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Birding Diaries–Carambolim Lake, Goa

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Lesser whistling ducks
lesser whistling ducks - Goa
It’s a very hot morning in Goa. They say spring is in the air, but I can feel the bright sun burning through the skin as early as 630 am. However, I am an early bird and that in Goa is rather unusual. As I head out, all I see in my fifteen minute journey are two pups cuddled up in the middle of the road. The vada pav stalls are not yet open and I do not see a single local tea shop on the road. Soon civilisation gives way to large tracts of fields and then the waters fill my eyes. The Mandovi gives me company as I watch a few waders on her banks while a couple of pond egrets fly rather low. Even the fishermen have given themselves a holiday and the roads are empty.

I am not headed to a beach but to a little lake lost amidst the lone tracks of a railway station in a little hamlet. Carambolim or Karamali is a pretty village tucked away in old Goa. Its claim to fame is a railway station, a 500 year old chapel and a Brahma temple located close by. But none of them lure me.

Carambolim is still snoozing when I drive past its nondescript streets. Taking in the silence and the pleasant morning breeze, we stop by for a few minutes to cross a railway track. A lone train chugs along, taking passengers to either their dream destinations or to a comfort zone called home. The train slows past me and I cross over to a single lane that takes me into a palette of colours. There are the verdant fields on one side, nodding in glee to the morning breeze and a vast man -made lake on the other bustling with active bird life.
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Standing under the shade of the tree, I see the train has paused in its journey, its blue compartments reflecting in the waters of the lake. Another train seems to approach from the other end and they pause for a moment as strangers glance at each other from either train before continuing with their journeys.
A flock of lesser whistling ducks announce their presence whistling out loudly as they frolic in the waters for a while, splashing before settling down. They are huge in numbers compared to the flock of garganeys that float quietly. I look at them through the binoculars as they curl up in the waters. The purple swamp hens strike several poses as they create a stark contrast in the marshland . An open stork bill stands quietly, getting a bit of tan, while the two jacanas – the bronze winged and the pheasant tailed are rather shy, the latter especially showing off its long curved tail before disappearing into the waters. A purple heron is in flight and lands near the flock of lesser whistling ducks. Coots and grebes lose themselves in the crowd.
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We head to the other bank of the lake and who should be waiting there, but a bright glossy ibis, preening itself in the sun. A darter darts past while a grey heron stands as a statue. Puddles of water stand out in the green marshland as heads of ducks pop out of them. They fly across the lake, crossing from one side to another, whistling along .
I stand there for hours, forgetting the heat and hunger, longing for more time in the company of birds. The silence stands out as the birds call out in glee. I wonder how this little idyllic world is lost on man. That’s when I realize why Goa is not just a destination – it’s a state of mind.

14 comments

  1. Amol 20 April, 2013 at 17:16 Reply

    Your blog was so attractive and full of nature.It’s really amazing.Thanks for sharing such a beautiful pictures.Keep updating more.Government launches new projects to save such Birds and animals.

  2. PNR Status Check 22 April, 2013 at 04:32 Reply

    You article was indeed great and i really appreciate your sharing. You have beautifully pictured the lakes photo. Next time when i visit Goa i will definitely try to go on this lake.

  3. see pnr 29 October, 2013 at 01:29 Reply

    Amazing pictures of lake and birds around it. So Goa is just not about sea shores and fanny. In my next visit “Carambolim Lake” is sure place to be at.

  4. Birding in Carambolim Lake in Goa 11 February, 2014 at 10:04 Reply

    […] Carambolim Lake in Goa is a great place to do some bird watching . I was there last year and had some amazing sightings in just under an hour. There were so many birds – lesser whistling ducks, garganeys, purple moor hens, glossy ibis, open billed stork to name a few. And there was this lone pretty purple heron in the marshes. It was sitting for a long time and then in one moment, it just took off. […]

  5. Poly tope 26 August, 2014 at 20:38 Reply

    Nice article. Did you take the photographs yourself? If yes, how? Which camera/lenses? Or have you sourced them from some site?

  6. Uttam Dave 29 March, 2015 at 09:33 Reply

    Hi…

    My wife and I are visiting Goa from tomorrow for a week, and we would like to explore Goa birdlife. Can you do a customised tour for us, say 4 hours, on either Friday April 3, or Sunday, April 5, starting early morning?

    Thank you!

    Uttam Dave’
    +91-98110-67908

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