A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed, and is, thereby, a true manifestation of what one feels about life in it's entirety. . . I believe in photography as one means of achieving an ultimate happiness and faith! - Ansel Adams

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Bird watching over last few months - Flamingos of Sewri, Mumbai

Portrait of a flamingo
Lesser flamingos (called Rohit in Hindi) are beautiful wading birds (long necked and long legged) with pink plumage. They have a bill that is shaped uniquely to filter algae, small invertebrates and other food particles from the water while holding their head upside down. They migrate in winter from the Rann of Kutch (located in the western State of Gujarat), where they breed, to various parts of India and are found in Mumbai along its eastern coastline from Sewri to Airoli. An estimated 15,000 Lesser and Greater flamingos flock to this area every year!

Spreading its wings
Flamenco dancer?

Engrossed in meal
I had been to Sewri jetty as part of the flamingo festival, which was organised by BNHS (Bombay Natural History Society) on 27th March 2010 to create awareness about these birds and to impress upon the Government the importance of the mudflats of Sewri - Mahul and its adjoining areas as a hotbed of avifauna. The area is a designated Important Bird Area (IBA). BNHS has been at the forefront of organising awareness and conservation camps across India. My personal congratulations to the BNHS team for the excellent arrangements made by them at the site.

Incidentally this was my second visit to Sewri. On the previous occasion, the cops stationed over there had forbidden me from taking photographs citing some terror advisory.

The festival, despite the sweltering afternoon heat of Mumbai, attracted several hundred visitors (laymen, bird watchers, ornithologists, wildlife conservators, media and plenty of kids!). Many were coming there for the first time...Sewri jetty is perhaps the last place on the mind of any Mumbaikar to imagine spending an evening at. Upon reaching there, the visitors were thrilled to see thousands of pink flamingos scattered across the bed. I overheard people saying that they came expecting to see a few flamingos...certainly not thousands! Apart from flamingos, once could spot other birds as well - brown headed sea gull, pond heron, western reef egret, white-throated kingfisher, brahminy kite, and several waders such as the common sandpiper, etc.

Sewri jetty is about 10 - 15 minutes walk from the Sewri railway station (Harbour Line) on its eastern side. Prabodhankar Thackeray Udyan, located close to the Sewri station on western side, is also well connected by BEST buses to various parts of Mumbai. The best time during the day to watch waders is couple of hours before / after the high tide. One can check out the tide timings in Mumbai here - http://bit.ly/3haRZ

I am already looking forward to seeing them again when they come back in winter. Some of the other popular spots in India where one can sight flamingos in their natural habitat are - Malshej Ghat (little over 120 kms from Mumbai), Bhigwan (also called the Bharatpur of Maharashtra is little under 100 kms from Pune), Rann of Kutch (Gujarat), Nalsarovar (Gujarat), Bharatpur (Rajasthan), Sambhar lake (Rajasthan), Chilka lake (Orissa), etc..

Please see my Flickr photo-stream for more pictures of flamingos and the BNHS flamingo festival - http://www.flickr.com/photos/thelegendreturns/sets/72157623593874401/show/


magiceye said...

awesome captures!!!!!

Rookie said...

excellent clicks

The Legend Returns said...

Thanks Deepak and Umesh for your generous comments!

http://worldbeyondmaggi.blogspot.com/ said...

Amazing capture. Thanks for sharing! I am going this year. 😊

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This work by Maneesh Goal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.