Thursday, September 27, 2012

(2nd Batch) GOA - Romance with Birds & Butterflies (22nd to 25th Nov, 2012)

A Huge response to our "The Romance with Birds & Butterflies" continues and hence we bring to you yet another batch to this romantic destination :-)

Date: 22nd November, 2012 morning 10.00 am to 25th November, 2012 eve 7.00 pm (Travel days excluded). The bookings for the Meticulously planned Goa bird-watching trip are on… your seats now (see the complete details at the end of this blog).....Birdwatch in one of the India's greatest birding hot-spots with Nature India.

See Last year's Images


GOA - Romance with Birds

It is now well-known that more foreign birdwatchers visit Goa than Indians….. The fact is, what others are already experiencing, we as Indians have failed to realize the potential of Goa as a bird-watching destination. While we looked upon Goa only as a general tourist destination, the British Birdwatchers have been enjoying over 450 species of birds found here.... Infact, it is a great surprise for many that Goa's growing romance with Foreign birdwatchers is what is building birding awareness in this area.

Birding in Goa
Goa is a former Portuguese enclave, now India’s smallest state, variously known as "Rome of the East", "Tourist Paradise" and "Pearl of the Orient", the state of Goa is located in the Konkan region along the west coast of peninsular India, the Arabian Sea forming its 110km coastline. It has long been a popular destination for birders, enticed by the diversity of birdlife and remarkable ease of birding.

The low-lying coastal plain with its mangroves-lined estuaries and marshes, the central dry, rocky plateau of scrub and savannah grassland, and the undulating forested interior along with the close proximity to the Sahyadri Range of the Western Ghats which run the length of its eastern boundary less than 70km away, has resulted in a rapid variation in habitat across Goa’s length & breadth that is reflected in the significant diversity of species found within its borders.

Goa has an impressive birdlist of over 450 species, including 17 of the 28 species endemic or near-endemic to the Western Ghats. A small area, combined with a well-developed infrastructure, makes it possible for the most productive of Goa’s birding localities to be thoroughly covered within a short time frame without the need of lengthy travel and given a few days it is possible to reach a list of 140-150 comprising more widespread Indian species, regional endemics, and wintering migrants.

Bird Watching In Goa is a great way to unwind and forget the worries of the world. Goa teems with bird life of all kinds, from nesting to aquatic and migratory. Whether you tour the lakes of Goa, or enjoy a trek through the Western Ghats, Goa promises to make your trip a memorable one.

Few of the tourists know that one third of Goa is covered with rich forest and that, it is one of the greatest reservoirs of biodiversity in the world. The wildlife sanctuaries in Goa are represented by Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary (also called Mollem WLS)Cotigao Wildlife SanctuaryDr.Salim Ali Wildlife SanctuaryBondla Wildlife Sanctuaryand the Mandovi Zuari Wildlife Sanctuary. Each of these wildlife sanctuaries supports a rich flora and fauna

Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary – Tambdi Surla & Mollem

The entire stretch of the Western Ghats that falls within Goa’s boundaries is protected in a series of interconnecting wildlife sanctuaries, of which the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary is the largest. With an area of 240 sq. km, the sanctuary provides a degree of security to a considerable tract of deciduous and evergreen forests in the gently undulating terrain of the foothills of the Sahyadris. This area was first known as Mollem Game Sanctuary. It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and renamed as Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary. The core area of the sanctuary covering 107 square kilometers (41.3 sq mi) was notified as Mollem National Park in 1978.

The most accessible parts of the sanctuary are Tambdi Surla, and Mollem. Densities deep inside the forest can appear low, however this is the region where many of Goa’s most sought-after species can be found, such as Ceylon FrogmouthMalabar TrogonBlack-backed Dwarfand Blue-eared Kingfishers, White-bellied Woodpecker, Great Pied and Malabar Pied HornbillsNilgiri Woodpigeon, Malabar Whistling-thrush, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Forest Eagle-owl, and Indian Pitta. Forest edges are frequented by mixed feeding flocks that can contain such delights as Asian Paradise and Tickell’s Blue Flycatchers, Malayan Night Heron, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Flame-throated Bulbul, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, and Dark-fronted Babbler.

