Birds of Govind Sagar Water Reservoir, Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh || A pocket of heaven for winged water-loving creatures

In the sprawling city of Bilaspur, there are several hidden gems that we got an opportunity to explore in our recent visit to Himachal Pradesh. One of them is the Bilaspur side of Govind Sagar dam. Most of the area is flooded during the rains, but otherwise, there is a beautiful ecosystem of flora and fauna and also the magical ancient temples that emerge as soon as the water recedes.
Little Egret

 In the sprawling city of Bilaspur, there are several hidden gems that we got an opportunity to explore in our recent visit to Himachal Pradesh. One of them is the Bilaspur side of Govind Sagar dam. Most of the area is flooded during the rains, but otherwise, there is a beautiful ecosystem of flora and fauna and also the magical ancient temples that emerge as soon as the water recedes. 

We had been talking about stopping here every time we drove past this area. However, we were always short on time. This time we had a specific need to visit and stop in the Bilaspur city and we had time on our hands, so we took the detour that we had reluctantly driven past for past several trips.
Pond Heron and little Cormorant

We had been talking about stopping here every time we drove past this area. However, we were always short on time. This time we had a specific need to visit and stop in the Bilaspur city and we had time on our hands, so we took the detour that we had reluctantly driven past for past several trips. 


The cut to the Govind Sagar Dam leads you down a winding road, past the Bilaspur Cricket stadium and the sports academy. The road is well-paved, though a bit narrow. It is about 5 minutes away from the main highway, therefore, not so difficult to reach.
Himalayan Bulbul

The cut to the Govind Sagar Dam leads you down a winding road, past the Bilaspur Cricket stadium and the sports academy. The road is well-paved, though a bit narrow. It is about 5 minutes away from the main highway, therefore, not so difficult to reach. 


Once you reach the bank, you will find that there is ample space for parking. There are some little kiosks selling chips, kurkure and soft drinks etc. And there are also some chat shops that sell Golgappas, papdi etc. Even if you decide to have these, make sure you dispose off the wrappings in a dustbin somewhere, because once you reach the Govind Sagar beach side, you will see that there are hundreds of such packets strewn about.
Himalayan Griffon Vulture

Once you reach the bank, you will find that there is ample space for parking. There are some little kiosks selling chips, kurkure and soft drinks etc. And there are also some chat shops that sell Golgappas, papdi etc. Even if you decide to have these, make sure you dispose off the wrappings in a dustbin somewhere, because once you reach the Govind Sagar beach side, you will see that there are hundreds of such packets strewn about. 


People just buy these chips and throw the trash anywhere as per their convenience. However, they don't realize or may be do not care that these plastic wrappings can be very hazardous for the fauna here and it also gets into the water and causes harm to fish and other aquatic animals.
Black Kite

People just buy these chips and throw the trash anywhere as per their convenience. However, they don't realize or may be do not care that these plastic wrappings can be very hazardous for the fauna here and it also gets into the water and causes harm to fish and other aquatic animals. 

 
Anyway, may be because this area is too close to dense human population, we did not see any migratory birds here, even though the season was right. However there were some resident birds around and had we been able to stay for longer, may be we would have spotted more.
Little Cormorants

Anyway, may be because this area is too close to dense human population, we did not see any migratory birds here, even though the season was right. However there were some resident birds around and had we been able to stay for longer, may be we would have spotted more. 


The first bird that we spotted was a grey heron. It was standing at some distance, its silhouette visible in the mist. It was only once it took flight were we able to identify it. A grey heron is a largish bird with an ashy grey plumage. It is otherwise usually very easy to identify.
Grey Heron

The first bird that we spotted was a grey heron. It was standing at some distance, its silhouette visible in the mist. It was only once it took flight were we able to identify it. A grey heron is a largish bird with an ashy grey plumage. It is otherwise usually very easy to identify. 


