Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary

So the last weekend of the year we travelled to Jamnagar for a road trip, I had spent 4 years of my life in that city and ever since I left it as a kid I had not returned there, with junior camping in the vicinity we thought spending two days in that city would be quite okay. Wife was drooling at the prospect of buying the famous Bandhani’s from Jamnagar and I was thinking of seeing my old school and eating typical Jamnagar food. Alongside we had decided to spend some time in Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary since it was winter and migratory birds would have surely come here.

 

I had heard a bit about it, however, I must confess we did not go with too many expectations, infact one gentleman told me that 20 days back he had met someone who had gone to Jamnagar that this year very few birds have come. That did not deter me as we wanted to check it out first hand but it did tone down all expectations. I had read somewhere that some 300+ species come there and infact when legendary Bird expert Dr Salim Ali had visited Khijadiya in one day he had recorded 104 species!! However, when you go with minimal expectations you always end up with much happier moments.

 

We left for the park at 6.15 from our hotel in pitch darkness to reach the Sanctuary by sunrise, its about 25mins drive from the city centre, we got our tickets from the counter. They charge Rs. 40 if a person is going to walk, if he is in a car then its 500 per vehicle, doesnt matter how many people in the vehicle. They also charge 200 for a camera. The ticketing was smooth and the guys were pretty courteous, you can also hire a guide if you like but we didn’t hire one and decided to have some own time.

 

It is pretty rare that they allow you inside a sanctuary alone, in your own vehicle and I quite liked the idea. I know many people misuse this freedom and break the limits however, I just wanted to be there on my own waiting for any bird or animal at my own patience and whim and at the same time have peace and not get into unwanted conversations that many times keep happening when you are on safari in National parks with a guide and a driver giving you information that many times you already have.

 

We drove about stopping and spotting birds, they had arrived in plenty, we even saw more than 1500 flamingos, over 30 cranes, heron, ibis, black ibis, spoonbill, mallard etc were so many and so scattered its difficult to put a count on it. The place is blessed with birds and its difficult to list them all here, over all I think we spotted more than 35 species in about 5 hours that we spent there.

 

The place is quite and serene, surprisingly no littering around was spotted by us, there was so much peace with few visitors and the park authorities have kept things simple, they have made roads near the water bodies and put benches under tree’s so that you can go sit there and quietly wait for the birds to slowly figure out that you are not a threat and come closer. I loved the whole concept, we were short on time other wise I thought spending a whole day in a park by just paying 700 from 6am to 6pm is a steal. There is no food or drinks available inside the park so when you do go, go prepared, carry loads of water and fruits and a picnic hamper there are so many places inside where you can sit and enjoy and bask in glorious winter weather.

To be standing together in a frosty field, looking up into the sky, marvelling at birds and revelling in the natural world around us, was a simple miracle. And I wondered why we were so rarely able to appreciate it.”
Lynn Thomson

The more patient & silent people will probably get the birds more closer to them. I actually think that a trip simply to Jamnagar can be made with just visiting this park on the agenda. I found the place so good. The freedom, the silence, the whole place that was so full of nature kind of perked my spirits up. It seemed like a nice place to go on long walks and rejuvenate I say. People who love the peace, quiet and serene nature alongside bird watching are bound to fall in love with this place.

 

Here I have a few pictures I took there, hope you like them! 😀

 

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The park has two parts walking about would be for the supremely fit as it is a pretty huge area, taking a bicycle would be the best bet, infact the next time I go, I am taking a cycle on this park’s visit!

Common Cranes flying about

Common Cranes flying about

 

A crested lark struts about royally

A crested lark struts about royally, in its own tiny world this tiny bird is a king! 

Godwits are here in loads and loads of numbers!

Godwits are here in loads and loads of numbers!

Then at this far off place we saw so many flamingos

Then at this far off place we saw so many flamingos

This bunch was a little more nearer and more accessible, like me they didnt care for photo's they just kept their heads down and kept eating!

This bunch was a little more nearer and more accessible, like me they didnt care for photo’s they just kept their heads down and kept eating!

Even these folks are here in plenty and they come nearer and pose!

Even these folks are here in plenty and they come nearer and pose!

Although I have seen the Hoopoe many times before this, this is the first time I have got a proper shot of one!

Although I have seen the Hoopoe many times before this, this is the first time I have got a proper shot of one!

