Goa Bird Conservation Network (GBCN) successfully conducted its second pelagic bird survey off the coast of Goa this year with support from Captain of Ports Department, Panaji. The survey was a series of three trips spread over August and September, covering the entire coastal belt of the state. “This time we covered more area and spent more effort than last year to look for birds which are found in the seas of Goa but seldom come to land,” said joint secretary, GBCN Mandar Bhagat.
This survey has been a big success and has resulted in two new bird species, the Swinhoe’s Storm petrel and the Flesh-footed Shearwater being added to the list of birds of Goa. The Swinhoe’s Storm petrel, which has been designated as a Near Threatened Bird by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, was recorded in good numbers on the third day of the survey with 21 individuals being counted. Also recorded in unexpectedly high numbers were the Wilson’s Storm petrels who are fondly called the Kangaroos of the Seas by birders due to their unique behaviour of bouncing over waves and literally walking over the surface of the water, a behaviour which is known as pattering! “It was a surreal experience to see these tiny birds fly about so easily over the waves as if they are not affected in any way by the extremities of the open and rough seas,” says member of GBCN Colin Braganza.