Thousands of Mumbaikars turned up at the Sewri jetty on Saturday to see the flamingos on the Sewri-Mahul mudflats.
The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) annually organises the flamingo festival that provides citizens an opportunity to spend a day in the company of nature. Both the Greater flamingo as well as the Lesser flamingo were present on the mudflats along with other birds such as the Little Egret, Median Egret, Western Reef Heron, Grey Heron, Black-headed Ibis, Brown-headed Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Common Redshank, Little Ringed Plover, and so on.
Geeta Pillai, principal, Blossoms English High School, Churchgate, came with some of her teachers to enjoy the sight of the birds. "We read in the papers that this is perhaps the last time that we shall get to see these birds as the government will start construction on the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link. Since the Std XII examinations were over yesterday, we decided to make the trip today. The word 'beautiful' cannot describe these incredible birds," she said.
Neelam Gadre, a final year MBBS student at the Grant Medical College said she was happy she could make the trip. It was her first trip to the Sewri jetty too. "It was on my friend's to do list and since I had a holiday I decided to join her. The best thing about these birds is that they like to do things together," she said, adding that perhaps this would be the first and last time that she would be able to see them here.
The BNHS had organised a free bus service from Sewri station to the jetty and also set up binoculars and spotting scopes so that visitors could get a close-up of the birds. Many had come with cameras to capture photos of the birds.
Srijit Prabhu, said he had come only so that he could see the flamingos and capture them on camera.
Sathe said on an average around 10-12,000 visitors come for the flamingo festival. "The birds will be here till May. The MTHL will come up close to the Sewri mudflats which have been declared a sanctuary. The construction noise and the movement of vehicles may drive the birds away. We may not have a flamingo festival in the future. The birds may return or may choose another destination," he said.