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.

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 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.

Standing Tall

A black kite perches on the heights of a building before making it’s way back to its nest during a rather chilly evening in Mumbai.

As imposing as they can get, these birds of prey hold a special place in my heart. They may look intimidating for most but a few experiences with them and one will realize that they are just as fun, silly, mysterious and amazing like any other creature in the animal kingdom. They too have their sets of victories, failures, challenges and finally that one thing that really binds us all together – the ultimate cycle of life and death.
To witness such a majestic being in a fragile state would be a rather heartbreaking sight. But the final moments it flies through its last days, with wounds and holes over its once majestic body, with the same pride and honor that it always carried along is one sight to witness and remember.

On the Powl

Husband Kittu makes a move with a rather animated yawn after I busted his ‘yet again unsuccessful’ stalking attempt on me at the parking lot as I headed back home.

Cats are amazing creatures. They always have this wild predator instinct running through them no matter they are feral or pet. Thus they are very likely to survive and hunt for themselves even if they are off human supplies and intervention. To make the matter more interesting, regardless the type of feline, they all seem to share similar hunting and stalking techniques that they use to procure their prey (with varying degrees of success). Each move they make with robotic precision is just as thrilling as it gets.
To be honest, the small dudes pack more punch and walk around with much greater attitude than the big cats. And being able to cuddle one without the ‘immediate’ threat of being mauled by is just amazing!

Mornin’ High

An army of Ants scale and attend to the tender leaves of a bush during sunrise at Seawoods.

Ants are one the best examples of teamwork, selflessness and dedication in the natural world that I am personally aware of. The amount of work they do with the precision they possess is hysterical indeed. One could learn great lessons of teamwork and management from these little soldiers just by tuning in into their schedule. But make sure you have the time – even one brief moment of your absence and they vanish without a trace!

Each scout a pawn takes is potential death is disguise. But that does not stop them, as they seem to be aware of the fact that whether it is life or death, it is for the greater good and that the whole existence of their kingdom depends on their actions, which they perform dedicatedly.

Thus even the smallest link is equally strong and important as the largest one.

The Devil’s Bug

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 😀