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Its that time of the year when our city is painted pink and red by these flocks of flamingos that migrate here to breed and feed on our fertile mudflats and wetlands.
Flocks of greater and lesser flamingos start migrating to Navi Mumbai, arriving in late October or early November, and staying until the end of May, when the monsoon begins. Although this year things look delayed as we had unusual and prolonged monsoons till October.
We do not know exactly whether the flamingos migrate here from Rann of Kutch in Gujarat or East Africa. But we do know now, that these greater and lesser flamingos have made kutch one of their major breeding grounds and migrate into the city from there every year.
So far the well-known places to see flamingos in Mumbai were Thane creek, Sewri Jetty (Thane) and Dronagiri (Navi Mumbai) but the real hidden gems are the wetlands of NRI complex and TS Chanakya, both centrally located on palm beach road in Navi Mumbai. This is what you call - “A real bird watchers paradise.”
The flamingos can be seen breeding & feeding while soaking the sun throughout this season. One does not need expensive binoculars or massive lenses to see them, here they are just meters away. You can see them up close and personal in their natural habitat without putting in too much efforts.
The abundance of food and physical protection brings these beautiful flamingos and their young ones to this side of the city which indeed is a blessing in disguise to Mumbaikars
Best time to see them is early morning when they fly in and settle down and late evening just before sunset when they all fly back to the marshes to call it a day. Throughout the day you can see them feeding or resting in the mudflats meters away from the road.
Flamingos have very few or none natural predators. Hence the only and primary threat to flamingo population is bacteria, toxins, and pollution in water supplies, which is usually run-off from manufacturing plants, and encroachment on their habitat.
Flamingos started migrating to the city in early 1990’s and off late we are seeing a noticeable decline in the number of birds migrating. This is majorly because of the 50% decline of the wetland ecosystem, constructions like the Trans Harbour Link, and plastic waste disposal into the sea.
It is up to us to protect and preserve our ecosystem if we wish to see such beautiful wildlife in and around our city.
Sometimes you do not have to travel to exotic locations in search of wildlife, when such amazing wildlife sits right in your own backyard.
Have you packed your bags? Is your camera ready??? Oh!! don't forget that extra pair of memory card, battery, hand gloves, bottles of water, and warm clothes as you going to need them BADLY. And after you do all these things, you are ready to WELCOME WINTERS which the best time of the year to do wildlife photography.