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.
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.
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.
I usually have a habit of sleeping early but at times, I do fall short of target and sleep late. It was one such night and the day turned out to be longer for me. By the time I made it to bed, it was 2 am. As I was about to lie down, I saw the beautiful hue in the night sky from the view of my bedroom’s window. That’s when I noticed that the fragments of the hill at Panjrapole, just above the mouth of the Eastern Freeway tunnel that passed below it, had this strange lighting around it. I first dismissed it as the incandescent lighting of one of the high pressure sodium (HPS) street lighting in the area, that I had been witnessing for the past 15 years, each night. But that’s when I noticed a strange half disk right above the sole tree, that managed to hold on from all the development activities in the region. It didn’t take me long to realize that it was the moon (a bit higher than in the picture when I saw it) and that it had this great orange color to it. I realized that this was the same thing I had seen a few days ago around the same time of the night and found it strange back then, thanks to all the conspiracy theory files that I had been reading and watching lately. I very much knew most sights from that window as it was one of the places where I started my photographic journey, taking numerous photographs, first with my phone and then with the camera. I also remember making numerous timelapses of the brilliant sunsets (this hill is in the west direction), cloudscapes and nightscape that would show up most days (except when it used to rain). The first time I noticed that light, I knew that it was something I hadn’t noticed before and was perhaps something that came up recently. But today I realized that it was the moon after all. I spent some time watching it and then decided to take a snap. After setting the tripod on the bed and taking multiple shots to check the focus and exposure, I managed to get a few usable shots. Thought I wouldn’t call it a great shot technically, it was a great memory for me and a gentle reminder that there was much to see and understand in this world for me, especially things that were right under my nose. There were many more miles to go in this journey and that I had just started.
There were things in this universe that no man in human form would be able to decipher. We often come past these things in life and dismiss them as myths, fake news and even bullshit. Given the arrogance humans have been harboring in them since ages, this isn’t something new, even if such things were true after all. But we must realize that there are things beyond our reach and understanding and the best we could do in this short life span was to try understand them, they way they are and not adulterate them with our personal fascinations and creativity. Most things that would make a human curious at first would turn out to be the most simple things in life that had been taking place since ages. All we needed was the patience to understand what these things meant and when it was the right time for them to reveal themselves to us, if they were ever meant to be so.
It’s the gift of observation, understanding, acceptance of one’s short comings and the spirit to work towards overcoming them in the right manner that made a human different from others.
This sure was one the best memories I had from what I call ‘The Window to Life and Beyond’
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.