Mumbai never ceases to amaze me.
A city that whole heartedly embraces immigrants from all over the country (and world!) is also the second home to the flamingos from the Rann of Kutch who look for marshlands along the Arabian sea.
So, like hundreds of other Mumbaikars, I also sling-ed my camera and reached the Sewri jetty to witness this spectacle. Spectacle, it was! Against the backdrop of a fertislier factory and an oil refinery, the colourless mudflats of Sewri were dotted with countless pink feathered flamingoes.
A wrecked ship parked near the jetty acted as the perfect viewing gallery. Volunteers from Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and some experienced bird watchers were more than willing to help visitors get a closer look through their giant binoculars.
I learnt that the greyish white flamingos were the babies and beautifully turned pink as they grew up due to the algae in their food. Apparently, the greyish babies grow up in a creche(!) which is marshaled by selected adult flamingos. The adults lead them on foot to fresh water sources, because the chicks can’t fly. Sweet.
The BNHS guides also help people spot other water birds such as darters, egrets, gulls, herons, ibises, kingfishers, pigeons, plovers, sandpipers and terns.
These birds may soon become homeless though, if the state government does not rework the plan for the proposed multi-million dollar trans-harbour bridge which will cut right across the flamingos’ food territory. If you get a chance, watch Ashima Narain’s documentary ‘In the pink’ which questions the fate of these nomadic flamingos.
And definitely make a trip to the Sewri jetty before the first monsoon shower (after which they will disappear). At least one month to go!
Though Sewri is the largest habitat for the flamingos you could also spot them in the Thane creek, Mulund, Bhandup, and the stretch from Airoli to Vasai.
What time: Try to reach as early in the morning as possible to catch the sunrise, the ideal time is 3-4 hours before high tide.
To get there: The easiest way is by the harbour line train. After getting out of the Sewri (East) station it is a 15 mins walk or you may take a cab. In all probabilities, you will find some more people trying to get there so join them
Directions: Cross the main road (Mahul Road), take the Sewri Koliwada Road opposite. Continue along this road and take the first left. This will take you to a crossroad (where this road meets the Sewri Fort Road) Take a right from here and continue until you reach the jetty.
How much does it cost: The best experiences in life are free 🙂