The early bird gets the worm, and the earlier the birder, the better the birds. Birding is a joy in the grasslands around Nashik. However lazy one gets in the winters of midland India, it’s always more than worth pushing oneself out to the field with the first rays of the sun.
Pushing ourselves out of a comfortably warm room, we moved towards a tiny patch of privately owned grasslands near Nashik, in the hope of a morning well spent birding. A cold breeze number my shutter finger as I tried approaching the tiny rockchats and pippits, already out looking for breakfast, keeping the grassland ecosystem in good shape. We had only about two hours before work made us leave, so we tried making the most of it.
During a train journey from Jaipur to Jodhpur, we were pleasantly surprised to see vast vistas of shallow salt plains with what looked like Flamingos in the far distance. A quick check on the route revealed we were crossing the Sambhar Lake. Located some 90km South West of Jaipur, it’s India’s largest inland salt lake. … Read more Sambhar Lake And Salt Pans: Birding Heaven
While looking for some wildlife and birding experience in Goa, we found out about the Karmali Moor. It’s a tiny lake/wetland next to the Karmali Station and is home to many resident waders and other water birds. Opposite the moor are paddy fields, so this whole area becomes a rather rich birding spot. We spotted … Read more Birding at Karmali Lake, Goa
When we were planning our drive from Velavadar to Jambughoda, we were excited to learn we could include Wadhwana Wetlands in our route. It’s a water reservoir which attracts thousands of migratory and many resident birds. An important birding area, it is also a beautiful place to unwind, surounded by green agricultural fields.
“This irrigation reservoir and wetland located 10 kms from Dabhoi & 20 kms from the Jambughoda village, is the water source for 25 nearby villages, and a popular birdwatching site for species including stork, tern, ibis, and spoonbill. To get here you will have to rent a vehicle from Dabhoi, taking the Nanderi Gate road.Apart from being a wetland, it also has an eco tourism campsite. The best time to visit the wetland is from October to March cause that is the main migratory seasons for birds which migrate here from all over the world.” There isn’t any decent place to stay nearby. We stayed at the Jambughoda Palace which is about 25km from here. The Wadhwana Wetlands are home to many birds like the Indian River Terns, Openbills, Grey Lag Geese, Rudy Shell Ducks, Common Pochards, Ferruginous Pochards, Tufted Pochards, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails, Common Teals, Garganey, Eurasian Wegions, Lesser Whistling Teals, Spoonbill Ducks, Cotton Teals, Comb Ducks, Common Coots, Indian Cormorants, Herons, Black headed Ibis, Black Ibis, Egrets, Purple Moorhens, Osprey, Pied Kingfishers, Wire Tailed Swallows, Ashy Crowned Sparrow Larks, Bulbuls, Green Bee Eaters, and many others. I am not sure about the mammals but I am sue there are various kind of mongooses, amongst others.
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.”
Malshej Ghat is one of those destinations you can quickly go to and not regret, when you don’t have the time to drive too far. There is a large reservoir next to Malshej Ghat called Pimpalgaon Joga. It is a delight for birds in the winters. A walk down to the lake in winters can … Read more Birding at Malshej Ghat, Maharashtra