We arranged a very early morning trip to enjoy the sanctuary at dawn via dug out canoe. Our guide was Uday Mandrekar (contact [--]) Our taxi driver took us to the ferry where we crossed as foot passengers and Uday was waiting for us the other side. He purchased some sweet breads which he served us warm in his home with a drink of tea then we went down to the river where we got into his dug out canoe. He has an outboard motor which helps to cover more ground but when he is in an area where we might spot birds he cuts the engine and you slip silently along without disturbing the wildlife all around.
We saw the sun rise over the river which was very special and saw a total of 34 varieties of birds during our hour long boat trip. We had an excellent view of a Balck Kite and a pair of Crested Hawks. We spotted 5 varieties of Kingfisher and a rarer visitor to the region, the Terek Sandpiper. along with all the usual and slightly more unusual heron type birds.
We returned to Uday's home for another drink while he hosed the mud off our sandals before taking us back to the ferry.
This trip is worth doing for anyone who enjoys nature even if you know little about it as Uday will point out the birds and identify them for you. Be certain to wear practical clothing and footwear which will not be spoiled if it gets wet or muddy.
We plan to go again next year and will probably do both dawn and dusk and combine it with some daytime nature watching in the sanctuary.
Our Taxi from Candolim was £750 rupees.
Uday charges 800 rupees per person
The entry fee for the sanctuary is 50 rupees per person with a fee for a camera of 20 rp
TIP: When paying for entry to the sanctuary be certain to ask for your receipt! If you are not given a receipt then there is a known risk the official will pocket the money instead! Uday warned us about this and it is a great shame that money intended to fund the sanctuary might be diverted away but us visitors can help to ensure this does not happen