Monday, 12 January 2015

Pune’s Bird Paradise - Bhigwan, Diksal bird watching in 2015

I visit Bhigwan at least once a year for bird watching and this year was not an exception for my activity. My travel year begin with this trip. I and Renuka decided to visit this place on 12 Jan 2015. To avoid crowd we decided to visit on weekdays. 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 at Bhigwan
Greater Flamingo at Bhigwan

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. 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.

12th Jan 2015: Bhigwan Bird sanctuary (Total distance travel by car: 230km):
             As we had to cover around 105-110km we decided to leave Pune by 5 AM and we managed to leave on time. Soon we touched Solapur highway. Road condition of highway was excellent. Due to wide and smooth road, we were able to reach Bhigwan in less than 2 hours. We told our boatman friend to arrange some breakfast. We all were excited to see migratory birds.
             When we reached the village at around 5.30 AM, I was surprise by looking at back water. Water level was quite low as compare to last year. After some tasty breakfast we left for bird watching in his boat. Since it was an odd day, we were the only bird watchers in the catchment area. Soon we spotted a group of Flamingoes. We set our cameras and kept pin drop silence. Slowly Bharat took us close to birds. He promised me last year that if we came on an odd day he will take us close to birds. He is an expert to handle such conditions just that he doesn't want to do it on weekends due to crowd. Also birds get disturb quickly.

Sun rise at Bhigwan, Pune
Sun rise at Diksal, Bhigwan

Early morning light on Flamingo couple
Early morning light on Flamingo couple 

Love...Greater Flamingo
Love...Greater Flamingo

            Soon we were so close to birds that we were able to hear they movement as well. It was an amazing moment for me to witness flamingo hardly at 15-18 feet distance. We spend around 1.5 hours watching their activity without disturbing them. By any chance if they noticed us, they were just moving their position. A couple of times they flew away but again settled down close to our boat. I wanted to click some close up clicks so I entered in 4.5 ft. water whereas boat sailed away from me. I was in the middle of water catchment area for 45 min and got some nice clicks. I was in front of at least 3000 Greater Flamingo. What a treat to eyes.

Lots of Greater Flamingo
Lots of Greater Flamingo at Bhigwan

Greater Flamingo
Greater Flamingo

Greater Flamingo
Greater Flamingo

Sea gull at Bhigwan
Sea gull at Bhigwan

Sea gull close up
Sea gull close up

             After spending a lot of time with greater flamingo, we left that place to spot other birds. We went on other side of catchment area by boat. We saw huge group of Painted stork. We spend around hour and watched there morning activity, sun basking etc. Besides Flamingo, we spotted Woolly Necked Stork, Coot, ibis, bar headed gooses, Ruddy Shelduck (aka Brahmini Duck), Northern Shoveler, Garganey Duck, Comb Duck and many more.

Art of Wings, sea gull
Art of Wings, sea gull

Ready for take off - Greater Flamingo
Ready for take off - Greater Flamingo

Painted stork colony  at bhigwan
Painted stork colony  at bhigwan

Marsh Harrier with kill at Bhigwan
Marsh Harrier with kill at Bhigwan

Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis

Ruddy Shelduck (aka Brahmini Duck)
Ruddy Shelduck (aka Brahmini Duck)

           It was quite bright now, and we slowly made our way back to village by boat. During our return journey, we saw huge group of Flamingos. After some nice click we came back. Our trail ends on a good note.
We returned to Bharat’s house and had lunch on highway and returned home by 4 PM. 

Bird List which we saw in Bhigwan:

Greater Flamingo 
Northern Shoveler 
Little Cormorant 
Pueple Swamphen 
Ruddy Shelduck
Yellow Wagtail 
Common Moorhen 
Spot-billed Duck 
Grey Wagtail 
White-breasted Waterhen 
Common Coot 
Green nee eater 
Osprey Western Marsh Harrier
Comb Duck 
Red Avadavat 
Brown headed seagulls 
Garganey Duck 
Spotted Munia 
Black headed seagulls 
Pochard Duck 
Black Drango 
Pallas Gull 
Bar headed Duck 
Oriental Ibis 
Asian Open bill Stork 
Black Tailed Godwit 
Glossy Ibis 
Painted Stork 
Black Winged Stilts 
Black Ibis 
Woolly Necked Stork 
River Tern 
Common Sandpiper 
Common Kingfisher 
Common tern 
Spotted Sandpiper 
White Throated Kingfisher 
Gull billed Tern 
Curlew Sandpiper 
Pied Kingfisher 
Grey Heron 

