An aerial view of the Kharghar Valley from one of the highest point on the Parsik Hills range one fine winter morning.
Though the view looks captivating (even more in person), I wished I could have been here before the concrete jungles and the ‘tamed wastelands’ dotted the scene. Yes there is development and the comfort that comes with it, but there is nothing can match or equate the rawness and peace that comes bundled with nature. And had I never enjoyed, understood and acknowledge that fact, I wouldn’t have made this picture anyway…
It had been a long time since I visited the area for a shoot or trek. Delighted about the fact that the hills and monsoon had kept their word by transforming the place into this green paradise I always knew of, I hopped around and scouted the location, finally settling at this small holding pond created by a steam coming downhill through the main valley.
Though the rains were passing rather than being continuous (a blessing in disguise) the place looked fresh as ever, emitting those same mystical vibes I felt each and every time I was around.
When epic scares for Friday the 13th show up right at the start of the day, even in broad daylight!
This bud was pretty creepy not only for his ‘costume and gear’ but also for the fact that he managed to stalk me with his million little eyes for 20-odd minutes till I finally laid my sight on him!
Nature – Surreal indeed 😀
It was a normal start to the day for me. I left for the hills early, hiking my way up and down through the route religiously. Gave my legs a cooling lap at the stream, as I listened to the wise old and fun couple crack sense and jokes, all at the same time. The usual stalking by a few ‘newer’ mini birds and a calf (a first in a long long time!) followed before I decided to head back to the base camp (the most rewarding part of the entire pilgrimage, as well as the most time consuming one!)
And then there were the usual ‘distractions’ to detour – a few more birds and invertebrates, which would make me stray yet again (but something I never really regret). I was hooked on to once such distraction and by the time we had enough of each other, I was lying on the trail, tired and hungry. The blazing sun had worn me out and I decided to take a few minutes off before heading back, laying there to review my bounty.
That’s when these Lilliputians showed up – trumpeting their arrival with pants, scouting and securing the trail, as their master trailed behind. As cute as they could get, I couldn’t resist and snapped a photograph, without their permission. But they weren’t impressed by my act and didn’t seem to like me either. As their attack got more vicious (cute, to be honest!), I decided to get up and clear the way for them. And as they passed by, they gave me that look which very well meant’ If we wanted you dead, you’d already be dead’.
And I was like, ok…
Yet another, best of days at the hills and a fun kick-start to the day!
This bud was sitting a few feet away for 2 straight hours (or even more), first cautiously looking out and then a bit more relaxed after getting accustomed to me, as I took a few snaps at the viewpoint from Parsik Hills a few days ago.
I do miss that light and heat from the day now. Hope these guys are safe and doing just fine.
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