Every year, at the end of Mumbai summers and Mid October, Sewri attracts many tourists and photographers to its eastern coast. Reason: Sewri becomes the Land of Flamingos!
Yes, as strange as it may sound, it’s true that this industrial choked up part of Mumbai becomes home to these migratory birds, which come from as far as Siberia via the Rann of Kutch. Sewri Mudflats and mangroves contain healthy organic elements that are suited to become the Flamingo Habitat for a couple of months before they fly back home. Mumbai also has flamingos Uran and Airoli.
Best Season to Visit: October-April, Early Mornings (6 am-10 am) are most recommended.
What to Expect: The sight that gets you thrilled is of flocks of flamingos (10000-15000) roaming calmly in the mud, poking their long beaks into the soft soil and feeding themselves on shrimp and blue algae, without a care of the crowd and photographers clicking at a short distance. Depending on the tide, the view and distance of flamingo’s keep changing!
Heaven for Migratory Birds: Besides the beautiful Flamingos, there are other Migratory birds that can be seen. Watch out for Little Stint (tiny little birds fly all the way from Scotland), Heron, Black Bellied Tern, Little Egrets, Sandpipers, Ibises, Kingfishers, Kites, Cranes, Bar-tailed Godwits (who can fly 17,000 km at a stretch!), the Brown-Headed Gull and the Plover. There are also crabs in here so that too is something good to watch out for.
Another way to get closer to these birds is to travel the opposite site to Mahul Village(near Kumbharwada, Chembur). Here you can connect with Waman Koli () and Shahikant Kohli () to book a quick boat trip for a closer look.
Kids love to see them in action and a trip to Sewri is sure to delight them and stay in their memory forever. It’s a lovely day trip far away from the city’s pollution and a great way to enjoy nature. Do carry food & water, as there aren’t good places to buy them. A good lens camera along with your best binoculars, sun-shades and hats is highly recommended!
Kingdom : Animalia
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Aves
Order: Phoenicopteriformes [Furbringer, 1888]
Family : Phoeniconteridae [Bonaparte, 1831]
Genus : Phoenicopterus [Linnaeus 1758]
Plan your Travel: Get off at the Sewri Railway Station and ask locals to guide you to Sewri Mudflats. Walk for about 15-20 minutes (1 Km) along the Industrial area and you reach the Mudflats. On your way you would also cross the Sewri Fort although the structure is dilapidated and there’s really not much to look at.
Attend the yearly Flamingo Festival: Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) is one of the environmental NGOs, that is making applaudable efforts to create awareness about this place and its conservation.
The team organizes Flamingo Festival each year that exhibits book stalls, Bird tattoo stalls, souvenir shops and nature conservation workshops along with some more fun activities for all age groups. Open for all visitors, they also conduct occasional tours and nature trails to the jetty and are generally receptive to the idea of enlightening visitors and nature lovers about this beautiful place.
Please Note: Sewri is the place which is in the news for the proposed 31 km Sealink project that would connect it to Nhava-Sheva across the creek, known as Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL). The environmentalists are concerned as this would definitely bring the end to their habitat.
Meanwhile there’s a good news as of June 2015, that the Maharashtra state government has decided the 17 sq km long Thane Creek area as ‘Flamingo Sanctuary’ and has approached UNESCO to get the stretch of Thane Creek as Ramsar Site.
Hoping things turn towards a positive end, till then we have visitors to watch out and care for!
And Yes, just reading about the place doesn’t do justice of the real experience. Plan a day trip and witness this phenomenal magic- up close and personal and yes please share the pictures so that I may add them up here.