A must visit for bird lovers is one of the lesser known bird sanctuaries of India ‘ Khijadiya Bird sanctuary’ located at a distance of about 10 kilometres from Jamnagar on the Jamnagar Rajkot highway. Its rather surprising that when you ‘Google’ the Bird sanctuaries of India this sanctuary doesn’t figure even among the 20 sanctuaries listed on various websites. However this sanctuary is rather unique as it attracts a varied variety of birds due to the rare combination of ‘saltwater and fresh water ecosystems’. More than 300 species of migratory and resident birds have been spotted here. Also interesting to see are salt pans , mangroves and marshy areas which host a variety of flora and fauna.
Early mornings are the best time to visit the place as the birds are most active during this period so one can be lucky to spot some rare avian species. Also early morning hours are a pleasant time to park your vehicle someplace in the sanctuary and take a walk to explore the salt pans and mangroves from close quarters. At the entrance to the sanctuary is an Interpretation centre where brochures and information about the sanctuary is available. It may also be worthwhile to avail the services of a guide specially if you are first time visitor. Another thing which I liked about the sanctuary is that you can freely drive inside the sanctuary in your own car, at your own pace, stopping wherever you like after getting a vehicle ticket which costs Rs 500/-. You also have the option of walking around the sanctuary which is approximately spread over an area of 6 square kilometers but that can be a little taxing. The sanctuary is distinctly divided into two areas – the salt water lake formed from waters of the Arabian sea and the fresh water lake formed from the watershed of Ruparel river. The sanctuary has three watch towers and it’s a treat to get a birds eye view of the expanse from atop these towers. Visitors also have the option of taking paddle boats to wade through the waters and get as close to the water birds as the birds permit. It’s a treat to see flocks of flamingoes, storks and cranes as they take flight, or spot a solitary hopoe, kingfisher or a crested lark .
Some basic information about the park- The best time to visit the park is between the months of October to March. The sanctuary is open from 6am to 6 pm. Entry fee to the park is Rs 40/- per head and an additional Rs 200/- for camera. No food , drinks and water are available in the sanctuary so its best to carry your own.
If peace and serenity amidst nature is your game then Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary can be a good choice. Just make sure that you blend with nature so as not disturb the tranquility of the area . Soon you will find these feathery beauties will pose for your camera.