RADventure2: Part 12 : The Home stretch : Dindi - Barkul - Puri - Home

Part 12: Dindi - Barkul - Mangalajodi - Puri - Home
(1281 Km)

07 Nov 2016
Start Time : 05.45 hrs

Arrival at Panthanivas Barakul : 16.15 hrs

Distance :630 Kms in 10.5 hrs.
The drive from Dindi was pretty nice and stress less. The National highway in the southern part of the country is quite well maintained, and is mostly 4-laned. 

We arrived into Panthanivas Barkul, on the banks of Chilika lagoon, with the sole purpose of birding. Upon landing and after check-in, I lined up next day early morning trip to Nalaban (Chilika Wildlife & Bird Sancyuary). For some reason, the staff at OTDC tried all their best to dissuade me from the trip. Mainly because there were not too many birds that had arrived into Chilika in October. It appears that migratory bird population has dropped a lot over the years. Nevertheless, I was adamant, and so we set out next (08 Nov) day early in the morning on a boat to Nalaban, which is roughly 70kms away from the jetty and take approximately 2 hours to get there. For me it was well worth the trip, I did get to see a few birds at Nalaban. 

Chilika lake is a brackish water lagoon, spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha state on the east coast of India, at the mouth of the Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal, covering an area of over 1,100 km2. It is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest lagoon in the world. It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent. The lake is home to number of threatened species of plants and animals.

The lagoon hosts over 160 species of birds in the peak migratory season. Birds from as far as the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Aral Sea and other remote parts of Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Mongolia, Central and southeast Asia, Ladakh and Himalayas come here. These birds travel great distances; migratory birds probably follow much longer routes than the straight lines, possibly up to 12,000 km, to reach Chilika Lake. In 1981, Chilika Lake was designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

Our sighting at Chilika included –

a) Greater Flamingo
b) Oriental White Ibis
c) Eurasian Spoonbill
d) Painted Stork
e) Purple Heron
f) Common Coot
g) Common Tern
h) Common Resdhank
i) Rudy Shelduck
j) Pintail
k) Brahmny Kite
l) Black Winged Stilt
m) Lesser Whistling Duck
Overall not a bad day. Atleast it was not a washout.

09 Nov2016
Barkul - Manglajodi

Start Time : 06.00 hrs

Arrival Manglajodi: 06.50 Hrs (41 Kms)

Arrival Puri (Victoria Club Hotel): 12.35 Hrs (90 Kms)

Total Distance : 131 Kms

At Manglajodi, we met with Purna Behera (Birding Guide). He had organized a boat for us. Mangalajodi is one of the oldest village coming under Tangi block of Khurda district in Odisha, it is a huge marshland along the northern edge of Chilika Lake. The area (about 10 sq.km) is primarily a fresh water zone connected by channels cut through the reed beds with the brakish water of Chilika lagoon. The numerous channels that crisscross through the greenery, harbour thousands of water birds, migratory and resident. Part of Chilika, 1165 sq.kms.brakish water estuarine lagoon of international importance. The wetland hosts more than 3,00,000 of birds in the peak season. October to March is the best time to visit this place. This region has is a significant global waterfowl habitat and is declared as an “Important Bird Area (IBA)”.

We had a satisfying session with Purna Behera, who has established an Eco Tourism Center at Mangalajodi as part of the government’s rehabilitation and employment program.

Amongst the birds we sighted were –

a) Eurasian Clover
b) Golden Plover
c) Bronze Winged Jacana
d) Wood Sandpiper
e) Common Redhsank
f) Grey Headed Lapwing
g) Spot Billed Duck
h) Lesser Whistling Duck
i) Common Coot
j) Common Tern
k) Moorehen
l) Glossy Ibis
m) Purple Heron
n) Perigrine Falcon

Around 11.00 Hrs we left Manglajodi and arrived at Victoria Club Hotel, Puri.

Puri was in a way the culmination of our month long driving expedition. Next day we offered our homage to Lord Jagannath at Puri temple.

Finally on 11 Nov 2017 at 05.15 Hrs we drove off for the home stretch, covering a distance of 520 Kms in 8hrs.

Arrival Kolkata (Home) : 13.15 hrs.

Total distance driven 08 Oct 2016 till 11 Nov 2017 (~34 days) 
– 6905 Kms.