Friday, 1 January 2016

Pune’s Bird Paradise - Bhigwan, Diksal bird watching in 2016

I visit Bhigwan at least once a year for bird watching and this year was not an exception for my activity. I and Renuka decided to start New Year 2016 with visit to Bhigwan. 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... Clicked in year 2015

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.

Travlers for this trip were Me, Renuka and Father-in-law Girish ghospurkar.

1st Jan 2016: Bhigwan Bird sanctuary (Total distance travel by car: 230km):
               As we had to cover around 105-110km so we decided to leave Pune before 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 Bharat Nagare to arrange some breakfast. We were excited to see the migratory birds.

Ruddy Shelduck at Bhigwan
Ruddy Shelduck at Bhigwan

Painted Stork
              When we reached the village at around 6 AM, I was not surprise by looking at back water. Water level was quite low as compare to last year and main reason was fewer monsoons in India in year 2015. After some tasty breakfast we left for bird watching in the boat. Since it was a first day of year 2016, we were the only bird watchers in the catchment area.
               We got to know that very few Flamingos were landed in Bhigwan backwater hence less chances to spot them. We were totally fine as every year we saw a lot of Flamingos groups. We saw a group of Woolly neck storks and we went in that direction. Every year we hardly manage to see Birds like Wooly neck stork, bar headed geese but this year then came in large numbers. We spend more time on clicking them.

Woolly neck Stork

Woolly neck stork and bar headed geese at Bhigwan
Woolly neck stork and bar headed geese at Bhigwan

Northern Pintail at Bhigwan
Northern Pintail at Bhigwan 

Northern shoveler

bar headed geese at Bhigwan
bar headed geese at Bhigwan

               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, northern pintail and many more.

I got my catch...Sea gull at Bhigwan

Painted Stork

              It was quite bright now, and we slowly made our way back to village by boat. During our return journey, we decided to take a walk on the bank of Dam. Bharat left with our extra bags to his home and we joined him after an hour. After some nice click during trail, we came back. Our trail ends on a good note.

Open billed Stork

Bar Headed gooses

We returned to Bharat’s house and had lunch on highway and returned home by 4 PM. If you want to witness beauty of migratory birds (Our guest) then what you are waiting for.

Bird List which we saw in Bhigwan:

Greater Flamingo
Garganey Duck
Wire-tailed Swallow
Pueple Swamphen
Pochard Duck
Common Swallow
Common Moorhen
Bar headed Duck
Red Rumped Swallow
White-breasted Waterhen
Common Teal
Purple Rumped Sunbird
Glossy Ibis
Northern pintail
Red Avadavat
Black Ibis
Domicile crane
Spotted Munia
Oriental White Ibis
River Tern
Black Drango
Asian Open bill Stork
Common tern
Red-Wattled Lapwing
Painted Stork
Gull billed Tern
Yellow-Wattled Lapwing
Woolly Necked Stork
Grey Heron
Common Sandpiper
Purple Heron
Western Marsh Harrier
Spotted Sandpiper
Pond Heron
White Throated Kingfisher
Curlew Sandpiper
Cattle Egret
Common Kingfisher
Black Tailed Godwit
Median Egret
Pied Kingfisher
Black Winged Stilts
Large Egret
White eye Pochard
Northern Shoveler
Eurasian Spoonbill
Pallas Gull
Ruddy Shelduck
Little Cormorant
Brown headed seagulls
Spot-billed Duck
Yellow Wagtail
Black headed seagulls
Common Coot
Grey Wagtail

Comb Duck
Green bee-eater

Below are snaps taken during my various visits to Bhigwan 

Boating at Bhigwan for bird watching

Close up of Painted Strok

Spoon Bill

Woolly neck stork

Ruddy Shelduck

Mile sur mera tumhara....Sea gulls at Bhigwan

Lets fly home...Open bill stork

For More Photos, Click here

  • 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 1200/- for boat (Normal chargers are INR 1400-1600/- per boat) 

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

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

Pritesh Kulkarni 


  1. HI Pritesh, Nice blog as usual. Now its my habit to check your blog whenever I think of going somewhere for a trip. This time I am planning to visit Bhigwan on 7th Jan. What are the chances of spotting Flamingos and other birds at this point of time?

    1. Yes, this the best time to visit for Flemingo... All set for birding :)