Najafgarh jheel or lake is home to many resident wetland birds including a flock of Greater Flamingoes which were spotted regularly in the recent months around the area. Najafgarh drain connects the lake to the Yamuna river near Wazirabad in north Delhi. The drain carries excess waters from this lake and surrounding wetlands during rainy season.
The lake along with the drain starting from Chawla Tourist complex, Chawala till Dhansa barrage is good for birding. A small motor-able road (good for small cars or SUV) along the drain which starts from Najafgarh-Kapashera Road near Chawla Tourist complex till the Dhansa barrage via the Najafgarh Lake is the best route to explore the area and do birding. Naturally the bird concentration is more near the lake and its nearby low lying areas. The total distance from the tourist complex till Dhasana barrage is around 18Km.
An excerpt from an avid birder Mr. Sajit Mohanan’s report which I have found on internet would give us a fair idea as what to expect during winter season in an around the area.
Itching for more we drove straight to the Najafgarh Jheel Area. Overnight rains proved to be a blessing in disguise as the place looks greener than ever and the fields are sufficiently waterlogged to attract a large variety of birds. Along the bund road we spotted all the usual birds like the Warblers, Shrikes, Flame-back Woodpeckers, Hoopoes, Spotted Owlets, Indian Rollers, Wagtails, Bull Bulls, Green Pigeons, Drongos, Shrikes, and birds of prey such as the Shikra.
At the very beginning of the Jheel Area we were greeted by a large congregation of Ibis including Black, White and Glossy that consisted of over a hundred individuals that were vying for space with their aggressive neighbors the Purple more hens. Wherever the eyes went we saw Graylag Geese the count could be over a thousand individuals, so were the Bar Headed Geese along with a flock of over two dozen Ruddy Shell Ducks. However, rare for this place were the large groups of Comb Ducks and Pin Tails that were sighted today. It also appeared that the juvenile Painted Storks from Sultanpur have taken a liking for this place and are everywhere. Waders did not disappoint with their numbers either.
—- UPDATE from our visit on 09.02.2014———–
a. Common Crane – biggest Surprise
b. Steppe Eagle – Usually common in the foothills of the Himalayas
c. Short-toed Snake Eagle
d. Greater Spotted Eagle
e. Black necked and Wolly necked Stork
f. Sarus Crane, White and glossy Ibis, Spoon Bill, Grey and Purple heron
g. Huge flocks of bar headed goose, graylag goose
h. Black headed gull, Eurasian curlew
[photo courtesy: Anshul M]
Sunday Birding – Common Crane in Najafgarh Jheel