Mumbai’s hen skilled, Neeraj Chawla is gearing as much as camouflage in nature. The nip within the air is ripe for his journey to go flamingo recognizing within the metropolis’s swampy lands. In his opinion, one should merge with the panorama to gaze on the spectacular magnificence in concord.
Flamingos are some of the distinctly identifiable, wading birds on the planet. Marked with pink feathers, slender legs and curvy necks, they indulge nature fanatics in a saga of magnificence. “Flamingos migrate from their breeding web site at Gujarat to Mumbai through the west coast. They attain the shorelines in November and switch into the town’s residents until Could. For birdwatchers, December and January is a peak time to identify the marvel of those winter buddies”, remarks Neeraj who has captured greater than 55 hen species over 12 years at Charkop, Kandivali.
Booting up for Flamingo recognizing
Nearly 20 years after his first go to to Sewri, Neeraj has a guidelines prepared earlier than he embarks on a journey to catch their glimpse. In a telephonic interview, he shares the pointers with us:
1. As a birdwatcher one should carry a superb pair of binoculars (7×40) (Magnification issue 7x to 10x vary or larger) to identify and examine the conduct of the hen.
2. In case you’re a newbie, rent a discipline information to the realm you might be visiting to determine flamingos.
3. Carry a notepad and a pencil to notice down necessary observations for record-keeping and analysis.
4. A birdwatching hat is a should within the outside solar and the gown code ought to be gentle colors in brown, gray, or inexperienced shades to camouflage with nature. It’s advisable to keep away from sporting shiny colors like white and purple to keep away from distracting them.
5. Heat clothes can also be necessary as it’s an out of doors exercise and takes hours of ready to look at the orchestrated dance of flamingos. A jacket with large pockets turns out to be useful to hold helpful paraphernalia.
6. A backpack with water bottles and different private belongings to remain hands-free is a should.
7. A eager twitcher (a severe birdwatcher) additionally carries a recognizing scope and audio recording gear to identify and file the peculiar sounds of the hen.
8. Seize your palms on a superb DSLR with a telephoto lens (Minimal 300mm focal size) to seize their beautiful appearances.
Ornithologist Neeraj Chawla in his aspect, capturing Flamingos at T.S. Chanakya (Indian Maritime College) Nerul, New Mumbai
Iconic locations to identify the pink beauties
Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary
Annually, hundreds of flamingos arrive on the Flamingo Sanctuary from Rann of Kutch, Gujarat. Throughout low tides, the huge marshy land will get lined with contemporary algae which serves as a meal for the winged guests. Notably, it’s the consumption of algae that imparts the pink color to their physique. Thane creek is a chosen spot to observe flamingos and is accessible through highway. Upon arriving right here, birdwatchers can embark on a ship safari which begins on the Coastal Marine Biodiversity Centre in Airoli and runs as much as a stretch of 10 km providing a large vantage level to look at the flock.
Sewri Mangrove Park
Flamingos have been noticed at Sewri mudflats in early 1990 for the primary time. Bombay Pure Historical past Society carried out an in depth examine on the topic and started conducting common excursions for wildlife fanatics. Now, BNHS runs flamingo sighting excursions, starting on the railway crossing at Sewri. Neeraj recommends carrying a pair of binoculars to get a better look and examine the behaviour of the birds. For photographers, a telephoto lens (400 mm and better) works wonders to seize their poised actions.
Tawale Wetlands, Nerul, New Mumbai
Flamingos paint the wetlands pink with their harmonised postures that appear at least choreography. To witness this surprise, birdwatchers can arrive on the Tawale Wetlands through highway in addition to barefoot. You will need to observe that the precise time to identify them within the lake is both early mornings or evenings. These timings are additionally apt to seize images as per the lighting circumstances.
Flamingos noticed of their pure habitat at Navi Mumbai. Picture courtesy: Neeraj Chawla
Bhandup Pumping Station
Wildnest curates wildlife safari and birdwatching excursions in and round Mumbai. One in every of their choices is a flamingo sighting tour in boats that supply a close-up vistas of the winged birds. Upon reaching right here, guests are greeted by the Wildnest group members on the assembly level. Subsequent up, they proceed to Bhandup Pumping Station the place they obtain a quick introduction about flamingos in addition to different birds that may be noticed. Later, they embark on the boat trip the place the group helps recognizing flamingos and different shore birds discovered there with binoculars.
Flamingo species and their ritual dance
Out of a complete of six species of flamingos on the planet, solely two species have been recognized in India. Two species that go to Mumbai from Gujarat state are:
. Lesser flamingo ( Phoenicopterus minor): Small in peak (80-105 cm), shorter neck, invoice smaller, and black-tipped darkish purple color.
. Greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber): Tall in peak (125-145 cm), with an extended and thinner neck, invoice bigger and pink in color with darkish tip.
Neeraj observes that each the species exist in concord.
A social breed, flamingos may be noticed synchronising a ritual dance within the swamps of Mumbai. With a knack for theatrics, they show collective postures and orchestrated whirls which are a delight to nature and wildlife fanatics. Among the postures that may be witnessed in and round Mumbai are:
Head-Flag: This pose entails the hen stretching its neck and head upwards whereas shifting the top from one aspect to a different in a rhythmic sample.
Wing-Salute: An iconic posture, it entails the hen spreading its wings, revealing the contrasting shades of pink whereas its neck stretches out.
Twist Preen: It entails the hen twisting its neck again and showing to preen shortly, with its invoice behind a partly open wing.