My last Bird-Watching trip before going to the US! I was to leave on the 5th. . .
So the destination was the famous Tata Lake, just opposite Tata Motors in the midst of the Industrial MIDC area of Bhosari. Never thought I would be going to an Industrial Estate for Bird-Watching! But, with Tata, you never know!
So I got permission (you need it to even enter) from a Rotarian friend of my Dad's and I made my way through to the gates of Tata Lake at the break of dawn. As usual, I was alone and the guards were quite surprised I was there for Bird Photography. They showed me some wild peacocks immediately, but they were more domesticated, I'd say, with the staff there feeding them every morning. But they still stood a pretty site and surely deserved a pic! I got a pic of a group of peahens straying by the entrance.
Good start, which I normally have, but I hoped this luck would continue. I had only about an hour's time on the lake before work. So I commenced my walk to the lake after parking the car by the nearest road. The moment I reached the lake, a large flock of Lesser Adjutants flew past me scaring away even a Painted Stork in their path. Wow!!!! The lake was amazing! It was the most beautiful sight as yet! And all in the midst of the corrosive atmosphere of Bhosari industrial Estate!!!
I gripped the camera tightly and began capturing the Utopian scenes of Tata Lake wildly. Lesser Adjutants, Painted Storks, Little Blue Kingfishers, White-Breasted Kingfishers, Common Moorhen, Purple Moorhen, Egrets, Cormorants all living together harmoniously - what a wonderful sight!!!
I captured a Painted Stork observing its eggs wide-eyed, preventing them from any possible prey. A bunch of lesser Adjutant Storks were flying around playfully in and around the lake.
I kept clicking away at all the birds on the lake. There were atleast forty Lesser Adjutant Storks and nearly twenty Painted Storks standing out over the lake. A couple of Kingfishers were screaming noisily and nose-diving in their favourite fashion into the lake for fish. A Grey Heron rose out of the background and across the lake before settling onto a rough patch of dried leaves. It was nature at its best!!!
I had only an hour and there was so much to see! Much against my will, I decided to explore the rest of the lake. I soon realized there was not just one - but two lakes separated by some sort of a dam over which i perched myself. Here I got the best of both the lakes although I wasn't hidden from sight completely. I waited patient;y before I spotted a Black-Crowned Night Heron hovering above the lake and then perching itself onto a branch nearby. I clicked and it posed! Brilliant!!!
It was amazing with the lake water shining brilliantly against the morning sun. But the Night Heron had other plans in mind and flew off rather hurriedly. . .
I was enthused and trudged further on the dam. I hoped I'd get a decent pic of a Common Moorhen, but the elusive bird remained out of sight for the entire hour. Instead I walked ahead surreptitiously, and peeked over into an alcove near the dam. There was another little paradise there! And there was a sight I'll never forget. A Little Cormorant, a Little Egret and a Purple Moorhen, in the same frame, at the same time. The camera clicked itself and I stared in amazement at the rare sight!!!
The Cormorant and Egret soon flew off in quick succession but the majestic Purple Moorhen posed imperiously on the little ledge. Who wants a Common Moorhen when a Purple Moorhen is posing like that!!!???!!!
It was almost like the world was paused and life was on mute. This was phenomenal!!! The bird posed for nearly wo minutes before realizing I was crouching too close for comfort and scampered away in typical Moorhen style. I caught it still peeping at me through the corner of my eye behind a bushy patch wondering what species I was!
Overjoyed by the fact I had probably taken my best Purple Moorhen pic ever, I groped even further into the bushes. There was a Grey Heron in the far corner and a Common Moorhen which scurried away the moment I spotted it. I saw a bunch of Spot-Billed Duck savouring the morning sunshine and captured them as they bathed in the rays of the sun. The Spot-Billed Ducks were an intrepid lot and didn't budge until I really got too close. They made a funny whirr and flew off into the midst of the lake to paddle alongside a few Common Coots and some Little Grebes. . .
What an experience this was turning out to be!!! It was a beautiful blend of life and nature and the splendid waterfowl were graceful as ever. . .
One hour - too less for this place! A must for all bird-wachers! Not just that, its a bird-watcher's paradise!
Can't say enough about Tata Lake, but its a place even non-bird-watchers would enjoy!!!
A quick recount of the species spotted at Tata Lake :
Little Grebe, Little Cormorant, Common Coot, Spot-Billed Duck, Asian Koel, Greater Coucal, House Crow, Large-Billed Crow, Pied Kingfisher, White-Breasted kingfisher, Little Blue Kingfisher, Common Moorhen, Purple Moorhen, Purple Sunbird, Purple-Rumped Sunbird, Common Tailorbird, Painted Stork, Lesser Adjutant Stork, Pond Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, Garganey, Indian Robin, Crimson-Backed Sunbird, Spotted Munia, House Sparrow, Common Myna, Jungle Myna, Jungle Babbler, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Intermediate Egret, Great Egret, Rose-Ringed Parakeet, Red Munia, Ashy Prinia, Plains Prinia
That's probably the longest list of sightings I've listed down for a single birdwatching trip. That's incredible for a one-hour birding trip. So that just gives an idea about the density and variety of the birds at Tata Lake. Hope you all enjoy it too!!! :) :) :)