29th Pakshi Mitra and Sawantwadi

29th  Pakshi Mitra  and  Sawantwadi

The  Dais

The Dais

29th  Pakshi  Mitra  Sammelan    and  Sawantwadi  seemed like  a  good  combination.

I  became  a  Life  Member  of  the  Maharashtra Pakshi  Mitra  at  the  25th  Sammelan  held  in  Mumbai ,  in  2012  at  the  Sanjay  Gandhi  National  Park.  It  was a  wonderful  peep  in  this  world  of  ‘friends  of  birds’  over  two  days.  I  still  remember  ‘murmuration’  of  Rosy  Starlings, a  prize  winning  image  from  Jamnagar   and  the  sheer  excitememnt  when  we  witnessed this  incredible  natural  phenomenon  during  our  own  visit  to  Jamnagar  in  2013.

We  decided  to  attend  the  Sammelan. Mr.  Kishor  Thakur  was  also  to  attend, he  is  a  keen  birder, a  great  friend  of  TheUntamedEarth …  additionlly  ahis  hometown  is  close  to  Sawntwadi.

School  Children  In  A  Procession

School Children In A Procession

USS  At  The  'Salim  Ali'  Gate ... entry  to  the  Venue

USS At The ‘Salim Ali’ Gate … entry to the Venue

SVS, USS, KNT  At  The  Venue

SVS, USS, KNT At The Venue

Now  that  we  were  attending  the  Sammalen  it  seemed  logical  to  share  some  of  our  experiences  from  the  world  of  birding.  As  I  thought  about   my  possible  presentations,  one  thing  stood  out  and  that  became  one  presentation  for  the  Sammelan.  The  title  was  very  aptly  ‘Sakkhe Shejari’ –  ’सख्खे शेजारी’  or  ‘True  Neighbours’. It  was  an  account  of  the  life  cycle  of  three  different  bird  species  which  we  happened  to  witness  right  next  to  us,  at  our  residence  in   Dadar, in  the  heart  of  Mumbai. For  us, it  was  a  presentation  of  a  very  different  kind  and  therefore  quite  special :) . Kishor’s  presentation  highlighted  the  thriving  Red breasted  Parakeets  population, a  record  of  observations  and  documentation  of  more  than  five  years  …  remarkable  indeed !

Sawantwadi  or  Sunderwadi,  an  erstwhile  princely  state  is  a  scenic  town  nestled  in  the  Sahyadris and  is  spread  around  a  central  lake – Moti  Talav  or  Lake,  under  the  Narendra   Dongar or mountain,  a  biodiversity  hotspot.  This  entire  region  is  dotted  with  greenery  and  there is  a  significant  forest  cover…  but  most  of  the  land  is  in  private  hands  and  with  time,  a  lot  of  this  land  is  changing  colour -  the  green  is  yielding  way  to  residential  zones  or  commercial  plantations.  The  diversity  of  the  original  vegetation, like  old  large  trees,  is  diminishing  and  it  is  certainly  affecting  the  bird  life … the  biggest  sufferers  are  the  hornbills,  notably  the  Malabar  Pied  Hornbills.

The  Sammelan  was  solidly  backed  by  the  Sawantwadi  Municipal  Corporation  and  the  active  participation  and  the  presence  of  the  corporators,  as  well  as the  Mayor  was  tangible. The  well  attended  Sammelan  was  inaugurated  by  the  Rajmata  of  Sawantwadi .  The  addresses  of  the  dignitaries  highlighted  the  role  that  Sawantwadi  or  such  places could  play  in  taking  birding  to  masses  and  smaller  towns  of  Maharashtra.  To  me  this  was  one  very  important  aspect  of  the  Sammelan.  The  forest  department  was  also  present,   in  fact  the  DFO  Mr. Ramesh Kumar  was  the  Guest  Of  Honour  and  spoke  quite  well,  touching  on  certain  key  issues  of  conservation  and  surprised  everyone  by  talking  in  wonderful  Marathi.

The  Rajmata  At  The  Inauguration

The Rajmata At The Inauguration

... A  Young  Enthusiastic  Attendee  :)

… A Young Enthusiastic Attendee :)

The Essay  competition , the  photo  competition , the  Birds  Dindi  or  procession  of  the  school  children  added  to  the  grandeur.