We also saw a majestic Himalayan Griffon Vulture take flight from a tree near the area where we had parked, float effortlessly across the visible length of Govind Sagar, and disappear into the distant hills. There was something almost supernatural about this big bird gliding silently across the sky.
Little Cormorant

We also saw a majestic Himalayan Griffon Vulture take flight from a tree near the area where we had parked, float effortlessly across the visible length of Govind Sagar, and disappear into the distant hills. There was something almost supernatural about this big bird gliding silently across the sky. 

We also spotted a black-headed gull flying in the distance. The bird is recognizable easily because of the dark spot behind its eyes which is visible in the gull's winter plumage. In its summer plumage, you cannot make a mistake with the identification because of its black head and face.
Black-headed Gull

We also spotted a black-headed gull flying in the distance. The bird is recognizable easily because of the dark spot behind its eyes which is visible in the gull's winter plumage. In its summer plumage, you cannot make a mistake with the identification because of its black head and face. 

Another raptor we saw flying around in this area was the black kite. This is a fairly common bird of prey that is seen all over India. Slightly smaller than the red kite, the black kite too is easily identifiable because of a back patch behind the eyes. The patch almost gives a bandit like appearance to the bird.
Grey Heron

Another raptor we saw flying around in this area was the black kite. This is a fairly common bird of prey that is seen all over India. Slightly smaller than the red kite, the black kite too is easily identifiable because of a back patch behind the eyes. The patch almost gives a bandit like appearance to the bird.  

The River Tern is Vulnerable as per the IUCN Conservation Status, so I believe we were privileged to see one flying around at Pong Dam as well as near the Govind Sagar Dam. It has a very interesting style of feeding. It plunge dives into the water to catch fish and crustaceans.
River Tern

The River Tern is Vulnerable as per the IUCN Conservation Status, so I believe we were privileged to see one flying around at Pong Dam as well as near the Govind Sagar Dam. It has a very interesting style of feeding. It plunge dives into the water to catch fish and crustaceans. 

We also saw pond herons. These birds appear short-necked but once extended, their necks add considerable height to their small frame. They are the inspiration for the terminology "bagla bhagat" because of their manner of standing almost meditatively in shallow water and then grabbing the prey with a rapid movement.
Pond Heron and Black-winged Stilt

We also saw pond herons. These birds appear short-necked but once extended, their necks add considerable height to their small frame. They are the inspiration for the terminology "bagla bhagat" because of their manner of standing almost meditatively in shallow water and then grabbing the prey with a rapid movement.

Besides this, we also saw several wagtails - white and citrine - in the area. We also saw a little egret, some black-winged Stilts, and little cormorants just being themselves in this area. It seemed like a nice little place for them.
White Wagtail

Besides this, we also saw several wagtails - white and citrine - in the area. We also saw a little egret, some black-winged Stilts, and little cormorants just being themselves in this area. It seemed like a nice little place for them. 

However, because of motorboats that are not only here for tourism purpose but also for the purpose of getting from one bank of the water reservoir to the other, this area is not really the perfect spot for birds to thrive. And may be that is why, we only saw a handful. However, with some policies and enforecements, this area has the potential to become a good spot for birding.
Black-winder Stilts

However, because of motorboats that are not only here for tourism purpose but also for the purpose of getting from one bank of the water reservoir to the other, this area is not really the perfect spot for birds to thrive. And may be that is why, we only saw a handful. However, with some policies and enforcements, this area has the potential to become a good spot for birding. 

Trending Post Today !

How to reach Kasol/Malana and top things to do around this stunning hill-station of Himalayan State of India

Main places to see & Top things to do around Dalhousie : Stunning Hill Station in Himalayan State of India

Travel & Music || Enchanting Himachal and its Charming Songs

Curated List of Main Places to Visit & Top Things to do in Cleanest City of India - Amazing Chandigarh, Punjab

DSLR Comparison : Between Canon 1300D & Nikon 3300D - Which one is better entry level Camera for stunning Photography?