My Rendezvous with SeaGulls in Mumbai

Stressed by the workload and pressed for time, a unique opportunity for travel presented me when my cousin came down from visiting me during Mumbai winters.  Being a New Zealand native, he wanted to discover a new adventure in the city of Mumbai, without having to travel afar. I googled various sites but, Alas! Nothing excited me. Suddenly, I came across an article, which spoke about Seagulls visiting shores of Chowpatty, Mumbai.

These black-spotted Gulls are migratory and after a sharp fall in the temperatures in the Polar Regions, they prepare for migration. Their bodies become lean and thin for migratory flight and with their accurate sense of direction they start a journey sometimes covering more than 10,000 kms. They come to India mostly from Siberia or Australia in November or December to escape from the harsh vagaries of the northern winter when the daylight hours and food are short. With the culmination of winter season which also marks the end of their mating season, these migratory birds return to their native place with the young ones only to come back in the winter season next year.

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Armed with sunhats and a light picnic lunch basket, we started early from Mumbai suburbs to reach the elite “Mafatlal Bath & Boat Club” at Chowpatty. We hired a boat, which could easily sit four of us for an hour. The cool sea breeze and gentle waves were a welcome sight! We could spot one more boat nestled in a distance, with a gentleman sitting motionless soaking in the views, surrounded by Seagulls. My excitement knew no bounds as we were told that at INR 100 we could also hire kayaks. Yay!! The boat master gently glided the boat into the sea and started peddling towards a flock of Seagulls soaking the morning sunshine.

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We saw a couple of people feeding them, but it’ s advisable to not do so.  The Seagulls flocked around us while making shrill sounds like a cry. We took amazing pictures of the magnificent birds in flight or calmly resting on the surface of the water. Later, we hired kayaks and drifted over to the Seagull nest to watch them play. A refreshing Saturday morning had never been better. Refreshed, we then headed back to sit in the winter sun to devour our lunch and watch the last of the Gulls fly away into the Sea.

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