Friday, January 20, 2012

Sewri Mud flats - Home to Flamingos and other Migratory birds

Sewri - Its a suburb of Mumbai in south central and one of the original seven islands of Greater Mumbai. Large part of Sewri belongs to BPT (Bombay port trust) which runs the harbour in Mumbai. The east side of Sewri houses huge industrial complex of petro giants HPCL, BPCL and many other companies like Colgate. It also has huge swamp of Mangroves and mud-flats which is now a protected ecology since 1996. This swamp is home to many migratory birds which flock here to breed and among them are the "famous guest" of Mumbai - FLAMINGOS. The mud-flats not only provides breeding ground but also is rich in nutrients which the birds feed upon like blue-green algae and other organism in the swamp.

The best time to view these famous guest of Mumbai is between October to March.

How to reach: Once you reach Sewri station, cross the bridge and come on east side. There is only one road which passes through Sion Koliwada which ends at Sewri jetty from where one can get amazing view of mud-flats which is the breeding ground for Flamingos and stopover for many migratory birds. It takes 8-10 minutes to reach jetty from Sewri station.

My visit: I had read about the arrival of flamingos in Mumbai and like many Mumbaikars was very curious to watch these birds in their own habitat. Having read some of the blogs of people who has been to Sewri jetty to watch the Flamingos, found that best time to visit is 2hours before or after the high tide which is like in the morning from 6am to 10am or in the evening from 4pm to around 7pm.

One Saturday, I caught the 5.30am train from Borivali to my destination Sewri, all geared with enough water and food for the next couple of hours and my lens.Getting up in chilli winter morning is something that I would try and avoid but the excitement of watching these birds was something that made me wake up early. The roads leading to the Sewri jetty was almost empty as it was early morning, second its among industrial belt of Mumbai with not much residential areas around it. On reaching Sewri jetty, found that curious Mumbaikars with their kids were already there so were other bird enthusiasts with their expensive cameras, ready to capture the birds in their lens.

The jetty is home to few trawlers and boats which are docked for scrapping. But the best part is, one is allowed to climb the ship and reach the deck from where one gets an unobstructed and amazing view of the mangroves and mud-flats with migratory birds.

I had been to Sewri twice before but could not find the flamingos and was disappointed then but did not loose hope. Early morning sunrise from the deck of the trawler is worth watching. Like many others I waited patiently for the honoured guest to arrive in the mean time, I captured other birds and amazing view in my lens.

After wait for almost 3hours and my third trip, the moment I had been waiting for arrived finally, A huge flock of flamingos came flying to feed in the swamp. Albeit they were quite far away but I was successfully able to capture them in my lens. My happiness knew no bounds with such a amazing site of birds in their natural habitat and also in my wait time just like many others, was able to interact with bird enthusiasts and people from BNHS (Bombay Natural History Society) who organises tours across India and in Mumbai to such locations to create awareness among general public and also works towards conservation and bio-diversity research.

Finally after my 4 unsuccessful attempts to see Flamingos more closely, I was successful to capture them in my lens, though they were still far away but images have been more clearer. I hope to continue my persuasion to capture Flamingos more closely till March before they fly back.

Here are the some more pics that I could capture in my lens.