The Flamingo Festival on March 5 might turn out to be an important date in the history of Mumbai. This year around, the festival, which is being held in Mumbai along the Sewri-Mahul wetlands for the last 10 years, could well be the last time that over 15,000 flamingoes would be seen against the backdrop of lush mangroves along the central Mumbai coastline, claim the festival organisers, the Bombay Natural History Society.
With construction activity for the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link connecting Sewri with Uran in Navi Mumbai expected to commence by the end of this year, the migration of the birds to the Sewri wetlands could be altered. Migratory birds make such changes in their preferences, according to the BNHS.
“It is likely that water birds, including flamingoes, may get disturbed and fly away when the work begins, due to noise pollution and movement of construction equipment. In the medium term, this could also lead to changes in their migration preferences,” a statement from the BNHS says. It adds that this could hence be the last chance to view flamingos at the Sewri wetlands in all their beauty.
The event also involves observing other species, both resident and migratory birds, on the Sewri mudflats, which have been designated as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area. The Flamingo Festival was started to spread awareness among the masses and enable conservation. Buses are arranged from Sewri station to Sewri jetty between 12.30 pm and 5 pm with BNHS experts and volunteers explaining to enthusiasts through spotting scopes and binoculars about the Lesser and Greater flamingos and other species, including sandpipers and kingfishers.
The MMRDA, which will implement the MTHL project, has received environmental clearance to construct the 22-km coastal road with a 16.5-km bridge across the sea.