Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary

While the novel Coronavirus was gradually setting its foot (or I shall say its spikes) on India along with the international fliers during the prime Springtime, least aware of the upcoming grave situation, we decided to have a birdwatching Sunday at Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary where the migratory birds arrive during the winters. From winter to spring, this town hosts a large group of migratory species making it a bird watcher’s paradise.

View from Kumbhargaon Birdwatching Point
View from Kumbhargaon Birdwatching Point

Bhigwan is a small town on the Pune-Solapur highway adjoining the large backwater area of the Ujani Dam on River Bhima. This backwater serves as the winter ground for numerous migratory species of birds with an abundance of some protein-rich diet thus making it an ideal roosting spot.

Green Bee-Eater
Green Bee-Eater

With this small introduction let me take you through my journey to Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary. I have been to Bhigwan before, probably during the late summers or early monsoon the previous year and it was altogether a different sight. Even after google map brought us to the bird watching point or the boating point there were hardly any sight or indication of any such activity or facility there.

A pair of Flamingoes with Black-headed Gull and Pallas's Gull in the front
A pair of Flamingoes with Black-headed Gull and Pallas’s Gull in the front

It was long before the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed on India, although the infection was spreading fast in different parts of the world and taking its toll. And here it was a handful of cases with a few international passengers arriving with symptoms who were then taken to isolation. All things seemed to be well under control. Our wishful mind was far away from the time that was supposed to come.

Other bird watchers
Other bird watchers

Since our visit, the situation changed rapidly increasing anxiety and anticipation for our uncertain future and finally, we all came under the lockdown. I am penning down this post now in a grave situation where the number of infected people and deceased are on the rise it is really tough to concentrate on any other thing. The days seem to be gloomy and depressing so to divert my undived attention from the news of the current situation I decided to draft the post – the post of good times.

Grey Heron
Grey Heron

It was the time when humans were free to move out of their house when they were free to travel anywhere they desired when they were free from this Novel Coronal Virus, just like the birds, the birds of Bhigwan careless and carefree foraging on fish, snails and other available food.

Open Billed Storks
Open Billed Storks

It was the bird watching season so the scenario was different this time. The village was prepared to welcome the birders from every corner. There were banners and placards guiding the direction to the bird-watching spots with pictures of various migratory birds and the phone number of the organiser who organises such bird watching trips.

Indian Black Ibis
Indian Black Ibis

We came to know that there are multiple spots around the backwater area which serves as a boating point operated by different organisers or some eco-tourism resorts. The other famous and nearby area was the Kumbhargaon Bird Sanctuary, located a few kilometres from Bhigwan towards Solapur.

Fishermen at work
Fishermen at work

We boarded on our boat and it was our enthusiastic and happy boatman cum guide who took us to spots designated for various species one after the other. We knew we were in the wrong time of the day for bird watching. The afternoon sun was burning us with its scorching rays and most of the birds were far away into their shady corners to have some afternoon siesta.

Watch out for three Garganey on the left of the scene along with others
Watch out for three Garganey on the left of the scene along with others

I had no complaints as the afternoon time birding was satisfying enough. Our boatman suggested us to visit there sometime in April during the late afternoon when the number of Flamingoes rises to about thousands as the water level recedes during the summers and become an ideal feeding ground for them to gain enough weight and energy to before they start their long journey back home.

A Black-winged Stilt along with the group of Black-winged Godwits
A Black-winged Stilt along with the group of Black-winged Godwits

While drafting this post in April I am thinking about those birds who must be preparing to leave their winter grounds by now. Alas! We are jailed and could not bid them a farewell this year. Overcoming my depressed mood and negative thoughts I feel grateful for all that I have during these serious times as there are many who does not even have a home to keep safe distance or food to develop immunity. I end my post wishful thoughts that this grave situation will come to an end soon and things to be normal when we all can be free again – humans as well as wildlife, living and loving all.

Fishermen and the calm water
Fishermen and the calm water
Black headed Ibis
Black-headed Ibis
Black-winged Stilt
Black-winged Stilt
Fishermen group
Fishermen group
Bar-headed Geese
Bar-headed Geese

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9 thoughts on “Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary

  1. Wow! Wow! Wow!

    Brilliant sighting and captures Sarmistha. You were lucky to be able to visit Bhigwan before lockdown. Apparently I have sighted some of them flying across my home …… Bar headed geese, flamingos, Indian spotted bill duck and Ibis. But I hope to see them in person this year end. The placid blue of the water is so striking.

    Hope all is good at your end and I pray we all are able to be free like the birds soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. O Monica, now I evny your house as you do quite a lot of bird watching from your home. I used to take pride of my house as the backyard is a birders paradise and now you too share the same experience I feel. πŸ˜‰
      Here is my backyard birdwatching post, if you like to go through: https://footloosein.me/2016/06/27/bird-watching/
      Let this all get over soon and we get back to our trips at the earliest.

      Things are getting serious day by day in Pune as many areas are getting sealed. A few nearby localities within the radius of 5-7km are also sealed. We are safe, what about your place? Stay safe, we will definitely win the war against this and return back to our trips. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahahha …… you too have a fantastic list that I envy. It is sheer joy and blessing if there is nature in abundance around our home. I will definitely look up the backyard birding post!

        I am in Delhi and you know how its faring in the news πŸ™‚ Lets just stay home and stay safe for self and others.

        Hoping and praying that the world heals well and soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful captures. I too have visited the place several times, rather when there was no commercialization! I can understand how difficult it is for bird lovers like us to be in lockdown for so long. Nice to read you. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to know you liked the post. Thank you. πŸ™‚
      It is really tough to stay in lockdown for such a long period, but we know it is for our safety so have to do it at any cost. 😦
      Take care and stay safe. πŸ™‚

      Like

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