Do you remember how movie halls turned into vibrant exhibitions of pink when Barbie was released? Believe it or not, every year Mumbai witnesses areas turning into seas of pink, and no, it's not because of Greta Gerwig. The credit goes to the beautiful flamingo birds, nature's living, spirited, pink sculptures that gracefully adorn Mumbai’s waterside. In India, flamingos are not a common sight, which makes them more exotic and appealing to bird-watching enthusiasts, which comprises both tourists and local folks. While they arrive around November and depart in June, the best period to see them is between January and March, as that’s when these pink feathered friends are most visible. However, there are only a few spots that enable us to marvel at these beauties in their habitats. As we step into the thick of ‘flamingo season’ here are a few spots in Mumbai, where you can watch them:
I. Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary
Every year, numerous flamingos migrate to the Thane Flamingo Sanctuary from the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. When the tide is low, the expansive marshland becomes covered with fresh algae, which becomes a source of food for the visiting birds. Interestingly, it is the consumption of this algae that gives the flamingos their distinctive pink color. Thane Creek is a designated location for observing flamingos and is accessible by road. Visitors can take part in a boat safari that commences at the Coastal Marine Biodiversity Centre in Airoli and extends for 10 kilometers, providing an excellent vantage point for observing the flock.
II. Sewri Mangrove Park
In the early 1990s, flamingos were first seen at Sewri mudflats. The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) conducted a thorough study and started organizing frequent tours for wildlife enthusiasts. Currently, BNHS offers flamingo sighting tours starting at the railway crossing in Sewri. Neeraj suggests bringing binoculars for a closer observation of the birds' behavior. For photographers, a telephoto lens (400mm and above) is recommended to capture their graceful movements.
III. Tawale Wetlands, Nerul, New Mumbai
The synchronized movements of flamingos turn the wetlands pink, resembling a graceful dance. Birdwatchers can reach the Tawale Wetlands by road or on foot to admire this spectacle. The best times to spot them are early mornings and evenings, ideal for photography due to the lighting conditions.
IV. Bhandup Pumping Station
Wildnest, a team of skilled naturalists, organizes wildlife safaris and birdwatching excursions in and around Mumbai. Among their offerings is a tour specifically designed for observing flamingos from up close aboard boats. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed by the Wildnest team at the designated meeting point. Subsequently, they head to Bhandup Pumping Station for a brief introduction to flamingos and other bird species that can be sighted. The tour then continues with a boat ride, during which the team assists in spotting flamingos and other shore birds using binoculars.
V. TS Chanakya Birding Point
This location is considered one of the prime bird-watching spots in Mumbai, as confirmed by bird-watching specialists, and is also frequented by various migratory bird species. Along with flamingos, you can spot many other beautiful wetland birds like kingfisher, grey heron etc, as well.
VI. Mahul Creek (Near Chembur)
Located In Mahul village, the Mahul Creek is home to mangroves, fisherpeople, and their boats. You can seek assistance from the locals to find the precise location for observing flamingos.
If you enjoyed reading this, here's more from Homegrown: