Sunday, 3 July 2011

Pipavav .... My birding school

My first visit to Pipavav, a village in Gujarat, some years ago, had an interesting future in store for me. Every day on way to my project site I came across water bodies which later I came to know as sea water which rose and ebbed with the tidal cycles. Some of the ponds attracted various kinds of water birds. Surprisingly the locals hardly took any notice of them.

My first formal meeting with these birds took place on a Sunday morning and all my pictures during this particular phase of my project were shot using a 12X zoom camera. Later as my aspirations grew, I moved onto a Canon DSLR with a suitable and good enough zoom lens but not the one I would like to have, purse permitting. During my very recent visit I tried to visit the same familiar places and as they say ... a criminal always returns on his location of first crime !!! 

Here for the sake of continuity with my past visits, I am posting 3 of my pictures which even today bring me back my memories of early days in bird watching. After that, you will see the ones I shot on the recent visit. It was amazing how many birds I could sight and click during this rather a short ... just over a day's visit to the area. Here we go first with 3 pictures from the very spot from where my bird watching began in November 2006 .


Local environment, culture and farming as the main occupation has fostered growth of both flora and fauna. Some credit should also go to the local government which has ensured water for farming.
There are n number of places in India which could boast of such scenic beauty but it never stales. This is from a nearby village
While this man is relaxing in a shade under a tree on a morning having an overview
of his village, the women of the towndo not seem to be that lucky. But smiles on
their faces tell a different story.

The balancing prowess of the local women needs a special mention. It is not rare that one
sees 3 pots balanced on the head with an infant on the waist !


Now I come again to my pass-time to which I got addicted to after spending a few months in this place. Pipavav is between the 2 airport towns of Bhavnagar and Diu, the Union Territory. Anyone with some interest in bird watching will not miss the abundance and variety of birds while driving down between these 2 towns, a distance of about 200 kms and surrounding areas.

My interest in birds was stirred originally in another formally known birding haven i.e Dandeli in Karnataka, a decade prior to my Pipavav visit. But only with the advent and affordability of digital technology in photography, could I practice it with some acceptable results. Still an amateur at both photography and bird watching, all credit for good pictures goes primarily to the technology and abundance and friendliness of these birds in the area. Here we go with what I could sight just over a day on the recent visit :

For this shoot, I was in a precarious situation. On one side I had the urge to snap this bird in flight which was hovering over my head and on the other , here was a ferocious mother trying
to protect her babies from the invaders like me.

The following 4 shots were shot on the hotel property where I stayed overnight. I was cursing the driver that he had not reported as agreed nor the breakfast was ready at 7 as promised by the hotel staff. So there was only one thing I could do. Carry the camera and walk outside. And this was the outcome.


My morning tour commenced an hour late but as it is often experienced, all was well at the end of the day. Following shots were the result of my time on the road around Pipavav in the first half of the day before hitting my favourite dhaba serving Gujarati thali. Not bad because I had some anxious moments with dark clouds and some intermittent showers. 





It is not unusual to sight a flock of birds flying above, as we move.
One has to be constantly on alert with the camera not to miss any photo opportunity.

Most often seen water species in the area are the egrets and herons of various
kind, Black, white and glossy Ibisis, Spoonbills, Painted storks, Pelicans,
Demoiselle cranes, several kind of smaller waders, moorhens, coots, ducks and
not to forget, flamingos. All of course depending upon the season.

Apart from these, I have been lucky to sight other land based varieties few of
which are in this post.

Lastly, I should not forget the Neelgais and of colaboration between man and the birds in and around Pipavav. I considered myself quite lucky that 4 Neelgais posed for me during my recent visit. Also the close collaboration between the man and the birds is evident in the last picture of this blog.

Neelgais often cross your roads and if the driver is not alert, it can lead to accidents. Neelgais are all over the area and we often hear complaints and the menace they cause in the fields. I had heard a story that a few lions who were let loose from the near by Gir forests had helped keep their number in control but could not check its veracity. Unfortunately, I have never sighted a lion during my visits to Pipavav. Who knows I would be lucky some day to sight the King of the Jungles !

Thanks for your attention. Your critical comments on the post would be more than welcome.


  1. awesome blog nandan maam. made me feel i was watching animal planet on d net :)

  2. Great variety and even greater talent

  3. Nandan,
    having started only in 2006, you are an expert not only in capturing the birds in your camera but also in identifying them ! You have a natural talent for it. I enjoyed each of these photos, not forgetting the Neelagis ! I have clicked some animals but most of them in a Zoo ! Let us plan a Bird watching trip together, so that you can introduce me to that interesting hobby. I hear a lot of bird cries around me but fail to spot even a single bird !

  4. awesome pictures Nandan; looking forward to the next post.

  5. marvelous Nandan keep it up , we will have great time watching and enjoying for free.

  6. SUPERB PHOTOS, great commentary. entertaining. i will be posting this link on my facebook. Thanks

  7. Very good narration Nandan, even the photos.

  8. Nandan,

    I had originally glanced at the top of the blog and saved it for a more convenient time. I am glad I did that. What a wonderful collection of bird photos. You are really very good. I will keep coming back to the blog to enjoy and cherish these wonderful moments you have captured from Pipapava.

  9. Hi Uncle, Its really nice to see a good amount of pics collected in one Blog and that too such a well written one, that actually gives us a feeling of being there and enjoy what u have enjoyed there! Its a great inspiration for Bird lovers. We are hoping for some more Bird adventures and their lovely description in ur blogs in future.

  10. Beautiful place. Would love to go birding there.

  11. Pipavav !! Indeed beautiful place... Near Rajula you can find many water points, check dams and big dam sites too.. There is many migrating birds visit regularly at there.. I personally check it out and visited many sites..
    btw. I am from Amreli so Rajula is near from my place.. So visit regularly there..
    Great Narration - picture.. Excellent Work done.

    Chetan - 9426125424

    1. Beautiful shots and a strong writeup .........excellent ......