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2023 - The Year That Was

Places impact you for a variety of reasons. And the same place impacts different people in different ways. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual experiences, where every single person’s experience is unique. And personally, every spiritual experience is unique, the same person can have different deeply spiritual experiences at different places, at different times. This thought has emerged because of my own experiences over the years, but especially so this year, with different and unique experiences at various places I have visited recently. I began this year with a visit to Baroda (Vadodara) with friends. It was meant to be a relaxed trip, a touristy trip, with our sons. We enjoyed ourselves to the hilt, but the highlight of that trip was a visit to the Lakulisha temple at Pavagadh. It was the iconography of the temple that I connected with, and I spent a few hours simply lost in the details of the figures carved around the temple. There was an indefinable connect with

Waders and Other Water-Birds --- A morning at the Sewri Mudflats

The first time we went to see the Flamingoes of Mumbai at Sewri with the BNHS, we were enraptured by these beautiful birds, and were surprised by the number of birds, not just flamingoes, which arrived in this crowded metropolis! Since then, we twice lost the opportunity of joining the BNHS on their bird watching trips, due to prior engagements. I had lost all hopes of seeing these birds again this year, but thankfully, Adesh Shivkar of the Mumbai Bird Club announced a birding trail to Sewri this Saturday, and I jumped at the chance to take Samhith along on another bird-watching jaunt.

This time, I also roped along my friend, Usha, who will shortly be shifting to Delhi. She had to go somewhere else, but agreed to join me and Samhith for at least a couple of hours. So, the three of us set off at the break of dawn to see what and how many birds we were able to identify!

The very first sight that met us at Sewri was a sea of pink, the flamingoes much closer than they were, the last time. There also seemed to be many more, and it was a real riot of pink as far as we could see!

There were many smaller birds too, and to our untrained eyes, they all looked like sandpipers or plovers. Only when Adesh showed us the birds through the telescope and showed us their individual characteristics that set each of them apart, did we realize that what we had imagined to be just one or two varieties were, in fact, more than 10 types of waders! By the time we were through, I was sure that I had grasped just the tip of the iceberg, and there was much, much more to learn! So, now I had better make time to attend a few more such birding trails!

Here are my images of the wonderful morning spent at Sewri. My camera isn’t a great one, and neither am I an accomplished photographer, so there images are quite hazy and not all that clear…….. To top it all, the sun was playing spoilsport, and adding to it was the smog which has become a permanent feature of the Mumbai skyline. So, please excuse the quality of the images……..This trip has just heightened my desire to own a DSLR, and I am sure that I shall not be able to contain the temptation for much longer. Till then, you have to be content with my simple Canon Powershot, and what I manage with it!

I took so many pics of the flamingoes, since we were absolutely fascinated by them, and especially because they were so much closer than last time, and we were able to see them clearly without even binoculars!

The rising sun welcomes us to the mudflats...

A pair of egrets enjoying themselves.... It was a wonderful sight!

There are at least four birds in this pic, and I think they are all different!!!

These tiny birds are perfectly camouflaged!

A group of lesser flamingoes..

A lone pond heron.....

Now, this one is a Little Ringed Plover. I took this pic immediately after Adesh showed it to us through the telescope, and I clicked this one... Thanks to him, this is one of those little waders identified!

And this one is a Western Reef Egret! It was the darkest bird around. Unfortunately, thanks to the ship anchored there, I wasn't even able to get a decent pic of this large bird!

That's a sandpiper..or a Black-Tailed Godwit.. which one? I have forgotten!

More Flamingoes...I told you, I went nuts clicking them all the time.. and this is just a fraction of the ones I clicked!

A mechanical bird which hovered over us for a while..... Wonder who was the VIP?

Another pond heron.....

We saw so many birds as I said earlier, and I shall not even try to name all of them. Here is the list of birds that we did see. This is a list which Usha jotted down while Adesh was helping us identify them, and I picked it from her to add it to my blog. I have added the name of the bird to the pics when I have been sure of them. As to the others, as of now, they are simply waders – many types of them!!!!!

