Yerwada, birding in the heart of the city
There’s something exciting about finding a secret spot in the heart of a busy city. Pune is not quite Mumbai in terms of being busy, but it’s not very far. So finding a silent spot right in the middle is quite amazing.
The mention of Yerwada would bring images of dusty wide roads into my mind - the mental hospital and jail don’t figure since I have never seen them. So I was initially a bit surprised when I saw mention of Yerwada as a birding spot in Pune. Looking at the map, it seemed obvious - the Mula-Mutha river flows right next to it, on to Kalyani Nagar. Since it’s not more than a 20-minute bike ride from my place, I decided to go there on a weekday morning.
Finding the birding spot is not very difficult. Look for the crematorium in Yerwada and drive there. You cross the Yerwada garbage collection depot on the left before you see a narrow road go down towards the river on the left. There’s a board pointing at the Yerwada Smashan Bhumi. Take that road, but don’t go right down to the crematorium. Just before the crematorium there’s a narrow road on the left alongside the garbage depot. The road quickly becomes a narrow trail big enough for just a bike or for walking. There, you’ve entered the birding zone!
The area is quite dry, due to which the sun penetrates through rather early. This gives sufficient light to capture inland birds. One could find a trail and walk down to the bank of the river too. There are plenty of spaces to park yourself and let the birds come closer. It’s quite dirty though, with bones and skeleton of small animals strewn about.
I had a couple of hours to explore as much as I could before going home to go to work. Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure.