Karnala Bird Sanctuary lies in the Sahyadri hills about 60 km from Mumbai and 10 km from Panvel. Karnala is popular as picnic spot and as a birder’s paradise. The sanctuary is also famous for the 11th century fort of the same name.The sanctuary is quite small that is about 12.11 sq km in Raigad district of Maharashtra. The sanctuary comprises of moist deciduous forest.
The sanctuary is home to over 150 species of resident birds and 37 species of migratory birds. Karnala has two distinct seasons for bird-watching. Monsoon is the best season to spot the Malabar whistling thrush, the magpie robin and the paradise flycatcher. Winter is the best time to spot migratory birds. The blue throat, the black headed cuckoo-shrike, the blue-headed rock-thrush, blackbird and the red breasted flycatcher flock to the sanctuary during winter.
Last Sunday, we took a trip to Karnala and it turned out to be a trip of many firsts for me. The first bird that we sighted was the Spotted Heart Woodpecker. I got lousy pictures though as the bird was far and the sun was not up completely. A Gray langur suddenly decided to jump on to the same tree as the Woodpeckera and needless to say, the Woodpecker flew off.
Other firsts included the Sunbirds! So very tiny and pretty as a picture flitting from branch to branch and occassionally hanging upside down to sip the nectar from the flowers. The one that specially caught my attention was the Male Purple Sunbird in breeding plumage. It looked completely black except when the sun shone on it. Then it really came into being all blue and purple glossy feathers shining brightly. Had I been a female sunbird, I would have definitely been attracted!
The moment of the day came when a Barred Jungle Owlet decided to fill the air with its calls and show up! I love Owls and was therefore thrilled to bits when it made an appearance. Other birds that we saw throughout the day included Red Vented Bulbul, Red Whiskered Bulbul, Golden Oriole, Ashy Drongo, Verditer Flycatcher, Chestnut Shouldered Petronia, Leaf Bird or Chloropseidae , Flower Pecker and a Black Eagle.
I am sharing some of the snaps here. Most of them are from far off so you will need to click on the picture to view it clearly.