Wonders from the Wetlands-5

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.

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-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.

The Green Stairway

A beautifully lit sky forming the background to a vibrant lush green slope of a hill as viewed from the foothills during sunset at Kharghar, Navi Mumbai.

Enter the month of October and the rains will be soon gone, only to surface next year. Though it rains quite often even now, the signs of the retreat are evident. This year, it had rained enough and after a point it had started becoming a pain. Yes, the monsoon is far better than the scorching heat of the summer and water is a resource that one always finds good use of. But I wished it had rained in patches and a bit more mildly, giving everyone a small window to enjoy the fruits of the monsoon. Or maybe I, as my city, should have prepared in a much better way to have take it more as a boon than a bane. But there is always a next time. And yes, I will really miss the rains once they are gone…

A glimpse of the Near Future

A panoramic view of the large empty plot (in the far background) being developed for the impending “Navi Mumbai International Airport” amidst the ever beautiful hill ranges, mangroves and various streams, as viewed while descending from the Kharghar Hills one fine afternoon.

It would be fun to watch how many airplanes would fly out of this location in the coming years and how ‘wise of a decision’ it was to make an airport in this particular location in the first place.

Tgatwork​

Land Crab with Eggs

A Land Crab carries its eggs in its undercarriage across a dry stream at the valley section of the hills at Kharghar, Navi Mumbai.

What would seem as easy situations for us would often be the hardest and a matter of life or death for the residents of the hills. But inspite of all the trouble they come across, natural or man made, their ability to work past it slowly but steadily is a sight to be reckoned and a life lesson to be learnt from.

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Land crab crosses a stream

A Land Crab makes its way across a stream at the hills in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai.

Though the rains seem to be making a late entrance this year, the hills and its residents have started preparing for the monsoon in full swing. These crabs who spend the previous seasons underground have now surfaced in large numbers, dotting the semi moist streams and muddy trails of the region.

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.

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.