Let me confess at the outset of this blog that Iam no avid bird watcher nor a creature who can tell a difference between a parrot or parakeet.But whenever I used to see this lovely pictures of Pink Flamingos which my friends kept posting on FB I felt a pang of losing out on something and which ultimately prompted me to visit Sewri Mudflats. “Ab bechara Flamingo Siberia se Mumbai tak udkar aata hai, Toh kya mai mumbai me rahkar usko milne nahi ja sakta, Boss jana toh banta hai akhir me woh hamra mehman hai “
I called up my friend Pooja and asked her if she could join me, to my surprise she readily agreed (I think she hates to get up early), Both of us took an early train from Andheri to Sewri Station.
|Walking from end of platform towards railway level crossing|
In order to reach Sewri mudflats we have to get down at Sewri station on the east side and come out from the end of the platform and start walking towards the railway level crossing
|Railway crossing at the end of platform|
Standing at this railway crossing you will notice the flyover passing above , you have to cross the road passing under this flyover and walk in straight direction leaving the level crossing gate behind you.( You can always inquire from locals regarding this sighting place)
|From here just go across the road straight to reach Sewri Mudflats|
A mere 5 minutes walk through this road with only few shops like tea shop or mutton shop open as it been too early in the day( I looked at my watch and the time was 6.15 am.) With very few people and only oil tankers line up all the way can give you eerie kind of feeling,
|Lonely roads and Eerie feelings|
we kept walking till we reached the T junction and took a right from there (for landmark sake there is this Sterling weigh bridge at this corner and the Green colour Dargah gate, from there one can also visit Sewri Fort.)
|Right turn from this T junction|
Another 5 minutes walk with more oil tankers along the road I was wondering whether I am going in a right direction because the way the things looked here I was left wondering “Flamingo toh chodo ek Kauva (crow) bhi nahi deknewala.”But to our surprise the road ultimately ends with lots of anchored boats on the side and lovely sunrise greeting us.
|Rising Sun welcoming us from behind the anchored boat|
The ambience of early morning was awesome
|Early morning ambience|
and with boat wreckage, anchored boats and beautiful sun rising on the horizon and golden sheet of water made the whole scene all the more interesting.
|Anchored boat and rising sun|
I immediately took out my camera and started clicking away to glory , the wreckage interested me more which prompted Pooja to comment “kya tum bhagar wale ho joh bhangar ki photo le rahe ho.”
I had come to Sewri Mudflats with lots of expectations to look at the Famingos, but first look at the mudflats,except for the above mentioned glories I was disappointed. Now you will be wondering why I said I was disappointed,
|Flamingos appears as small specks in distant
(mind you even this photo is zoomed one)
Well it has so happened that I had seen such lovely pictures of flamingos on FB, but upon coming here they just looked like specks in distant. So very important Tip Please please do carry binoculars with you or don’t go ! Yes without binoculars you will hardly be able to see Flamingos properly.
|Flamingos Atlast !|
As regards to Sewri Mudflats there was this one report I read few months back that the Forest department has decided to declare the Sewri mudflats the contentious landing site for the proposed trans Harbour Link Road as protected Sanctuary. ( Believe me my first reaction was Thank God ), Development at the cost of destroying nature is not good hence was relieved to know this. Further the forest department has also decided to declare the 10 kms stretch of mangroves between Vashi and Airoli as protected region.
By Sanctuary status,it will mean that fishing will be banned in mudflats,there will be regular patrolling by forest guards which environmentalist feel will put an end to illegal activities including hunting of migratory birds.
Now that you have come for Flamingo watch let me get you few important information
|1. During the peak season of Jan /Feb the population of flamingos reaches 15000 to 20000 only at sewri Mudflats.|
|2.Other than Sewri these pretty birds can also be seen at mangroes/swamps of Vikroli, Bhandup, Airoli, Thane and Vashi.|
|3. Apart from Flamingos Sewri mudflats gets more than 150 bird species viz. shanks,sandpiper,stint gulls,egrets and herons to name few.
4. Flamingos feed on brine shrimp and blue green algae.Their beaks are specially adapted to separate mud from silt from the food they eat .
|Birds flying away|
The sun had come up,the May heat was was getting on me and the birds were also flying away, indicating that I too have to take their leave.I stood at the railing of the anchored boat absorbing the ambience all around me, and wondering
How in a congested city of Mumbai, Nature and Industrial growth can co-exist. With these thought I left the place with a promise to come again. Indeed it was a pleasurable morning with so many birds to watch.
|Pooja and Myself|
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Special thanks to my dear friend Amol for allowing me to use his picture.