The Gorai area is a mixed habitat. While there are marshes near the creek, there are fields and lightly wooded areas near the coast. So it was worth checking out this place. Ofcourse, Essel World isn't too far away from here, but that wasn't on the itenirary!
We saw our first birds while crossing over the creek. These included Gull-Billed Terns, a Common Kingfisher and a few herons and egrets. That was after we managed to haul Shirish's bike on the fairy....no easy task!
After crossing over to the other side, we saw many Rosy Starlings and Chestnut-Shouldered Petronias on the road-sides, not to mention the ubiquitous White-Cheeked and Red-Vented Bulbuls. We even ventured near a small hillock, where we saw numerous ashy Drongos and a lone female Baya Weaver...
It was getting hot pretty quickly, so we decided to head for the beach, assuming that we could perhaps get sightings of a Flameback or two...So off we went!
The beach itself was crowded to say the least. One hero was driving his Santro along the water's edge at good speed. We parked near the beach, and began exploring the nearby woods. But most of this area belonged to 'rooms' and hostile 'room-keepers', so we decided to head back home.
But just as we got to the road that goes to Bhayander, there was hope! We could see open fields and in the distance, some trees. This looked like a place where we could do some peaceful birding..! The place is near a board that says somethign like 'This property belongs to Morzella and others'. Also in the vicinity is a board that reads 'White Castle'....!
Undaunted by the amusing signs, we headed into one of the fields where some farmers were toiling away in the sun. We saw a group of Paddyfield Pipits (or were they Tawny?!), fluttering about in one of the small fields. Later, we also saw an Oriental Honey-Buzzard soaring with its well rounded wings and distinctive underwing pattern. But the highlight of the day was the sighting of a pair of White-Browed Bulbuls, at the edge of one of the fields, sitting quietly in a tree. This was a lifer for me!
Further into the area, we got some nice views of many male breeding Common Ioras in the nearby trees. I also saw, for the first time, a Coppersmith Barbet, while it actually made its distinctive call! It was amusing to see this little bird bow in a bobbling manner as it voiced out each note. On the way back we saw a Spotted Owlet too!
Having finished our birding for the day, we stopped at a close-by restaurant on the Bhayander road. The Aquafina bottle (overpriced at Rs. 20) I purchased here, had a peculiarly bitter aftertaste! I happily emptied it at the base of a tree. Conclusion: Don't buy mineral water here.....carry your own!
This last place we visited looks promising. In the winter I'm sure there will be many more birds here..
How to get to Gorai:
1. Reach Borivli station. From here, take an auto or BEST bus to the Gorai Jetty. There are boats that take you over the other side, and the crossing is not very big. Although you can take bikes in the boat, bewarned that it is tricky to handle the bike in the early morning when fish-mongers are merrily littering the place with all kinds of slippery liquids...
2. Travel by road from Bhayander. BEST buses are available too. It's a fairly long route, so it does take a lot of time.