Thursday, 30 April 2015

Bird watching at Sinhagad valley and Khadakwasla

I was looking for half day trip nearby Pune and then we decided to visit Sinhagad Bird valley. Being a bird watcher, I always like to visit Bird valley in the winter and fort is most popular weekend destination for local people. In Bird valley, you can spot too many bird species. Many armature and professional photographer visit this place during winter.

Way to Sinhagad bird valley
Way to Sinhagad bird valley

About Sinhagad Bird Valley and Sinhagad Fort:
Sinhagad Bird valley is an amazing place for bird watching. You can spend 2-3 hours along with your camera and binocular. More than 40 bird’s species can be found in this valley.

It is a fortress located roughly 30 kilometers southwest of the city of Pune. The fort has been the site of many important battles. It is a popular weekend destination for many residents of Pune, with some enthusiasts trekking to the top of the fort from the base near Sinhagad village. The site also houses a memorial to Tanaji as well as the tomb of Rajaram, Shivaji’s younger son, who also died here.

              There are two ways to reach Sinhagad bird valley/fort. One is Kothrud, Pune – Rajaram Bridge – Take right turn at the end of bridge – fallow the main road – (Do not turn at national highway bypass flyover, follow Sinhagad road only) – Khadakwasla - Donaje Phata – Do not take right for Panshet Dam.
             Another route is Kothrud, Pune – Warje Malwadi road – Uttam Nagar – Near Khadakwasla Dam there is a junction – Take left (Straight road will take you to peacock bay) for Khadakwasla - Donaje Phata – Do not take right for Panshet Dam.

Go straight from Donaje Phata till the base village parking. There is a Road which will take you ll the way up to the fort parking area. From base village parking area you need to take the road which leads to the top of Sinhagad by foot. The point where the road starts climbing to the top from the right there is a similar road which leads to the left. This road will take the valley.

Dec 2014 – March 2015: Sinhagad Bird Valley:
             We started from home at 5:30 AM and reached at base village by 6.15 AM. It was still relatively dark and cold. We had our coffee & breakfast in base village. The valley is a modestly wooded area and is famous for sightings of such attractive bird. As we ambled along, Main attraction of Sinhagad valley is Asian Paradise Flycatcher. Bird watching being the first love, I clicked very few snaps and did more of watching.

Yellow-fronted Pied Woodpecker
Yellow-fronted Pied Woodpecker

                 After spending good amount of time nearby water stream, we headed further into the forest. The place fell silent. We saw too many species when we went inside deep forest in valley. After spending an hour we decided to move back near water stream.

Here is the list of some of the birds found in Valley:

Red-throated Flycatcher
Black-winged Kite
Crested Bunting
Asian Paradies Flycatcher
Red vented Bulbul
Indian Robin
Ticklle’s Blue Flycatcher
Purple Sunbird
Red Munia
Ultra-marine Flycatcher
Black Drongo
Common Iora
Fan-tailed Flycatcher
Common Kingfisher
Small Minivet
Golden fronted Leaf Bird
Pied Kingfisher
Jungle Babbler
Red-rumped Swallow
Cattle Egret
Jungle Mynah
White-breasted Kingfisher
Green bee-eater
Tree Pipit
Blue naped Monarch flycatcher
Little Bee eater
Yellow Sparrow
Crested Serpent Eagle
Tailor bird
Ashy Prinia
Oriental White-eye
Marsh Harrier
Jungle Prinia
Orange Headed Thrush
Eurasian Black bird
Pied Crested Cuckoo
Magpie Robin
Scaly breasted Munia
Grey Babbler
Red whiskered Bulbul
             It was quite bright now, and we slowly made our way back to start of our trail. Lots of bird-photographer were at the water stream site and busy with their work. We left this place and took pit stop at Khadakwasala Dam. You can spot few wetland birds.

Oriental white eye
Oriental white eye

Oriental white eye
Oriental white eye

Here is the list of some of the birds found in Khadakwasla:

Northern Shoveler
Ruddy Shelduck
Black Drango
Pueple Swamphen
Spot-billed Duck
River Tern
Common Moorhen
Common Coot
Red-Wattled Lapwing
Comb Duck
River tern
Yellow-Wattled Lapwing
Pochard Duck
White Throated Kingfisher
Eurasian Wigeon
Pond Heron
Common Kingfisher
Tufted duck
Cattle Egret
White-breasted Waterhen
Green bee eater
Large Egret
Pied Kingfisher
Wire-tailed Swallow
Yellow Wagtail

Below are snaps taken during my various visits to Sinhagad valley and Khadakwasla

Bulbul in Stream

Oriental white eye
Oriental white eye


Red throated flycatcher
Red throated flycatcher


Red throated flycatcher
Red throated flycatcher

Yoga time!


Eurasian Wigeon at Khadakwasla
Eurasian Wigeon at Khadakwasla

Eurasian Wigeon at Khadakwasla
Eurasian Wigeon

Tufted Duck Record shot at Khadakwasla
Tufted Duck Record shot at Khadakwasla 

spot billed duck
spot billed duck

If you are planning to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city lives on a weekend exploring these beautiful sites then for what you are waiting for.

Happy traveling.


Pritesh Kulkarni.