This sanctuary contains pristine vegetation with predominantlyTerminaliaLagerstroemia,Xylia and Dalbergia. The evergreen type of forests are mainly seen on higher altitudes and along the river banks. The forest canopy is almost closed and the availability of grass is very limited. The fauna comprises of herds of Gaur (often called Indian Bison), Monkeys, Elephant, Leopard, Sloth bear, Flying squirrel, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Porcupine, Civet cat, Tigers and a few Black panthers. The Park is also famous for the presence of King Cobra’s.

The attractive Dudhsagar Falls (the highest waterfall in Goa) is in the south east corner of this sanctuary. It originates in Karnataka and the water cascades from a height of 200 mtr. and splashes into a wide gorge making it milky all along and thus has earned its reputation as “Dudhsagar”. The 'Devil Canyon' (Devcharacho kond) is a beautiful geological rock formation and the river Khandepar cuts across the spot. Though, we would not go to the waterfalls, we will cover the forests of Castle Rock area.

Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary

If you are a wildlife enthusiast looking for a wonderful sanctuary experience, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is for you! It is Goa’s smallest wildlife reserve, nestled at a height of 3000 feet (900 meters) on the lush foothills of the Western Ghats. Bondla Sanctuary is a haven for bird watchers. 

Though, the birdlife is largely similar to that of the BMS, a few additional species, such as White-browed Bulbul and Blue-faced Malkoha, can be found here while species such as White-rumped Shama, Forest WagtailRufous Woodpecker, Grey Jungle-fowl and Crested Hawk-eagle can appear more regularly here. There is a great possibility of spotting brown fish owl, Ruby throated yellow bulbul (State bird of Goa), Indian scimitar babbler and Oriental dwarf kingfisher among other birds. The Rangado river flows on its east while the Madhel river on its north. Bondla is also home to a diversity of wildlife such as Sambar deer, Sloth bear, Gaur, the black-faced Langur, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Jackals, toddy cats, panthers, porcupines, peacocks, wild boar and an array of reptiles like Indian Chameleon. Bondla is covered with moist deciduous forest with the state tree Terminalia Crenulata (Matti) and Rosewood being the most common trees around. Evergreens and a variety of canes can also be found.

Since the circumference of Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is only 8kms it is possible to cover the entire sanctuary in a day. The approach road to the entrance gate and on to the tourist zone, and the track leading from the café towards a series of fords are the best places to bird, while the small reservoir before the entrance gate is a good place to view raptors over the surrounding hills.

Tambdi Surla Temple
The Tambdi Surla temple situated at Tambdi village is historically important as the same has been built by the Kadamba kings during the 13th Century. . It is notable as the oldest temple inGoa, located just 13 kms from Mollem. The surrounding forest is dense and harbours quite a variety of Western Ghat endemics.
Zuari River Boat Trip
The Mandovi-Zuari Wildlife Sanctuary, lies along Mandovi and the Zuari River which are the two primary rivers of Goa. A day out cruising along the back waters of the Zuari river Sanctuary in a giant canoe in search of Collared Kingfisher, a scarce and sporadically distributed species, alongside Stork-billed, Black-capped, and Lesser Pied Kingfishers, Orange-breasted Green Pigeon, Osprey, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Great Crested, Lesser Crested, Sandwich, Little, and River Terns at close range, Mugger Crocodile in the canal and pods of Indo-Pacific Hump-backed Dolphin in the estuary.

motorized boat takes you for the safari in the backwaters of the river Zuari going further in the mangrove-lined Cumbharjua Canal. The safari takes a total of 3 hours. You will be also served a packed breakfast on board.

