A sequence of images showcasing the landing pattern of a flock of Lesser Flamingos at Seawoods, Navi Mumbai.
Watching a flock of flamingos land is vivid display of coordination, discipline and skill. Being the large birds they are, Flamingos deploy a different strategy compared to their smaller feathered counterparts. As they approach their landing zone, the flock often takes multiple trips in the air in a circular fashion, slowly descending into the area cutting down their momentum with each drop in height. When they reach an ideal combination of lowered height and momentum, they land into the holding pond to join their counterparts. They even deploy their wings to glide and often flap them, possibly to cut down and counter even more momentum.
No wonder humans deployed this brilliant technique in the aviation world where aircrafts use a similar strategy while landing on an airstrip, a manoeuvre very much favourable in a crowded city like Mumbai.
A flock of lesser flamingos fly overhead, making their way to the holding ponds at Seawoods, Navi Mumbai. To witness these birds fly right over your head, maintaining such coordination and precision has been one of my favorite moments ever.
Right from their approach to the subsequent fly past, these birds generate a wild buzzing sound possibly due to the flapping of wings in such large numbers. A sound so wild and terrifying that it mimicked that of a Luftwaffe Squadron heading towards war. And coupled with the beautiful spectacle of the plane blue sky being painted by hundreds of figures in vibrant red and pink colors- one was surely in for a sensory overload. I was so overwhelmed by the first sighting that it left my mouth hanging and ears buzzing for a while and was able to make a few pictures only when the next batch came in.
This surely is nature at its finest and a memory of a lifetime!
A flock of flamingos make their way around the holding pond in unison like that of a marching parade, as seen at Seawoods, Navi Mumbai.
Sights like these are a regular during the birding season. Though there are hundreds of birds that are either resident species or migratory visitors, nothing beats the spectacular show put up by the flamingos. Be it their ‘larger than life’ figures, the vibrant coloured feathers or the precision they maintain while flying past or landing, watching them in this region has been a favourite of mine.
Having seen many birds during my time, being able to witness these magnificent beings descends from the skies often seems like a dream, too good to be true. But what is more captivating is the fact that these birds and sightings are so accessible to witness, this close to home- something that is one of the true boons of this land.
The Covid-19 saga and the lockdown has been one of the toughest times that people had to face lately. As the battle with the invisible enemy continues, one positive effect has been the increasing in the number of wildlife in areas they originally used to thrive in.
The wetlands of Navi Mumbai have been fortunate enough to be the bearer of such a positive phenomenon. There has been a steady increase in the number of migratory birds in the region, especially those of flamingos during the lockdown.
Flamingos (Lesser & Greater) have been one the numerous migratory visitors to the wetlands in Navi Mumbai for quite sometime. I myself have documented them for half a decade. Inspite of having a late arrival this season, they were found visiting the region in scores during the months of April and May, right after the lockdown was implemented. As the lockdown put the country into a standstill, the drop in pollution levels, lack of movement and disturbances in the land might have prompted these magnificent creatures to take advantage and flock in numbers that never have been witnessed in a long time. Though I couldn’t visit the site to document this wonderful phenomenon, my heart is content. All I wish for is that when the world is back on track, people learn to be more responsible towards nature, nurturing and caring for such beautiful gifts for all of time to come.
Note- This image was made during the 2015-2016 period, a duration when I was documenting the region.
A Myna perches on top a tree, a mandatory pit-stop before it heads for its nest at sundown.
Shooting subjects from a confined location is a challenge. Given the rather less geographical canvas to scan through and move about, one must look hard to spot a subject. And with the thick foliage around, it is often after a good game of hide and seek before a little one like this spares a moment, to get snapped before taking off to another location.
One positive effect of the lockdown is the dramatic increase in the number of birds. Though often hard to spot, they let their presence and numbers be known through amplified chirping and calls they make, something rather rare during a normal day.
A group of greater flamingos take flight during noon, making their way towards the next destination for the day after a brief halt at the backwaters in Seawoods, Navi Mumbai.
A flock of flamingos make the final descend to join the rest at the backwaters in Seawoods, Navi Mumbai.
Watching these birds fly in from miles away, making formations with such discipline, precision and perfection, finally landing in the pond to join the rest of the troupe is an experience to be reckoned with. After watching their landing procedure, it was clear from where our aircraft had derived theirs. Nature is possibly the only thing we need to learn from to live our lives to the fullest.
The universe is chaotic. There is something or the other happening in some part of it, each and every moment.
Though some find peace in this very chaos, ‘most’ see it as an obstacle to ‘peace’.
A very few from the ‘most’ set out to restore order and bring that peace to the world.
Finally an insignificant fraction of this ‘very few’ come to a point only to realize that this very peace and order they sought coexisted in the same chaos they wanted to run from and set order to.
Though by now this revelation would have been a journey of a lifetime, the wisdom from it was worth the effort.
Chaos and peace have been two side of the same coin, coexisting ever since. Chaos is just as beautiful as peace is. And always will be.
A pair of pigeons share a moment together on the rooftops at dusk before heading back to their nests.
A myna perches on the terrace of a building during sunset before heading back to its nest.
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