Goa Diaries

Goa, the mention of the place brings to mind a scene of us lazying around in a lovely little shack along a beautiful, sun-soaked beach with chilled beer in hand enjoying the lovely view with sumptuous sea-food added to the mix to create a truly enriching experience. Don’t you agree ? Yeah, yeah, I get it, wishful thinking, right… :-)

However, Goa is so much more than that. There is a side of Goa that most people are completely oblivious of. Let me enlighten you a bit on that.

Goa is the smallest state of India, in terms of area and is situated on the western coast bounded by Maharashtra in the North, Karnataka in the East & South and the Arabian Sea on the West. This makes Goa very unique and gives it a highly diverse set of natural habitats from rainforests to wetlands to mangroves to small islands.

Goa is thus home to semi-evergreen forests, mangrove forests, creeks, beaches, river mouths - deltas etc. A wide array of wildlife thrive in these habitats.

I also happen to read that, in the Feb 1999 issue of the NatGeo magazine, Goa was compared with Amazon and the Congo for its rich tropical biodiversity, that’s a wow!!

One other thing, the Nanda Lake, situated in Goa, is recognised as a Ramsar site, putting it on the global map for its importance as a wetland.

The mighty Western Ghats, one of the bio-diversity hotspots in the world stretches across the most part of East Goa. This is home to a wide variety of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians among many others.

With all that said, am sure you might have guessed by now that exploring the wilderness of Goa is bound to be an exhilarating experience. There are so many different species of birds, reptiles, insects, spiders and so many others that can be observed, a treat for the eyes indeed!

Here’s an attempt to give you a tiny glimpse into the natural world of Goa.

Birds

With so many different habitats on offer, a wide variety of bird life thrives in Goa.

Purple sunbird
Crimson-backed sunbird
Crimson-backed sunbird
Vigor's sunbird
Orange-headed thrush
Little spiderhunter
Little spiderhunter
Vernal hanging parrot
Vernal hanging parrot
Grey-fronted green pigeon
Brown-breasted flycatcher

A boat ride on the backwaters of river Zuari can offer great sights into the beautiful mangrove forests and also a chance to see some of the birds of the habitat like the kingfishers, mighty fishing eagles and a variety of shorebirds.

Black-capped kingfisher
Black-capped kingfisher
Collared kingfisher
Stork-billed kingfisher
Common kingfisher
Common kingfisher

The two kingfishers below are technically forest dwellers, found near small running streams inside the jungles of Goa.

Blue-eared kingfisher
Oriental dwarf kingfisher

Getting back to the sea-side, these two mighty fishing eagles rule the backwaters. Have had some amazing encounters with these eagles, watching them fishing, squabbling, stealing catch from smaller birds like the terns and the gulls etc.

White-bellied sea eagle
Osprey

Here’s an Osprey with a catch

The mudflats along the backwaters are alive too with variety of crabs and mudskippers emerging as the tide starts receding.

Mudskipper
Mudskippers
Mudskipper - the ballet dancer

Apart from birds, the lush and rich forests of goa also are home to a wide variety of macrolife, the life in the undergrowth as we generally refer to them.

Macrolife

Blue oakleaf butterfly
Common jezebel butterfly

One of the largest moths in the world, the Atlas moth is stunning and something to behold. The patterns on this insect is awe inspiring.

Atlas moth
Atlas moth

When one says, ’life every step of the way’, it is indeed so. There is so much happening in the thick undergrowth that one has to pause and observe to be able to see and be blown away by the sheer beauty in small things.

Like a boxing glove - caterpillar
Crab spider waiting for its prey
A species of horse fly (I think)
Hummingbird hawk-moth
Potter's wasp working on its nest

The strength of unity is on display by this group of weaver ants as they bring together leaves and weave them to make their nest. Such wonder!!

Weaver ants building nest
Jumping spider with a kill

Rain brings in another dimension to the ambience of the jungle with new life popping up ever step of the way.

Ornamented home...
Spiral of nature - millipede
tree crabs
Fungi
Cup fungi
Bio-luminescent fungi glowing in the dark...

Reptiles

The forests and the plateaus cater very well to a wide variety of reptilian life as well.

Green-vine snake
The stare...Green-vine snake
Saw-scaled viper
Saw-scaled viper
the amazing patterns - Saw-scaled viper
Hump-nosed pit-viper
Hump-nosed pit-viper
Malabar pit-viper
Malabar pit-viper

Goa is a treasure trove of biodiversity. Next time you think of Goa or plan a visit, allocate some time to explore its wilderness and enjoy the wonderful biodiversity it has to offer.

Hope you enjoyed the post. Please do let me know your thoughts by dropping a comment below. Ciao, until next time.



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