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Painted Storks were there as well to perk up the surroundings!

Hundreds and hundreds of Rosy Starling, Many many White breasted Kingfishers and Black Drongos were also to be seen everywhere!

Hundreds and hundreds of Rosy Starling, Many many White breasted Kingfishers and Black Drongos were also to be seen everywhere!

We even managed to spot one male and 6 female Nilgai's (bluebull) grazing about

We even managed to spot one male and 6 female Nilgai’s (bluebull) grazing about

Bird watchers are a lovely bunch, I like them, quite and unobtrusive, immersed in nature and always fancying their binoculars they all revel in places like these!

Bird watchers are a lovely bunch, I like them, quite and unobtrusive, immersed in nature and always fancying their binoculars they all revel in places like these!

This is just one spot, the park has many many spots like this, where in you can decide to sit and become a part of the surroundings, sleep, take a picnic lunch and spend time letting the birds come nearer and soak in nature

This is just one spot, the park has many many spots like this, where in you can decide to sit and become a part of the surroundings, sleep, take a picnic lunch and spend time letting the birds come nearer and soak in nature

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The beach at Mithapur !

Happy Weekend Folks… here are a few photographs of a beach to help you relax during the weekend 🙂 I just happened to visit here 🙂 🙂 🙂

that beach could easily be mistaken as Maldives or Lakshadweep ?? innit ? Well almost... but for the goats who decided to colour the white beach ! ;-/

 

 

 

Turquoise blue and amazingly clean water... the surface would at all times be visible... even if you were at a height of 7-8 feet in the sea !

 

Its in India... and yes... there is not a soul here... I loved the solace... early morning jogging here or a quiet sunset walk... you can act as if you own the beach 🙂

 

an island with a light house... you can sit and paint it to your canvas 🙂

 

One afternoon it was just me and this fellow to accompany me as I tested my camera lens

 

The sun setting at the Gulf of Kutch

 

The A denotes our location. Doesn't it seem like we are right in the mouth of a Ferocious T-Rex ? :P  Luckily it was Gujf of Kutch.

The A denotes the place where we were based, the coral reef is also clearly visible in the map. Will post pictures of the Corals and underwater snorkelling soon 🙂 🙂 Just you wait to see the things we discovered 😀 it was awesome fun. 😀

 

All pics taken during ‘Anubhav’ A marine camp conducted by Anala Outdoors for school kids.

Tag of 4’s !!!

  

I have been officially tagged by A Thoughtful train… and I have seen this tag at a lot of places… here we go…

  

Four places I have lived:

1. Andheri (W), Mumbai – My birth and my first 5 years of life… Dont remember a lot from that phase though…

 

2. Jamnagar – A lovely time… I was a very intelligent student then… I studied in a boys school… perhaps thats why…

 

3. Bharuch – came here in 5th standard, first time in a co-ed… the teacher made me sit next to a girl and my studies went for a toss… !!! If ever I belong to any place this is it… I am a Kutchi who has never been to Kutch… Bharuch is home for me and will always remain !!!! I still yearn to go back… hopefully some day I will… !!! **amen**

 

4. Indore – 2 years and a few months… but still not quite settled… dont like the place too much…

 

Four T.V Shows I Love to Watch ( only four?!)

1. Live Cricket nothing beats it…

I dont have any shows in particular… I love watching Nat-geo and discovery or animal planet or music channels or travel and living or movies… but no shows in particular… I loved Yeh jo hai zindagi… the old serial.. I still rent its dvd’s some times… !!

 

Four Places that I have been on Vacation / School tours (I have added school tours coz I wanted to)

 

1. Bardipada taluka in Dang Forests – Life’s best tour.. 5 days we lived in the jungle and bathed in the river… in November… freezing water mind you… and at 6 in the morning… amazing pushing would happen to enter the water…

this was the best school picnic ever… and a lot of my friends till day talk of those days… we would run in the bamboo jungles… whistles would determine our day schedules… we would eat unbelievably oily potato and brinjal sabzi… the potatoes not even peeled… but those were the days… really !!!!!!!!

