In search of Flamingos in Mumbai

Bird watching in Mumbai - In search of Flamingos (end of Apr 2018):

Lesser Flamingos - Haji bunder point, Sewri, Mumbai
Lesser Flamingos - Haji bunder point, Sewri
My eagerness to spot flamingos dragged me to Mumbai, in spite of the scorching summer humid weather.
The plan was to visit two Flamingo spots on the western side of the Thane creek, Bhandup pumping station on Saturday morning and Sewri jetty on Sunday morning. After having done my bookings I read many articles on internet, on delayed arrival of Flamingos this year.

Birding in Bhandup pumping station:

Birds of Bhandup pumping station:
On top of my bucket-list were of-course the flamingos, followed by the white-eared Bulbul, Shank's, Tern's, Baya weaver, Pied Starling, Sandpiper's & Gull's.

Birding experience:
As planned reached Bhandup pumping station at daybreak. My first thoughts about the place was isolated & unsafe.
Bhandup Pumping station
Bhandup Pumping station
 After walking quite a distance reached near a water-stream flowing out of the sewage treatment plant, most of the birding activity starts from here. In the first thirty minutes I could spot hundreds of birds including three species of Bulbul's, a group of Baya weavers, Indian golden Oriole, Indian Paradise flycatcher and many other commonly found birds.
Baya Weaver
Baya Weaver
Golden Oriole female - BPS
Golden Oriole female - BPS
White eared Bulbul - BPS
White eared Bulbul - BPS
Birders gradually started to flock in and I was no more in a deserted place. Met a few birders who were also regular visitors & heard from them the bird activity at Bhandup has been in a decline since past few years. The local birders were very much obliging and guided me on the birding activity in Mumbai.
Black-crowned Night-Heron - BPS
Black-crowned Night-Heron - BPS
After wandering around the place for more than one hour, there was still no signs of flamingos and coastal birds. As I have always believed birding never disappoints me, there it was, a lone Greater Flamingo seen in the backwaters busy searching for food. It was the first time I've ever seen a Flamingo and I must admit it was a sight to behold. On a closer look it was found to have injured its leg & should be the reason it was left alone, otherwise they are seen in large flocks.
I had always admired flamingos for their synchronized movements in large flocks, but was still happy to have spotted one.
Greater Flamingo - BPS
Greater Flamingo - BPS
The last one hour of my birding at Bhandup gave me some more lifers including a pair of Asian Pied Starling, a whiskered tern & a yellow-eyed Babbler.
As the sun was rising up, it was getting hotter and humid, which made us to call off for the day. Spent my rest of the day exploring the streets of south Mumbai.

Checklist of birds at ebird:

Birding in Sewri:

Next day morning headed directly to Sewri jetty for some serious flamingo & coastal bird spotting. This place is quite confusing as there are many watch-points around the mudflats, I started from the northernmost point, which was the best one too, only to realize its a restricted area controlled by Mumbai police. I could already see hundreds of Flamingos in distance, but couldn't go any near to them as it was a restricted place. Couldn't wait any further, rushed towards the abandoned jetty of Sewri. There were hundreds of flamingos, mostly lesser flamingos on either sides of the jetty, but at quite a far distance. Since the tides were gradually rising, I raised my pace in spotting the nearby waders and spotted many lifers including a group of common redshanks, little stint, western reef-heron in its white morph & a striated heron. By this time the tides were a bit high & the flock of flamingos to my right flew away to a farther end. It was from the secondary flamingo point towards the Haji bunder point had spot them at a closer distance along with small group of brown headed gulls & gull billed terns.
Flamingos around the mudflats of Sewri Jetty
Flamingos around the mudflats of Sewri Jetty
Common Sandpiper - Sewri
Common Sandpiper - Sewri

Striated Heron - Sewri
Striated Heron - Sewri
After a while they all started flying, it was a treat for my eyes to watch their synchronized flight. Met a lone birder at Sewri jetty, again I must mention Mumbaikars are very obliging, they have helped me for what I was looking for.

It was a soulful birding weekend, spotted more than fifty species of birds including many lifers. The otherwise lazy summer weekend was turned out to be a satisfying and soulful one.

Checklist of birds at ebird:

Second visit to Bhandup Pumping Station:
After a gap of nearly five months, I visited BPS again in Sep 2018 during the Global Shorebird Counting 2018 conducted by BOTRD group.
House Sparrow female, BPS Sep-18
House Sparrow female, BPS Sep-18
Whiskered Tern
Whiskered Tern
Greater Flamingos
Greater Flamingos
Found this snake while birding in Bhandup Pumping Station
Found this snake while birding in Bhandup Pumping Station

Checklist of birds at ebird:

Bhandup Pumping Station Life List from both of my visits:
1. Greater Flamingo - Phoenicopterus roseus
2. Rock Pigeon - Columba livia
3. Spotted Dove - Streptopelia chinensis
4. Greater Coucal - Centropus sinensis
5. White-breasted Waterhen - Amaurornis phoenicurus
6. Red-wattled Lapwing - Vanellus indicus
7. Common Sandpiper - Actitis hypoleucos
8. Whiskered Tern - Chlidonias hybrida
9. Painted Stork - Mycteria leucocephala
10. Little Cormorant - Microcarbo niger
11. Great Egret - Ardea alba
12. Little Egret - Egretta garzetta
13. Indian Pond-Heron - Ardeola grayii
14. Black-crowned Night-Heron - Nycticorax nycticorax
15. Black Kite - Milvus migrans
16. White-throated Kingfisher - Halcyon smyrnensis
17. Coppersmith Barbet - Psilopogon haemacephalus
18. Rose-ringed Parakeet - Psittacula krameri
19. Indian Golden Oriole - Oriolus kundoo
20. Indian Paradise-Flycatcher - Terpsiphone paradisi
21. House Crow - Corvus splendens
22. Large-billed Crow - Corvus macrorhynchos
23. Red-vented Bulbul - Pycnonotus cafer
24. Red-whiskered Bulbul - Pycnonotus jocosus
25. White-eared Bulbul - Pycnonotus leucotis
26. Blyth's Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus dumetorum
27. Ashy Prinia - Prinia socialis
28. Plain Prinia - Prinia inornata
29. Yellow-eyed Babbler - Chrysomma sinense
30. Oriental Magpie-Robin - Copsychus saularis
31. Asian Pied Starling - Gracupica contra
32. Common Myna - Acridotheres tristis
33. House Sparrow - Passer domesticus
34. Baya Weaver - Ploceus philippinus
35. Little Grebe - Tachybaptus ruficollis
36. Little Stint - Calidris minuta
37. Wood Sandpiper - Tringa glareola
38. Gull-billed Tern - Gelochelidon nilotica
39. River Tern - Sterna aurantia
40. Indian Cormorant - Phalacrocorax fuscicollis
41. Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis
42. Glossy Ibis - Plegadis falcinellus
43. Eurasian Spoonbill - Platalea leucorodia
44. Brahminy Kite - Haliastur indus
45. Scaly-breasted Munia - Lonchura punctulata


    1. Prices are reasonable, food is delicious, and wait staff is sweet, conscientious, and adorable. I came to venues in NYC for an event, got contained to upstairs. Service was prompt and food was awesome.


    Post a Comment