The Bird Carnival!

The Winter is coming!

This time we made sure that we do not miss the bird carnival at Bhigwan bird sanctuary. It is the season when Maharashtra becomes the home to several migratory and regional birds and the wetlands around the Bhuleshwar Temple is thronged by thousands of colourful birds.

Distance from Pune to Diksal= 120 km (About 2.3 hours)

Route-  Pune-Solapur Highway- Do not use Bhigwan flyover – Take a left at Bhigwan square on the highway – Drive 3 to 3.5km – Take right for sanctuary (spot the water tank tower (yellow coloured) on that T junction at the left-hand side of the road).

The cold weather has made sure that everyone is cuddling in the warm blanket till the snooze of the alarm. A cup of coffee and a morning sunbath has become the daily routine. But, Bhataku is planning to leave the home at early morning in the dense foggy cold with Sujit. Why so much hard work? Oh, to see that Pink wide winged delicacy at the annual bird carnival!

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It was Ice cold!

The journey started early morning from Moshi. It was ice cold. Near Shivajinagar, we had our prefered breakfast. I was amazed to see the rush at the small stalls selling poha and tea. The bridge understructure was so innovative. The pillars were depicting the stout stem of the trees whereas the wide beams were presenting the leaves. Pune, you are so lovely!

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What an Innovative concept?

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Moving ahead, we encountered an unexpected failure which most of us have never dreamed of! Our bike punctured on the way and we had the struggle to find a mechanic nearby. Fortunately, one of the villagers took us to Anna. Anna, an amazing person, who has already opened his workshop before we come. He also told us the famous points to visit the lake.

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Thank you, Anna!

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It was about to dawn. The bright red sun was peeping out and it was a sight to behold! As we were already running late, Sujit was racing the bike with the wind. After some time, our ears started ringing (literally!). The google maps have always been a blessing in a traveller’s life. The google map lady instructed us to take a left turn towards Kumbhargaon from Pune-Solapur Highway in a narrow lane.

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My favourite time of the day!

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We did not forget to see our “Avatar” in those mirrors.

A group of boys were waiting for a school bus and we asked the way towards Bhigwan spot. To our sheer surprise, we found that they do not know (really?). Wo kehte hai na, “Ghar ki murgi, daal barabar”. Anyways, we had Google lady to help. We crossed the main village and the journey on the pathetic road (it was full of potholes) started. A small temple caught our sight. Moving further, we saw a bunch of Black kites gazing at us. Ohh, is that a welcome for us?

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Bhuleshwar temple
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Those gangsters sitting on branches…

We got down to click some of them as I saw some Big black cranes just behind the road. As soon as I went near, they all flew away. I kept thinking, “Am I look like a fowler?”

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After some bird watching, we finally reached the Ujani backwater. What a beautiful scene it was?. The sun was just risen making the horizon reddish yellow. While we parked our bike, I started clicking some random photos.

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My goodness!

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A girl was playing with her hens. When she saw the camera, she immediately posed with one of them. The hen badly poked her nose with a beak and I could not stop laughing to see the girl running after her for revenge. Hahahahaha….

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I Caught you!

The boatmen were getting ready to serve the tourists in the day by putting diesel in the tank, checking the navigation tool and removing the excess water. We negotiated with one of them at a rate of 800/- for 6 people (fair enough!). I was enjoying the stunning panoramic view over the lake. The different species of birds flying high in the sky and the small birds chirping in rhythmic tones. The dark blue water and the colourful boats. Wow, it was a sight to behold!

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There are two areas where one can see the migratory waterbirds- 1) Diksal-Parewadi area and 2) Dalaj– Kumbhargaon area. The semi-waste water in this Ujni dam backwater area has built a very good wetland-based ecosystem and helped agriculture also. The rainfall in the Pune region decides the water level in the Ujani dam. March is the best season to visit Bhigwan as by that time most of the migratory birds arrive and settle down.

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A flock of flamingos just passed away.
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Yey, our boat comes back….

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Finally, the boat left the village coast at 8 am and we had next 1.5 hours in association with colourful birds gathered nearby. I can still hear that soothing sound when the boat was striking the water nearby. The birds are not gathered at one point but there are different spots in different directions. Generally, all boats go in different directions to reduce noise.

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The Colgate smile!

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The journey starts!
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Native people use such theromocol to go near the birds.

Initially, we could see some small birds and the intensity went on increasing as we went deep inside. Some of the birds were soaking themselves in the warm sunrays while some of them were busy in hunting fish. There were Ducks, Herons, Egrets, Raptors and Waders. Our boatman was telling their names which I could barely remember. Lol….Google baba ki Jai!

