Participant Profile: Prathamesh Desai

This entry was posted Monday, 27 August, 2012 at 6:20 am

Where do you live?
I live in Dombivli, a small city in Thane district of Maharashtra.

When did you start watching birds?
My interest in birds began in primary school when my parents got me a book called ‘My Album of Birds’, which was a basic introduction to birds from around the world. That’s when I discovered that there were birds like hornbills, toucans and storks, and not just sparrows or pigeons as depicted in childhood stories. But my real journey into birding began in 2010 when I participated in the Mumbai Bird Race. That’s when I realised that there was so much more to birds. I started serious birdwatching from that day onwards, and since then I think my life has changed.

Who would you consider your birding mentor?
Well, there is a long list. Nilesh Bhanage introduced me to seasoned birders like Pradnyavant Mane, and Harischandra Mhatre. They taught me the basics of birding and gave wonderful tips. Rajesh Sachdev taught me how to collect and maintain records. Kiran Kadam accompanied me in most of my birding trips and helped me improve my field skills. I also received support and inspiration from Mayuresh Khatavkar, Adesh Shivkar and Raju Kasambe.

Please describe a memorable birding experience.
My most memorable birding experience was when my team won the 2012 Mumbai Bird Race. During the 200-km journey from Dombivli to Murbad my team saw 169 species of birds! We were so busy watching and counting birds that we didn’t mind the fact that we had had no breakfast or lunch! Sighting of the Malabar Grey Hornbill was my favourite moment on that day.

What are your favourite migrants?
I like all of them, but my favourite migrants are large Aquilas such as Greater Spotted Eagle and Steppe Eagle. Among waterbirds I like Northern Pintail, Black-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Oystercatcher and Baillon’s Crake.

What is your favourite place to watch migrants?
Surrounded by River Ulhas on one side and Hajimalang Range on the other makes Dombivli one of best wintering grounds for various migrants. Dombivli hosts more than 215 bird species (including migratory as well as resident). Each year more than 5000 ducks and about 2000-5000 waders spend their winters in Dombivli Creek. Another favourite birding site is Mumbra Hills, which is an excellent place to watch birds of prey. Common Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Eurasian Hobby, Steppe Eagle and Greater Spotted Eagle, Indian Spotted Eagle, Bonneli’s Eagle, White Bellied Sea Eagle and many other raptors can be sighted here.

Do you have any advice for beginning birdwatchers and naturalists?
Today in India the environment is at loggerheads with developmental activities. We want progress, however, it is coming at the cost of destroying natural habitat and resources. We as naturalists are unable to put forth this view due to lack of systematic data. I urge beginning birdwatchers and naturalists to convert their field observations into systematic data that will ultimately benefit conservation in the long run. Participating in initiatives like MigrantWatch is the need of the hour.

Why do you think people should care about birds and nature?
Birds, and animals in general, are vital in the balance of nature. Any change in this balance could ultimately affect us directly or indirectly. Birds are indicators of a healthy ecological cycle. They help in pollination, dispersal, scavenging and controlling insect populations. It is extremely important to conserve nature, birds and their habitat if we want our life to be secure.

Any other information that you’d like to share with MigrantWatchers?
MigrantWatchers should not just contribute towards data-building, but should also inspire greater number of people to participate in this movement through various campaigns. For a large country like India, such initiatives can be fruitful only if a large number of people participate in it.

You can see Prathamesh’s MigrantWatch contributions here, and his photos here.

3 Comments to Participant Profile: Prathamesh Desai

  1. Aditya Ranade says:

    January 19th, 2015 at 2:09 am

    Hi, My name is aditya and I am studying in class vi chandrakant patkar vidyalaya. I have been selected for the homi Bhabha Bal vaigyanik competition. I have to do a project on nature and want to do it on birds in and around dombivli. Wanted your guidance. I have given my dad’s email I’d and his mobile no. Is 9821107404. Looking forward to your support.



  2. admin says:

    February 19th, 2015 at 6:02 am

    Hello Aditya, I think that Prathamesh must have responded to you by now?

  3. Scott Wiedmann says:

    March 14th, 2016 at 1:33 am

    Message for Prathamesh – thank you for a great day birding in Mumbai area.

    I’m back stateside now – please keep in touch.

    Best regards, Scott

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