At the end of the year when migratory birds visit most parts of India and Karnala Bird Sanctuary is no different. Karnala Bird Sanctuary boasts having more than 100 different types of birds – some resident, some visitors. Birdwatchers should be on alert during winters and monsoon, more so if they wish to spot some beautiful and rare birds such as Asian Paradise-flycatcher or the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo. However, Karnala Bird Sanctuary is not just for Birdwatcher, it offers much more if you stay in and around Mumbai.
How to reach Karnala Bird Sanctuary?
Karnala Bird Sanctuary is located in Karnala near Panvel, Maharashtra just beside the highway on the Alibaug road. Reaching this place is very easy. If you are coming from Mumbai then you can take the state local transport or your car or bike and reach there. It would not take more than two hours for you to reach this place depending on the traffic you receive on your journey. The nearest station would be Panvel railway station for those who would prefer this mode of transport. If you are travelling via your vehicle then ample parking is available. The Sanctuary starts at 7 am in the morning and typically is a good place to spend 4 to 5 hours without feeling any boredom or tiredness. The entry fee is minimal at Rs. 50 entry fees and Rs. 100 fees for carrying your camera.
Things to do at Karnala Bird Sanctuary
Karnala Bird Sanctuary has hundreds of different types of birds visiting and staying there depending on what time of the year it is. So, it is very famous with birdwatchers who would visit to spot some of the exotic birds such as the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher. Some of the species of birds which one should keep an eye for are Red-whiskered Bulbul, Orange-headed Thrush, Asian Koel, Red-vented Bulbul, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Rufus Treepie, Indian Scimitar-babbler, Verditer Flycatcher, Black Drongo, Ashy Drongo, Spotted Owlet, Common Hoopoe, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Indian Yellow Tit, Indian Grey Hornbill and so on. We during our visit saw a lot of Drongos of different kinds, flycatchers, fantails, bulbuls, and some whose name we are not sure of.
However, for all those who don’t have the patience of waiting to watch those birds, even they should pay Karnala Bird Sanctuary a visit. The forest itself is very beautiful, situated just on the backdrop on the mountain. As you venture inside the endless forest you will be filled with adventure. Different part of the forest has been carved in different ways. There is a place where you can see a valley sitting on the side-lines, then there is another place where the trees are so dense that it reminds of those forest you see in Jurassic Park movies. The paths filled with roots and thick creepers gives you a certain sense of adventure as you keep moving ahead. Monsoon I believe will be more beautiful when there will be water flowing from the top of the mountains filling the canals with water and every living tree in its full bloom. It would be quite a sight to experience.
There is also Karnala Fort for all those who love hiking. However, we did not give it a try as we had come specifically to enjoy the birds visiting the forest at this point of the year. Some other day we will visit Karnala Fort and check out how good it is.
Best time to visit Karnala Bird Sanctuary
Birdwatchers visit Karnala Bird sanctuary twice a year: First during the winter season starting from December end to February and the second would be during the monsoon starting from July to September end. Early mornings are the best time if you are a birdwatcher, as birds are more active then, and tend to call more often.
Karnala Bird Sanctuary is a perfect place for all those who love bird watching, one should not go in large groups so minimum noise is being made which will not annoy birds there. For those who don’t want to spend hours just waiting for a bird to pop up, Karnala Bird Sanctuary will remind you those forest which you see in the movies like Jurassic Parks which will give you a sense of thrill.