Returning to Nature: Birdwatching at ARAI/Vetal Tekdi

Written By Amol Kokane on Saturday, April 6, 2024 | 6:47 PM

After being stuck inside for almost a year because of health issues, I finally got a chance to be in the field again. This time, my son and brother tagged along with me. We chose to go to ARAI Tekdi / Vetal Tekdi, for obvious reasons. One, for recent sightings that were floating around on social media and second, "a walk on tekdi" would keep my doctors happy too.

Even though it is just a beginning of summer this year, the Sun has already started blazing like anything. Mornings are still better, so that's when we went to Tekdi. We started at around 6:15 am; it was still dark, and an exact half moon was beautifully showing up in the sky. We decided to go straight to the quarry to avoid the crowds. It was beautiful there, with couple of elderly gentlemen playing the flute; making the atmosphere amazingly melodious.

Not long after we got there, we saw our first bird of the day, a Yellow Bittern. It was a lifer for all of us. My son and brother did the camera work, while I was happy looking at it with my binoculars. In fact, I was more happy to be in nature after long time.

We stayed at the same spot for an hour or so and saw lots of other birds, like Brown Crake, Ruddy-breasted Crake, and the commoners like Peafowls, Moorhens, Waterhens, Silverbills, Minivets, Cormorants, Egrets, Parakeets, and more.

Plain Prinia
Small Green Bee-eater
Small Minivet (♂)
Ruddy-breasted Crake
Brown Crake
Painted Stork
Indian Pond Heron
Common Moorhen

When it started getting hotter, we decided to head back. The best part of the day for me was seeing the Yellow Bittern. It's a very shy bird that likes to hide inside tall grass.

The Yellow Bittern does something cool: it walks on the leaves of the tall grass instead of walking on the ground. Watching the bird walk like that, it reminded me Ajay Devgan from Phool Aur Kante movie.

If you see a Yellow Bittern from distance, it can be easily mistaken for a Indian Pond Heron.

My previous couple of attempts to see this bird were failures, but this time it felt like it was waiting there, just to welcome me.

Anyways, it was a very short trip but surely a memorable one! More than making my bird checklist longer, the trip was about getting back to something that I love and enjoy. ARAI / Vetal Tekdi is a perfect place for this. Hopefully I can gather enough strength to continue with my nature trails with shorter gaps!!


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