Every year, the muddy banks of the Sewri mudflats, a region that is surrounded by marshlands, warehouses and factories, turns into an observatory for birdwatchers. The expanse bursts with a splash of pink as a swath of flamingos make for the city.
This time around, the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) is organising its fifth edition of the flamingo-watch, taking nature enthusiasts to Sewri, where the long-legged, pink-featured, migratory birds arrive in droves every year. “The idea is to give people an opportunity learn about flamingos,” says Asif Khan of BNHS. Besides indulging in birdwatching, the annual trip also hopes to dispel myths surrounding the birds. “People have this misconception that flamingos are pink, but the truth is baby flamingos are actually dull in colour,” says Khan, adding, “As they grow, they feed on shrimps, diatoms, small fish, crabs, molluscs and blue-green algae, which helps them get their pink colour as they grow.”
The day-long expedition will see Mocha TreeHuggers participating. This group of green crusaders from the city was formed in July last year. “Members will get to know and learn about the eco-system of the Sewri mudflats,” explains Khan. Over 15,000 to 20,000 Lesser Flamingos visit the eastern shore front, as this is a perfect breeding ground for the birds.
For those hoping to get in tune with nature this weekend, the city’s club is an open one, which is looking forward to more green citizens. Besides flamingos, birdwatchers will also get to see other rare migratory birds that make way to the city. “Carry a notebook, binoculars, plenty of water, a cap and a light snack,” says Shobuta Kadan of the Treehuggers club.
Other migratory birds you can see
Eurasian Curlew — it’s a wader in the large family Scolopacidae found mainly in Europe.
Green Sandpiper — the brown-winged bird has little light dots, and a contrasting neck and chest pattern.
Greenshank — this is a sub-arctic bird has long greenish legs and a long bill with a grey base.
Kingfisher — this brightly coloured bird has a large head, a long and sharp bill, short legs, and a stubby tail
To register for the day-long flamingo viewing session at Sewri Jetty on March 26, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 91677 27782. Price is R 100 per person.