Veer Dam is a key bird-watching hotspot around Pune; especially famous for the Bar-headed Geese & Demoiselle Cranes. We have done multiple trips to this place in different seasons and have been pleasantly surprised with some of the sightings at this place. Till date we have sighted over 170 different species of birds at Veer Dam. One of the best parts about this place is that you will get to see Waders, Raptors as well as Flycatchers in and around Veer Dam. Not many places offer such variety.. Located around 70 KMs from Pune, this place offers a good stretch of 7-8 KMs along the river Nira. This entire belt along the river is extremely rich with Avifauna.
To start with, one can drive via the Tondal village all the way up to the banks of the river. Some of the key sighting at the banks will be the Bar-headed Geese and Ruddy Shelducks. You will also find Wooly-necked Storks, Red-naped Ibis, Asian Openbill storks, Indian Coursers, Common Hoopoes and Painted Storks.
Some facts about the Bar-headed Geese: Bar-headed geese (Anser indicus) are known for migrating at extremely high altitudes over the world’s highest mountains, the Himalayas. Every winter, they fly into the Indian Subcontinent and spend their winters at different water bodies. Veer dam near Pune is one such place which they visit every year. There is also a lot of research and study going on around their migration path and the reason they fly so high.
Next one can drive back to the main road and move further ahead towards the dam, and soon you will see the river running parallel to the road. This is the place where one can find a variety of birds; ranging from Raptors like Greater Spotted Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Common Kestrel, Black-winged Kite to water birds like Bar-headed Geese, Ruddy Shelducks, Indian Spot-billed Ducks, Painted and Asian Openbill Storks, Common and Wood Sandpipers, Little-ringed Plovers, Kentish Plovers, Small Pratincoles and Oriental Pratincoles. Do keep your eyes open for Indian Thick-knees and Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse as well. One also gets to see Lesser White-throat and Common Stonechats at this place.
Moving ahead, as you reach Veer Dam, you will see some dense vegetation on left side. One can take the road to left where you can see the entire dam wall along the left side of the road. Exploring this place we got some key sightings like the Mottled Wood Owl, Ultramarine Flycatcher and Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher. We also got to see the Large Cuckooshrike, Common Woodshrike, Golden Oriole, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Black-naped Monarch Flycatcher, White-browed Bulbul, Yellow-eyed Babbler, Brahminy Kite and Red-breasted Flycatcher.
Here are some of the birds that we have clicked at Veer Dam:
How to reach:
Take the Mumbai-Bangalore highway and drive up-to Shirwal, where you need to turn left onto the Khandala-Loni road to Baramati. Driving for around 4-5 KMs, take a left and you will reach the Tondal village.
– Try to reach the place at around 7 AM or so. You may get to see the Raptors perched along the road.
– Take extra care when you walk near the shore in Summer season as this is the breeding season and many birds lay their eggs on the ground.
– Do submit your sightings on ebird.org. Read more on why ebird.org and how it works at http://ebird.org/content/ebird/about/
– Refer Google maps in-case you are confused with the route. The directions shown on maps are accurate.
– Carry packed breakfast / lunch if necessary. There are not many places for breakfast and Lunch. Shirwal is a good place for breakfast. Also there is a good joint (Shreeram Wada Pav) for breakfast just before turning left towards Veer dam from the highway. Misal is highly recommended at this joint 😀
– Keep the place clean 🙂
Thanks for reading. Let us know in-case of any corrections, queries, suggestions and we will be happy to respond.
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– Rudraksha & Shraddha
Months visited with Ebird Checklists:
Dec 2014 -> http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S23621804
Jan 2015 -> http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21218563
Feb 2015 -> http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S23621866
May 2015 -> http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S23528776
Jul 2015 -> http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S24323500
Nov 2015 -> http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S25820771
Dec 2015 -> http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S26325121
Jan 2016 -> http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S26966541
Nov 2016 -> http://ebird.org/ebird/india/view/checklist/S32530949
Feb 2017 -> http://ebird.org/ebird/india/view/checklist/S34172086
Apr 2017 -> http://ebird.org/ebird/india/view/checklist/S35808308
May 2017 -> http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S36830707
July 2017 -> http://ebird.org/ebird/india/view/checklist/S38043363