots. After these fields there is a small gap in the bushes through to the Beira Mar Hotel.
The fields are good for Mynas, including Common Myna, Munias, Shrikes, Pipits and Larks. I saw Richards, Blyths and Paddyfield Pipit, Malabar Lark and Oriental Skylark and an Indian Silverbill on some wires.
Hoopoe and the commoner Drongos are also in abundance over the fields. Raptors such as Black Kite and Marsh Harrier were also present.
I only walked the fields in the afternoon to get to the Beira Mar for the evening birding there and was a little disappointed with the birding. I think a morning walk may have been more fruitful. The most interesting species seen was a Watercock just past the small pool on the edge of the town.

Beira Mar Hotel
White-throated Kingfisher The hotel itself is by no means extravagant but is excellent for an evenings birding whilst downing a few of the local Kingfisher Beers at around 60p per bottle. Just find a position amongst the other birders behind the swimming pool overlooking the marshy area behind the hotel.

The specialities here are Greater Painted Snipe of which I had only disappointing views in the dusk or hiding behind the vegetation, Cinnamon and Yellow Bitterns both of which showed extremely well just below the balcony on each visit to the hotel and various Rails and Crakes. I had a brief view of a Ruddy Crake in flight over the marsh, reasonable views of Baillons Crake and White-breasted Waterhen were quite common.

Other birds of interest were a resident Black-capped Kingfisher that spent the majority of its time perched on wires over the marsh, a couple of Bluethroats and Clamorous Reed, Blyths Reed and Paddyfield Warblers in the marsh with the resident Ashy Prinias.

The hotel is the best place to meet up with other birders for information on what's around or what you have missed like Great Knot and Crab Plover. Sunbirder and Wildwings were staying at the Beira Mar during our visit.

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