Maina Lake

This lesser known lake is one of the largest and most productive wetlands in Goa. It is a large, marshy, lotus-covered lake, filled with an abundance and variety of waterbirds. Although the amount of water in the lake varies greatly with the seasons and agricultural use, regular species here include Purple Swamphen, White-breasted Waterhen, Bronze-winged and Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, Garganey, Northern Pintail, Lesser Whistling-duck, Cotton pygmy Goose, Spot-billed and Comb Ducks, Asian Openbill, and Oriental Darter. The lake is surrounded by scrub, paddy fields, and woodland good for Warblers, Munias and various woodpeckers, bee-eaters, and parakeets. Raptors including Western Marsh Harrier, Indian Spotted and Booted Eagles, and Osprey are regularly seen.

Check out Nature India Participant's Trip Experiences and Trip Reports


Nature India is conducting a well planned and budgeted trip to Goa that will cover most of the birding sites and habitats ...... see below for complete details.

Date: 22nd November, 2012 morning 9.00 am to 25th November, 2012 eve 7.00 pm

Mode of Local Travel : Tempo traveller (The best option to move around the places quickly in a group)
Overnight Volvo buses ply regularly between Mumbai & Goa and bookings are easily available....Nature India can assist in bookings if required.

Rough Tour Iterinary : Ex Goa

Day 1: 22nd Nov, 2012 (Thursday) : Pick-up from Madgaon at 9:30 am – Breakfast at Madgaon– Proceed to Nature’s Nest campsite near Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary (BMS), birding along the way – Check-in and Lunch – Birding trail in BMS – Return to Camp – Dinner – Night trail to see Frogmouths, Owls & Nightjar’s - Overnight stay at Nature Nest Camp.

Day 2: 23rd Nov, 2012 (Friday) : Early morning birding trail to Castle Rock and Anmod Ghat area with packed Breakfast – return and lunch – Visit “Tambdi Surla” temple area for the Western Ghat endemic bird species – Return – Presentation on “Birds of Goa” – Dinner - Night trail to see Frogmouths, Owls & Nightjar’s - Overnight stay at Nature Nest Camp.

Day 3: 24th Nov, 2012 (Saturday) : Early morning visit to Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary with packed breakfast – Lunch @ Bondla WLS – Continue bird-watching in Bondla Sanctuary – return – Dinner - Overnight stay at Nature Nest Camp.

Day 4: 25th Nov, 2012 (Sunday) : Pack-up and leave early morning for Zuari river safari to see Mangrove and marine bird specialties including 6 species of Kingfishers, Orange-breasted Green Pigeons, Waders, Terns and Gulls – Breakfast – Proceed to visit Mayna Lake to see the migratory waterfowls – Lunch – Shopping around Margoa – Drop at Margoa and proceed to catch Bus back home at 5 pm.

Trip charges (Goa to Goa only) : Rs.8800/- (Includes Stay in Camp “Nature’s Nest”, near Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary on twin sharing basis, Local travel by Tempo traveller, All Park entry charges, All meals including lunch, dinner and breakfast , Expert charges, Zuari river Safari, Information articles & on board snacks and mineral water)…….

Group Size : 12 persons only
These charges are Goa to Goa only....... participant has to make their own travel arrangement upto Goa and Back . This does not include any charges other than the above.
Registration: You can register by sending a confirmation mail to and by paying non-refunadable advance of Rs.4000/- (and only after our confirmation mail) as per the payment guidelines given below…...

Stay Arrangement: Camp “Nature's Nest” cottages….. a basic camp with simple touch, located at the base of Western Ghats in Goa, on the border of Bhagwan Mahavir National Park.

The Stay arrangement is on a twin sharing basis. The cottages arevery simple but spacious & clean and suit the best to local climate and culture. .……The camp is situated around the forests and offers plenty of Birdwatching inside the campus. Please visit their home page @

Resource PersonMr.Pankaj Lad (Local Expert), Mr. Mandar Khadilkar, and Mr.Adesh Shivkar

Mode of Payment: You can either
1) Transfer the money directly to my HDFC A/c (Please call Mandar @ 9930318665).. please mention your name, date and other details….
2) Courier a cheque in favour of "Mandar Khadilkar" of Rs.4000/- to the following address:
Name: Mr. Mandar Khadilkar
Address:Flat No.2, Blossom Apartments, Below Shantighan Hospital, LM Road, Kandarpada, Dahisar-West, Mumbai-400068

Please Note:
1) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 4000/- is strictly non-refunadable
2) The seats will be confirmed only against the advance amount on first come basis
3) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours
4) Nest photography or any collection of specimens is prohibited
5) Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with  Nature India's rules and policies

Please revert on ID, in case you need any clarification …..

