TRIPS '03
 
 
  From: Paul Willoughby      From: Andrew Gregory    From : Ian & Ingrid Simpson   

  From : Gordon Frost 
 

  From: Paul Willoughby

Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2002 

Paul Willoughby

My name is Paul Willoughby and I run my own UK bird-tour company, Bird Holidays (www.britishbirdguides.org.uk). I have been bringing clients to Goa since 1984.

One of the highlights of every visit is a boat trip on the Cumbarjua canal, organised by Harvey d'Souza and Neil Alvares. They are friendly, reliable and have a good boat. Most importantly, they have a sharp eye and the knowledge to find the most sought-after bird on the canal, the White-collared Kingfisher.

On my numerous trips with them they have never failed to find this beautiful bird, along with many other exciting species. I have no hesitation in thoroughly recommending them.

Regards

Paul


  From: Andrew Gregory

Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 

Dear Harvey and Neil

I thought I would write to you to thank you for helping to give my group the "Goan Experience".

Wildlife Goan Experience bird watching We expected birds but found it amazing that one of our 78 year old participants saw 90% of the 242 species observed by the group in spite of missing two walks because of a minor injury.

The butterflies were truly exciting and so much more fun because you could name them for us.

Mammals were a delight and snakes an extra surprise especially when Harvey confiscated basket and cobras from the illegal charmer.

The boat trip was unforgettable with its five species of Kingfisher, including the enigmatic Collared in the mangroves plus those staggering views of Greater Crested Terns on posts in the river.

We were most grateful for our visit to Old Goa at such a sacred time and our final couple of hours at Carambolin and Ciba Geigy were magical.

I am aiming to return in 2003 with another group when I hope the services of 'Southern Birding' will be available and the lunches at Blakey's and the Filsu will be memorable again.

I wish you well in your efforts to conserve Miramar Beach and its wintering sand plovers.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Gregory
and fellow Gulliver's Natural History Holiday travellers



  From : Ian & Ingrid Simpson

Date: 21st March 2002 

We were lucky enough to meet Harvey and his organisation, purely by chance. Having a keen interest in Bird Watching, Wildlife and Snakes we arranged a short afternoons bird watching through our local rep in early 2001. jungle TripThis involved a visit to the Bondla Nature reserve. We saw a huge variety of local birds and thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

We asked Harvey whether we could arrange bespoke trips to various types of habitat on a later visit. He confirmed that this was possible and that he could act as a guide. We kept in contact via email and on our return in November 2001 we arranged four days of accompanied bird watching.

The best method of travel is to hire an air-conditioned cab for the day, total cost about 30. This will take you to meet Harvey at a convenient location, and drive you directly to the habitats. Harvey will take you to excellent local cafes for lunch and breakfast.

We visited general birding locations, forest, jungle and wetlands. During our trips we spotted and photographed nearly 150 different types of birds including: The Asian Paradise Flycatcher, all varieties of local Kingfishers, Shrikes, Raptors, Hornbills, Hoopoo, Magpie Robin and many others.

Harvey is an undoubted expert on the local bird population and is an excellent guide with flawless English. Although birds were our primary objective, we also saw a Monitor lizard, several Mongoose, Snakes including the Indian Spectacled Cobra, Giant Tree Squirrels and Monkeys.

The trips are more like a Safari than a typical spotting trip and we both cannot recommend them highly enough.

Sincerely,

Ian & Ingrid Simpson



  From : Gordon Frost

Date: 8th February 2002 

As an 'ornithologist' studying in Goa, I am generally appalled by the disregard for the 'birdlife' of the Cumbarjua canal area - with the 'crocodile trip' operators only intent on finding a 'crocodile' for their 'noisy' clientele. I've even seen them jump out and 'prod' the unfortunate reptile, just to show that it's alive.

Meeting Harvey and Neil was a revelation, a 'boat' that catered for all the 'wildlife' to be found along these 'mangrove' edged creeks and the main canal.

To be honest, if the other 'operators' continue in their activities, they will have no 'crocodiles' to show - poetic justice if you ask for my opinion.

Already a number of 'birding groups' have found the advantage of using your services - making it a predominately a 'birding' experience.

I think you should completely disassociate yourselves from the general 'crocodile trip' scenario - promoting yourselves as a serious 'wildlife' excursion along these 'backwaters'.

Most trips of any duration, will also at one point, find the open 'sand/mud banks' at the Zuari end of the canal exposed - an added point of interest to the birders.

I have been on your boat 'off season', when Harvey and Neil take out the 'youngsters' on an educational trip - an important side to the conservation of this area.

Market yourselves properly and you will be the only 'boat' that any 'birder' coming to Goa will want to use. You already have the advantage of 'local knowledge' for the 'COLLARED KINGFISHER' and 'BLACK CROWNED NIGHT HERON' - help your customers and the 'word' will spread.

Yours faithfully

Gordon Frost
 
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