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Posts Tagged ‘Drongos’

For last few consecutive years, I wish I could go to Bhigwan and see Flamingos. Even last year, I missed a chance to accompany my friend. Finally last Saturday got that golden opportunity.

Pink beauties!We planned to start very early morning and fascination of seeing flamingos made me wake up at 3:40 AM. I packed my sack and we started at 4:30.

P.S – I didn’t (read couldn’t) stay awaken late night or get up early in the morning for my studies but picnics, outings, Photo shoots, and camps are exceptions. I can’t sleep at night thinking about the place and become restless waiting to get up. 🙂

We enjoyed a ‘LONG’ drive to reach Bhigwan. It was 6:45 and we badly needed a tea break. We went to Hotel Sagar. It was neat clean and breakfast was good. We enjoyed Upma and Idlis with hot sips of tea.

To reach Bhigwan:

  1. Take Pune-Solapur highway.
  2. Drive approx. 100 Kms to reach Bhigwan village.
  3. Take left turn to go to ‘Diksal’ village.
  4. Drive more 8-9 Kms to reach Water bodies.
  5. After reaching Diksal, take right to go to an old bridge.
  6. Total distance is approx. 110 Kms.

Fishermen at BhigwanWe saw a flock of Asian Openbills and we took our first halt here. Another new bird called “Rosy Pastor” (also called “Rosy Starling”) caught our attention. Then there was a pair of Pied Kingfishers, Sea gulls, Teals, Bulbuls. We clicked few snaps and proceeded further. We came at extremely narrow but beautiful road. This road covered by water on both the sides, was earlier a railway bridge and now converted into road. Heavy vehicles are not allowed on it. We have to take care that we don’t wait while crossing this stretch. We found Marsh Harrier sitting on the tree here. We crossed the bridge and parked our car. It was pleasant morning and sun rays made water to sparkle. Fishermen were all geared up with their boats for fishing. We enjoyed watching and clicking River terns, Pond herons and sea gulls in action.

Take off...We waited there for while for boat to come. My friend, who had been to Bhigwan many times has befriended a boatman called “Gangaram”. Gangaram knows exact location of flamingos but he was busy fishing in mid water. We took up another boat and reached him. His own ship was full of fresh fishes that he caught. He jumped in our boat and we started heading in search of flamingos. After 30-35 mins of rowing, we could trace few flocks of flamingoes. It was amazing, just 5 of us, water all around and then there were marvelous flamingos. I was seeing them for first time in natural habitat. I took out my binoculars and kept watching them till we were considerably near to click them. We took our cameras and captured as many shots as we can. My friends with Canon 100-400mm lens were literally ‘shooting’ and their camera sounded like machine gun – “khat-khat-khat-khat!!!”. We found 3 flocks and approached each one in descending order. We turned to second after third flew away. For first time I caught birds in take-off and flight and that too flamingos. My happiness knew no bounds. Research says that flamingos get their pink color due to aqueous bacteria and beta carotene obtained from their food supply.

We also found Cormorants, Brahminy ducks, terns, teals, Great (White) Egrets in water. We came back with immense satisfaction.

My friends continued shooting few more River terns and I was keen to walk on that narrow road covered by water on both the sides. I found Tree Pipit, Common Sandpiper, Drongos, Small Green Bee Eaters, While-throated Kingfisher, Prinia. The herd of sheep blocked the road for some time. Skilled shepherds guided crossing vehicles instead of controlling their herd. It was fun watching a typical rural life.

We came back at Bhigwan and had some snacks before returning back to Pune.

Pink beautiful Flamingos are still lingering on my mind… It was like a dream come true! 😀

Note: For more snaps visit – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruhiclicks/sets/72157609126814258/detail/

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Deshpande Kaka (who is more of Kaka (Uncle) to me than my C.A) insisted that we must go to Bhuleshwar & Kanfinath. I searched for route to Bhuleshwar on the net and started early morning.

To reach Bhuleshwar –

  1. Take Pune – Solapur Highway and drive approx. 30-35 Kms.

    Bhuleshwar temple view

  2. 2 Kms. before Yavat village, take right turn along eastern bank of canal.
  3. You will see sign board “Bhuleshwar”.
  4. Drive approx. 8-10 Kms to reach Bhuleshwar Temple. As you begin, you will start getting view of Bhuleshwar temple located top on mountain. The road is in OK condition.
  5. Caution: On this way, there is a ghat stretch on around 3-4 Kms. and the road is steep so make sure that vehicle brake is in good condition. There is a very steep turn while climbing as you approach near the temple.

