Birds are liked by most of us and we like to explore all those never seen before birds in front of us. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is such a sanctuary with mangrove trees all around where lots of national and international birds are found. It is at the western stretch of Charao Island beside Mandovi River in Goa. The sanctuary is dedicated to the Indian ornithologist, Salim Ali and so named after him. It is one of the well-known bird sanctuaries in the whole country and is spread over an area of 440 acres. Low mangrove trees cover most of the area of the forest.
About Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Most of the birds in the sanctuary are western reef herons and striated herons. There are other species too that have been recorded in the sanctuary. These include little and black bittern, red knot, and pied a vocal. Apart from migratory birds, there are other mangrove habitat species like fiddler crabs, mudskippers, etc. There is a watchtower that stands within the sanctuary for viewing the birds in a better way. Winter birds like pintails and coots can also be spotted there along with other residential birds. You can spot birds like kites, kingfishers, parrots, herons, egrets, fish-eagles, sea and river hawks, and whimbrels if you keep yourself alert and your eyes open. Other than birds, you may spot common forest animals like foxes, jackals, rock pythons, and crocodiles.
The sanctuary is at a distance of 5 km from Panaji. Buses and taxis are available from Panaji to the Ribander ferry spot and then cross the river Mandovi. Ferry services are available between Charao and Ribander frequently. There is a paved walkway through the forest of mangrove species and others. It is within walking distance from the Chorao ferry wharf. Water passages make a new tab)” the criss-cross channel through the forest. Visitors can go by boat when there is a high tide. However, water is available during low tides for taking the canoes inside. The first bus leaves at 6:15 in the morning from Panjim Bus Stand. You need to catch this bus if you want to reach early and spot the extraordinary birds. It takes around 15 minutes to reach Riabander and then Charao Island. There it takes 20 minutes to reach the sanctuary.
Useful information on Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
The bird sanctuary can be visited with the prior permission of the chief wildlife warden of the Junta House new tab)” Forest Department in Panaji. Tours are conducted by the Forest Department through the water channels in boats. A group of 10 persons is taken at a time in the boat. A single boat is hired at 750 INR. That means each person needs to pay 75 INR for the boat ride. Entering the forest is 10 INR per person.
When to visit
The winter season from November to February is the best time to visit the sanctuary as most of the migratory birds arrive here from different countries. And if you are planning to visit here try to make it early in the morning as the surrounding remains peaceful and small, and big and colorful birds are seen all around. Before entering the forest you can have your breakfast at the nearby stalls close to the entry gate. You can also get a glimpse of colorful birds when there is a low tide as they come to catch fishes.
Goa is not only a place with lots of sea beaches but there are also hills, waterfalls, forts, temples, churches, and forests. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is the one and only bird sanctuary in Goa. Rather small it is extremely adventurous and you would feel awesome exploring the forest and birds. The forest is dense inside and many birds and animals could be spotted if you prefer walking through the forest rather than boat riding. Although taking the boat is useful as the boat driver works as a guide too and helps in spotting wildlife around the forest. It is a great experience to have the boat ride through the enchanting forest early in the morning as birds feel themselves safe when the environment is calm. It feels nice to hear the birds chirping while visiting around the forest through narrow passages.
What to See
If you are visiting the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, here are some of the key attractions and activities that you might be interested in:
- Birdwatching: With over 270 species of birds, the sanctuary is a paradise for birders and birdwatchers. Some of the most commonly seen species include the Malabar Grey Hornbill, the Great Hornbill, the Jungle Fowl, and various species of kingfishers, woodpeckers, and parakeets.
- Wildlife viewing: In addition to birds, the sanctuary also supports a rich diversity of other wildlife, including elephants, gaurs, sambar deer, and several species of primates.
- Trekking: The sanctuary is surrounded by lush tropical forests, and visitors can enjoy trekking through the forests and exploring the scenic beauty of the area.
