Located on Chorao island along the Mandovi River, the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is one of Goa‘s smallest protected reserves, but it is also one of the most fragile ones. The sanctuary is named after the pre-eminent Indian ornithologist Dr Salim Moizzudin Ali, so naturally the place is a haven for some of the rarest birds in the country. If you are an ornithologist or a bird lover of any capacity, you will love your time in this small but beautiful little mangrove marsh sanctuary. You will be paddled along narrow canals that run through the mangroves, spotting rare animal and bird species on the way. The sanctuary is explored with dug-out canoes that can make their way through the shallow marshy waters.
You can reach Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary by catching a ferry from Ribandar wharf, which is a 15-minute drive from the capital city of Panaji. At the disembarkation point, you will readily find people with their canoes waiting to take visitors through the canals of the sanctuary. The Forestry Department of Goa also organizes a boat service. Winter months from October to March are the best time to visit this sanctuary, since this when you will find most of the migratory birds that call this place home for those few months. You will likely be able to spot the most number of birds in the early morning hours and during sunset. CHECK OUT: 5 wildlife sanctuaries you can visit during monsoon in India
Keep in mind, though, that you may not be able to fully explore the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary all the time. Mandovi is a tidal river and part of the sanctuary’s wet marshy land gets exposed during the low tide. As such, your boat may not be able to reach all the parts of the sanctuary, even though they are capable of going through shallow waters. The sanctuary is home to several rare and common species of birds, like purple herons, white egrets, eagles, kingfishers, sandpipers, woodpeckers, kites, cormorants, mynahs, drongos and curlews. Rarer species include the black and little bitterns, jack snipes, red knots and pied avocets. You will also find crocodiles, fiddler crabs, jackals, flying foxes, otters and mudskippers here.
BEST TIME TO VISIT GOA
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