In order to see birds it is necessary to become part of the silence - Robert Lynd
There are many places in and around Pune for a birder’s delight but for a vivid birdwatcher, Bhigwan is a solace. It’s a catchment area of the mighty Ujani Dam, a small town on the Pune-Solapur highway (NH-9), about 100 kms from Pune.
How to reach Bhigwan?
1. Public Transport –
ST buses bound for Solapur and onwards from Pune and also Solapur/Chennai bound fast trains stop at Bhigwan.
a. Duration – 3.5 hrs for bus, 2 hrs for train
2. Personal Vehicle –
Cars [Bikes are also suitable for the more adventurous bunch ;)]
a. Duration – 2 hrs
3. Things To Carry –
Breakfast and lunch, water, cameras, laptops to transfer images (if reqd), binoculars, cap and an extra paper bag to dump waste. Please do not litter.
4. Route -
Head towards the NH-9 then follow the route Pune > Hadapsar > Loni > Kedagaon > Patas > Kurkumbh > Ravangaon > Bhigwan. Once you reach Bhigwan, take a left towards Diksal before the river bridge. Take right from Diksal and travel by road which heads to Bhilarwadi Sugar plant. This road cuts through the backwaters and is very tapered, wide enough for just one vehicle to pass.
As soon as you start driving towards the lake, with water bodies on both sides, you immediately start to spot migratory water birds in large numbers -- ducks, terns, twany eagles, cotton pigmy goose, lesser whistling teal, ruff, clamorous warblers, marsh harriers, comb ducks, ruddy shelducks, common kestrels, Eurasian wigeons, gadwalls and shovellers. It’s advisable to walk this patch of the road as birds are very sensitive to the engine sounds. It also saves your car the scratches from the thorny bushes on both the sides. You also start to see a lot many egrets, rollers, bee-eaters, kingfishers, drongos, coppersmith babblers, crow pheasants, gray hornbills which are not that camera shy.
After travelling for about 4 kms, you reach the end of the bridge, where fishermen have set up a small roadside village. From here, one can hire a small fishing boat to take a closer look at the ducks, sea gulls flying over your head and eagles catching its preys. Exotic species such as flamingo grace this place with their presence between the months of Dec – Mar. The boat ride to see them up close costs about 150-200 per head. One can sit there for hours watching them fly, hunt, sleep and dodge partners lovingly.
Words cannot completely express the glee of visiting this place and one can just hope and pray that awareness and government’s proposal to turn this place into a bird sanctuary will enhance the Bharatpur of Maharashtra!
On my way!
The flamboyance of flamingos...
© All the photos are copyrighted to Arthi Audiseshan
This article was printed in the Dec'10 issue of Pune City Digest magazine.