So, here is the list of birds we saw...
1. Lesser Flamingoes... thousands of them!
2. Black capped Kingfisher - I couldnt even see where it was.... only saw it through the telescope!
3. Pond Heron
4. Common Red Shank
5. Little Ringed Plover
6. Common Sandpiper
7. Black-tailed Godwit
8. Western Reef Egret
9. Little Stint
11. Lesser Sand Plover
12. Terek Sandpiper
13. Curlew Sandpiper
14. Brown-headed Gull
15. Black Ibis

The last thing we saw wasn't a bird, but a crab - The Fiddler crab!

Can you some white things scattered here and there? three to be precise? Well, those are the pincers of the Fiddler Crab. The crab itself is under the surface, and it has one set of long pincers while the other is short. These are the longer ones sticking out, probably in search of food! Wish I could have got a better picture. But as of now, this is what I have to make do with.

Finally, a decent pic..... where I can identify the bird clearly as an egret! I clicked this one as we were leaving.

We had to leave early, thanks to Usha’s programme as well as Samhith’s hunger. After all, the poor chap had woken up early on a holiday. It wasn’t fair to deprive him of his breakfast too! But as we left, Usha summed it up well when she said, “Thank God we came! If I hadn’t, I would have regretted missing such an experience just to catch up with some sleep!

You can read Usha's post on the same trip here.


  1. Good thing you din't miss. It's very beautiful and I am speechless.

  2. lovely pics with yr tempted to come to bombay just for this one of these days

  3. Woww, so tempting!! am gonna join lakshmi and come off to Bby!! :D

    Saw pics of these beauties recently on another friend's blog!!nice!! am glad u went!!

  4. wow beautifully taken..patiently too
    good job

  5. Lovely. I have been wanting to go to Sewri for a while, but have been lazy. Will make a trip now after reading your post.

  6. hi anu,
    i presume you must be the lady with the little boy at sewri. if so, you have a lovely son -- and no, i don't think you can call him naughty, he is really sweet!! i was the lady with the white hair and camera, and i have 10-year old, his name is ashok, i have been taking him on birdwalks and nature walks since he was about 4. they learn slowly -- it is important to keep kids comfortable with nature. keep at it, it's very heartening to hear him talk about magpie robins and other birds!!! thanks for sharing, great to read your experience and wonderful to read so many blog entries. hope to meet you again!
    warm regards

  7. @Sak - Thanks a lot!

    @Lakshmi: Great to hear that I have encouraged you... tell me when u come and lets go together!

    @Aarti: Oh yes... that will make for an interesting bloggers meet.. at the mudflats...
    hey, and which friends blog? can u send me the link?

    @ssstoryteller: thanks a actually not so patient.. it is an attempt to teach patience to my son!!

    @Vamsee:Thanks..... Looking forward to seeing some of your great pics of the flamingoes....

    @Nita: Hi, Great to know u... yes, I am the same one.... Thanks so much...... I took up birding only because I realised that Samhith was quiet when we went for Safaris and someone was telling him something about animals and birds...otherwise he is always hyper, and impatient as you saw the other day... so this interest is all thanks to him...and now he's getting to learn a bit and identify the birds we see all around our colony....

    Looking forward to meeting you again too... and next time, lets get the kids together too.....

  8. It was like playing spot the bird contest in some photos. Difficult to distinguish bet' the puny size of the bird and the background.
    Flamingos look great...

  9. @CE Webster: Thanks a lot!

    @Chitra: They were difficult to spot too... they are so well camouflaged! only the fact that they were moving was what helped us see them!

  10. I too like Lakshmi wish to see this site! Beautiful.

  11. Just terrific!
    Birdwatching is thrilling.

  12. @Mridula: Great! all of you should come together!!!

    @Indrani: Absolutely! never realised it till recently... and wish I had taken this up earlier!

  13. First time here. Lovely pics and a nice blog...bird watching...


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