Sunday, 13 January 2013

Diksal-Bhigwan Bird watching trip

From last 5-6 years, I visit Bhigwan once in a year for bird watching and this year was not an exception for my activity. This was my first trip from year 2013 and that too with bird watching event. I and Renuka decided to visit this place on 13 Jan and my friend Tejas katke and his wife Mayuri accompanied us. Plan was to spend 4-5 hours in Bhigwan (main location is known as Diksal village) and come back home by late afternoon.

Greater Flamingo
Greater Flamingo

Greater Flamingo
Greater Flamingo

About Bhigwan Bird sanctuary:
            Bhigwan, a catchment area of Ujani Dam, is about 105 km from Pune on the Pune-Solapur highway (NH-9). An area of about 18000 hectares has been proposed as a sanctuary for migratory birds. The water catchment area is spread across around the town of Bhigwan. It is an amazing place to see wet land migratory birds like Bar-Headed Goose, Greater Flamingo, Ruddy Shelduck, many spices of ducks and many more birds.
            To reach at Diksal village (near Bhigwan), easy way is Pune – Hadapsar – Join Solapur highway – Drive your vehicle 100km from Pune on Highway – Do not use Bhigwan flyover – Take left at Bhigwan square on highway – Drive 3 to 3.5km – Take right for sanctuary. How to identify correct right turn is; you can spot water tank tower (yellow colored) on that T junction at left hand side of road. Otherwise ask local villagers about Diksal / “where can we see Rohit bird (Marathi name of Greater Flamingo bird)?”
You can spend half day or full day along with your camera and binocular. More than 60 bird’s species can be found in this backwater.

Travelers for this trip were Me, Renuka (My wife) and my friend Tejas and his wife Mayuri.

13th Jan 2013: Bhigwan Bird sanctuary (Total distance travel by car: 230km):
              As we had to cover around 105-110km so we decided to left Pune by 5-5.15 AM and we managed to leave on time. Soon we touched Solapur highway. I was aware about highway issue as last year it was under construction and I was hoping it to be almost in the same condition. But surprisingly road condition beyond Choufula Phata was excellent. Due to wide and smooth road, we were able to reach Bhigwan in less than 2 hours. We skipped our breakfast and had some bread-butter during journey itself. We all were excited to see migratory birds.
            When we reached the village at around 7 AM, I was shocked! No backwater and farming was in progress on land where we were supposed to see massive back water and huge quantity of birds. I didn’t want to go back without watching bird’s beauty. With the hope, we drive further for some km and local fisherman started asking for boat drive for bird spotting. I was aware about this bird spotting by boat and we decided to take a chance with boat ride. When we asked him about water level; we got to know water level was at dead stock level due to less rain fall and summer is going to be harsh this time. All birds went far inside for food and will only able to see it after 1.5hr ride. We were ready and after 30 min we were on boat for birds. During journey we got to know that after 1993, first time water level went at such low level.

Painted Stork
Painted Stork

BLACK KITE

My Catch!!!

Sandpiper
Sandpiper

          We shared our boat with one old doctor couple. Once boat sailed, we started spotting many wet land birds like Oriental White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Black Ibis, Asian Open bill Stork, 2-3 types of Pond herons, River Tern, Painted Stork etc. but still missing Greater flamingo! (Check the Bird list below which we saw in Bhigwan) We were busy with our Camera and binocular. Boatman promised us to show at list 1000 Flamingo and we were too excited. It has never happened with me that I have returned home without spotting Flamingo from last 5-6 years. I was worried for my wife and friends as they hadn’t seen Flamingo till date. After 1 hour’s journey, we saw many birds expect Flamingo, Ruddy Shelduck (aka Brahmini Duck), Northern Shoveler, Garganey Duck and Comb Duck.


Grey Heron
Grey Heron

River tern
River tern

Black-headed gull
Brown-headed gull

          When we were about to give up, Boatman showed us direction where we saw Greater Flamingo.  It was like small lake joined main water stream with small water channel. When we entered in that small lake through channel, we were stunned by large number of flamingo. We were in front of at least 1500 Greater Flamingo. What a treat to our eyes. We spend a lot of time while watching their activity without disturbing them. 2 boats were already in the lake and few more joined us. All boatmen were taking care that no one will make any noise and we can enjoy beautiful nature treat. Besides Flamingo, we spot Ruddy Shelduck (aka Brahmini Duck), Northern Shoveler, Garganey Duck and Comb Duck.

