It’s that time of the year again when the weather is just fine and everyone wants a little bit of sunshine to start their day with. We are talking about birds here. The weather outside is pleasant and the waterbodies in and around Delhi are perfect destinations for migrating as well as resident birds. Though everyday is a good day for birding, but winter time is that time of the year when India gets many winged visitors who fly in from as far as Siberia. Migratory birds like the ferruginous duck, common teal, Eurasian coot, bar-headed geese, graylag geese, grey headed canary flycatcher, pallied harrier, to name a few, are some of the winter visitors and they can be spotted alongside the resident birds. You may be wondering why these birds travel all the way from their native places and come to India, especially during winter. The reason could be their search of warmer climes, feeding grounds and large waterbodies. Whatever the reasons are, it works just fine for birding enthusiasts. Though they make their presence felt throughout the winter and even till the beginning of summer, if you are in Delhi at this time of the year, then you need to get your gear ready—a good binocular, a bird book, and a camera with telephoto lens (if you are into wildlife photography). Following are the places in and around Delhi where you can spot some of these amazing winged visitors.
Okhla Bird Sanctuary, Noida
Situated in Noida, Okhla Bird Sanctuary is one of the most visited bird sanctuaries near Delhi. Okhla Bird Sanctuary is one of the 467 Important Bird Areas in India. A mixed vegetation of thorny shrubs, wetland and grassland alongside the Yamuna River makes it a choice destination for birds like Baikal teal, Baer’s pochard, critically endangered species like social lapwing. Okhla Bird Sanctuary is also a great place to see critically endangered species of vultures—white-rumped and Indian vulture. More than 320 species of birds are recorded annually, given the fact that the sanctuary is roughly 4 sq km in size.
Sultanpur National Park, Gurugram
More than 250 species of birds recorded at Sultanpur National Park making it a birding haven. The park is located just 15 kms from Gurgaon in Haryana and is a perfect place to spot birds like greater flamingo, common teal, spot-billed duck, common greenshank, northern pintail, rosy pelican and more frequently sighted resident birds like paddyfield pipit, little cormorant, Eurasian thick-knee, painted stork to name some.
Yamuna Biodiversity Park, Delhi
Located in the middle of the busy Wazirabad Village, Yamuna Biodiversity Park comes as a surprise and a pleasant one at that. The park is divided into wetland, grassland and semi-dense forest and supports a healthy number of avian lives especially in winter. Though you can see a number of aquatic birds and more common birds like white-throated kingfisher, pied myna, drongo, winter is the time when birds like cormorants, darters, pintails, painted stork, red-crested pochard, gadwalls make the park their home. Only guided visits are allowed inside the park as the park is also home to many species of snakes.
Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary
More than 193 species of birds call Asola their home. Some resident and some winter migrants. The many lakes that dot the area attract many migratory birds. Birds like pallied harrier, black kite, red headed vulture, little cormorant, common coot, tufted duck, northern shovellers and spot-billed duck find a safe haven in Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary. Asola is located near Shooting Range Road in Tughlakabad.
Home to a large number of resident as well as migratory birds, Surajpur Wetlands is one the most frequented birding spots for birders in and around Delhi. The wetland is located in Greater Noida and is a safe haven to visitors like sarus crane, red-crested pochard, spot-billed duck, bar-headed goose, ferruginous pochard, gadwalls, to name a few.