Saturday, 7 January 2017

Bird Watching @ Veer Dam

Veer Dam is few km's away from Shirwal (on Pune-Bangalore national highway) and the best place to spot migratory birds such as Bar Headed Goose, Brahmin Duck, and Demoiselle Crane. Being a bird watcher and nature lover, it was not possible for me to skip this place in winter. I and Renuka decided to start New Year 2016 with a visit to Veer Dam.

About veer Dam:
               Veer Dam is constructed on Nira River. It is situated on the south of Pune around 15 km from Shirwal city. Backwater area is popular for bird sighting in the winter season. I am not aware of Dam but surrounding area is an excellent spot for migratory birds.

            To reach Veer Dam, Join National highway 4 – Drive towards Kolhapur/Bangalore side – Cross Nira River Bridge – Cross Shirwal city – After Crossing Shirwal, Drive for around 2-3 km – Take a Left Turn (a.k.a. Pandharpur phata OR Turn opposite to Sripatrad Kadam college) – You will be on Khandala-Loni Rd. – cross one village and look for second village name Tondal – Take left for the village and drive till you reach close to the water body. Due to dry land from backwater area, you can reach quite close to back water. But make sure that driving land is not muddy.
             Also, there are other places where you can go to spot birds. Once you are on Khandala-Loni Rd. – bypass Tondal village from the main road – Drive for around 1 / 2 km and look for a small dirt road – take left there and park your vehicle in a safe position.

Please do not drive your vehicle close to birds. The best way to explore this area is on your own foot along the water body without disturbing them.

Bar headed goose at veer Dam
Bar-headed goose

7 January 2017: Pune to Veer Dam backwater:
              We woke up in the early morning and left home around 5.30 AM. After a smooth Drive, we reached Khandala-Loni Rd. The road is in excellent condition except for few small patches. There was hardly any traffic which gave us a nice driving experience. Soon we reached Tondal Village. When dam backwater level decreases then many farmers use that land for farming. You can drive easily on that land.

Bar-Headed goose
Bar-Headed goose

             When we reached that area, our bird spotting activity started. We saw around 50-100 Bar Headed Goose along with few Brahmin Duck 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 an hour observing their activity. An astonishing fact about these birds 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. Unfortunately, we didn’t spot any Demoiselle Crane. On asking villagers, we got to know that it was not spotted this year as well.

Bar-headed goose
Bar-headed goose

Bar-headed goose
Bar-headed goose

               I wanted to check some others birds hence we drove till Veer dam’s wall. Due to water channel and nearby farms, you can see some raptors, Kingfishers, Red Avadavat, Wagtails etc. There were many birds (Not wetland birds) and I tried some clicks there as well. By 11:30 AM, We left this beautiful area.

Ruddy Shelduck at Veer Dam
Ruddy Shelduck at Veer Dam

Ruddy Shelduck at Veer Dam
Ruddy Shelduck at Veer Dam

Ruddy Shelduck at Veer Dam
Ruddy Shelduck at Veer Dam

List of birds which you can see in Veer Dam 
Bar-Headed Goose 
Brahminy Myna 
Laughing Dove 
Ruddy Shelduck 
Jungle Babbler 
Purple Sunbird 
White-Breasted Kingfisher 
Large Grey Babbler 
Indian Robin 
Rose-Ringed Parakeet 
Little Cormorant 
Pied Bushchat 
Blossom-Headed Parakeet 
Little Egret 
River Tern 
Lesser Whistling Duck 
Common Tailorbird 
Pied Kingfisher 
Spot-Billed Duck 
Black Ibis 
Common Hoopoe 
Common Pochard 
Oriental Ibis
Indian Roller 
Tufted Duck 
Ashy Prinia 
Eurasian Collared Dove 
Spotted Munia 
Plains Prinia 
Yellow-Crowned Woodpecker 
Black Drongo 
Red Turtle Dove 
Little Ringed Plover 
Red Avadavat 
Barn Swallow 
Common Sandpiper 
Green Bee-eater 
Grey Wagtail 
Marsh Sandpiper 
House Crow 
Citrine Wagtail 
Wood Sandpiper 
Jungle Crow 
White Wagtail 
Red-Wattled Lapwing 
Little Grebe 
Yellow-Wattled Lapwing 
House Sparrow 
Red-Rumped Swallow 
Rock Dove 
Common Pochard 
Grey Heron 
Common Myna 
Jungle Babbler 

Below are snaps were taken during my visits to Veer Dam:-

Spot billed Duck
Spot-billed Duck

Open Billed Stork

Red Avadavat

Red Avadavat

Ruddy Shelduck

Bar-Headed Goose

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

Pritesh Kulkarni 

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