Bar-headed Goose
Bar-headed Goose

Bar-headed Goose in flight
Bar-headed Goose in flight

Greater Flamingo
Greater Flamingo

Greater Flamingo
Greater Flamingo in Flight

Ruddy Shelduck aka Brahmini Duck
Ruddy Shelduck aka Brahmini Duck

Ducks & only Ducks!

            After sometime one boat moved closed to birds (all members from boat were carrying big lens camera and for better photographs then went ahead) all of sudden all the birds flew away and we saw their color spreading flight. When they were flying in the sky, most of the boats were moved out from that area and we started watching activity of ducks with safe distance. What kind of luck we were carrying as half of the flamingo came back on their original spot and we enjoyed that time.

Greater Flamingo
Greater Flamingo

Bird List which we saw in Bhigwan:

Pueple Swamphen
Ruddy Shelduck
Little Cormorant
Common Moorhen
Spot-billed Duck
Common Kingfisher
Small pratincole
Common Coot
White Throated Kingfisher
Glossy Ibis
Comb Duck
Pied Kingfisher
Black Ibis
Garganey Duck
Wire-tailed Swallow
Oriental White Ibis
Pallas Gull
Common Swallow
Asian Open bill Stork
River Tern
Red Rumped Swallow
Painted Stork
Gull billed Tern
Purple Rumped Sunbird
Woolly Necked Stork
Grey Heron
Yellow Wagtail
Common Sandpiper
Purple Heron
Grey Wagtail
Spotted Sandpiper
Pond Heron
Greater Flamingo
Curlew Sandpiper
Cattle Egret
Osprey
Black Tailed Godwit
Median Egret
Western Marsh Harrier
Black Winged Stilts
Large Egret
White-breasted Waterhen
Northern Shoveler
Eurasian Spoonbill

         
           It was quite bright now, and we slowly made our way back to village by boat. On return journey we saw Osprey and black eagle. Our trail ends on a good note. Once we came at village, it was 12 in the clock and we decided to leave this beautiful place. I was very happy that my wife and friends able to see flamingo closely, in huge quality for the first time and their satisfied faces told me the success story of our trip.
         During our return journey we had our lunch at Dhaba and returned home by 3 PM. If you want to witness beauty of migratory birds (Our guest) then what you are waiting for.

  • Car Petrol: INR 1300/- (Avg INR 72/Lit, Total distance cover by car was 230km)
  • Toll on NH-09: INR 30/- (Return toll)
  • Boat ride: INR 225/- per person (It is between 200-250/- per person)
  • Lunch: approx. INR 100-120/- per person (for starter + Meal + Rice)
Happy traveling.


Regards,
Pritesh Kulkarni.


36 comments:

  1. Great post Pritesh. Very well written. I didn't knew that you too are into bird watching.. Even we went to Bhigwan in first week of Jan. We didn't find any Bar headed Geese then.
    I remember we went there in 2009 when the waters were almost touching the road surface near Diksal, I had seen many pairs of Purple Moorhen but this time we couldn't find any. As the swamps had disappeared.
    Once agn, well written article.. looking for more of such interesting work from u..

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  2. Hi Thanx for a detailed post .. I am planning to go with my wife & Daughter...Thanx in advance for info....
    Sameer Pendse

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  3. Maintain any hobby is really difficult and that is why what you are succeeding in visiting this place since last 5-6 years and could see flemingos in spite of several hurdles. Keep it on. Very nice photographs and information. - GP Ghospurkar

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  4. It was really nice experience....
    saw thousands of Flamingos...

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  5. Thanks for posting your experience in detail.We plan to go over weekend, Do we have to book for boat ride earlier there ? Can you post any of contacts out there.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for comment...please check your inbox for my inputs!

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  6. Is November good time to visit?

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  7. Mid Dec to Feb end is good time to visit there.

