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Birding at Bhigwan

February 21, 2019

Birding at Bhigwan

After photographing mammals, especially tigers, for the last 11 years, I have recently developed a keen interest in birding as well.  I was using Canon equipment all along but on the advice of a dear friend, Atul Dhamankar, I added Nikon D7200 with 200-500 f5.6 lens to my list. 

As the functions of these brands are little different, I decided to take a short trip to Bhigwan, a place around 100 kms from Pune on Solapur Road.  Went for 2 boat rides of 3 hours each.  Woke up with really sore arms the next day from the weight of the lens :) but got some great pictures too!

Kumbhargaon (Bhigwan) is situated on the banks of river 'Bhima'.  Due to a dam constructed on the river, a large back-water named 'Ujani Back-water' or 'Yashwant Sagar' was created.  Due to this, thousands of birds, resident as well as migratory, started congregating here.  A young chap named Sandip Nagare, an avid bird watcher and photographer, along-with his brother Nitin and few locals, has started a bird-watcher's group called 'Agnipankh'.  They provide all necessary services like lodging, boarding, hiring of boats, guides, etc.  Stayed at his place for one night.  Clean place with basic amenities, home-made food and lot of enthusiasm.  Our guide Nitin has excellent eyesight as all bird watchers require and ample knowledge about the species found there.  Photographing birds is always challenging and I thoroughly enjoyed trying my hand at clicking them in action.

Besides Greater Flamingos, I was able to sight and photograph Norther Shoveler, Asian Open-bill, Barheaded Goose, Black Winged Stilt, Black-headed Ibis, Black-tailed Godwit, Brown-headed Gull, Common Greenshank, Common Teal, Eurasian Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Great Egrat, Grey Heron, Heuglin's Gull, Indian Spot-billed Duck. Little Cormorants with a Little Egrat, Northern Pintail, Pallas's Gull, River Tern, Ruddy Shelduck, Ruff and the stars, Great Spotted Eagle, Eurasian Marsh Harrier & Osprey.  Was thrilled to see the Osprey dive to catch a fish and then fly towards us with his catch clutched into his claws. 

Definitely an experience to cherish.

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