We started on Solapur Highway and took right turn 2 Kms before village ‘Yavat’ and the fun began… We got a warm welcome from Parakeet family. These Parakeets had bluish tails. Then came Green bee-eaters, Drongos, Brahminy Mynas and Red-wattled lapwings.

Each time we saw new bird, we waited there and clicked it. There was a villager who was following us on his bike. He was surprised on what we were clicking. We didn’t notice that he was following us. After a while, we gathered the daring and asked us “Whether we would be interested to see Gerbera plantation?” and we immediately nodded our heads in assertion.

Pink Gerberas

He took us to a nearby place. He had quick talk with the owner and we got permission inside the green house, which sheltered 4 hectares of Gerbera plantation. It was just unbelievable! There was endless panorama of colorful Gerbera flowers. It reminded us of tulips in “Dekha ek khwaab….” from Silsila movie. We captured these beautiful floras through our lenses. He also gave us info that 1 hectare of Gerbera worth at least one lakh rupees. It meant such cultivations are costly affairs. All these flowers are sold in Pune flower market for 1-2 rupees each. We were very thankful to that biker who showed us this elegant treasure.

All these birds and Gerberas already made our day! Actual destination was additional bonus. 🙂

Bhuleshwar Temple

We climbed ghats to reach Bhuleshwar Temple on the mountaintop. The temple hilltop is huge and there is lot of parking space available for vehicles too. Bhuleshwar temple is built in 13th century and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was previously a fort called “Mangalgadh”. The devastated evidences show that this temple must have been ruined by Muslim invaders and reconstructed again. The entrance of temple is very interesting. It is called “Gaimukhi construction” which dates back to Shivaji Maharaj’s era. The walls of temple are decked with beautiful carvings right from entrance.

There is mythological story that after Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati had fight and angry Shiva came here to meditate. Devi Parvati, dressed as “Bhilla” woman danced to fascinate Shiva. Her beauty seduced him. They went to Kailas from here and got re-united. The place got its name from this story. “To sedate” means “bhul” in Marathi. As Shiva was seduced by Paravati, hence he is also called “Bhuleshwar”.

Inside Bhuleshwar...

We bought Pooja thali (contained coconut, flowers, few issence thicks and a bowl with 5 pedhas) and went inside. It is believed that the god himself eats the Prasad which devotee offers him. We did not know about this. Pujari told us about this. He kept the bowl of pedhas inside the shiv-linga and asked us to wait. After 10 mins, he took the bowl out. To our astonishment, it had only 2 pedhas in it. We tried to find out where did the rest pedhas disappeared, with the help of torch inside the shiv-linga. There were 3 stones whom they call “Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh” and no rat, no snake, no cockroach inside. It was no black magic and nor did Pujari play any trick. Sometimes, there are things beyond your logic and science and you ought to believe them. We had that Prasad and explored the temple.

There was huge Nandi inside the temple along with Ganapati idol in woman form. It is believed to be only such idol of Ganesh. Also there is huge spectacular bell outside the temple. We climbed upstairs and the view was beautiful. We found many Babblers, Mynahs, Ravens and Laughing Doves.

We spent some time there and had few quick bites which we carried with us. We started our back journey and decided to take opposite route while returning. This is Bhuleshwar-Saswad road. We reached Saswad and had some food there. Our next destination was Kanifnath temple. We took up road to Kanifnath which went through small villages. It was lush all over and could get some uncommon birds like Indian Silver Bills, Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark, Bushchat. Sweet melodious song of American Robin thrush caught our attention. It compelled us to wait there for while and admire these nature’s best creations. We were able to capture some picturesque landmarks in our camera.

To Reach Kanifnath:

  1. Take road Pune – Hadapsar – Saswad.
  2. In village Saswad, there is junction. From here, take road to Kanifnath.
  3. Drive approx for 10-15 Kms to reach Kanifnath.

Kanifnath Temple

We climbed up Kanifnath and cool flowing breeze soothed our senses. Just cannot find words to explain how divine the atmosphere at the top was. We parked our car and reached Kanifnath temple. This beautiful architectural splendor is one of the Navnath temples. There is small cave opening inside the temple and women are not allowed to enter in that cave. Only men are eligible. Women can however sit in temple. We took up Prasad and started descending. We had to drive back to Saswad. We took up Saswad – Hadapsar – Pune road to reach Pune.

We came back home in the evening and tried to recollect the day we spent. All the wonderful memories of the day flashed in our minds – beautiful Indian Silver Bills, Uncommon Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark, amazing Gerberas, sweet melody of American Robin thrush, unbelievable carvings at Bhuleshwar, accepted Prasad by God which we offered, green landscapes on way to Kanifnath and cold breeze on Kanifnath top!!!

Note: For more snaps visit – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruhiclicks/sets/72157603325875234/detail/
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