Birding in and around Mumbai
December 13, 2016

During my recent visit to the city of Mumbai in the end of January 2017 one of my colleague posted at Mumbai, mentioned about his recent visit to Little Rann of Kutch( popularly known as LRK) in Gujarat to see flamingos about 2 week ago but got disappointment as they could not see as they had already migrated from the region. I told him not to get worried as he would be able to see them for a few months in the heart of Mumbai itself. He was really surprised when I told him that he can observe them at mudflats at Sewri Creek or Mahul-Sewree Mudflats located very near to his office itself. And if he wants to experience something unique, then a boat ride in the creek near the Bhandup Pumping Station, declared as the Flamingo Sanctuary by the Government of Maharashtra recently is the best place to observe flamingos as well different species of waterfowls and various other birds. In fact Bird Life International has declared this creek an Important Bird Area.

Flock of Flamingos at Bhandup

Flamingos in flight at Bhandup

Flamingos at bhandup

It was on 6th August 2015 that the Government of Maharashtra declared Thane Creek as flamingo sanctuary for the reason that more than 30000-40000 flamingos congregate here and stay for more than six months. In fact they have been coming here from 1994 from Rann of Kutch as their food is available in plenty. They leave this place in the month of May to their breeding grounds.

Flamingos at Sunrise at bhandup

Flamingos at Sunrise

Greater as well as lesser Flamingosin search of food and in courtship.

Greater as well as lesser Flamingos in search of food and in courtship at sunrise

I happen to see this place as a matter of luck as I had come for birding in the grassland and a lake adjacent to the Bhandup pumping station in February 2016. Large no. of flocks of flamingos lesser as well the greater flamingos were settled adjacent to the mangroves on the mudflats in the creek. Seeing them in flight was a mesmerising experience.

This year again I visited Mumbai to explore birding opportunities for the kids as well as to visit birding destinations which I could not cover during my previous visit last year.

Eurasian Curlew at Bhandup

Eurasian Curlew with a catch

On 31st January, 2017 we visited the creek in the late morning as advised by the boat in charge keeping in view the tidal waves for taking the boat inside the creek. Being late morning the movement of the flamingos was less but before the boat journey was to end, we happen to observe 3 beautiful water fowls, Common Shelduck about 30 meters from the boat. It was my first sighting of these birds.

Commom shelduck

Commom shelduck- A rare bird that attracted lots of birders and photographers to Bhandup this year

Common Shelduck at bhandup

Common Shelduck

Common Teal(Male & Female), Northern Shoveler(Male & Female) & Black-winged stilt resting at the mudflats

Common Teal(Male & Female), Northern Shoveler(Male & Female) & Black-winged stilt resting at the mudflats

Brown-headed Gulls at Bhandup

Brown-headed Gulls looking for food

Intermediate Egret at bhandup

Intermediate Egret in breeding plumage

Grey heron at bhandup

Grey heron looking for his next meal

Number of other birds which I observed that day in the grassland, lake, trees mudflats as well in the creek are red vented bulbul, white cheeked bulbul ,house crow ,jungle crow, purple sunbird ,rumped purple sunbird ,long tailed shrike ,greater coucal ,spotted dove ,golden oriole ,weaver bird ,ashy prinia ,common myna , pied starling ,grey heron , cormorant , median egret , greater egret , Eurasian spoon bill ,lesser flamingo ,greater flamingo ,pied avocet ,gulls, tern ,stint, northern shoveler, Eurasian curlew ,common teal, white throated kingfisher, common kingfisher ,black capped kingfisher ,black kite ,black winged stilt ,wood sand piper ,common red shank ,great spotted eagle and the rare common shelduck.

western-reef-egret at Bhandup

Western reef egret

Black-Headed-Ibis at Bhandup

Black headed ibis

black tailed godwit at Bhandup

Black tailed godwit

Eagle at bhandup

Eagle

Northern shoveler female at bhandup

Northern shoveler female

This incredible place has started attracting lot of nature lovers in the heart of Mumbai region.

To plan your visit to Bhandup, click here.

About Vinod Goel

He joined Customs & Central Excise service in 1982. As a civil servant, his job takes him to various parts of India, which gave him an opportunity to capture our wild heritage, through his camera. His passion for wildlife photography started in 2004 when he was posted at Raipur (Chhattisgarh) and this passion continues till today.
Vinod Goel
Vinod Goel
He joined Customs & Central Excise service in 1982. As a civil servant, his job takes him to various parts of India, which gave him an opportunity to capture our wild heritage, through his camera. His passion for wildlife photography started in 2004 when he was posted at Raipur (Chhattisgarh) and this passion continues till today.

2 Comments

  1. Pooja Mehra says:

    Hello Vinod Goel, All pictures are looking awesome. Wish I would go there right now! Thanks for sharing this article.

    • Bharat Goel says:

      Thank you Pooja Ji.My daughter Nitya Goel Aggarwal is the right person to observe flamingos in Mumbai as she organises tours.

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