Ratnagiri: an avian paradise

“I never meant to be a birder. But the birds didn’t give me any choice.”
Diane Stopyra 


Ratnagiri, as we all know, is famous for its mangoes, cashews and seafood. The landscape here is as varied and colorful as it’s produce and cuisine.We planned a Diwali family vacation here in the last week of October. A cozy overnight train journey was an exciting first time for my seven year old!!IMG-20191023-WA0021.jpgIMG-20191023-WA0027.jpegWe were expecting a lot of sunshine. To our dismay, we were completely engulfed by pre-cyclonic winds and clouds as the cyclonic storm namely ‘Kyarr’ over the east-central Arabian Sea for the 4 days that we were there. Gushing winds, rain showers and no sunshine at all. Well, we tried to not let that dampen our holiday spirits.IMG_20191026_141331.JPG
Our first stop was Ganeshghule, Oceano Pearl homestay, near Pawas. A warm red brick house overlooking the rice fields and a short walk from the beachIMG_20191024_092817.jpgIMG_20191024_083323.jpgComfortable rooms in a coconut grove, simply amazing lip-smacking home-cooked meal. Truly the best place to reinvent yourself and master the art of idling.IMG_20191024_083545.jpgWe were pleasantly surprised to discover the fabulous avifauna here. As the rain eased out a bit by afternoon, we ventured out with our cameras. Sunlight flittered through the branches, glinting against its plumage, I spotted the white-throated kingfisher.

IMG_0152.JPGA few steps ahead, another beauty! A Red-whiskered Bulbul against the thick foliage.IMG_0154.JPGNature won us over, one warbler at a time. We enthusiastically embarked on a trail through the rice fields to capture some more beauties. IMG_20191025_075541.jpgA Green Bee-eater perched high up on a branch, peering towards the rough sea, wondering maybe what’s in store next, in the eye of the storm?IMG_0194.JPGA couple of white egrets wading through puddlesIMG_0206 (1).JPGand some red-wattled lapwings in the grass.IMG_0273.JPGWe really didn’t know how to identify and distinguish all these birds, but just kept clicking pictures and our friend Dr Mita Gala, an avid birdwatcher helped us later with the names A sea eagle soared high in the sky, as we ventured towards the coastIMG_0229.JPGand some sea gulls at the edge of the water.IMG_0202.JPGThe next day we drove northbound, past Ratnagiri on the great coastal road of Aare and Ware beach to Ganpatipule temple.IMG_0240IMG_0266

The Blue Ocean Resort and Spa at Ganpatipule was our next halt, a perfect place if you are smitten by the “bird” bug. We were greeted at the reception with a poster of the birds we could encounter here.

IMG_20191025_152513.jpgIMG_20191026_131521.jpgWalking around in the drizzling rain, with the sea raging in the background, we spotted some more birds strutting around the ground. An amazing place to inspire the “bird nerd” in you A pond heron was walking majestically on the lawnsIMG_0351.JPGand is that a Munia in the shrubs….or a Magpie robinIMG_0353 There is a small hill within the property and a walk to the temple at the top, especially when sunrise is the perfect backdrop to spot more birds that dwell in the trees up there.

Spotted a spotted dove

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When I glanced up, I saw two beautiful birds perched on the low branch of a bare tree. I caught my breath. They were no more than four feet away and looking directly at me. We locked eyes for an instant, I clicked and then they were gone. A black drongo ..and maybe an eagle ?IMG_0307 (1).JPGThat’s the story of how I accidentally became a Birder !!!

IMG_20191025_095433_BokehPerfect capture of these two cuties in the trees, isn’t it ?

Inpite of the rain and clouds, we had an amazing holiday chasing all kinds of birds. Make hay while the sun shines they say. Well if it doesn’t, life is still beautiful !!!

 

A Bird nerd who says “I always tern up for bird watching !!!!