Notes on Goa: Yard birding

A couple more posts on the theme Goa.

Not so long ago, I’d posted a bird checklist of my residential complex in Gurgaon. In comparison to Gurgaon, our Goa home complex is tiny and dominated by a swimming pool around which 20 flats are made. On the first look, the greenery around the place looks charming but on a closer look, it’s easy to see that it isn’t dense enough to attract too many birds. The pool is surrounded by small shrubs that attract some small birds but it’s the two far sides of the pool, showing off a cashew tree, a mango tree, a Kachnar, an Araucaria, a large ficus, a spread-out bougainvillea on the boundary wall and a large breadfruit tree, that bring in bigger delights. Ardent yard birders that Kishore and I are, we keep peering into the foliage visible from our flat balcony to spot our avian visitors. Birds that we commonly spot from the balcony are:

1. White-rumped Munias – seen regularly
2. Crimson-backed Sunbirds – seen regularly
3. Oriental Magpie Robins – seen regularly
4. Asian Koels – often found nesting on a large ficus tree
5. Rufous Treepies — seen regularly
6. Red-whiskered Bulbuls – dominant bird and seen regularly
7. Black Kites – out of the complex on coconut trees – 3-4 are commonly seen
8. White-throated Kingfishers – 1 or 2 show up to take a dip in the pool
9. Asian Paradise Flycatcher-female –lone bird

At the back of the complex, a neighbour has some coconut trees, one cashew tree, a cheeku tree and at least one large Frangipani tree. One of the coconut trees is thoroughly pock-marked with nesting holes, and often shows these two species using them:

10. White-cheeked Barbets – can be heard every few hours but seen only once or twice
11. Jungle Myna – this angry bird is seen regularly but only in its nesting hole

While I’m drawing up the complex checklist, I can’t skip mentioning these beautiful woodpeckers whom we saw only one of the summers when the mango trees were laden with ripe mangoes and would lure them to the complex:

12. Black-rumped Flamebacks

Other than spotting a full-time resident like a Jungle Myna in its nesting hole, there are 2 rituals that we look out for on each stay. One is the daily bath by a Magpie Robin in one of the deep plant pots and the other is the visit of just one Asian Paradise Flycatcher (APF) female every afternoon. This bird mostly visits between 3 and 4 pm, lands straight onto a Bottlebrush tree close to the swimming pool, takes 3 dips into the pool and each time goes and rests on the same tree, only to fly away after its third dip. I don’t know if all birds are creatures of habit, but I can sure vouch for APF being one. In Gurgaon too, we’ve had a Rufous male visiting every March-April for a week to ten days, whom we managed to spot just a couple of times before we took off for Goa.



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