 

2. Saurashtra tour – This was a horrible tour in a way… the teachers organised this trip only to all temples… they wanted to visit temples and they made us visit temples and sleep in Dharamshala’s for 5 days.. the only saving grace was the gir forest visit where i saw a lioness in the wild for the first time in my life… we saw 2 lioness trying to drag a cow… thats where the fascination for the wild life started… over all this trip with friends et all was fantastic… only the locations could have been better… but well those teachers were such darlings… so I forgive them… !!

 

3. Nainital / Jim Corbett – For my honeymoon… a fantastic trip for the first time I had enough money to sleep in nicest hotels and money was not an issue.. I borrowed for it too… just in case…!! We had a whale of a time… we would eat 5 times and errr… never mind…

We had not decided a venue.. I just booked tickets to Delhi and back.. and we took our Lonely planet and just left… on station atleast 20 friends came to drop us… and 2 passengers told me I am a very lucky man to have such friends… the whole station was set alight with unbelievable noise… !!!!! (sigh I miss you my friends)

We thought of mussorie, shimla and eventually ended up near the tigers… !!! but nainital was necessary or else hetal would have killed me if we spent all 9 days in corbett… !! lol… on our train journey in the morning we were about to reach Delhi & when we were discussing where to go a Army man who sat oppposite to us looked as us and asked if we kids were newly married & then he gave a big sigh that we hadnt even decided where we were going for our honeymoon…. eventually he felt so protective towards us that he led us to the travel counter and warned us that Delhi is not so safe after all !!!!!

the only thing I missed was spotting a tiger in the wild… I still havent done it still and hope to do it sooon…  

 

4. Manali ‘ 08 – Although I have been here earlier this was a special trip coz I took my mom with me… she has seen most states in south etc.. but her life’s biggest wish has always been to be to himachal and kashmir… Some how she has travelled down south innumerable times and a lot of other states but never these two… Last year I took her to Manali after forcing her that I and hetal wont go without her… My wife got punjabi’s stiched for her and though she never wears them she wore on this trip we even had her wear fur coats and gum boots and made her slide in the snow… all in all I just simply felt greatly satisfied…

and I hope to take her to Kashmir next year…

 

 

My Favourite Food Items

1. Pizza (anything with bread and cheese actually I love bread and cheese)

2. Samosa’s

3. Masala Chicken ( from one hotel in Bharuch “Apna Chicken”

4. Home made typical gujarati thali… (with rotli, shaak, aamras, daal, kachumber, idla et all)

 

Four Websites that I visit daily (not mentioning wp)

1. Google – reader, mails

2. moneycontrol

3. cricinfo

4. yahoo

 

Four Places that I would Rather be

1. Home – Bharuch

2. Manali ( I m going to retire here… Crafty we need to gather money)

3. Corbett ( there is a toss up between this and Manali actually right Crafty ?? )

4. Naggar ( this is a very very beautiful and peaceful place near manali.. a lovely small town… nice to live a quiet retired life…

 

Four Things I hope to do before Time Runs out

1. Visit Congo (Zaire) once in my life

2. See the savana and the serengeti

3. Visit the Amazon…

4. Sorry but I have to do this once.. and I must mention it … I once in my life want to go to lake superior in Canada and go Moose hunting… ( i m against hunting but I want to go there in open season once in my life time and shoot a moose and eat it and I ll drink beer too once I m there… ) (please ignore this) ( there is a sadist in me too )

 

Four Novels I Wish I was Reading for the first Time ( I dint understand the logic of this, so I am making it into 4 of my faves)

1. The adventures of Tom Swayer

Sorry just this one… I have read it atleast 5-6 times and I cannot think of any other novel… this novel was the best I read till date… and it appealed immensely to the Tom inside me… !!! really…

 

Four Movies that I can watch over and over again ( i ll list 7 since I listed only 1 novel okay !!!!! ) 😀 😀

1. The Ghost & the Darkness

2. Rang De Basanti

3. Wild Hogs

4. Remember the Titans

5. Romancing the Stone

6. Sholay

7. Anand

(no particular order, frankly even 7 are not enough for me… I love watching movies repeatedly… My wife sometimes gets frustrated and even taunts… Tere ko ek baar mein samajh mein nahi aata kya ?? ) but what to do..

 

Four people I tag :

Enough of 4 !! all those you comment here are tagged.. and if you try and not comment… I ll come and catch you… !!! you all must do this tag.. !!

 

strangely everywhere I read this tag it was quite short… but trust me to make it long… after all Indy’s big bro I am… !!!!!! lol…