Turning Mumbai RED
One of the most vibrant migratory bird to brighten the Indian subcontinent, the Greater Flamingos(Phoenicopterus roseus) are a sight for sore eyes.
Its that time of the year when our city is painted pink and red by the flocks of flamingos that migrate here to breed and feed on our fertile mudflats and wetlands. The flocks of greater and lesser flamingos start migrating to Mumbai, arriving in late October or early November, and staying until the end of May, when the monsoon begins. The common consensus is that the flamingos migrate here from either Rann of Kutch in Gujarat or East Africa.
So far the well-known places to see flamingos in Mumbai were Thane creek and Sewri Jetty,but the real hidden gem is the Palm beach road in Navi Mumbai. That is what you call “A real bird watchers paradise.”
The flamingos can be seen breeding and feeding, while soaking in the sun throughout this season. One does not need expensive binoculars or massive lenses to see them in the area mentioned in Navi Mumbai, since they are just meters away. You can see them up close and personal in their natural habitat without putting in too much efforts. The abundance of food and physical protection brings these beautiful flamingos and their young ones to this side of the city which indeed is a blessing in disguise to Mumbaikars.
The best time to see them is during the early morning hours, when they fly in and settle down, as well as the intermediate period in the evening just before sunset when they all fly back to the marshes to call it a day. Throughout the day you can see them feeding or resting in the mudflats meters away from the road.
Flamingos have very few or almost non-existent natural predators. Hence the only and primary threat to flamingo population is bacteria, toxins, and pollution in water supplies caused by the manufacturing plants, and encroachment on their habitat.
Flamingos started migrating to the city in early 1990’s and off late we are seeing a noticeable decline in the number of birds migrating. This is probably because of the 50% decline of the wetland ecosystem, constructions like the Trans Harbour Link, and plastic waste disposal into the sea. It is up to us to protect and preserve our ecosystem if we wish to see such beautiful wildlife in and around our city.
Sometimes you do not have to travel to exotic locations in search of wildlife, when such amazing wildlife sits right in your own backyard.
Read also: Of Dancing flames and Geese
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