What wakes you up every morning apart from an alarm or family members? Think. Your day begins sips of tea or coffee and newspapers. Besides sunshine, can’t you spot chirpies flocking your window panes or balcony? Be it sparrows or pigeons! I won’t talk about crow, knowing well the cocking can be a major turnoff at daybreak!
Birdwatching is an offbeat yet interesting hobby. So, for all those who are in love with birds, a visit to these bird sanctuaries might be ideal for a short tour. Here we go!
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Rajasthan:
Also, known as Keoladeo Ghana National Park, this sanctuary homes various migratory birds during winter, mostly from Central Asia and Siberia. Major migratory birds include flycatchers, wagtails, larks, pelicans, wheatears, cranes, ducks, pipits, hawks, stints, larks and eagles among hundreds of others.
Best time to visit:
Year round, October to February for migratory birds. Getting there: Delhi and Jaipur are nearest to the sanctuary. You can get here by roads too from Delhi, Agra or Jaipur.
Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, Gujarat:
A huge lake and thick forests mark this sanctuary in Ahmedabad. This is one of the largest in India too. The wetland homes grebes, flamingos, plovers, sandpipers, coots, shovellers, eagles, spoonbills, wild pigeons, wood peckers and pintails. Best time to visit: November to February for migratory species.
Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, Haryana:
Over 250 varieties of wingies can be seen here. Migratory birds from Afghanistan, Siberia and Europe can be seen here during winter. Resident species include weaver birds, rock pigeons, collared and laughing dove, painted stork, kingfisher with white throat, spotted owlet, myna, cattle egret, ibis, red parakeets, black and gray francolins, purple sunbird, Indian rollers, lapwing larks and bulbul.
Four watchtowers facilitate birdwatching. Several migratory birdies flock around a lake in the sanctuary complex. Wood and spotted sandpiper, bee-eater, cuckoos, night heron, Eurasian wigeon, Northern pintail, yellow wagtail, koel, bluethroat, godwit, comb duck, starling, pelicans. Best time to visit: Early mornings, year round.
Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh:
This sanctuary is mainly known for rare species of migratory birds like cotton teal, bronze winged jacana, lapwing, king crow, whistling teal, bee eater, roller, open billed stork, sarus crane, white ibis, gadwall. Best time to visit: November to February.
Chilika Lake Bird Sanctuary, Orissa:
This is one of the most visited bird watching site in India. Hundreds gull, ibis, spoonbill, kingfisher, sea eagle, avocet, gull, kite, bar headed goose, flamingo. Best time to visit: year round.
Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary, Karnataka:
Coming to south India, located on the banks of Kaveri, you can spot a wide range of local and migratory avian species here. Heron, ibis, snake birds, spot billed pelicans, darters, river terns, little egrets, partridge, flycatcher, blue bird, munia, bulbul, warbler, flowerpecker, shrike, bushchat and stone ploughers flock the sanctuary. Best time to visit: year round.
Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, Kerala:
God’s Own Country at its best, again! Located on the banks of Periyar River, this is also referred to as Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. The landscape with bushes favors bird population here. Rare species like jungle fowl, Oriental bay owl, Malabar lark and parakeet, Nilgiri flycatcher, Malabar trogon, sunbird, falcon grey, jungle myna, hornbill, fishing eagle, jungle blabber, parakeet, Sri Lanka frogmouth, sunbird, Malabar trogon, night heron, egret, woodpecker, water hen, grey headed bulbul, babbler, wagtail — feature prominently. Best time to visit: year round, winter months preferable.
Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu:
Forget beaches, go green! Open billed storks dominate this place. But that’s not all. Lookout for blabbers, barbets, painted stork, egrets, grey heron, red shank, dongros, mynas, combed duck, purple heron, Spot billed pelican, short toed eagle, little and black winged stilt, pond heron, dabchick, kingfisher, white crested woodpecker, pintails, darters, cuckoos, parakeets, bee eater and kites. Best time to visit: Winter months.
Forest resorts are available through advance booking. With winter lurking round the corner, take a weekend off and set out. Pleasant weather, pristine lakes, clear sky — you have it all. These places aren’t among popular tourist spots. So, you get to share your leisure with friends and family. Fly high! I mean, Venture out to hear the chirps!
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