One place in Maharashtra, which can be compared to Bharatpur is "Bhigwan". About 110kms from Pune city on Pune-Solapur road. The catchment area or backwater of Ujani dam provides ideal habitat for Ducks & waterfowl. Every year we (Nature India) arrange at least 2 trips to this place. Because of its proximity to Mumbai, the trips can be arranged on weekends i.e. Sat. & Sun. This is year Batch-1 was from 5th & 6th Feb. and Batch-2 from 12th & 13th Feb.
Bus started from Dadar (Chandu Halwai) at 6.30Am. All members coming to Dadar, including me :-), were on time. Adesh boarded at Sion. As per every year we got some biscuits, namkeen and water at Sion. We stppoed for Breakfast at Navratna Hotel, Vashi. It took about 2.30pm to reach Bhigwan. Post lunch we started for Diksal. As usual Diksal was full of birds, the birds seen here include, Red Avadvats, Northern Shovellers & Pintails, Eurasian Wigeons, Common Teals, Little Grebe, Common Coot, Purple Swamphen, Glossy, Oriental White, Back Ibis, Black-tailed Godwits, Marsh, Wood, Common & Green Sandpipers, huge congregation of Whiskered Terns, Painted, Wooly Necked & Openbill Storks and the special sighting was of Bar-headed Geese. After eventful session we headed for Hotel Amardeep, which is about 22kms from Bhigwan, towards Baramati. As the day was hectic with lot of travel we all heade for early bed.
Next day we started early morning with tea. After quick breakfast we started our morning session at Kumbhargaon. Along with waterbirds, this site also gives opportunity to see dry land and scrubland birds. First we stopped for Barn, Red-rumped & Streak-throated Swallow. Then the Clamerous Reed Warbler gave us some rare nice views. It was in open for quite a long time. Other birds seen were Black Redstart, Iora, Small Minivets, Indian Silverbill, Yellow Wagtail, Bluethroat, Yellow-wattled Lapwing, Ospray, Ruddy Shell Ducks and many more.... In just two sessions, we all saw more than 100 birds. After lunch we started for Mumbai and reached by 10pm.
Identical to Batch-1, this trip was also seccessful with all the sightings than Batch1 had, plus close sighting of Red-headed Falcon.
Next trip is, 3rd Batch for Jamnagar from 19th to 24th Feb.2011. Hope to see lots of Crab Plovers, Great-crested Grebes, Common Cranes, Lesser Flamingos along with other usual Jamnagar birds!!