By Harleen Kaur:
Have you ever seen a beauty so awe-inspiring that it strikes you speechless one moment and makes you want to spout poetry in its praise at the same time? If not then the perfect place to experience it would be at Sewri Bay (pronounced as Shivadi) which is located at a short drive distance along the coast from downtown Mumbai. Against a backdrop of a bright blue afternoon sky and gently rocking grey waves, a flock of hundreds of light pink birds enters your vision. At the same time a silver wave rises as if in welcome and you come face to face with one of nature’s miracles! This was my first ever experience of bird watching when I fell in love with the pink flamingos and silver sandpipers.
However as I came out of my stupor I noticed what would make anyone cringe! A few feet away from where I stood was a big water pump releasing sewage water just a little distance away where the birds continued to feed unaware of the dangers. It seems that people in India (also the Government) just cannot stand natural beauty! You ask me how? Well it seems the MSRDC-Mumbai Trans Harbour Link hopes to bridge this creek, thus destroying a valuable avifauna habitat.
What is so special about these flamingos except their beauty? These long-distance fliers come from as far as Siberia and Mongolia to carve out a temporary home (from November-June) in the ever-decreasing green spots that the city has to offer, before resuming their arduous journey to their final destination. From graceful flamingos and osprey to marsh harriers and gull-billed terns, the winter months see more than a hundred species of migratory birds flocking to the city in search of food.
However there has been a steady decline in the number of birds visiting the city due to lack of green spaces. Naturalists and ornithologists have attributed this fact to the rampant development in this zone, pollution etc which has resulted in the destruction of their habitat due to which bird spotting has been on the decline.
Food for thought: Whether you are a bird watcher or not do not miss these beauties. Also the Bombay Natural History Society and other agencies are fighting against the construction of bridges and for their protection let’s do all we can to show them our support and appreciation.
Image courtesy: http://pl.treknature.com/gallery/photo10339.htm