Saturday, 20 January 2018

Pune’s Bird Paradise - Bhigwan, Diksal bird watching in 2018

I visit Bhigwan at least once a year for bird watching and this year was not an exception to my activity. I and Renuka decided to visit this place January 2018. Every year, I visit Diksal village from Bhigwan. I heard a lot about Kumbhargaon village which is developed as a bird sanctuary and professional people to handle all type of tourists. Due to lack of time, I decided to Kumbhargaon on this trip and then to Diksal some other day.

The plan was to spend 4-5 hours in Bhigwan (the main location is known as Diksal village) and come back home by late afternoon. My friends Himanshu, Ameya, Vishal, Sanat-Nirupa, and Ashutosh joined us.

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. It is an amazing place to see wetland migratory birds like Bar-Headed Goose, Greater Flamingo, Ruddy Shelduck, many spices of ducks and many more birds.

               To reach Diksal village (near Bhigwan), the easy way is Pune – Hadapsar – Join Solapur highway – Drive your vehicle 100km from Pune on Highway – Do not use Bhigwan flyover – Take a left at Bhigwan square on the highway – Drive 3 to 3.5km – Take right for sanctuary. How to identify correct right turn is; you can spot water tank tower (yellow coloured) on that T junction on the left-hand side of the road.

GPS Location for Kumbhargaon: 18.263426, 74.803876
GPS Location for Diksal: 18.295129, 74.806933

Ready for take-off...Greater Flamingo

Jan 2018: Bhigwan Bird sanctuary:
             As we had to cover around 105-110km so we decided to leave Pune before 5:30 AM and we managed to leave on time. Soon we touched Solapur highway. Road condition of the highway was excellent. Due to the wide and smooth road, we were able to reach Bhigwan in less than 2 hours. We reached Kumbhargaon after having breakfast at restaurant Anapurna. We have informed Datta Nagare for a boat ride. Soon we took a boat ride. Electric pole-wire was occupied by Whiskered Tern.
             We travelled towards Diksal village as all
Flamingos and other birds were landed there. While going there, I got few flight photos. Soon we approached towards Flamingo. Every year I visit Diksal and my expectation was to see birding activity near Kumbhargaon. Got to know that most of the time, boats from Kumbhargaon visit Diksal for Flamingos.

Greater Flamingo

Greater Flamingo

           We spend around 1 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.Flamingo was accompanied by Seagulls, Gery Heron and Asian open billed stork.
            Grey heron is from Heron family and native throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. Wetland bird can be seen at Lake, river, pond and sometimes on the sea coast. The grey heron is large (meter tall) is the size and greyish white body with grey wings with black feathers on the flanks. They have White colour head and neck with Black neck strip and black crest.

Gery Heron

Gery Heron flight

               Greater Flamingo is the largest species of flamingo. It is found in Africa, on the Indian subcontinent, in the Middle East and southern Europe. Average Life of Flamingo is 60 years. Greater Flamingos are pinkish white but Dark pink feathers with black feathers are covered underwings. You can see beautiful Display of pink colour during their Flight. Using its feet, the bird stirs up the mud, then sucks water through its bill and filters out small shrimp, seeds and blue-green algae. Greater Flamingo can be seen in Bhigwan but Lesser Flamingo observed rarely here.
             Asian Openbill is from Stork family. This Stork is found in the Indian subcontinent and in Southeast Asia. It is greyish white with glossy black wings and tail. Their short legs are pinkish grey and reddish in colour before breeding time. Stork has a gap between a bill which uses in the handling of snails and prey.

Asian Open Billed Stork.

              We left that place to spot other birds. We went to another side of catchment area by boat. We saw a huge group of the Painted Stork. We spend an hour and watched their morning activity, sun basking etc. Besides Flamingo, we spotted Woolly Necked Stork, Coot, ibis, bar-headed goose's, Ruddy Shelduck (aka Brahmini Duck), Northern Shoveler, Garganey Duck, northern pintail and much more.
You can spot Glossy ibis, black head ibis and red napes ibis in the Bhigwan area. Ibis family is widely spread across Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia. All ibis have a long curved-down bill. Glossy ibis has a reddish brown body with glossy bottle-green wings. As the name suggests, black-headed ibis has black coloured head, neck and legs whereas white colour body. Red napes ibis is also known as Indian black Ibis or black ibis. It is large in size as compare to other ibises with the glossy dark black colour body. It has a crimson red colour patch on head.

