As the monsoon rains recede and the blue sky emerges, it is time to venture out. If you are not able to go far, why not explore the nature trails in and around your city. Here is our five favourite places in Mumbai.
Maharashtra Nature Park, Mumbai
Earlier known as the Mahim Nature Park, this green oasis in the middle of the busy city, is a solace from the urban din. There are several trails to explore, such as the 1.8km long Main Trail the Middle Trail, which includes the Butterfly Garden, Nakshatra Van, Rain Water Harvesting section, etc. the Creekside and Ficus Belt trail, etc. There is also a Biodiversity Education Centre. The park is open from 8.30am to 3.30pm.
Bhandup Pumping Station
Take a walk through the mangrove forests in the Bhandup pumping station area. A commercial town located along the eastern suburbs of Mumbai, Bhandup still retains pockets of mangroves, which form a barrier between the land and the sea. Join a nature club tour to the area to learn about the flora. As winter approaches, the area attracts migratory birds, including flamingos.
Did you know that the wetland behind the NRI Complex in Seawoods (Navi Mumbai) is a wonderful birding zone Home to various species of cryptic birds, such as sandpipers, plovers and stints. As the weather becomes cooler, there begins a congregation of migratory birds, including painted storks, godwits, a variety of waterfowls, etc.
Do not miss a chance to explore the mixed habitat found in the area around TS Chanakya complex (now known as the Indian Maritime University) in Navi Mumbai. Some of the birds seen here are Indian roller, bay-backed shrike, baya weaver, Indian silverbill, Indian Shag, painted storks, and more. If you are lucky, you may catch sight of Lesser and Greater Flamingos too.
Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Centre
Located near Airoli, Navi Mumbai, it occupies the northern end of the Thane Creek. There is a board walk here and boating facilities for bird watching. However, the arrival of birds is seasonal and it is advisable to check beforehand before planning.