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Flamingoes at Sewri Jetty

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

It was Thursday and I was still deciding what I should be doing this weekend primarily on Saturday.

I inquired with Manohar regarding his plan. He informed me that he was going to Sewri jetty to see the Flamingos on Saturday morning post that he would be free.

Flamingoes? I have never seen them in reality. Have always seen them in photos or on television. I didn't want to miss the chance. Don't know when I will get a chance next.

Sunrise at Sewri Jetty

I had Korigad fort on my mind. I was planning to start the trek, first thing in the morning. We conversed as to when to do the trek and later decided that we would first see the Flamingoes and then head off to Korigad.  

Manohar introduced me to an online community named They had organized the event. So I quickly registered with them.

Sewri is located on the Central Habour Railway Line. The Fort and Jetty are around 10 minutes away from each other and are on the eastern side of the Railway Station. They are around 20 minutes away from the Sewri Railway Station. I had been to the Sewri Fort in the past. To read my exploration on it, please click on this link.

Manohar informed me that there is a 50-50 chance of seeing them the first thing in the morning. We were to meet at Sewri rail crossing at 6:15 AM and from there head out to the Sewri Jetty. As the tide was low there was a chance of spotting them. I had my fingers crossed as I didn't to miss them.

So as decided we meet at 6:15 AM the next morning at the Sewri rail crossing. The rail crossing is next to the station. Point to note, you might have to spend a lot of time at this crossing as the trains are given priority over road transport. Manohar had bought his car along; we were stuck there for almost 15 minutes.  Car because, we were to travel to Korigad post the Flamingo session.

Flamingoes in the mudflats

At the rail crossing we meet other photographers too who were heading to the Jetty. Manohar immediately gave them a lift in his car.

In a matter of ten minutes we were at Sewri Jetty. The sun was just rising then.

We passed along the untarred and mucky roads infested with trucks. Trucks are parked on either side of the road. This is a port are i.e. Large portions of land here belong to Bombay Port Trust.  

Manohar informed me that the migratory flamingoes come here to feed. They feed on the mudflats from the months of September to May every year. 

What a beautiful sight to see at the start of the day. I immediately reached for my camera and started my photo sessions.

Another photo of Flamingoes in the Mudflats

Manohar had bought his binoculars also and he spotted the Flamingoes. He told me that they were in the water.

I finally got a glimpse of them. My prayers were answered and I finally got to see them in the flesh. But they were far away.

Got a few good photos of them and then we headed off to the other side of the jetty. The flamingos were closer in distance at this side of the jetty.  

I saw a couple of them who were white but most of them were pink. To this Manohar replied that when they are young, they are white in color. It’s only when they feed on algae year in and year out that they turn pink. The algae contains compounds called cartenoids. These compounds get deposited in the bodies and feathers of these birds because of which they appear to be pink. These are migratory birds and they migrate to Africa. This happens every year. Now the population is less but they are here in large number. He also told me then when they spread their wings , we get to see orange color.  Which I did see, sadly my camera is not as fast as the birds so couldn't capture an image of it.

The mudflats are a unique ecosystem which is made up of mud, silt and fish. So when the water from the tides recede, these remain behind. The birds feed on them. So apart from Flamingoes, Sea gulls there were other birds too. I am not aware of their names though. 
A Crane with fish in its beak
The jetty had ships docked. Some scrap and others on the verge of being scrapped. Manohar told me that one of the ships was being repaired. There were plenty of gas cylinders meant for the repair work.

We stepped on one of the scrap boats to get a better view of the flamingos. They were very close to this boat.

There were making some kind of a sound. As if they were humming some tune. But as the crowd gathered on the ship, we started talking and soon we realized that they were moving away from us, towards the sea.

As it was low tide the birds could be seen at this close a distance, else we would require the help of a binocular or a telescopic zoom lense to capture their images. Something like this.

DSLR using the services of a binocular to get a closeup shot of the Flamingoes
Along with the Flamingos there were cranes too waiting to be photographed.

We spent almost an hour here, photographing the birds. This was the first time I photographed birds and I was loving it. A big Thank You to Manohar for letting me know about this event and also to the Flamingoes for letting me photograph them.

The early morning rays of the sun looked so beautiful on the sea. It was low tide so the water was miles away. Had it been high tide then the waters would have reached the jetty. The sun effect made everything around glitter. The weather was also good. As in it was not hot at all.

We then headed off to have some traditional breakfast to Matunga.   


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