Wonders from the Wetlands-4

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!

Wonders from the Wetlands-2

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.

Wonders from the Wetlands-1

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.

Sparrow Spotting

A male sparrow perches on the branch of a tree with a blade of glass in its beak before heading back to its nest during sunset.

I love the fact that we are able to spot sparrows much more often like we would in the past. There was a brief period when these little ones had become sparse in sight, maybe be due to the change in radio waves and pollution levels in the air. Though they can be mischievous at times, stealing fruits and vegetables being grow in the garden, I am more than happy to see them grow in numbers along with other flora and fauna in the region.

A flock for Lesser and Greater Flamingos gather during noon at the holding ponds at Seawoods, Navi Mumbai.

It had been a while since I last visited the site. And given the immense heat and we witnessed this summer, I didn’t expect any birds in the region. But my joy had no bounds when I saw these magnificent beings come down from the skies in large numbers, electrifying the whole area with their sounds and vibrant colors during this time of the day when I would love to stay indoors.

Divine Chaos

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.

Amidst all the Cluster

The silhouette of an Indian Cormorant, perching on the branch of a tree, during early hours of the day at Seawoods.

Cormorants are indeed amazing birds to watch. They are seen often around the different water sources around Navi Mumbai. Their favorite spot though seems to be the the lone poles that stick out of the water (at the holding ponds) where they perch on the top, spread their wings and often pretend to be ‘dancing around’, a behavior called ‘sunbathing’ or ‘wing drying’. There are many theories and explanations for this behavior ranging from ‘the dry of wings’ to ‘regulating body temperature (“thermoregulation”), though much of these are speculated.
But whatever be the reason for the behavior, these birds are indeed a charm to look at and just make your day.

Back to Where I Belong

Made my way back to the backwaters after a really long time. And this was the sight that welcomed me.

With the influx of the heat wave that had been steadily building then fluctuating since the past few days, the water levels at the holding ponds have come done considerably. Area that usually used to submerged have surfaced. It’s not clear (to me) whether if it’s due to the tidal effect or the heat. But the place indeed looks much deserted, like it was most of this year.

P.S – Had this building not been there (in the frame and in life), this picture would have been even more pleasing to my eyes.

Together We Fly

GBT Flock

A flock of Gull Billed Terns fly around the holding pond at Seawoods during early hours.

The water at the ponds recede and rise frequently. Sometimes it’s controlled by the local fishermen who come to fish in the area with the help of check dams at different locations and otherwise, it’s due to the tides. And as the water had receded today, the ponds saw a lot of different birds who had gathered to get hold of an easy meal in the shallow waters.

Landing

PS landing at Seawoods

A trio of Painted Storks land at the holding pond at Seawoods during early hours.

These big birds take a good area to land, dropping speeds gradually and often glide before they reach the surface of water and finally land.