Watch to remember

Updated: 29 November, 2018 08:45 IST | Dalreen Ramos | Mumbai

A bird-spotting trail by the periphery of the city promises to be the perfect winter getaway

When he was ten, Salim Ali's uncle Amiruddin shot a bird. A curious Ali then made a trip to the Bombay Natural History Society to identify the species. As told to him by the then honorary secretary WS Millard, the bird was a yellow-throated sparrow. With the same curiosity intact throughout his lifetime, Ali went on to be known as the Birdman of India. Since then, Mumbai has changed rapidly — not only by name or population but by tree cover, air quality, built environment and other statistics that we pay close attention to only when disaster strikes. But fortunately, there are still some green pockets left for our little friends to chirp around. And this Sunday is an opportunity to head to a place that is home to over 200 species of birds.

Black-naped monarch
Black-naped Monarch

The Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is nestled between the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) and the Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary in Vasai with an 85 sq km area. The sanctuary comprises three different types of forests — dry deciduous, moist deciduous and semi-evergreen. And a birdwatching trail led by Amol Lopes in collaboration with the SGNP aims to introduce attendees to the biodiversity of the region. "I'm not an ornithologist, but just a keen birdwatcher and resident of Vasai," Lopes says. Although he maintains that this is a hobby for him, the 37-year-old was also part of the Vasai birds Android application which documented more than 280 species of birds in the Vasai-Virar belt.

The wildlife sanctuary at Tungareshwar is home to over 200 species

"My interest in birdwatching first spiked when I was seven years old. As of today, I've done the Tungareshwar trail around ten times, and my goal has always been to spread awareness about the region to the common people," Lopes maintains. Participants will be able to spot species such as the Indian paradise flycatcher, crested serpent eagle, jungle owlet, oriental honey buzzard, and the black-naped monarch. "Winter is the perfect time to take part in this exercise as you can spot both residential as well as migratory birds. There are mammals to be seen as well, and plenty of observation for botanists to do, too," he explains. With a variety of options on offer, one may just find their Ali moment.

On: December 2, 6 am to 11 am
At: Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Vasai. email
Cost: Rs 1,000

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First Published: 29 November, 2018 08:02 IST

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