Lying At The Fringe Of The Delhi-UP Border, Take A Gander Through Okhla Bird Sanctuary
Lying at the Delhi-UP border, next to the Okhla barrage, the small wetland system offers a calm recluse for the bird watcher; and though the rising temperatures coupled with the quality of water and the construction activities all around have caused a dip in the visitations by migratory birds, recent efforts have helped in establishing the basic infrastructure and cordoning off the area from external disturbances.
About The Region
Enveloped in an area of about 4 sq. kms, the entry gate is located on the UP/Noida side of the park, the other side hosting a now-defunct amusement park. An artificial lake created by the barrage is what draws the avians and their curiosity-seekers to this spot.
Bird watchers have been thronging the region since pre-Independence times, especially after the construction of the Agra Canal began, but the real spurt came after the present day barrage that was erected in 1986. There is a straight road running through the length of the park which curves to the left at the end, leading up the watchtowers over the wetlands and the lake.
A Visual Treat
More than 300 species of birds have been spotted here, including threatened species like the Indian Vulture & the Sarus Crane. Although vehicles are allowed inside, we’d recommend parking the car at either end of the park and walking along the road, as the noise of the construction activities coupled with that of vehicles often renders bird calls inaudible.
The entry side of the park sees a lot of Oriental Magpie Robins, Green Bee Eaters & Eurasian Collared Doves. You can even spot a pair of Greater Coucals courting each other in the summer heat, darting away at the sight of any intruder and innumerable Ashy Drongos flitting from one perch to another. A Yellow Bellied Prinia can be heard chirping about somewhere between the bushes - the camera may remain desperate, but the target seldom remains still.
The end of the road leads to the wetlands, which in the summers is dominated by the Streaked Weaver with its meticulous nest building and the Drongo as the constant supervisor. One cannot forget the water birds though, as this is where the cream of the migration lies.
Garganey Anas Querquedula, Common Shelduck Tadorna, Comb Duck Sarkidiornis Melanotos are seen occasionally; Common Teal Anas Crecca, Tufted Duck Aythya Fuligula, Common Pochard Aythya Ferina and Greylag Goose Anser Anser being the other common species spotted here.
The park is open on all days of the week. If not driving, one recommends taking the metro till Nehru Place, from where the barrage is a mere 20 minute ride away. Entry charges are Rs 50 for the vehicles and Rs 30 per person.
Are you a fervent bird watcher who adores observing the beautiful little creatures? Come on over one sunny afternoon, binoculars in hand!
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