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Jamnagar, made famous by Maharaja Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji, is also home to the Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary, home to about 300 varieties of migratory birds. Not quite as well known as the Bharatpur Ghana Bird Sanctuary, it is nonetheless equally attractive and occupies a place of pride among conservationists.
Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary: An Overview
The Khijadia bird sanctuary covers an area of about 6 square kilometers encompassing lakes as well as salt water marshlands. The origins of the Sanctuary began with the construction of a check dam on the River Ruparel. Inundation of land resulted in formation of water bodies, both fresh water lakes on one side of the river and salty marshes along the Gulf of Kutch. Bunds constructed to separate freshwater from sea water created a unique eco system. The purpose was to stop ingress of salinity and store fresh water. In the process two distinct areas were created. On one side is sea water and on one side is fresh water, each hosting a variety of biodiversity. Here you can find giant mangroves in the marshes on the salt water side and species of babool in the interiors. The combination of trees, craggy land and water bodies has made the entire area a natural shelter and retreat for birds. In winter swarms of migratory birds arrive here before heading back up north with the onset of summer. Visiting the sanctuary gives you an opportunity to have a look at all these birds as well as the coral reef along the coast from where it is a short trip to Narara Island.
Birds in Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary
The Khijadia Bird Sanctuary is rich in biodiversity but the main attraction is birds, both local and migratory.
Unlike bird sanctuaries located inland, Khijadia is home to both sea birds and birds living on shores. Thus, in one trip, you will get to see birds such as the Brahminy Kite, Black Winged Kite, Pheasant Tailed Jacana, Great Thick Knee, Grey Francolin, Black Ibis, Spotted Eagle, Black Necked Stork, Godwit, Comb Duck, Cranes, Teals, Garganeys, Pintails, Shovelers, Wigeon, Harrier, Cormorants, Darters and Demoiselles as well as goodly collection of terns. The black necked stork, a globally endangered species, is a specialty of this Sanctuary and is rarely found outsid e. A walk through the sanctuary lets you see a number of nesting sites. These sites may be located on trees, on the ground or nests floating on water according to the bird.
Fauna and Flora in Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary
Along with 300 species of birds there are other fauna. The most common animals that have made Khijadia Bird sanctuary their home are the Blue Bulls or Nilgai, wolf, jungle cats, mongoose, hares and snakes. As for flora, the sanctuary abouts in under water plants, species of babool, piloo, neem and others.
The unique biodiversity of Khijadia Bird sanctuary and that you can see birds of the sea as well as birds of the land have led many bird watchers from all countries to make it a must on their itinerary. You can reach Jamnagar by train, bus or by air and from there take surface transportation to this sanctuary. Spare at least a couple of days to enjoy it to the fullest.
Location of Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary
The Sanctuary is located
about 12 km from Jamnagar. You can reach it by buses and private taxis
that take you to the nearest drop off point from where it is a 3 km
walk. The best time to visit and to view the maximum number of birds is
from September to March.