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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

Flamingos at Sewri

I usually look forward to the weekend events conducted by the BNHS, but of late, I had been missing out on a lot of interesting ones. It had been over a year since we had joined them for a Flamingo Watch, and with my new camera, it was more than just a little tempting! However, with all the hectic events planned for our weekend, I wasn't sure if Samhith would be up and ready so early in the morning. However, it is only for school that I have to shake him awake. Just one call and he was up and ready, in  less than 15 minutes, all set for the exciting day ahead! 




We took the train to Sewri, and this was the first time we made the journey on a working day at such an early hour, so, for once, Samhith got an idea of how crowded the train can get, so early in the morning!! We felt like pros this time once we reached Sewri, heading straight to the BNHS crowd, which was quite visible from a distance. Having registered successfully, we decided to head out to the jetty, since we knew the way this time.... pausing for a glass of sugarcane juice on the way. Samhith now knows what to expect every time we get to Sewri!! The road to the jetty appeared to be even dirtier than usual, but a helpful lady also heading there gave us a lift, and we reached the jetty without having to walk much! 

After such a long description of our journey, I am sure you must be waiting for photographs, so here they are....



The mudflats seemed to stretch forever, the water visible in the distance. This is what it looked like when we arrived....



And as to Flamingos, they were everywhere.....



not in as large numbers as I have seen on earlier visits, but quite a number nevertheless...



I clicked and clicked.......



and clicked again!!!!








Now for some information: These are all Lesser Flamingos, which are the smallest among the flamingos, as well as the most numerous. While there are millions of these birds in Africa as well as the Rann of Kutch, which are their breeding areas, they are classified as a threatened species due to their rapidly declining population as well as the intrusion of humans into their breeding areas. 



Interestingly, these birds feed only on Spirulina, algae which grow in very alkaline lakes. These algae are blue -green in colour, but it is this food which gives the flamingos their trademark pink colour!! The younger ones are white and brown, but as they feed more and more, they slowly turn pink, the oldest ones having the most vivid pink shade! Their deep bill is made in such a way that it collects water, and then filters it, so that only the algae is ingested! 





Mudflats, which have a high concentration of caustic soda, are extremely alkaline, which is why they attract these birds. They breed in the greater Rann of Kutch, where they build nests in the ground with this alkaline mud, where they lay eggs. The young one is tended to by both parents, and this caustic soda enables the chick to survive. They migrate to other areas such as Mumbai, in search of algae, but they do not breed in these areas, because the high rainfall dilutes the alkalinity of the soil, which endangers the young ones. 











As the tide began to come in, and the water level rose, most of the birds started disappearing.... though a few flamingos stayed back... still managing to get algae from under the water! After all, that is what their beaks are for!! We waited for a while longer, still clicking photos of course!!






This was our last view of the mudflats as we left....





If you have come so far, reading so much and seeing so many photographs, I must congratulate as well as thank you for your patience! Which is why I have decided to end this post here.... and write about all the other birds we saw in another post!! So, there is something more for you to look forward to!

Comments

  1. Cameras make a lot of difference don't they?
    Lovely captures. I could see you enjoying clicking. :)

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely, Indrani!!! and I am like this with a camera which just has a high zoom!! i will go absolutely mad with a dslr!!!

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  2. Replies
    1. It was so wonderful, Mridula!! I have seen them so many times now, yet, every time i find myself surprised to see them in a place like bombay!!

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  3. They are so eye appealing birds! And interesting to know about their colors, which by far, I never knew of. Love their scattered pink shades on their body and that large beak! And great pictures!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Vaish!! I didnt know about the colour either, which is why these trips with the BNHS are so much fun! you get to learn so many things you didnt know before, and that too in a very interesting manner!

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  4. One of my favourite places in Mumbai. Been there many times. And I can see the excitement of a new camera! :)
    Lovely clicks, Anu.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Nisha!! We should go there together sometime! and its really high time we meet!

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  5. Absolutely incredible post. I have never seen them in their natural habitat. The ones I saw was at Singapore and they were more pinkish.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, PNS! flamingos at the singapore zoo came up in the discussion while we were there.. apparently, there are 6 varieties, and some are pinker than the others... and the american ones are orangish too..

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  6. Fascinating & mind blowing. I thought one had to go to the Rann of Kutch to see Flamingos. Happy to note that you spotted so many in Sewree !

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    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot!! The Rann of kutch would be a different expereince altogether, but thanks to sewri, at least we get to see these beautiful birds reggularly!!

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  7. Awesome!!!! I actually felt I was there enjoying the scenery personally. Thanks for the lovely photographs and the explanation :)


    Kanthi

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  8. Beautiful and well captured.

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.com

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  9. Lovely collection of Flamingo pictures, and looks like you are having fun with your new camera.

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  10. Wow! actually I'm surprised to see so many flamingos in Mumbai! We tend to overlook the city's beauty, which comes to light only through such pictures and posts... great post! :)

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  11. They look pretty cool. It'd be neat to see them up close. Jealous, I am.

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  12. Hi Anuradha,

    I have linked your post on my travel startup FarInto at Sewri

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  13. Amazing Anuradha a frozen desire has been rekindled...

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  14. I never knew that flamingo type migratory birds are visible even in april. I always thought they come are visible around december january when it becomes colder for them in siberia.

    Well i am planning a trip some time soon to some nearby bird sanctuary. Hope i get a visual treat of these beauties.

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  15. Till now I use to see your posts in my mobile...I think it was one of the grave mistake I did!! Now I m reading your blog in computer,. I m now able to appreciate your photography skills too ..:-) its amazing photography..

    .........Dr.A

    ReplyDelete

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