Sunday, April 19, 2015

Flamingo watch at Sewri

Early Saturday morning, I set off to see the Flamingos that come visiting Mumbai. These majestic migratory birds visit Mumbai every year between December and stay on here till about April. It was a long-time wish that finally got fulfilled. Birdy (appropriately called for the occasion)- an expert trekker and outdoor guide- had organised the morning watch. A colleague who is a regular with Birdy  pulled me in and off we went. We took the harbour line train- one of my favourite train rides in the whole of India- and landed at Sewri station at about 7:30 am; the appointed time. We joined the group there and began our 1 km walk to the Sewri jetty where Flamingos were waiting for us.
Sewri- and the first half of harbour line up until Wadala- looks like a Mumbai caught up in time warp. Development has thankfully (and also partly woefully) escaped this part of Mumbai. Large swaths of godowns dot the dockland area of Eastern Mumbai. The only visible sign of development here is the new Eastern freeway which runs parallel to the harbour line tracks for a long patch. A quick cup of tea / coffee outside Sewri station and we were on the way; amidst slums, dilapidated buildings, lots of large trees, dirty roads and dozens of tankers. We reached the jetty area that was dotted with tankers lined up for God know what, and what looked like a shipyard with broken ships. Birdy led us to the end of the jetty area where a large flock of flamingos were frolicking. 

Flamingo watch isn't as simple as it sounds; that you just go there and you'll find flamingos. Early mornings are the best time. Make sure you go there during low tides, so that the birds have a place to stand on the mudflats without sea water gushing in. We watched the flamingos for a good hour and the trip was worth it. Then, the high tide came and drove all the birds away. 

Then, we went to the nearby Sewri fort. More flamingos were visible from here- I presume it was a different bunch than the one we had just seen at the jetty- but they were very far away. Two kittens captured everyone's attention and I think the kittens quite loved all the attention. We were finished with the trip at about 9:30 am and then Joel and I headed for breakfast at Cafe Mondegar. Two fried eggs (sunny side up) with bacon, two glasses of orange juice, and toast was a lovely way to wrap up a wonderful outing.


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