Monday, January 9, 2012

Karnala Bird Sanctuary - A birds song !!

Other weekend getaways

08th January 2012

Perched high above,
An eye, alert, on all that flows, much below
We, of a feather flock together,

yellow, green, blue, red, dark, light,
fancifully real, feathers of delight
Soaring into the clear blue skies, our flight,
the colour of freedom, only shadowed by the night...

to each other, a wonder, you to me, me to you
His creation, a juxtaposition of different hues
Get used to me as I try and get used to you.....

          Had been to Karnala when I was a kid. All I remember of it was the huge yellow beaked hornbill in one of the cages. That guy was missing on this visit though!!
          Karnala, is about 10-12 km from Panvel and the bird sanctuary is actually bifurcated by the national highway. Though in such proximity to Panvel, we had some difficulty reaching there. The thugs (rickshaw wallahs) wanted INR 200 and we refused to give in. The ST stand was full of buses, but it seemed no one had a clue to where the birds actually nest and rest. A sensible guy told us that buses going to 'Alibaug' and 'Pen' go through that route but finding one was getting on our nerves as we were directed from one 'phatak' (stop) to another with every Ham, Prick and Weary conductor having only one word in the name of guidance "Pallikade" (On the other side in Marathi).
         We gave up and gave in to the rickshaw wallah at the rickshaw stand near the ST stand for INR180 to the bird sanctuary. Another thing to remember is, don't ask the locals for the 'Karnala Bird Sanctuary'; they will go blank as if you asked them about their illicit affair... instead ask for 'Karnala Abhayaranya' and the enlightenment is dawned upon them.
          The bird sanctuary is actually a small one and most people come here for a trek to the Karnala fort or for a day picnic. As the day progresses, you will find families flocking on a weekend, well packed with home made lunches and unpacked kids with their cricket bats, yelling at the top of their voices. Actual bird lovers are few at the sanctuary as you can hear loud voices of groups of braying human donkeys all around and then they complain of not sighting any birds...asses!! A suggestion for bird enthusiasts would be to visit on a weekday if possible. We did see some passionate patient people with binoculars waiting to get a glimpse of the feathery family on the 'Hariyali trail', one of the trails for bird watching in the sanctuary. A middle aged couple actually showed us an 'Asian Paradise Fly Catcher'. What a beautiful and strange bird with a white spotless tail about 4-5 times the length of its body. The other birds we saw at the sanctuary were an owl, egrets, a blue thrush, herons. The fauna included the black faced langur, monkeys, squirrels and a giant yellow spider. Among the caged ones were peacocks, parrots, some coloured doves, and rabbits.
          Whether you are a bird enthusiast or not, a lovely winter walk through the jungle has a flavour of its own. Amaze yourselves at the twisted trees and vines as you see the 'Thumb' of the Karnala fort in the distance. As you finish the 'Hariyali trail', you come out to the bird cages and there is a small guesthouse and a canteen. Beside and behind the canteen begins the path for the Karnala fort trek. We did venture on the trek, but that on the next blog....FEEL FREE....FLY FREE....LIVE AND LET LIVE!!

Thanks Nishant and Anil for being a part of this trip!!

Some gyaan on the sanctuary:
  • Bargain with the rickshaw fellow if you are coming from Panvel. It should not cost you more than INR 150 even if he asks for a 'Half return'. Insist to pay by the meter.
  • Buses are available at the ST stand. Catch buses going to Alibaug, Pen but ASK if they stop at Karnala.
  • Entry fees to the sanctuary is INR 20. Car parking charges and bike charges extra.
  • Like most bird sanctuaries, winters (November to February) are the best time to visit as there are chances of meeting the migratory folks. Try to make it on a weekday if possible.
  • If you are planning to stay longer than few hours or plan to take the trek to Karnala fort, take a packed lunch from home or instruct at the canteen to have your lunch ready when you get down from your trek (You need to tell in advance). Don't forget to take your bottle of water on the trek.
  • Breakfast (limited choice) is available at the canteen. 'Chai' and 'nimbu paani' are available outside the canteen.
  • Speak softly and speak minimum. I know it's tough, but remember that saying...'Silence is Golden'. You eyes will definitely be rewarded.
  • Be patient!! This ain't a circus where you paid for the listed performance.
  • Hariyali Trail - Karnala Bird Sanctuary


    The architect

    Thumbs Up of Karnala Fort in the distance

    Little Egret

    Dense foliage


    Posing for the cam

    Asian Paradise Fly Catcher
    What a Taile....Asian Paradise Fly Catcher

    Malabar Whistling Thrush

    Black faced Langur



  1. I haven't checked in here for a while as I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are great quality so I guess I will add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it friend :)
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  2. It's actually a great and helpful piece of info. I am satisfied that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.
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  3. Greetings from Mumbai.

    I stumbled upon this blog much after it was written. I was a bity skeptical thinking its probably not a very great place to find birds but I must say it is quite reassuring having read up on your experience there. Looks like the place would have something for me after all!

    I agree with the families bit. I guess there needs to be a 5 minute briefing by some authority right at the entrance to the entire family so they would know better than to shout and scream.... But then that would be a task!

    Thanks for sharing. Before reading this, I was not so sure but after reading it I am sure I wanna make a trip there tomorrow! Especially that they have places to park bikes. Cheers and good luck on future journeys :)

    - Parth M, nature lover.

  4. Its really nice article with some amazing pics. Its really helpful for reader. If you Want accommodation near karnala bird sanctuary visit

  5. Lovely sightings your it a at Karnala...