For any other queries we are available on 9869071091 / 9820455713 (Adesh) or 9930318665 / 9967518665 (Mandar)

Thanks for your patience.

Looking forward for a very rewarding trip with you all !!

Warm Regards,
Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India
Appreciate, Respect and Conserve

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Batch-5 Kaas, Satara, The Plateau of Flowers, 1st & 2nd Oct.12

The popularity of  Nature India trips can be measured from the fact that when the trips are announced, they get Houseful in a matter of days .... Those who have missed getting a place, should'nt worry, for we are coming up with 5th Batches to Kaas Plateau... 

Nature India announces 5th Batch to Kaas plateau, Satara- The Plateau of Flowers from 1st to 2nd Oct'12 the bookings are on (For knowing complete details, like Itinerary, Charges, Logistics etc... you will have to see the details at the end.)

Important Notice: The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has recently included Kaas Plateau of flowers (near Satara, in Maharashtra) in the list of World Natural Heritage sites. However, In recent years the Popularity of Kaas has increased many folds and the increase in numbers of tourists have resulted in a direct or indirect impact on its bio-diversity.  The lack of proper guidelines and limited patrolling by the forest department is causing a tremendous stress to this fragile ecosystem.  Without any proper regulation and control, Kas has unfortunately turned into a picnic spot, with rowdy tourists plucking and trampling flowers, parking vehicles on the plateau, littering garbage and creating a mess. .... Hence we propose the following guidelines to be followed when visiting Kaas. Please take a note that, those of you who are interested to travel with  Nature India to Kaas Plateau, these guidelines will be implemented and binding on all of us. Kindly register, only if you agree on these guidelines.

There are some places in Maharashtra, where you will feel blessed. One such place is Kaas Plateau, Satara. This "Out of the world" place deserves to be visited atleast once from 25th Aug to 10th Oct to witness not only the amazing array of wild flowers, but also the serene atmosphere that mesmerizes one's soul.....

Sure, you all must have heard about “Valley of flowers” in Himalayas where hundreds of varieties of wild flowers of all colours bloom in August – September every year….where the valley transforms into no less than a “Heaven” ……hundreds of visitors toil several kms to reach this valley and to experience the bliss.

However, not many know that a similar (though, probably not as majestic as the Himalayan site) place exists in Maharashtra…..its a “Plateau of flowers”….. famously known as “Kaas plateau” situated approx. 25 kms from Satara city and is now also declared by UNESCO as one of the World's Natural heritage site.

The lateritic plateau of Kaas becomes home to millions of tiny flowers in late monsoons. The whole spectacle is beyond words. More than 400 varieties of wild flowers, herbs, orchids, shrubs, insectivorous plants etc. can be seen here in Aug and Sep (Best time is 15th Aug to 15th Oct)….. This plateau overlooks the lush evergreen forests that serves as a water catchment area of Koyna Dam and which is recently declared as “Sahyadri Tiger reserve” ……….

In monsoon the whole area transforms into an unbelievable carpets of flowers like yellow carpets of Smithia and Sonki flowers, Pink carpets of Balsam, Purple carpets of Karvi etc….
It is a dream destination not only for avid botanists but also for those who appreciate nature. These carpets change colours almost every week depending on the dominant flowers during that time.

The place is also unique forming a typical "table top" landscape where you can see the red patches of laterite rocks typically called ‘Sadaa’ in Marathi.

Thoseghar Waterfalls:
Thoseghar is situated in Satara District with most enchanting natural surroundings, along with beautiful views of windmills at nearby Chalkewadi. During the Monsoon season Thoseghar is always a prime attraction for the people. Thoseghar is famous for its high Waterfalls that are attractive and create a loud noise in the calm nature. These waterfalls are also accompanied by a clean lake, dark woods and massive hilly terrain. The main waterfall is about 115 mts in height, however, one can only get a glimpse from a distance.

