Winter Visitors, Flamingo Spotting in Mumbai

Tripoto
19th May 2019
Photo of Winter Visitors, Flamingo Spotting in Mumbai by MilesBitesandSoul

Mumbai has a ton of hidden gems and today I'm about to share with you one of it's most breathtaking gems!

The city we call our home is also home albeit temporarily, to one of the most beautiful birds ever!!

Flamingos!

Lesser Flamingos

Photo of Bhandup Pumping Station Bird Watching, Bhandup, Ganesh Nagar, Bhandup West, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by MilesBitesandSoul

When To Spot Flamingos In Mumbai

These beautiful pink & white hued Flamingos arrive in the city every winter around December and make Mumbai their abode until the last week of May before the rains set it.

Over the years these migratory birds used to be scattered across the city and were found largely in the Sewri area, along with some in pockets near the Bhandup-Airoli-Thane circuit and some near Vashi.

This year however, thousands of them totalling into lacs, have shifted base to the Bhandup Pumping Area and we were extremely lucky to watch them in their natural habitat.

Greater Flamingos

Photo of Winter Visitors, Flamingo Spotting in Mumbai by MilesBitesandSoul

On a hot weekend in May, just 10 mins from our home, we set out towards the salt pans of Bhandup hoping to catch these visitors before they take off for the year. The trick is to check for high tide which is when the Flamingos gather in a huge group in an opening amongst the mangroves.

While lurking around the area, we came across a fisherman who offered to take us beyond the mangroves where we could watch them from a distance, yet be close enough to be enthralled by the gorgeous colours they displayed! He charged us INR 440/- per person for an hour's worth of ride in to the waters and we got ample views of the birds. 

Totally worth it!!

Flamingo Spotting in Mumbai

Photo of Winter Visitors, Flamingo Spotting in Mumbai by MilesBitesandSoul

There is a joy in watching animals and birds in their natural habitat which any other seldom brings.

Where To Spot Flamingos In Mumbai

How To Get There

Add Bhandup Pumping Bird Watching Area on your GPS and keep an eye out for the turn, off the eastern express highway on the service road. You can easily miss it! Continue right once the GPS has landed you at your destination. As you keep driving, roll down your car windows and keep an eye out on the left side to spot the Flamingos gathered in the wetlands. You might need to walk through some dried grass to get to the actual clearing. The same road will further lead you to a dead end which is where the fisherman sail from.

Pink Hues in Mumbai's Green and Blues

Photo of Winter Visitors, Flamingo Spotting in Mumbai by MilesBitesandSoul

We have heard that there is a boating excursion organised by the Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Centre, Airoli. However you will need to make bookings at least a week in advance for the weekend. We haven't tried it, but it seems that the cost is the same and the entry is from near Airoli bridge behind DAV school.

If you missed them this year, don't worry. As long as we protect their habitat (that means, no garbage being thrown into the waters and no construction being done near the mangroves) we'll see them back next year and hopefully for many years to come.

Pretty Pink Flamingos in Mumbai

Photo of Winter Visitors, Flamingo Spotting in Mumbai by MilesBitesandSoul

A Little About Flamingos

Flamingos though traditionally not migratory in nature, resulted in flocking to different parts of the world as the climatic temperatures in cold regions began to become colder. Thus killing their food. Mumbai's marshlands though are perfect for their winter getaway!

The algae in the marshlands are plenty food for these pink beauties. And hence they undertake long flights of journey to make this their temporary home till it starts to rain.

In Mumbai, you can spot two types of Flamingos, the Lesser Flamingos which have a pink hue and are smaller in size and the Greater Flamingos that are whiter with flaming wings and taller too.

They typically reside here from December to May and are always found in flocks. Female Flamingos lay only one egg per year and are usually monogamous.

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