Red-Wattled Lapwing 
Purple Heron 

Yellow-Wattled Lapwing 
Pond Heron 

Purple Rumped Sunbird 
Cattle Egret 

Wire-tailed Swallow 
Median Egret 

Common Swallow 
Large Egret 

Red Rumped Swallow 
Eurasian Spoonbill 


Below are snaps taken during my various visits to Bhigwan

Greater Flamingo portrait
Greater Flamingo portrait

3 Idiots - Painted Stork
3 Idiots - Painted Stork 

Painted Stork close up
Painted Stork close up

Bar headed goose at Bhigwan
Bar headed goose at Bhigwan 

Woolly necked stork
Woolly necked stork  

Black neck Ibis
Black neck Ibis

Greater Flamingo in flight
Greater Flamingo in flight

Basking in sun light - Painted stork
Basking in sun light - Painted stork

Ruddy Shelduck in flight
Ruddy Shelduck in flight

Flamingo

Let's Fly - Greater Flamingo

Only and only Greater Flamingo
Only and only Greater Flamingo at Bhigwan

Expenses: 
Car Petrol: INR 1500/- (Avg INR 67/Lit, Total distance cover by car was 230km)
Toll on NH-09: INR 30/- (Return toll)
Toll 2 on NH-09: INR 50/- (Return Toll)
Boat ride: INR 1000/- for boat (Normal chargers are INR 1200-1400/- per boat)
Lunch: INR 420/- per person (Masala papad + 2 vegetables + Rotis and Cold drink)

Contact number:
Bharat (Boatman from Diksal): 9766292989. 

After this trip, I had 2 more trips to Bhigwan in which I took corporate groups (from other IT company) to teach them how to identify birds, Basic photography tips and to increase awareness about nature. I am sharing some photographs from my 2-3 visits. If you want to witness beauty of migratory birds (Our guest) then what you are waiting for?

Prits at Bhigwan - Photo clicked by Wife Renuka
Prits at Bhigwan - Photo clicked by Wife Renuka

Me busy with Sea gull - DND me :)

Wildlife Photography is not an easy job...I was in 4.5 ft water alone for around hour. Thanks for wonderful click Renuka Kulkarni


I will try to upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.

Pritesh Kulkarni 
Pune

25 comments:

  1. Awesome Pic with full detail.. Great work pritesh & Renu!!

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    1. Thanks for comment... Happy travelling

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  2. Great Work Pritesh sir !!
    n especially the last click is awesome too :)

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  3. Wow............. Flamingos.................

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    1. Thanks for comment... Happy travelling

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  4. You have a good blog. Wish you all the best and keep up the good work.It looks awesome.

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    1. Thanks for comment... Happy travelling

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  5. "Hey Prits…
    This is my second visit to your blog site and the astounding content in here has forced me to drop a comment. Your passion for photography has been eluded to the power of infinity. The flamingos’ water romance is a real treat to the eyes when the first rays of the sun are making the waters glisten. The Sea Gull and the Glossy Ibis are well captured."

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    Replies
    1. Thank you very much ketki Shah... I will try my level best to explore more and share some good travel Blogs

      Regards,
      Pritesh Kulkarni

      Delete
  6. It’s always such a pleasure to read something from your desk Stacey! I’m really moved by your lines and right now ‘My Happy’ is reading your blogs over a hot cup of green tea dreaming about beach sands and Sunday picnics from my cozy couch. An absolute delight!

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    1. Thank a lot Zoey Francis for a wonderful comment. I will try me level best to share more travel experience hereso you can enjoy more hot cup of teas. Thanks once again!

      Regards,
      Pritesh Kulkarni
      Happy travelling...!!!

      Delete
  7. good blog. Wish you all the best and keep up the good work.It looks awesome.keep sharing us up to date.

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    1. Thank you very much for comment

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  8. are bapre ! panyaat !?!

    but sahich photo! class.

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    1. Thank you very much for comments

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  9. very nice clicks..
    & nice efforts taken in clicking them..:)

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    1. Thank you very much for comment

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  10. Great clicks Pritesh !! Too good.... !!
    I tried to find you on Instagram...

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    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for comment... you can fallow me on Facebook...

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  11. Which lens is preferable ?
    i have 70-300 ...
    Please suggest

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    Replies
    1. yes, 70-300 is good gear to use in Bhigwan... I use 100-400mm lens

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  12. Lovely pics and well written blog.Will like to meet you.Can you please call on my number.9818517687.
    Col. Arun Dhongde (Retd)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment...I will contact you soon...

      Pritesh Kulkarni

      Delete