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The gull in action.

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Meet our boatman- Vishal!
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Our fellow boats.
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A lonely Egret.
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Someone alone in the middle (binoculars are must on the trip).
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Spoonbill
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Ruddy shellduck flying away.
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Glossy Ibis dancing near the coast.
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The Grey Heron.
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Grey Flamingoes
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Grey Heron standing in pride.
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Godwit Sandpiper
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Ye to sabko data hai-Kingfisher
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The egrets
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Black-winged Stilt
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The white egret
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Ye pata nahi bhai!
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Black-headed Ibis
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I love this Photo, it has that calm and peace structure.

After about an hour, he took us to the Flamingo point. He turned off the engine and started rowing. Flamingos are extremely sensitive to noise and tend to fly away. We all turned off our phones and our mouth, too. We could spot them form distance. It was a sheer treat to watch them in flocks.

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Yeah, just in front of us…
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They turned heads away as soon as we went nearby.
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Are they challenging each other in teams?
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On the other side of the coast.

Some of them were busy in eating the shells, some were taking rest, and some were just soaking themselves. In between, few of them used to run over the water to fly to another group. It was like a plane take off mechanism (The engineer in me waked up there!). They have such beautifully curved necks that if two of them are standing in the opposite, it was forming a heart shape. The pink and white feathers over the dark blue water was a sight to behold. We were stunned to see the beauty!

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It was about half an hour past watching them. The boatman told that the more they eat shells, the more they become pink. He also mentioned that due to human intervention, their numbers are decreasing year by year. I was happy to see that although boating is their source of income, how careful they are about these birds as even we told many times, he did not take us near them.

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Just a few minutes after a motorcycle came at the opposite coast and all thousands of them flew at once. What a sight? They gracefully flew over our heads as we kept on watching in awe and it was the best moment of the day. I am not sure whether it was our luck or a devil pleasure to see them disturbed. Whatever it will be, I could not forget the moment still. It was poetry in motion.

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Having our eyes witnessed the beautiful events, we started our return journey. There was someone waiting for us- the seagulls. They have become so familiar with the tourists that they came near to us in hope of food. The boatman also throws dead fish in the water to attract gulls. The gulls don’t seem to mind our company and you can get to see them pretty close this way. Unfortunately, we did not carry anything with us. Another group of a family had some biscuits and we could enjoy the moments with them. For a single piece of biscuit, they were making such chaos. But, they are very cute I must say.

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Those memorable hours….

Reaching to the original spot, we got down in sheer gratitude. The fishermen were drying their nets as it was time for them to go inside deep water. Their children were running nearby and trying every bit to convince their parents to take them to hunt.

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The fisherman with his hunt.

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We started the return journey around afternoon. In between, We did not miss to taste the fresh tasty hot jaggery at the jaggery plant. I was seeing it the first time. Initially, the sugarcane is crushed to turn into green juice, which is then boiled for some time to turn into think golden paste. It is allowed to cool for some time and then filled in the moulds. We even drank a bottle of sugarcane juice which regained our energy.

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As it was time to feed the hunger, we stopped to taste something unusual- “The charcoal smoked Misal”. It is known as Nikhara missal which literally has a charcoal flavour. It was smoky, tasty and satisfying.

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The Misal was beautifully served in little clay pot. The pot consisted of farsaan, cooked moth beans {Matki}, and some misal gravy. The plate had of fresh soft paav, small bowls of Dahi {curd} and Misal gravy in a small bucket. We also had some buttermilk to wash off the spicy flavours.

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While reaching to Pune, we saw so many stones uphill. We took some selfies (mandatory!) with the perfectly arranged big stones. I am still wondering, whether they were natural or artificially arranged? Anyways, it was a wrap up of the weekend. We had many beautiful spots around Pune, to the extent that the birds from Siberia come here. Hahahaha………….!

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It’s a wrap for the day.

The stillness of the waters and the flight of the Birds at Bhigwan stayed in our memories.



Bhigwan is an excellent place for birding enthusiasts. After monsoon, the backwaters carry water hence attract a lot of different species of birds including Flamingos. There are homestays developed by locals with basic but clean boarding facilities. Birding safaris are provided in boat rides. To really enjoy plan for at least one morning and one evening ride. A walk around Kumbergao also is interesting for birding.

 

 

 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. DILIP PATIL says:

    The photography and the way the blog is written is simply awesome.

    Like

  2. The blog is well written with apt photographs,simply enchanting!

    Like

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