Black-headed ibis

             Ruddy shelduck in India commonly known as Brahminy Duck. Brahminy is colour shed and word is not related to any religion/Caste. The bird belongs to Anatidae family (a family which consist of Ducks, geese and Swans). It has a beautiful orange-brown body with white, black, glossy green colour on Wings. This is migratory bird and travel to India during winter for breeding. This bird mostly found in pair or pair groups as they believe in pair bonding. It has loud honking call. Duck prefer shallow water area or found on Bank of Water bodies or inland body of water. They can fly on high altitudes along with Bar-headed Goose.

Ruddy Shelduck
            Northern shoveler is also known as Shoveler duck. It is one of the commonly found duck in Europe and Asia (Winter time). Male has a dark green head, white breast and orange-Brown body. You can see multiple colours on wings such as white, glossy green, blue and brown. Female is in drab mottled brown colour. These ducks swim in a large group. Shoveler prefers to nest in a grassy area near an open freshwater body.

Northern Shoveler

              We saw around 5-6 Bar Headed Goose in Flight.  Saw a couple of Brahmin Duck pairs busy with their breakfast and some of them were resting. We kept a safe distance and I clicked a lot of Photos. We enjoyed for half an hour observing their actions. An astonishing fact about Bar Headed Goose is that they are one of the world's highest flying birds; they migrate over Himalayas (flying higher than 21000 ft.) to spend the winter in parts of India.

Bar Headed Goose

Below are snaps were taken during my various visits to Bhigwan

Ruddy Shelduck

I'm Keeping watch on you...!!!
              Common spoonbill is also known as Eurasian spoonbill and it belongs to Spoonbill family. The bird is white in colour with a white crest. Bill is of Black colour and a yellow spot at the end of the bill. The shape of Bill is similar to spoon shape.

Spoon Bill

              The painted stork is from the stork family.  Their distinctive pink tertial feathers give them their name. This large stork has a heavy yellow beak with a down-curved tip. The head is bare and orange or reddish in colour. There is a distinctive black breast band with white scaly markings. Males and females appear alike but the males of a pair are usually larger than the female. The juveniles are a brownish plumage in colour.

Wolly necked StorkPainteded Stork
              Purple moorhen is known as western swamphen. It is a Chicken sized bird with bright purple colour and red Bill. This is native Indian Bird and can be seen on freshwater bodies across India.

Purple Moorhen

             Woolly Necked Stork belongs to Stork family. The body is in deep crimson or wine red colour with a black colour skull cap. The neck is in white colour with a soft feather which gives the name as Woolly Necked Stork. It is also called as White-necked Stork. It is freshwater wetland bird found in Asia and Africa.

Deep discussion??? Wolly necked Stork

Painted Stork

Northern Shoveler

Time to leave...

Northern Shoveler

  • 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)
  • Dinner at hotel Kanchan: INR 440/- for couple

Contact number:
  • Bharat (Boatman from Diksal): 9766292989.
  • Datta Nagare (Boatman from Kumbhargaon ): 8087767691.

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

Pritesh Kulkarni 


  1. Hey. Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing.

    Editor |

  2. These photos are great! Thanks for sharing them.

  3. Great Post. your picture are best. like that most.

    Planning a trip, it is necessary to arrange a car rental agency that arrives at a time and make your journey a safe one.

    1. I personally not believe on renting vehicle and better to prefer self drive car or use of public transport to know area more better than hiring travel agent. Travel agent are always cost you higher than what you can spend while exploring.
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  4. Amazing, I had been to Bhigwan about 3 years ago but could only manage a brief evening visit. Been wanting to go back every year...

  5. All the photos are really beautiful and best. Keep it up!

  6. I loved your post because if very illustrative and have a lot of useful information for everyone that wants to have some identical experience. We almost can feel we are there doing the same things that you did. Thank you very much for maintaining this blog.

    Editor | Visit East Timor

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