If we had the task of designing a multi-purpose animal that could exploit many habitats, we would be hard pressed to improve upon the birds of the wetlands. We can see that they are at home in water, land and ofcourse superb in the air. In places like the Nalsarovar and Thol lake they are seen in great numbers, the variety of shapes and sizes being simply amazing.Gujarat has some outstanding places for viewing birds of the wetlands. Just 80 km. from Ahmedabad is Nalsarovar, and Thol Wildlife Sanctuary is also just 40 km. from Ahmedabad. 10 km. from Jamnagar is Khijadia Bird Sanctuary. Within the Porbandar city itself is the Porbandar Bird Sanctuary. The sheer variety that can be seen at such places is rewarding by any standards. Here you will see kingfishers, egrets, darters, storks and cormorants spear or catch fish with their dagger shaped beaks. You will also get to see jacanas, moorehens, coots, grebes and ducks feeding mainly on plants, straining water from their specially designed beaks and keeping the food in. You will see the flamingos using their long necks and legs to probe the waters and snipes and godwits probing into mud for food with their long bills. It is easy to notice the sheer variety of colour, pattern and a cacophony of sounds that these birds use for recognition and courtship. They can be seen using the same devices for threats and aggression as they vie with each other for nesting and feeding space. There just cannot be anyplace where one can see so much wildlife in a single day ! A pair of binoculars and a person well versed in local bird life will surely make this one of the best outings. Nalsarovar is a seasonal lake spread over an area of 115 sq.km. It is known to harbour more than 250 species of birds. In winter the migratory birds descend on the Nal in their thousands. Visitors are ferried in small boats and to experience a sunrise or a sunset while gliding gently through the silent waters, with birds silhouetted in the golden orange glow will lift any sagging spirits.
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