Nandur Madhyameshwar : A Little Known Birding Haven

We had heard of Nandur Madhyameshwar, and had been wanting to visit this Important Birding Area (IBA) for a very long time. And we ended up visiting twice in one year.

Our first trip was in the monsoons. As expected, the lake was full of water, the surroundings lush. However, monsoons are not a great time for birding. We did spot a lot of resident birds like Terns, various Bush Chats etc, but no migratory birds. Winters, however, are a different story altogether. Tens of thousands of migratory birds make these wetlands their winter home. The area is pretty much a flat land and hence approaching birds for photography is difficult.

From the Maharashtra Forest Department website: “Nearly 24 species of fishes have been recorded in the reservior including Ompok Maculatus, Puntius Gawa Mullya. So far more than 230 species of birds are recorded from this area out of which 80 species are migratory.

Migratory: White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbills, Flamigo, Goose Brahminy Duck, Pintails, Mallard, Wigeon, Gargenery Shoveller, Pochards, Cranes Shanks, Curlews, Small Pratincoles, Wagtails, Godwits, Weavers etc.

Resident: Black Ibis, Spotbills, Teals, Little Grebe, Cormorants, Egrets, Herons, Stork, Kites, Vultures, Buzzards, Harriers, Osprey, Quails, Patridges, Eagles, Waterhens, Sandpipers, Swifts, Grey Hornbills, Peafowls etc.

Animals: Ottar, Palm Civet, Fishing Cat, Jackal, Mangoose, Wolves and many species of snakes etc are available.”

We drove from here to discover the fabulous Karanjgaon, Pink Village Of Maharashtra.

Nandur Madhyameshwar in the monsoons. The metal structure is the dam.
Nandur Madhyameshwar in the monsoons. The metal structure is the dam.
We parked our car next to this beautiful tree.
We parked our car next to this beautiful tree.
The Lake at Nandur Madhyameshar. In the monsoons.
The Lake at Nandur Madhyameshar. In the monsoons.
One of the first sightings was this flock of Cormorants.
A Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) in flight.
A Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata)
Flowers of the Lesser Indian Reed Mace (Typha angustata). There are plenty of these at Nandur Madhyameshwar.
A Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus)
There are plenty of migratory birds on season at Nandur Madhyameshwar. Unfortunately I did not have a tighter lens for this shot.
Beautiful underwater vegetation.
What looks like a Greenish Warbler (Phylloscopus trochiloides)
A Green Bee Eater (Merops orientalis) in flight.
Swallows. Yet to identify.
Yet to identify.
A Siberian Stonechat (Saxicola maurus). From Wikipedia: The wintering range of the migratory bird is from southern Japan south to Thailand and India, and west to northeast Africa. On migration, small numbers reach as far west as western Europe, and exceptionally as far east as Alaska in North America. The Siberian stonechat is insectivorous. It breeds in open rough scrubland or rough grassland with scattered shrubs, from sea level to about 4,000 m ASL or more. The birds seem to avoid even cool temperate conditions and stay up north only during the hot continental summer.
Small Pratincoles (Glareola lactea) roosting in Nandur Madhyameshwar. It is a resident breeder in India, Western Pakistan and southeast Asia. It breeds from December to March on gravel or sand banks in rivers, laying 2-4 eggs in a ground scrape. River bank sand mining threatens its nesting grounds.
Birds in flight.
These Mayurpankh (Barleria involucrata), or Peacock Feather flowers, dot the banks of the fresh water lake. Many species of insects and birds feed on these plants.
A tiny water body and an eucalyptus plantation opposite the dam at Nandur Madhyameshwar.

There isn’t any place to stay at Nandur Madhyameshwar, except the State Irrigation Department Bungalow at Khangaon Thadi, very close the to the dam itself. It is an almost 100 year old colonial bungalow and looks pretty haunted. It has to be booked in advance. We decided against staying here, and instead stayed at the wonderful Gulmohar Home Stay.

The way to the Irrigation Department Bungalow is lined with these ancient Banyan trees.
The Irrigation Department Bungalow.
The watch tower for birding. Much of the area around the watch tower is marshy and cannot be walked upon.
The lake in January. As one can see, parts of the water body are being filled with earth (probably mined illegally from elsewhere), to extend farmland.
A boat in the lake. Shallow waters of the lake, and the silt deposited over 90 years, make the waters extremely fertile for aquatic vegetation, and hence bird life.
I saw fishermen with rubber tyre tubes inflated to become small boats wait for dusk to go for a catch.
As we drive from Nadur Madhyameshwar back towards Nashik, a beautiful sunset makes a good ending to a rewarding day birding.
A Pheasant-Tailed Jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus) is a jacana in the monotypic genus Hydrophasianus. Jacanas are a group of waders in the family Jacanidae that are identifiable by their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation in shallow lakes, their preferred habitat.
The Eurasian coot (Fulica atra), also known as coot, is a member of the rail and crake bird family, the Rallidae. The coot breeds across much of the Old World on freshwater lakes and ponds. It occurs and breeds in Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. The species has recently expanded its range into New Zealand. It is resident in the milder parts of its range, but migrates further south and west from much of Asia in winter as the waters freeze.

DSC_4902 Nandur Madhyameshwar is a large water body created by the construction of a dam at the confluence of the Godavari and Kadwa Rivers. Huge quantities of silt and organic matter have accumulated in this water body over the past 90 years, making the waters shallow and an excellent birding habitat. Between September and March, tens of thousands of migratory birds rest here. This is an Imbortant Birding Area (IBA Site Code: IN-MH-11).

ACF (WL) Nandur Madhmeshwar, “Kale Bhuvan” plot No. 71514 opposite H.P.T.College, College Road, Nasik, 432005, Maharashtra, India. 91-253-2317114 & 91-253-2317115

[box type=”success” width=”100%” ]Getting there: Nandur Madhyameshwar is about 40 km from Nashik towards Niphad. From Nasik – Chandoriphata – Saikheda – Khangaon Thadi – 40 Kms. You will have to take your own vehicle, and the place is slightly confusing to find. There are boards throughout, but you will still have to ask around a bit. There is no place to stay here, so staying at Nashik is recommended.[/box]

13 thoughts on “Nandur Madhyameshwar : A Little Known Birding Haven”

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  1. Paramvir, beautiful! The other creatures in the area are fascinating too; especially the wolves. I reckon monsoon time is a bit hectic in these parts. In most areas of SE Asia monsoons aren’t too big of a deal but in this neck of the woods things can get really dicey, from what I’ve read. Monsoons means a TON of rain and some areas may even become impassable in more than a few areas.

    Awesome photos, fab bird life.

    Thanks Paramvir and keep on inspiring!


    • Thanks Ryan. Monsoons here can be amazing, and brings its own wildlife. One just needs to invest in a water proof cover for the camera 🙂

  2. Lots of birdies here, again awesome photography to give the photo of the bird up close. So colourful, different and cute flying creatures. It is nice to see the greens around, the eucaliptus plantation and all that. You reminded me of the movie Big Year
    that features lots of birds. You should see it if you have not. Lovely reading your post, enjoy it.


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