View Full Version : Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary: Goa

Bibhav Behera
25-12-2010, 01:12 PM
Here is a small guide to the Sanctuary, what to expect and how to get there...
It is a mangrove forest interlaced with water channels in the Mandovi river waters. It’s home to a lot of bird species and reptiles. The best time to visit this sanctuary is from October to March. Many species of migratory birds are visitors here as well. One can find species like Large, median and small egrets, Plovers, Common sandpipers, redshanks, green shanks, Curlews, Cormorants, Darters, black headed Ibis, Lesser Adjudant Stork, Pond heron, Green Heron, Small blue, black capped, white throated, pied and stork billed Kingfishers, Brahminy kites, Osprey, White Bellied Sea Eagles and many others. I have named the ones that I saw on my first visit today.

The sanctuary is situated on an island in the Mandovi river mangroves close to Panjim called Chorao island. One has to take a ferry from Ribandar to get there. To get to Ribandar from Panjim, one needs to head towards Old Goa following the straight road alongside the Mandovi river. Once that road ends, arnd 200 metres ahead is the ferry jetty. During low tide one can also get a few birds alongside the road and in the mud of the receded river banks.

The Govt of Goa has ferry services to the island and it is free in case you are on a two wheeler/on foot and Rs. 10/- for a 4 wheeler. It takes around 10 minutes to get to the island from the other end of the river. As one alights from the ferry, bang on the left side is the entrance to the sanctuary and the reception office. The entry ticket is for Rs. 50/- a head and one can take the 12 seater govt Boats or the private Canoes. I would suggest taking the private canoes as one can hire one entirely for oneself. The rates keep changing from season to season. I got a boat and a guide for Rs. 600/- for 1.5 hrs which seemed like a fair deal to me given the festive time in Goa.

There is a nature trail about a kilometre long which is a nice walk in the morning and one can find many smaller birds like flycatchers, flowerpeckers, prinias, sunbirds etc. There is a jetty at the end of it from where one can take boats. There is also a separate route which is 1.5 km from the entrance of the sanctuary and one has to go from outside and to the Chorao Village and take a boat from there and then enter the sanctuary. I did the latter after taking an early stroll in the nature trail. I couldn’t get any good shots there as it is very muddy with the pneumatophores of the mangrove trees around you. So, one has to stick to the trail. If one is patient enough, one can get a few shots of these tree birds here.

It is better to find out about the tide times and then plan for the visit as during high tide it becomes difficult to sight as many birds and also a lot of wet gorund is lost underwater. So low tides are ideal.

Latitude: 15.5132 deg N
Longitude: 73.8705 deg E

Sabyasachi Patra
26-12-2010, 02:44 PM
Good to know more about the place. Look forward to further updates. Any idea about the threats to the sanctuary.


Bibhav Behera
26-12-2010, 02:53 PM
The threats are mostly due to loss of mangrove cover in and around the sanctuary and littering in the river waters which eventually finds its way into the water channels.
The villagers there are aware of the bird species and for many, the sanctuary is a source of livelihood (guides, boats etc). Hence it adds to the conservation of the sanctuary in a way as they protect the birds and don't poach.

Roopak Gangadharan
28-12-2010, 01:27 PM
Black caped KF, Osprey and WB sea Eagle sounds mouth watering.Waiting for the pics.Thanks for the nice write up.