Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary, Guntur

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Photo of Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary, Guntur by Rashmi Gopal Rao

It is often said that ‘too many disappointments are usually a sign of too many expectations’. Just like for most things in life, this quote is totally applicable to travel too. Many a time I have visited places with preset expectations and have come out utterly disappointed. This is when you realize the importance of traveling with an open mind, enjoying the journey as much as the destination and the fact that all the prior “google research” you did about the place may not be the gospel truth.

Photo of Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary, Guntur 1/9 by Rashmi Gopal Rao

One place I recently visited with absolutely no expectations was the Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary which is about 5 km from Guntur town. Before I went, I did read that it was a sanctuary known for migratory birds. But the fact that I have this uncanny knack of always visiting bird sanctuaries in the ‘off season’, I thought this one will be no different.

Photo of Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary, Guntur 2/9 by Rashmi Gopal Rao

But this time was clearly different and nothing could really prepare me for the spectacle I saw before my eyes! As I entered the gates, I could see flocks and flocks of pelicans perched on the greenery flourishing on the small lake. The little swamp was bustling with ‘bird activity’ with hundreds of them nesting, some flying while others swooped down into the waters before disappearing into the marshy lands. Here are some pictures:

Photo of Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary, Guntur 3/9 by Rashmi Gopal Rao
Photo of Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary, Guntur 4/9 by Rashmi Gopal Rao
Photo of Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary, Guntur 5/9 by Rashmi Gopal Rao
Photo of Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary, Guntur 6/9 by Rashmi Gopal Rao

According to the locals, October-November is the breeding season for the pelicans but this time they migrated to Uppalapadu about a month in advance.

Apart from pelicans, the sanctuary is home to birds like cormorants, painted storks, open bill storks, grey heron, darters etc. Migration starts from July and the birds can be seen here till February. According to the locals, pelicans make way for the painted storks in December which also arrive in large numbers.

Photo of Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary, Guntur 7/9 by Rashmi Gopal Rao
Photo of Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary, Guntur 8/9 by Rashmi Gopal Rao
Photo of Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary, Guntur 9/9 by Rashmi Gopal Rao

While there seemed to be an endless sea of the avian beauties, the locals said that there were over 15, 000 of them at that point (I visited the place in the first week of Oct-17). But in general, September to February is touted to be the best time to visit.

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