Bird watching is a hobby which is becoming more and more popular now a days. Its fun to watch birds in there natural habitat and know about their names, their migratory patterns, their eating habits etc. With the same curiosity we headed towards Bhigwan – A paradise Of Migratory Birds, for our first bird watching trip.
Bhigwan, also know as mini Bharatpur is a small town situated along the backwater of Ujani Dam. Every year thousands of migratory birds migrate to Bhigwan for food, breeding and nesting which has made Bhigwan famous for birdwatching, especially flamingos and wildlife photography. Bhigwan is located on the Pune-Solapur Highway around 105 km from Pune (approximately 2 hours) making it a perfect one day tourist destination near Pune. During the month of October to March Bhigwan is packed with bird lovers from all over Maharashtra.
With the primary aim of irrgating the agricultural land, Ujjani dam was build on Bhima river (A tributary of Krishna) in 1980. The reservoir created by Ujjani dam is one of the largest wetlands in Asia. Since then, every year, a larger number of migratory birds from different counties are attracted towards this backwater flowing along the village of Diksal and Kumbhargaon and hence most of the bird watching happen along these two places i.e. Diksal and Kumbargaon.
Birds of Bhigwan
We decided to go to Kumbargaon for bird watching since this village has many locals who are professional trained for bird watching. The best time for bird watching is sun rise and sun set. We had contacted Shri Sandeep Nagare (9960610615) a day before to plan our itinerary. He informed us that the first boat for bird watching starts around 6.00 a.m. Hence we started around 5.30 a.m. from Baramati. It took us approximately 55 minutes to reach Kumbargaon. However, we could not take the first boat. The chilling wind and the rising sun further increased our excitement for bird watching. Once we got into the boat we were thrilled with the amazing site of birds.
The first bird which caught our attention was the brown headed Gull sitting on a tube like surface. Thanks to our boat driver who told us the name of the bird. Next, we got to see many amazing birds. A few of the birds were surface diving, skimming the surface, spearing, and stealing the fish. Our boat driver told us amazing facts about a few special birds. For example, he showed us the Bar Tailed Godwit and told us that this particular visitor in India is said to perform the largest non stop migration to India. During this journey it does not stop even for feeding.
After almost 40 minutes of drive the boat driver stopped the boat where the water got shallow. He got down from the boat and brought some dead fishes from the nearby fisherman. Then he started throwing these fishes in water. This attracted a group of painted stock. The site of these stock was a pleasure for eyes. The two hours of boat ride was a mesmerizing experience. Don’t forget to check some stunning photographs of these birds in my post ‘Birds At Bhigwan’.
Mentioned below is a list of birds we saw at Bhigwan.
- Brown Headed Gull
- Glossy Ibis
- Grey Heron
- Ruddy Shelduck (Brahminy Duck)
- Bar tailed Godwit
- Bar Headed Gull
- Indian spot billed Duck
- Indian Cormorant
- Painted Stock
- Black Winged Stilt
The only bird we could not see was Flamingoes. The boat driver told us that due to extended monsoon this year there are a very few flamingoes. Also, due to movement of other boats before us, the birds might have flied. He further added that the count of flamingoes will increase in coming months. Hopefully, during our next visit to Bhigwan we might get to see the mighty Flamingoes.
1. How to reach
- By road: The best way to reach Bhigwan is via road. Bhigwan is about 102 km from Pune. From Pune take Pune Solapur highway –> Hadapsar- Yavat–> Choufula –>Kurkumbh –> Bhigwan. At Bhigwan bird watching happens at two places i.e. Diksal and Kumbargaon. To reach Diksal you have to take left once you reach Bhigwan. The “bird watching” place is around 5-6 km. inwards. You can ask for “Juna Phul” (Old bridge). At end of the bridge, where fishermen have set up a small roadside village. From here, one can rent a small boat for bird watching. To reach Kumbargaon, once you reach Bhigwan, cross the town and travel along Solapur highway for about 9 kms. Then take left and travel for 2 km on rough road to reach Kumbargaon bird sanctuary. Many State transport (ST) bus also go to Bhigwan. Take a bus which goes to Solapur, These buses halt at Bhigwan bus depo. From here you can hire an auto.
- By rail: There are many trains from Mumbai and pune to Bhigwan. The fastest train from pune is Siddheshwar SF Express which take around 1 hour and 39 minutes to reach Bhigwan. At Bhigwan station you can hire a auto.
2. Best time to visit
The best time to visit Bhigwan is from October to March. The best time for bird watching is sun rise and sunset. So plan your itinerary accordingly. If you are planning for bird watching at the time of sunrise then try to take the first boat. During other times due to continuous movement of boats in water, many birds fly off. Also, it becomes tiring for bird watching, due to the heat during day.
Minimum Rs. 1500/day/person (inclusive of food, travel cost and boat ride). The boat ride cost is around Rs. 800 to Rs. 1000 per boat.
4. Places to visit nearby
- Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary
- Jejuri (Golden Temple of Maharashtra)
- Bhuleshwar Temple
Bhigwan – A Paradise Of Migratory Birds, is one of the few unexplored places near Mumbai and pune, which takes you close to nature where you get to breath fresh air while watching birds. Once you enter Bhigwan you get to see the birds in there natural habitate chirping everywhere. It is an awesome one day tourist spot near pune which help you forget your tiredness and make you feel energetic.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your binoculars, camera and hat and head towards Bhigwan for a visual treat of theses migratory birds. Don’t forget to check some stunning photographs of these birds in my post ‘Birds At Bhigwan’.