Get set for bird watching at Navi Mumbai's Kharghar Hills

Dec 05, 2017, 09:35 IST | Snigdha Hasan

Love your feathered friends, but can't tell a great myna from a common myna? Take this amateur birders' walk

In the winding maze of nomenclature, habitat, physical characteristics and birdcalls associated with birdwatching, what often tends to get lost is the fact that it all starts with love for nature. And though it may be hard to find an unobstructed patch of sky in the city, Mumbai, thanks to its coastal eco-system, is home to a rich diversity of resident and migratory birds. This Sunday morning, take along your love for your feathered friends to Navi Mumbai's Kharghar Hills, and come back armed with basic knowledge of birdwatching.

"Kharghar Hills remain off limits during the monsoon and opens to the public only in October. The hills, apart from offering an opportunity to spot raptors [predatory birds] and migrant birds with ease, are an attraction by itself," says Dr V Shubhalaxmi, founder and managing trustee, iNature, a charitable trust working in the field of urban biodiversity, which will conduct the Birding for Beginners walk.

The cuckooshrike is commonly found in the Kharghar hills
The cuckooshrike is commonly found in the Kharghar hills

While the Sanjay Gandhi National Park is a popular destination for birdwatching, several locations across Navi Mumbai are ideal, too. "The BNHS conducted a biodiversity survey of Navi Mumbai in collaboration with CIDCO, where detailed reports were made on the birds, butterflies, reptiles, mammals and plants of the region," informs Dr Shubhalaxmi. The survey identified six locations in the satellite city in order of their biodiversity, which also offer nature trails. Kharghar Hills is one of them. Some of the interesting birds known from the area include the Bonelli's Eagle, Eurasian sparrowhawk, blue rock thrush and treepie. The walk would include information on how to sight, observe and collect data, how to differentiate birds within the same group from one another, how to describe a bird in terms of its size, shape, habitat, colour of the head and breast, etc.

"The idea is to help people see a different side of their city, and get their interest piqued so they continue learning," Dr Shubhalaxmi sums up.

ON: December 10, 7.30 am to 9.30 am
MEETING POINT: Entry gate of the Kharghar Hills. register inaturewatch.org/registerforevent.php
CALL: 9987013144
COST: Rs 275; Rs 175 for senior citizens and children aged between 5 and 15 years)

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