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  8. Nice post, I am planning to visit the place in Jan first week, Can you share the contact details for Boat booking and guide, to reach there as I am new to Pune.
    Regards,
    Anuj

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Anuj....Boatman name from Diksal-Bhigwan area is Bharat
      Bharat: 9766292989.
      Happy traveling...!!!

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  9. Thanks Man, I will share my post soon... :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot...Happy traveling...!!!

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  10. Hi..good post..even I visit Bhigwan every year..planning to go tommorw ..hope to see some nice waders..any1 interested may join..

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    Replies
    1. forgot to mention my name..Vidyanand Joshi :)

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    2. Thanks vidyanand Joshi... I have dropped you mailed regarding your invitation. I was in Tamil Nadu in Feb for my long vacation.
      Happy traveling.

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  11. Good info Prits.. Will visit :)

    Thanks!
    Ravi Dharmaram

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Ravi for your comment. Happy traveling

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  12. Hi Pritesh,

    Nice post with detailed info and lovely pics! I am planning to visit the sanctuary soon. I heard there are two places of interest @ Bhigwan for Bird watching. One is Diksal village and the other is Dalaj. Which of these two places would you recommend for a better view?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Spartan, I have sent you an email regarding your query.
      Happy traveling

      Delete
  13. Prits,

    I have made a few trips to Bhigwan, but never in Early May!
    Whats your view or current info if there are large numbers of birds to view this time of the year?

    Thanks,
    Abhijeet

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  14. Very informative article.

    Thanks!!
    Reshma

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  15. Great pics!
    We went there..bud sadly did not have a good lens. Loved the place, though the camera results are not good enough :-(
    http://www.tickingthebucketlist.com/2014/08/bhigwan-shooting-birds.html

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    Replies
    1. Nice blog on Bhigwan...very well written...
      Soon i will upload 2015 photos of birds from bhigwan area

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  16. Hi Pritesh,

    Thanks for sharing the information on the sanctuary along with some really awesome pictures.

    I am planning to visit the sanctuary around 15th March this year. Would that be too late or still good time to catch good sightings? Also, which would be the recommended places for good sightings within the sanctuary?

    Thanks, best

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    Replies
    1. yes u can visit Dikasal-Bhigwan area by mid march... May be you will not be able to spot Ducks but Flamingo will be there for sure.

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  17. Hi pritesh,

    do you have any contact who can give confirmation about flamingo arrival in Bhigwan this year (DEC 2015 -JAN 2016.)We want to visit Bhigwan till mid JAn 2016.

    Thanks and regards

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    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for comment
      Bharat From Bhigwan: 9766292989. Hen can help you for an updates

      Regards,
      Prits Kulkarni

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  18. I am planning to visit Bhigwan. Can you please tel me best time to visit and can we stay over night. Kindly reply me on mayurgupta31@gmail.com

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    Replies
    1. Bharat From Bhigwan: 9766292989. He can help you for an updates, stay arrangement etc

      Pritesh Kulkarni

      Delete
  19. Excellent and detailed info looking forward to the visit

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    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for comment

      Regards,
      Prits Kulkarni

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  20. No Flamingos this time....

    I visited Bhigwan yesterday, and could spot only 4-5 small flamingo birds. Local boatman told us that because of lack of enough rains this year the water level has gone down drastically and because of which this time migratory birds are very few in numbers.

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    Replies
    1. yes that's true...I was in Bhigwan on 1st Jam 2016. We saw less no of Flamingo but other birds came in good numbers. I an regular visitor Bhigwan from last 8-9 years and for this year, water condition is horrible. Hope we all will learn lesson from this and will start caring our mother nature.
      Pritesh Kulkarni

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  21. Hii Pritish...
    ur blog is informative about flamingos and other birds at Bhigwan. Can I kindly know if it is good to visit during evenings as well? How great/safe are the stay options for lone female travelers?
    Surya

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Bhigwan is Safe for solo Female traveller. For stay option you can contact Datta Nagare (08087767691) OR Bharat (9766292989)

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  22. Hi Pritesh,

    Beautiful information, excellently narrated. Bhigwan is the Birds Paradise. Bird Watching around Bhigwan,Diksal & Kavdi in winter season is treat for bird lovers.

    Your blog really helped me while planning my trip to Bhigwan.

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