Wednesday 21 March 2012

Mugger at Powai Lake, Mumbai, March 2012

If ever anyone travels with me in a taxi, anywhere in the world, they quickly get a sense that my attitude to cab drivers (may they all burn in Hell) is, at best, antagonistic; at worst, it is downright rude and distrustful. I know that taxi drivers will try to rip me off and I hail them in anticipation of a confrontation, so I was pleased to meet Surendra (may he be feted at God’s table), who charged the going rate first time.

A fringe of Water Hyacinth clung to the shore at Powai Lake. It had never occurred to me before to wonder what sustains a Purple Swamphen, but if they like Water Hyacinth, they are in the right place. After a quick check, I find that they do indeed like vegetative matter and the act of holding the food item while eating it is common.

Indian Pond Herons show a lot of white in flight, but as soon as they settle, the brown coverts allow them to disappear very quickly.

On previous visits to Powai Lake I have watched fishermen wading through the shallows or floating in an inner tube through the deeper parts, but today I noticed, for the first time, signs warning of crocodiles.

I had been trying to get a scenic picture of a single palm on a tiny island when I noticed a strange corrugated pattern at water level. Closer inspection revealed it to be a Mugger Crocodile. A biggun.

It remained absolutely still and I began to wonder if it was a dummy. A dredger working along the shoreline, pulling out the choking weeds, approached very close to the island before it eventually slipped into the water.

House Crows and Black Kites were of course plentiful, chasing each other around as soon as one found a morsel of food.

A small island out in the lake held Black-winged Stilt, Lesser Whistling Duck, and a Grey Heron. Great Egrets and Little Egrets stalked through the water hyacinth with the density of the weeds holding their weight provided that they kept moving. A Cattle Egret prefereed a more reliable perch considering what may be lurking beneath.

Birds seen; 14
Grey Heron 1, Great Egret 3, Little Egret 6, Cattle Egret 40, Indian Pond Heron 20, Black Kite 25, Lesser Whistling Duck 5, Purple Swamphen 10, Bronze-winged Jacana 5, Black-winged Stilt 8, Asian Palm Swift 4, House Crow 500, Common Myna 8, Asian Pied Starling 2

There are more posts from Powai Lake at the links below;

Visit the dedicated India page for posts from Bangalore, New Delhi and more from Mumbai, including Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
Powai Lake, Mumbai, Bombay, Mugger Crocodile,


  1. Permission to repost the article with credits to your blog on

  2. Mornings, everywhere in the world, take their own peculiar rhythms; carefully etched compromises between the body's perpetual reluctance and civilization's unflagging persistence. My experience in Kathmandu was no exception.