Sunday, July 08, 2007

Birding trip to Suriamal.

On the 3rd of July, When I received the mail from Doreen I was pretty excited about the birding trip on Sat 7th July to Suriamal, near Jawahar-Khodala-Mokhada area as I had not done it for a long long time.

After some Google-ing on the net I was pretty excited to find that Suriamal is situated around 32 km north from Wada junction. This essentially tribal belt comprises largely hilly terrain east of NH8 and much of the region seems like the hand of development has just passed it by, despite proximity to Mumbai and Thane cities. There are some good forest pockets amid largely open and sparsely vegetated terrain that springs to energy with the monsoon rains when a veritable empire of life unfolds as numerous streams and rivers turn into gushing torrents and myriad waterfalls spring forth. There isn't any Protected Area declared here and considerable stretches of forest are being degraded due to continuous human disturbance, resulting in a low number of most wildlife species.

We were supposed to meet in Sion at 6:45 AM near the Hotel Vrindavan our common meeting point. On the 6th July I was working night shift and so had to reach there directly from office. On reaching there got some packed lunch from Hotel Vrindavan and had a filling breakfast of Vada Sambhar for myself.

We started our journey about 45 minutes late at 7:30 AM as Paravati had got onto a wrong train from Kurla which did not halt at Sion and so she had to come back from Dadar. We had a gala time in the Sumo discussing a wide plethora of topics, including Himesh Reshamia's newly released Aap Ka Suroor, Bappi Da's music, our past and recent trekking experiences and so on.

We enjoyed every bit of the Lush forest, numerous waterfalls and the Gargai river gushing in full force which was a great company all through our drive.

We happened to pass by a very beautiful waterfall thru our journey which we happened to underestimate and proceeded with our drive. After about 15 minutes of a drive we reached the place where we thought we could get our bodies wet but that waterfall was a total letdown as there was very less rain since morning on that day. So we decided to go back to the same waterfall which we had left behind by mistake.

We took a small trail to reach the waterfall off the main road where we changed our clothes to get under the waterfall. After tons and tons of fun and frolic and photography sessions we continued our journey.

We had lunch around 1 pm at the forest rest house on the plateau and then decided to have a walk through the plateau. Paravati was very excited about the idea of working with the local villagers in their fields and was supported by Manasi and Maggie for the same.

We continued to wander around the plateau until rain forced us to get back into the Sumo quickly.

As for butterflies seen: Jailed jay, leopard, common-crow, many lemon pansies (feeding on the flowering lea) grass yellow, plain tiger, glassy tiger.
Birds seen: Drongo, Kingfisher, little cormorant, mynas, cattle egrets in breeding plumage.
Heard the calls of: the brain fever bird (Hawk Cuckoo) puff throated babbler, Quaker babbler and many warblers.

On our journey back we were totally mesmerized by the beauty of the nature and the beautiful bridges of a gothic like architecture and waterfalls.

We reached Sion around 7:30 pm and then dispersed after bidding adieu to each other. I took a rickshaw along with Rohini ji to Bandra and then took a Virar fast local to Vasai.

For visiting my online album of this trip please visit:

Cheers !


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