As a boy I have a vague recollection of it being a dark, dense jungle. With rumored sightings of grey hare, civet cats, monitor lizards, wild boar, porcupine and even the occasional panther.
A couple of decades ago, my Dad decided to try his hand at farming. To prepare the land for the proposed orchard, a bulldozer was commissioned and every square inch of jungle on the 21⁄2-acre plot was razed to the ground. He was almost eighty years old at the time and single-handedly he ran the farm, generating some truly exotic produce before age finally caught up with him and he passed away in 2007.
I did not have the time, and honestly, neither the inclination to run the farm. And so for years it was left unattended. Unchecked, the jungle crept back, smothering the fruit trees in its wake. Slowly but surely, reclaiming every bit of available arable soil.
As it stands now the property is overrun with undergrowth and virtually impenetrable. The only accessible areas are the driveway leading up to the house and a small clearing behind it – the backyard.
A few years ago while browsing Google Maps I noticed that someone had flagged the hill as a ‘birding area’, and out of sheer curiosity, I decided to find out for myself. Believe me, simply sitting in the backyard and keeping my eyes open transported me to another dimension. All of a sudden birds, insects, plants, almost magically, began to appear.
As my interest grew so did the frequency of my visits. I now make it a point to spend a few days each month in Goa. And almost without exception each trip is a revelation. I’ve recorded over eighty bird species so far on the property alone, the majority of them from my backyard itself.
This book is a record of the birds I have seen, and photographed, in and around my backyard in Goa.
Below are a few screenshots from the book.