Celebrate the Birdman of India, Dr Salim Ali's birthday with a trail that promises to open up the world of birding for you
The truth is that the Birdman of India chanced upon bird watching entirely by coincidence. Discovering the fast growing hobby through an initial interest in sport-shooting, Salim Moizuddin Abdul Ali went on to become one of India's best known ornithologist and naturalist and played a key role in popularising ornithology in the country and supporting related organisations.
It is truly serendipitous then, that on his 123rd birth anniversary tomorrow, the conductor for the commemoratory Know Dr Salim Ali's Bird trail, too, stumbled upon bird-watching through a twist of fate. Amey Ketkar has been birding for a decade but he says that his foray into the form of wildlife observation began with a love for trekking that blossomed into an attraction for jungles with the years and in 2009 he found himself visiting tiger reserves across India.
It was during this time and because it wasn't possible to spot tigers easily, that Ketkar discovered bird watching. "This was a time before Facebook and I used to post all my pictures on Orkut," the 36-year-old recalls, adding that through it, he began meeting more people from the birding community and his hobby grew.
Tomorrow, Ketkar, who runs a small venture of manufacturing and wholesaling food products, will be taking participants through restricted areas of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (they have sought special permissions from the forest department for this), beginning with a talk to acquaint attendees with the basics of birding and will conclude the trail with a revisionary lecture. "Since it's a forest, the group has to be constrained to not more than twenty," he shares, adding that it is important to be silent and pay attention to the calls because spottings depend on luck. It sure sounds like something Dr Ali would have liked to sign up for.
ON November 12, 6.15 am to 10.30 am
AT SGNP, main gate, Western Express Highway, Borivali East.
COST Rs 600
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