The  theme  of  the  Sammelan  was  Bird  Tourism  and  various  pros and cons  of  this  aspect  were  discussed.

The  presentations  of  numerous  bird  lovers  from  different  corners  of  Maharashtra, touching  from  simple  observations  to  serious  scientific  studies  were  our  window  to  a  different  world.

The  chairman  for  the  Sammelan , Mr. Sharad  Apte  has  to  his  credit  the  recordings  of  most  of  the  bird  species  of  the  country  and  his  data  is  open  to  anyone  interested  in  research.

The  endangered  vultures  and  the  novel  approach  of  ‘Vulture  Restaurants’  in  some  centres,  the  Vulture  census  were  quite  Interesting.  There  were   amateur  birders  to  subject  experts  including  a  contingent  of  veterinarians. Presentation  on  ’Pelagic  Birds’  added  a  different  dimension  to  the  proceedings.

It  was  heartening  to  see  some  young  participants. And  it  was  a  sheer  delight  to  meet  Ms. Shweta   Desai,  the  amazing  artist  behind  the  bird  paintings … they   were so   life  like. Looks  like  the  legacy  of  the  greats  like  Carl DSilva  will  and  can  continue…..

Sweta  Sawant  and  Her  Amazing  Bird  Paintings

Sweta Desai and Her Amazing Bird Paintings

For  us  the  Sammelan  introduced  us  to  a  different  world,  a  world  beyond  glossy  bird  images …  a  world  of  meaningful  dialogues, new  friends, renewing  bonds  with  old  friends  and  a  newly  found  purpose.

Profs  Dhirendra  Holikar, Ganesh  Margaj  of  Wild  Konkan  - वाईल्ड  कोकण, सावंतवाडी, Subhash  Govekar  of  Nisarga  Premi  Mandal –  निसर्ग प्रेमी मंडळ, सावंतवाडी  and  Bhau  Katdare  of  Maharashtra  Pakshi  Mitra –  महाराष्ट्र पक्षी मित्र, चिपळूण ,सह्याद्री निसर्ग मित्र,  चिपळूण  among  others  were  the  chief  architects  of  the  Sammelan.

We  were  happy  to  be  a  part  of  the  Sammelan  and  look  forward  to  more  of  such  events.


Drs  Ujwala  and  Sanjeev  Shevade




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9 Responses to 29th Pakshi Mitra and Sawantwadi

  1. Madhurani Akerkar says:

    Never knew that so many associations of bird lovers are present.
    Nice to know of your active participation.
    Wish I had pursued my bird watching hobby.
    All the best to The Untamed Earth.

    • Madhurani Akerkar … thank you for your comments … yes, there are some wonderful people and organizations working in the field of natural history … and we are positive that you will certainly find the time to pursue your hobby :)

  2. Anil Oroskar says:

    Thanks, Sanjeev! Interesting to see the sammelan in Sawantwadi which is only 40 miles from Oros, my native place. What re the type of birds which are native to Sindhudurga district?

  3. Anil, thank you for your comments !

    Konkan is indeed a paradise … you are lucky to hail from such a place. It is also a naturalist’s delight with some amazing biodiversity. The bird diversity is also fabulous … you will find a wide variety from the canopy, the bush or the coast … like the hornbills, minivets, orioles, barbets … to waders, gulls, ospreys, sea eagles … an almost endless list. However, we would not list any species as purely endemic to Sindhudurg

    Even the Malabar Trogon was sighted here in Sawantwadi and that is how it appears on the official literature of the Sammelan.

  4. sweta Dilip Desai says:

    Wow nice article sir..it was like reading a whole journey of pakshi mitra samelan

  5. pushparaj uchil says:

    Nice to read various articles. Ms Shweta Desai’s paintings were superb. Happy that there would be some one to carry forward your good work.

    • Hi,
      Thank you for visiting and for your comments … happy to see the Friends of TheUntamedEarth growing in numbers … glad to know that you loved Sweta’s artwork … we are coming out with an article on Nature Art in a short while … stay tuned :) … with such wonderful friends, including you, TheUntamedEarth will certainly go places !

  6. tushar patil says:

    Nicely narrated. Wish we could have video recording of Kishor Sir’s presentation.

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