- Guided tours: Guided tours and nature walks are available for those interested in learning more about the sanctuary’s unique flora and fauna.
- Photography: With its abundant wildlife and lush landscapes, the sanctuary is a photographer’s paradise. Whether you are an amateur or a professional photographer, you will find plenty of opportunities to capture stunning images of birds, wildlife, and landscapes.
Overall, the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary offers a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors interested in nature, wildlife, and adventure.
Things to do
Here are some of the popular things to do when visiting the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary:
- Birdwatching: One of the main attractions of the sanctuary is birdwatching. The best time to see the birds is early in the morning, so consider taking a guided birdwatching tour.
- Wildlife viewing: Take a nature walk through the sanctuary to observe the variety of wildlife that call it home, including elephants, gaurs, sambar deer, and several species of primates.
- Trekking: Explore the lush tropical forests surrounding the sanctuary by taking a trek through the forest trails. This is a great way to experience the natural beauty of the area.
- Photography: With its abundant wildlife and stunning landscapes, the sanctuary offers plenty of opportunities for photography enthusiasts. Consider bringing a camera to capture the beauty of the area.
- Guided tours: Join a guided tour or nature walk led by an expert guide who can provide information about the sanctuary’s history, birdlife, and other wildlife.
- Boat tours: Consider taking a boat tour on the Periyar River to get a different perspective of the sanctuary and to see birds and wildlife from the water.
- Picnicking: Pack a picnic and spend a day exploring the sanctuary and enjoying the peaceful surroundings.
Whether you are interested in birdwatching, wildlife viewing, trekking, or simply enjoying the natural beauty of the area, there is something for everyone at the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary.
Places to visit near Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Here are a few places you can visit near the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary:
Kochi, also known as Cochin, is a vibrant city located just a few hours away from the sanctuary. It is known for its rich history, colonial architecture, and cultural heritage, making it a popular tourist destination. Highlights of the city include the famous Chinese Fishing Nets, the Jewish Synagogue, and the Fort Kochi Beach.
Thekkady is a town located in the state of Kerala, near the sanctuary. It is famous for its Periyar National Park, which is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including elephants, tigers, and several species of primates. Visitors to Thekkady can also enjoy trekking, boat tours, and spice plantation tours.
Munnar is a hill station located in the Western Ghats, near the sanctuary. It is known for its rolling hills, tea plantations, and scenic beauty, making it a popular tourist destination. Visitors can enjoy trekking, hiking, and sightseeing, as well as visiting local tea plantations and experiencing the traditional tea-making process.
Alleppey, also known as Alappuzha, is a town located in the state of Kerala, near the sanctuary. It is famous for its backwaters, which are a network of canals, lagoons, and lakes that run parallel to the Arabian Sea coast. Visitors to Alleppey can enjoy a backwater cruise and see the local life and scenery from the water.
The Athirapally Waterfall is located just a few hours away from the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. It is one of the most popular waterfalls in Kerala and is known for its stunning beauty. Visitors can enjoy a refreshing swim in the pool below the waterfall or go for a trek in the nearby forest to see the waterfall from different perspectives.
Fort Kochi is a historic neighborhood located in Kochi, near the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. It is known for its colonial architecture, cultural heritage, and diverse street life. Highlights of Fort Kochi include the Chinese Fishing Nets, the Santa Cruz Basilica, and the Dutch Palace.
Thrissur is a city located in the state of Kerala, near the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. It is known for its rich cultural heritage, historical landmarks, and vibrant street life. Visitors to Thrissur can visit the famous Vadakkunnathan Temple, the Shakthan Thampuran Palace, and the Our Lady of Lourdes Syro-Malabar Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary:Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary[/caption]
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is located near the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary and is one of the most popular wildlife sanctuaries in India. It is known for its diverse wildlife, including elephants, tigers, and several species of primates. Visitors to the sanctuary can go on wildlife safaris, boat tours, and trekking expeditions to see the wildlife up close.