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Located in the district of Jamnagar in the Indian state of Gujarat, the Khijadiya Bird sanctuary is called as the safe haven for birds. There are about 300 varieties birds found here.
The sanctuary prides itself by comprising of fresh-water marshlands, fresh water lakes as well as salt. It engrosses an area of more than 6.05 km2. Prior to independence of India, there was a check dam constructed to store the waters of Ruparel river before it reached the sea. Because of fresh water of rain as well as river on one side and salt water coming from sea on the other hand, for a number of years, a unique area has been formed here. There is marine vegetation and mangroves found as well as inland vegetation such as Pilu, Deshi babul, Prosopis etc found in abundance. This sanctuary is situated at watershed of Kalindri and river Ruparel seen at the North- Eastern coastal areas in the district of Jamnagar in Gulf of Kutch and offers a unique ecosystem.
For a number of years, the unique features of this sanctuary made it special for the bird watchers, ornithologist and tourists.
The sanctuary situated about at a distance of 12 km from Jamnagar. It was announced as a Sanctuary on 6th November 1982.The lakes of Khijadiya are created by reclamation bounds which had been constructed during the former state regime. The Bird Sanctuary of Khijadiya is distinguished into 2 parts, where one section is called as Dhunvav wheras the other one is called as Jambuda. The two fresh water lakes are distinguished and separate from one another and there is no interlinks seen between the two. There is a difference between the two lakes in terms of depth of water, soil texture, vegetation, salinity and water quality. Hence there are several micro along with macro habitats to form the sites and offer a unique eco-system.
It is regarded as a heaven for wadders, water fowls, terrestrial birds and about 259 species seen in the Sanctuary. Dr. Salim Ali, the Indian legend came to visit this Sanctuary in 1984 and he could see about 104 species in just one day.
If the water gets dry, this area becomes a fabulous grass land having eco-system supported by several insects, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals along with herbivores such as Blue bull.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The weather here is relatively hot. There are extremely hot summers and cold winters. People come here and enjoy as the sanctuary is a popular village for eco-tourists. Best time to visit this sanctuary and see the large variety of birds is from the month of September to February and March as well.
How to Reach There
Jamnagar is at a distance of 92 km from Rajkot. One can reach there in different ways. It is the biggest bird sanctuary in Gujarat. There are buses as well as taxis available to reach sanctuary, from where one has to walk around 3 km for reaching inside this sanctuary.
Jamnagar is connected to several parts of Gujarat through transport buses of state as well as private luxury coaches.
Trains do run on daily basis on the Western Railway having direct connections to places such as Ahmedabad.
At a distance of 10 km there is an airport from town. Several domestic airlines are there connecting Jamnagar to places like Mumbai.
There can be seen both sea and shore birds in this sanctuary. Some of the species found are Black neck Stork, Shikra, Great Crested Grebe, Lesser spotted Eagle, kite whose wings are black, Black Ibis, Brahminy Kite, Great Thick Knee, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, little tern, common Greenshank, Imperial eagle, Grey Francolin, Black-tailed Godwit, Common Crane, Comb Duck, Marsh Harrier, Common Teal, Garganey, Dunlin, Northern Pintail, Pale Harrier, Shoveler, Demoiselle, Eurasian Wigeon, Darters and Cormorants. Few other commonly found wild animals include Blue Bulls, wolf, Jackal, mongoose, Jungle Cat, snakes and Indian hare.
Commonly found nests are of three types and they can be seen here, the ones which are tree nests, floating nests in water as well as on ground nests. Usually, the ducks here form the floating nests.