iBirdz

Zuari River Trip

Boat Trip The main purpose of this trip was to find Collared Kingfisher, which is something of a rarity in India. It was organised by myself at the Marinha Dourada and Ian at the Beira Mar with Loven from Backwoods. Originally there were five of us sharing a cost of around 8000 rupees. However, in the end we were turning people down as we had managed to recruit another twelve or so birders. This cut the cost of the trip tremendously.
The boat trip started from the Cidade de Goa 5 star hotel beach, passed along the coast for some way to the mouth of the Zuari River. It then entered the river and a couple of tributaries including the Cumbajua Canal.
Out to sea we saw a few small fish and two Indo-pacific Hump-backed Dolphins.
At the mouth of the Zuari were several wooden piles driven into the bottom presumably used by fishermen. On the top of these were an Osprey and good numbers of Great-crested Terns. A few Lesser-crested Terns were also present.
A lone Gadwall was also spotted in the river estuary. Approximately 6 Shikra were seen either in flight or perched up in mainly bare trees. Other birds of prey included Lesser-spotted and Great-spotter Eagles, Brahminy and Black Kites. A Lesser Adjutant was found in the top of some mangroves along the edge of the river.
Whilst searching the canals for the target species we saw Common, Pied, Stork-billed, White-breasted and Black-capped Kingfishers before we found our first Collared Kingfisher sat in the middle of a riverside tree. The boat was manoeuvred allowing everyone good views of the bird. We may have been on its blind side, as the bird appeared to have a damaged eye facing towards us. Lesser Crested Terns
Collared Kingfisher Never the less it was a relief to see it as Ian was getting a nervous sweat on, as the boat had turned round and was heading back at this point. On entering a second canal/tributary on the way back we caught up with a second bird, which also showed well. It was more out in the open but a little further away than the previous sighting.

Just after seeing this bird someone with very keen eyes from the Beira Mar spotted a Rail under the Mangrove roots on the mud at the side of the canal. The boat was again reversed into position almost suffocating everyone with its engine fumes, so we could see and identify the bird as Slaty-breasted Rail, a juvenile bird.

Other interesting species on this trip were Fiddler Crabs, Mudskippers and we saw a single Marsh Mugger Crocodile in the water. Apparently, it is better to visit at low tide for the crocodiles. We were there at high tide, which is better for Kingfishers.

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