Friday, January 4, 2013

Birding at Gandheri - Kalyan

Start of winter season in Mumbai and the island city becomes home to numerous migratory birds, some come as far as Central Asia. With so much awareness about conserving nature, conserving forest cover in & around city, it in turn helps in making sure that these visitory birds continue to come and excite us. It also helps in numerous people taking up birding as one of their hobbies, some even go to extent of organising free trips to places which are heaven for migratory birds, providing their expertise in birding to others. Every year HSBC bank also organises "Bird Race" which is now become a famous event, eagerly awaited by bird enthusiast across the city, providing them a common platform to reach out to like minded people and also to explore different places around Mumbai to see and watch these famous and beautiful visitors. Popular birding spots in and around city being S.G.National park, Aarey milk colony, Uran, Karnala bird sanctuary, Sewri for flamingos to name a few.











One such event was recently organised by Pravin Subramanian (one of the famous bird enthusiast in Mumbai) and his group and I was invited by Dr Ajay to join him and be a part of exciting trip. Half day event to watch birds at Gandheri. It was first time for me to join such a group, honestly I had no clue what was in store for first timer like me. Excited I was, hoping to explore a new place which I had not heard of. Gandheri - at Kalyan. I and Ajay boarded 4.30am local train for Dadar as meeting place was decided at Kalyan near bridge at Ulhas river and it was at 7.30am in the morning. One of Ajay's friend joined us at Kalyan station. We managed to reach much early at the spot and with winter having set in, it was quite chilly and foggy in the morning. Waiting for others on the bridge, we easily managed to spot couple of birds. Ajay and one of the our colleague, have been doing birding for quite sometime and were quick to spot birds like Sandpiper, common pond heron, Black kite to name a few.






By 7.30am we saw three cars full of bird enthusiast who joined us and we were off to explore the place. The other side of bridge on river Ulhas was more of forest area close to the river and wilderness.  We followed our leader with quick round of introduction, a group total of 20. As soon as we moved passed some small houses, the entire stretch of land was pure wilderness and dried grass land. The leaders with their keen eye for birds started spotting and showing everyone birds which I had never heard of and also never seen. to name a few beautiful ones that we saw were Eurasian color dove, Eurasian marsh harrier, Black drongos, common kites. It was amazing to spot such beautiful birds and it was just within 30minutes of we entering the area. The group had people who even had done bird watching in Himalayas and was amazing to get their share of knowledge about various birds and how to spot them and distinguish them from their very close cousins. Wow !!!






As we moved deeper, the forest cover became more dense and the list of birds that we spotted continued to increase and became even more exotic.The highlight of the trip for me was the Kingfisher in its natural habitat and proudly showing its true and rich colour. It was more than 3hours into the event of bird watching and group was dead hungry. We spotted one comfortable open space covered in shade of trees were the entire group had the snacks which each and every one had got. Everyone enjoyed the snacks as it was as exotic and varied as the birds that we had spotted. Dhoklas, khakras, fruits, biscuits and list would just go on.....











Walking in the forest, we even found rich flora which included "hari patti" which is put in paan and sweet in taste, also one of group members enlightened us by showing the colourful seeds of the tree which are all equal in weight and was used in ancient times to weigh gold. Also found one wild fruit which looks like tamarind but when touched would make ensure the person would have itching for couple of hrs on touched body part. One cannot stop thinking how nature surprises us with such exotic flora as well..





We started our return journey as it was around 12.30pm now, some of group members managed to actually spot more birds and the list end of the event was total of 51 different species of birds in one area itself. Luckily for Ajay and me, We had a couple who stayed close to Borivali and had enough space for Ajay, me in their car and we joined them on our way back home.It was just amazing to be part of such group of people who had so much of knowledge about birds and best part was they all came from different fields and industry. It was one such wonderful memory for me to be a part of such amazing event. As I pen down my blog I am also including the list of birds that we spotted during this event and hope to be a part of such events in the future as well. I also came across someone who has meticulously penned down the birding sites in & around Mumbai and I am taking the liberty to include this here, hoping to be a part of awareness creation for conserving nature and in turn would help us in watching these amazing visitors to our island city called Mumbai.

http://birdinginbombay.blogspot.in/





Sr #
Name Of Species
1
Ashy Pirnia
2
Common myna
3
Green beater
4
Black Drongo
5
Red vented bulbul
6
Asian pied starling
7
Open billed stork
8
Black kite
9
Pond Heron
10
Common Stonechat
11
Yellow wagtail
12
Spotted dove
13
Paddy filed pipet
14
Indian robin
15
Grey Heron
16
Scaly breasted munia
17
Red advent
18
Palm swift
19
Bunting
20
Eurasian color dove
21
Little Cormorant
22
Copper smith barbet
23
Red collared dove
24
Short eared owl
25
Little egret
26
Laughing dove
27
Eurasian golden oriol
28
Rufous  tailed lark
29
Plain pirnia
30
White breasted kingfisher
31
Asian Koyal
32
Purple sunbird
33
Purple rum sunbird
34
Common Iora
35
Tailor bird
36
Common Blue Kingfisher
37
Common sandpiper
38
Wood sandpiper
39
Eurasian marsh harrier
40
Yellow billed river turn
41
White eye buzzard
42
Blue tailed bee eater
43
Wire tailed swallow
44
Barn swallow
45
Indian roller
46
Osprey
47
Sparrow hawk
48
House crow
49
Jungle crow
50
Sparrow
51
Cattle egret

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