From the parking space, the waterfalls are a few minutes walk, through well wooded countryside. The falls are situated in a steep U shaped valley, with the main falls at the apex of the 'U' and smaller falls on one side of the 'U'. On the other side, a viewing platform has been created for observers to enjoy this wonderful display of nature.

You can see a video clip of this marvelous waterfall.
Bird Life: Kaas plateau and the surrounding area has a very good birdlife with good sightings of Crested Buntings, Malabar Crested Larks, Oriental White-eyes, Bonelli’s Eagle. It is a heaven for Macro photography too.

Nature India once again brings you their signature tour of Kaas Plateau, Satara that  is meticulously planned and combines learning, sensitivity and also loads of fun. Our passionate resource persons will make your visit to this amazing place a trip to remember. Please find the details below.

For trip reports by other  Nature India participants, click here.

Complete Trip Details
Though the trip will be focused on watching the flora and to learn more about them, we would also not miss the other fauna such as birds, butterflies and amphibians that are found in plenty there….

Batch 5: 1st Oct, 2012 morning 6.30 am to 2nd Oct, 2012 eve 9.30 pm (Monday and Tuesday)

Resource persons: Mr.Adesh Shivkar & Mr.Mandar Khadilkar

Mode of Travel : By Minibus from Mumbai (considering the extensive travel to cover the area and also the to and fro travel from Hotel to the Plateau everyday)

Rough Itinerary: (Batch 5)

1) Monday (1st Oct'12) : Depart for Kaas, Satara from Bandra (E) at 6.30 am…..reach by around 1.30 pm- Check in Hotel – Lunch – proceed to the Plateau and the Ghat to watch the species that grow on the slopes – return back at 7 pm...Stay in Hotel Hem Executive, Satara

2) Tuesday (2nd Oct'12) : Start early morning to the plateau to experience the grandeur of floral carpets on the plateau– Flora watch at Kaas Plateau & Kaas Lake.....Lunch at 1 pm and depart for Mumbai – reach Bandra(E) by 9.30 pm.

Trip Charges (Batch 5): Rs. 4200/-
Includes Stay at Hotel Suruban in Satara on a twin sharing basis in Non AC rooms, Travel by minibus, Entry fees, parking charges, veg meals, Articles on Kaas and Wild flowers, on board snacks and Mineral water…….

This does not include any charges other then the above... the camera charges (As per the equipment) have to be borne by the respective participants.

Please be prepared for long walks to reach the plateau...

Important Note: Due to huge influx of tourists in Kaas, the forest dept. have imposed certain regulations and restrictions from last year and these will be intensified this year. Hence request all to be prepared for any sudden restrictions and hike in fees.... and co-operate with us.

Mode of Payment
Registration: You can register by sending a non-refundable advance of Rs.3000/- and a mail to Your seats will be confirmed only after our registration confirmation by return mail ..... the remaining amount will be collected in the bus on the day of travel.

Payment: You can either
1) Transfer the advance money directly to my HDFC A/c : (Please call Adesh@ 9820455713 for A/c no.) .... please mention your name, date and other details….
2) Courier a cheque of Rs.3000/- to the following address

Name: Mr.Adesh Shivkar
Address: D/8, The Adi Janata Society, Behind HP Petrolpump, Near Sion Signal, Opp. Hotel Shangrilla, Sion (East), Mumbai-400022.

Please Note:
1) The seats will be confirmed only against the advance amount on first come basis.
2) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 3000/- is strictly non-refunadable
3) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours
4) Plucking flowers or collecting specimens is strictly not allowed in our tours
5) Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with  Nature India's rules and policies 

Please reply to us, in case you need any clarifications …..

For any other queries we are available on  9820455713 / 9869071091 (Adesh) or 9930318665 / 9967518665 (Mandar) or 

Click here to view some images from this amazing place…….
Hope to see you for this wonderful trip

Thanks for your patience.

Warm Regards,

Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India
Appreciate, Respect & Conserve

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