Two Gull Billed Terns take turns to scope out fish while hovering over the holding ponds at Seawoods during early hours of the day.
The holding ponds at Seawoods and much of the area, in and around the creek harbor a vast number of marine and aquatic species. The area also has a decent mangrove cover (which is slowly depleting due to many factors). Aquatic and Marine birds are often found flying in the region and the place is visited by migratory birds during the season.
But given the fact that these wetlands and similar natural hotspots (around Navi Mumbai) are considered as ‘wastelands’ by people, the place slows get ‘developed’ and much of the region turns into a concrete jungle. The quarrying activities at multiple points on the foothills of the Parsik Hills range, the MIDC area, the Palm Beach Road and Seawoods are some proofs of that ‘development’. While making way through the Palm Beach Road, one can often see signs like ‘Proposed Golf Course’ (near Seawoods or Akshar Building Signal) or ‘Proposed Public Maidan’ (before Nerul or BBQ Nation signal) which are put up by CIDCO. If these projects materialize, pictures like the one above would only be a memory and end up in archives of a long lost past. No, it wouldn’t be the final nail in the coffin but it sure would be step closer to that.
And after all it’s man who needs a coffin
An Indian Palm Squirrel stretches itself out on the service shaft ladder during the early hours of the day at Mumbai.
Like most wildlife in the region, these small and cute rodents have witnessed a boom in population during the last few years. They are often seen doing daredevil stunts like scaling straight walls, from the bottom to the top and vice versa and often come inside homes, either due to curiosity or in search of food. Even though their climb to the very top possess a threat to them and they often end up battling for life with the Black Kites and Crows that try to pick them up, neither their population or their climbing seems to slow down.
Bruises on the hands of an elder member of the monkey clan are seen clearly during a break they took at service shaft during their usual midday expeditions in the area.
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.
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.
Two Painted Storks fight for their share of the catch during early hours at the holding pond at Seawoods.
Getting a catch, a competitive business as ever, often leads to quarrels and the options are to either get your catch and fly away to enjoy your meal (which also has the risk of having your meal fall down during flying away at haste!)
Or the option is to fight it out..
A Painted Stork flies past with a catch during early hours at the holding pond at Seawoods. Getting a catch is a highly competitive business especially when the whole flock is concentrated at one point of the pond. And this one decided to have it all for itself and flew away from the group to enjoy it’s meal alone.
A Black Kite perches on top of a building at Anushaktinagar during mid day.
These birds form the ‘Birds of Prey’ category in this area of Mumbai and are found throughout the city. From gliding over the massive dumps of garbage spread across Mankhurd to scouting the hills from several meters above with their ‘God’s Eye’, they do it all and justify their tag of ‘opportunistic hunters’.
P.S-One of my favourite incidents with them was when one full grown BK kept harassing a really angry feral dog, which it seemed to enjoy very much. It also had it eye on the dog’s meal that it had made from the local dustbin.
A juvenile monkey walks past the rooftop at one of the residential buildings at Anushaktinagar.
As a part of the deforestation activities and the rampant ‘development’ taking place in the area, the resident wildlife has no place to go but to share the space with the ‘developed’ humans.
Though there hasn’t been much of a struggle yet and the monkeys seem to be more ‘cooperative’ than their human counterparts, what lies next is something that has to be waited for and watched.
We are yet again proving to ourselves that we seem to have a poor memory and understanding about the fact that these animals were here first, even before we figured out what ‘science’ and ‘development’ even meant.
The Rising Sun
A painted stork flies past the rising sun at Seawoods.
This year, though there were a few visitors like the Black Winged Stills and ducks and of course a handful of Painted Storks, I didn’t have the fortune to see a Flamingo yet at ponds. Though they have arrived at the end of the mangroves near to the creek, right from Seawoods to Airoli (even at Sagar Vihar, Vashi) in varying numbers, they still haven’t showed up at the holding ponds behind the NRI complex. I do remember documenting them in huge numbers during this time last year. Without having the flamingo flocks in the area, much of the pond looks empty.