Balcony Birding

House Sparrow

“Aamchi Mumbai” is where we both are from and where our hearts belong. Even though it is hot, crowded, polluted and not so clean nor green, it probably still is the best place in the world for us. We took a few days off this week and made a trip back home to Bombay.

Before we got into bird-watching, we had never imagined that birds other than crows and pigeons existed in the concrete jungles of Bombay. Guess we couldnt have been more wrong. Bombay has a very active bird-watching club (google for Mumbai Bird Club) which organizes bird walks almost every week, and they do get some amazing sightings on each of their trips.

Pied Myna House Sparrow

Our formal attempts at birding turned out to be damp squibs. The visit to Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivili ended prematurely when we found the road to Kanheri (the recommended trail for birdwatching) was not motorable on our two wheeler. Subsequent attempts at alternate birding locations (hampered by lack of information) meant a truncated drive towards BNHS CEC (where a permit is needed) and a brief visit to Aarey Milk Colony (where we didnt know where to go). Nevertheless we stopped for 10-15 minutes for our first sighting of the Pied Starling/Myna.

White Throated Fantail Flycatcher Oriental Magpie Robin

The highlight of the trip however was “Balcony Birding”. The number of birds we could see from our homes itself was a big surprise. From our house in Goregaon, a bunch of around 3-4 white throated fantail flycatchers could be sighted everyday. Other regular visitors were the Red Whiskered Bulbul, Red Vented Bulbul, Purple Rumped Sunbird, Oriental Magpie Robin, Common Tailor Bird, some white doves and the most suprising one… the Coppersmith Barbet !!! A lot of bird calls could also be heard (including the WT Kingfisher).

And of course, there were hundreds of house sparrows; their incessant chirping could be heard throughout the day. It was almost a relief to find them so abundant in Bombay while they are rarely seen in Bangalore.

Coppersmith Barbet Red Vented Bulbul

The trip was a good break from our routine humdrum and it felt great to be woken up at 6 in the morning with the shrill call of the fantail flycatcher rather than the usual doorbell of our maid or the maddening honking on Hosur road. …now though its back to the grind.

Blue Rock Pigeon



12 Responses to “Balcony Birding”

  1. 1 Anonymous
    June 16, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    You’re pictures are fantasic. I am a bird-watcher from Indiana, USA and appreciate all your journals and photos. Keep it up!

  2. 2 Anonymous
    June 17, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    Such lovely pictures and a very good writeup too…I really feel you should post this to the JLRNTP group, please! I am sure everyone would like to share these. I love the pic of the coppersmith barbet…

  3. 3 thoughtsinflight
    June 17, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    Thanks both for the encouraging feedback. Deepa, have posted this on the JLRNTP group as well :)

  4. 4 Uma
    June 18, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    Hey Sachin & Neelu, this is simply great! I had no idea you could see so many birds in Goregaon. Is your parents’ place near Aarey milk colony? How I wish I had been interested in birds when I stayed in Andheri. There were many trees there and I’m sure there would have been many birds too. Great job!

  5. 5 Anonymous
    June 18, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    Hi Sachin and Neelu,

    Great pix. What photographic was used?


  6. 6 thoughtsinflight
    June 18, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    Thanks Uma and Sandeep. Comments are appreciated :)

    BTW, our apartment is in Goregaon West, quite some distance away from AMC. AMC would have been a great place to do some birding but we had not done our homework.

    Sandeep, we have a Panasonic Lumix FZ50 (a superzoom non-DSLR).

  7. 7 neela
    June 20, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    Goregaon W- its ages I heard anyone was from there:). I grew up there too in BEST nagar.

  8. 8 Karthik
    June 25, 2007 at 11:00 am


    I am really glad that the birding bug has caught you. More so since you guys are enjoying it. Good images you have managed. I like the House Sparrow.

  9. 9 thoughtsinflight
    June 25, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    Hey Neela, good to know someone from Goregaon visiting our blog. Its a small world indeed !

  10. 10 thoughtsinflight
    June 25, 2007 at 8:34 pm


    Really feels good to have “Guruji” visit our blog and comment. We indeed are very much into birding and try to take every opportunity available to venture out in sight of these beauties.

  11. 11 Pravin
    March 15, 2012 at 11:30 am

    I also like doves very much i want low cost dove

  12. July 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Hey there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard work due to no back up.
    Do you have any methods to protect against hackers?

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