(Last Updated on : 17-10-2014)
The Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary is the largest bird sanctuary in Gujarat and also one of the largest in India. The sanctuary is situated about 65 kms away from the city of Ahmedabad and covers an area of 115 sq. km. The sanctuary was established in the year 1969 and is located around the Nal Lake that extends about 11,500 hectares. It is only a few kilometres away from another famous bird sanctuary, the Thol Wildlife Sanctuary. The region also has a number of islets. The Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary is quite famous for being home to more than 250 species of colourful and amusing wetland birds.
The Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary is established primarily on the Nalsarovar or Nal Lake. However, a rich variety of natural vegetation can also be found in this sanctuary. The plant species have both the medicinal and commercial values and some of them are considered as endangered or threatened. The bird species of the sanctuary include both the resident and migratory types. The birds reside at their homes in water, land and they look superb in the air. The main attractions of the sanctuary are the Flocks of flamingos, a great variety of Ducks, Geese and Pelican. However, many other species are also found in this sanctuary.
The Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary attracts numerous migratory birds, mainly from Siberia. The migratory birds start coming at the sanctuary with the onset of autumn just after the end of the monsoon season. They spend a long period here and stay till the end of the winter and the spring season. The most important and notable migratory bird species in the sanctuary include Rosy Pelicans, Flamingoes, White Storks, Brahminy Ducks, Purple Herons, Kingfishers, Egrets, Darters, Green Pigeon, European Migratory Ruff and Reeve, etc. The other important species include thousands of Cranes, Great Indian Bustard, Bengal Florican, Flamingoes, Pelicans (both rosy and white), Ducks, Painted and Black-Necked Storks, Spoonbills, Purple Moorhen, Teals, Gulls, Terns, Godwits, Shanks, Swifts, Swallows, etc. The birds of prey like the Ospreys, Eagles, Sparrow Hawks and Falcons are seen here hovering in search of prey in this sanctuary.
Besides the above mentioned species, the birds with long bills like Whimbrels, Sandpipers, Snipes, Cormorants, etc. are also found in the Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary. Out of all these birds, the species like Great Indian Bustard and Bengal Florican are considered as threatened and need urgent conservation. The birds in the sanctuary greatly vary in their shapes and sizes. Apart from the bird species, the mammal fauna species like Jungle Cat, the Jackal, Porcupine, Hare, Wild Ass, Black Buck, etc. can also be seen in the Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary. This water bird sanctuary is actually like a fairyland for birds and looks picturesque during full moon nights.
The great variety of colourful and exciting bird species in the Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary attracts several tourists from all over the world. The bird watchers always love to visit the place for experiencing the wonderful daily life of the birds. The best time to visit the sanctuary is after the month of October, as the water levels recedes to two to five feet in the area during this time and serves ideal for the tourists to visit the place. The visitors are ferried in small boats through the Nal Lake and experience a sunrise or a sunset while gliding gently through the silent waters. Bird watching in this sanctuary can be one of the greatest moments of one's life.